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Breaking Madden Roster Cuts: People will only hurt you and clip their toenails in your car

Did you make it into the next episode of Breaking Madden? Goodness, I hope not. I asked y'all to tell me about a time someone was extraordinarily awful to you. These are your stories.

Recently, a report emerged that cast Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill as a considerably not-nice dude:

On Saturday during practice, Tannehill, after a couple of practice squad players forced turnovers, made negative comments toward them, including saying: "Enjoy your practice squad paycheck, enjoy your practice squad trophy."

So naturally, in the next episode of Breaking Madden, we will take Tannehill to the practice field. WELCOME TO TANNEHELL:

Music: "Kerosene Girl" by Young Widows

In this episode, the Titans -- Miami's Week 6 opponent -- will serve as his practice-squad opponents. Their entire defense will be made up of 7-foot, 400-pound, flawless football Goliaths. I needed to find players who were sufficiently motivated, so I looked for them on Twitter:

As always, the replies I received were miserable and outstanding. Please meet the new Tennessee Titans defense:


These are their stories:


1. A guy punched his brother
2. Someone brought an actual real ticket instead of a printed-out ticket with a barcode
3. Some lady bought a Heineken (she was 21, but had only turned 21 like three months prior)
4. Ben Folds covered Dr. Dre ironically; someone in crowd yelled "THUG LIFE" and, after some fumbling, made the Vulcan salute
5. A guy with a tattoo was in the audience -- not like a regular tattoo like the one with the heart and the word "MOM," but one of those crazy big punk rap ones where it goes all the way down to the hand part
6. A man in a cardigan pointed that guy out to his girlfriend and whispered, "what a character, wonder what his story is"
7. Someone in the orchestra level made a "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" reference and this one lady seriously didn't even get it
8. A youth almost snuck in some cottage cheese
9. Someone was getting over a cold but went to the show anyway
10. A black guy was there

I think The Church tends to shoot people in three primary directions. The first group of people is actually inspired to be better, and to genuinely care about and help their fellow humans, and acquire a better understanding of their own lives. The second group is just kinda there for the coffee; they benignly go through the motions and are really just there for the social element.

The third group is a vocal minority. Introducing this third sort of person to The Church is like giving a box of matches to a 6-year-old. In the wild, shitty people are often plainly identified as shitty people. Within the sanctuary of religion, they get to hide, and they get to cloak their awfulness as sanctimony. This pastor sounds like that person. They scrap for some measure of religious authority, officially-designated or otherwise, and then they use that authority to try to break people for the sake of their own self-worth. They're often too stone-stupid and spiritually pitiful to realize they're doing it. I've seen them, and I've seen their legacy: a shamed, closeted gay guy, a teenage girl crying alone in a minivan because she's been told her deceased grandpa's flesh is being burned away in Hell, a person experiencing a nervous breakdown because their most intimate confessions are now blackmail. They are the Satan they pretend to fear.


Earlier this year, after doing some public speaking, this gentleman approached me and challenged me to a rock-paper- scissors contest, under the condition that if I lost, I would follow him on Twitter for a month. I lost, and I actually did follow him a few months better, following him for a full four or five months. It was cool and all, but if I don't prune my "following" list back down to a manageable number every so often, I'll become one of those people who follows 2,000 people and inevitably suffer a nervous breakdown.

My only unconditional unfollow rule (which Patrick here did not violate) is that if I see you tweet "is ______ a sandwich," I gotta go. It's the Austin Powers impression of the modern Internet, and while I respect your wish to mash humor-porridge into your face all day, I will quietly and unceremoniously bail. One guy might unfollow you, and you should care a lot!!!

So first of all, this is immensely shitty and depressing. If this happened to me now I'd feel like crap, and if it happened to me when I was young it would probably wreck me. But when I went back to look up her tweet, this got weirder.


That's a dude, though surely you knew that already. This is just how we, as dudes, work: We can't imagine not interjecting ourselves, even in the context of interrupting someone telling a story about dudes being shitty. Other peoples' lives are our playgrounds and everything that ever happens is for our amusement.

I am staggered. This is my second time rewriting this, because I just don't know how to go about processing this. Unless he's a foot model or something, toenail clipping is probably the least urgent chore that has ever existed. No one will notice if you forget to do it. All it requires is a very flexible 30-second time slot in your life every, I don't know, couple weeks? And what dude is simultaneously uncivilized enough to clip his toenails in someone else's car, and over-civilized enough to bring a nail clipper with him? Did he have, like, a keyring nail clipper? Do those exist? They shouldn't! Also, of all the gross hygiene things he could perform in a car, why couldn't he just pick his nose or something? Why did he choose the one thing that makes a loud noise that is unmistakable for any other noise? And why the one thing that litters all over the damn place? Is this like a really shitty version of Crank where he has to clip his toenails exactly once every 26 days, three hours, and 14 seconds, or he'll die?

I've known Mr. Ghost for some time and trust he wouldn't make this up, and besides, it seems way too weird to make up. I think this is the most unexplainable moment in the history of Roster Cuts. The jobless rate in this country is like 6 percent, and this dude somehow snuck into the workforce. I don't know where he works, but just to be safe, I don't think I'm going to purchase another good or service ever again.

OK. So, just to reset, I asked y'all to tell me about people being shitty. This is like the Grand Theft Auto cheat-code tank-respawn of shitty people. A person was being a jerk who LITERALLY FELL OUT OF THE SKY.

Kyle and I have actually been IRL buds for a long time, and I don't even remember what the post was or how I made fun of him. The lesson here is that you should just be shitty to everyone because who cares. In fact, weeks back we were emailing back and forth, and he signed off with an email signature that made me laugh really hard, and I put off answering him until I could one-up him. I couldn't think of anything funnier, so I still haven't responded to him! Like, even now! He's going to read me writing about him in an article and I can't even answer him.

NO. Oh God, no. I am too fragile for this shit. I would crack like a snow globe in the freezer. After trying to place myself in your position, I think this is how I would respond:

1. Text "im pulling into town" (I assume I don't have the specific address)
2. Idly drive around for a few minutes
3. Park car in a Walmart parking lot, stare at phone, and swipe up repeatedly in search of a "message not delivered" notification
4. Turn phone off and on again, stare at it some more
5. Notice it's been 45 minutes, mouth, "Oh god"
6. Walk around in the Walmart, pull out phone and check for message every 28 seconds
7. Impulse buy a video game for a game system I do not own
8. Glance at a cardboard stand-up display for a Harry Potter DVD
9. Vaguely recall, even though I haven't seen any of the Harry Potter movies or read any of the books, that maybe Harry died at the end?
10. Collapse into blubbering, shrieking fit of tears
11. Be thrown into the garbage

You shouldn't shoot people.

I quick-polled the folks I sit next to in the SB Nation New York compound, and Seth Rosenthal pointed out that by drawing penises on the windows, you're sort of just telegraphing the rest of the prank. A prank, by the way, which is generally reserved for dipshit, meathead bachelor party stuff, and never for the actual wedding itself, which everyone understands is sacred because it's an enormously stressful event. If I ever get married, my groomsmen will be entirely made up of dogs.

Recently, I wrote that I enjoy life as an adult considerably more than I enjoyed life as a kid, and someone in the comments pointed out that, well, Jon, maybe that has something to do with the fact that your job as an adult is to dork around with Madden all day. That's absolutely a fair point that I have two responses to. For one: About half of my adulthood has been spent (as a cis straight white dude, granted) below the poverty line, working jobs I hated, without a college education or career path or any real indication that I would have a better job. And even then, I preferred it over what, as far as childhoods go, was a very good childhood.

For another: As an adult, when something unspectacularly and non-critically bad happens, it's just another bucket poured into the ocean of stuff that has happened. It's mathematical: Oh, so I flipped tails 20 times in a row? I've flipped this coin 90 million times. The success rate just dropped from 50.000931 percent to 50.00093 percent. The blow is absorbed and rendered negligible by the sheer enormity of experiences that are collected by anyone as old as I am.

Kids do not have that mathematical stability. What if some brat smashed my flower pot and kicked me in the nards when I was 8? At that age, I have, like, three or four years' worth of life experience that I actually remember. And since I'm a kid, I have accomplished nothing absolutely notable, and I have struggled to leave literally any impact on the world. Even the things I have created -- the G.I. Joe puzzle, the Lego spaceship, the shit I wrote in chalk on the sidewalk -- have often hastily been disassembled or washed away as soon as I was finished.

So that leaves this flower pot. I drew some pictures of dinosaurs, I wrote SEX FART on a closet shelf, and I made this flower pot. That is my legacy, and this flower pot I made is a gesture of love, a concept I am only beginning to grasp. But I'm trying. This will be nice, the tall people said, so I did it. Look at it. It's actually a pathetic flower pot as these things go: It's crooked and misshapen, and it wobbles over, and you probably can't plant a damn thing in it. But I'm trying. And now it's gone, because one of the 45 people I know destroyed it for no reason. Is this what people are like? Is this what the world is like? Newborns do not know what awaits them, and if they did, they would cry all the same, with anguish.