3 People Who Need a Beer | Week of Aug. 28
The world we live in does not regard us kindly.
I thought myself adequately hardened for the rigors of urban living, having many years living near the shadows of tall buildings now under my belt. I had steeled myself against being easily taken by panhandlers, invested in some serious headphones to blocked out the cacophony on walks and bus ride, and had become a welcomed and recognizable face at many a bar within the 80-some square blocks of the city.
And then I heard that a three-story lamppost in San Francisco had fallen because it was peed on too many times.
Literally, a 30-foot high lamppost toppled like a sequoia onto a car in morning rush hour traffic, nearly flattening the unfortunate, unsuspecting driver, because urine had corroded the base of it to the point of instability. This is one of approximately 25,000 lampposts in San Francisco. We should be expecting the Roland Emmerich disaster movie adaptation of this story—starring Nicholas Cage and a precocious Abigail Breslin playing his estranged and quirky daughter-in-distress—within a year and a half. If there is any justice in the world, that poor commuter should at least get an executive producer credit.
Here are three other people who need a beer this week:
Head coach of the San Francisco Skeleton Crew 49ers
Despite the inherent stress and high stakes, I can’t imagine any football coach would turn down an opportunity to become a head coach on a more glamorous team than their own. Jim Tomsula, head coach of the 49ers and successor to Jim Harbaugh, was no exception when he accepted a promotion from San Francisco’s defensive line coach.
The 49ers’ offseason, though, has been a dreadful exception. In eight months the franchise of Steve Young, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Ronnie Lott, and Bill Walsh went from being an 8-8 team with promise to one resembling something closer to the early days of the Mean Machine. They’ve had four good to great players retire, two of whom were 25 years old or younger and left the game with concerns for the health of their bodies and brains. They lost six men to free agency, five of whom started in over 10 games last season. On top of that, they lost head coordinators Greg Roman and Vic Fangio along with Harbaugh.
That alone would have been trying enough for Tomsula. But then wide receiver Jerome Simpson was suspended for six games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Not long after that, defensive stars Ahmad Brooks and Ray McDonald were indicted for heinous acts, the latter likely to serve multiple years in jail.
In eight months, Jim Tomsula’s 49ers have lost 13 potentially key players. Worse still for him, the team has become a microcosm of every type of controversy swirling around the megalithic NFL (concussion protocol and off-field conduct chief among them). While the concerns raised by head trauma and gross misconduct are important and necessary to address, they are also in no way Tomsula’s fault. Unfortunately he still has a high-pressure job to do, all the while having to still play this season in the same division as the vaunted Seattle Seahawks and the plucky Arizona Cardinals.
Tough way to start a new gig, Jim. Don’t be surprised to see him sneaking sips of Anchor Steam during the tougher games this season.
The New Hamburglar
Soon to be out of a job
I defy you not to have a visceral, violent reaction to this image:
A poorly-dressed hipster and a thief—what a terrible combination.
Though this Crystal Pepsi of marketing gimmicks hasn’t helped, Mickey D’s has much more pressing problems. The fast food icon is staring at one full fiscal year of declining sales behind them and is seeing little encouragement ahead. Profits have routinely been coming in short, causing plenty of corporate restructuring, including a new CEO.
It’s a perfect storm, in a way, that’s leading to some grim prognostications for McDonalds. Chief rival Burger King is enjoying a little time at the top of the food chain, former McDonalds property Chipotle is leading the charge of alternative fast food cuisines taking a larger chunk of the market share, and fast-casual hybrids like Panera and Five Guys are biting into the rest of it. Meanwhile, McD’s is still getting punished for last summer’s food scare in its Asian markets, compounding a growing resentment of processed foods in the U.S.
The gross, sour, yellow cherry on top has come in the form of Mickey D’s turning down Burger King’s offer of joining forces for a potential collaboration that could make Carl’s Jr. blush—a McWhopper. No one is really expecting McDonalds to transform into a farm-to-table gourmanderie. But, instead of leaning into it and embracing the spectacle, the bravado, the very essence of fast-food burgers, McDonalds said no.
So when you see the poor erstwhile Hamburglar pictured above busking outside of your favorite bar, have a little pity. He wasn’t the absolute worst (though he was pretty close), but he may be the last.
The Fay School
Soon to issue tin foil hats to selected attendees
It shouldn’t be surprising that Southboro, Massachusetts has a WASPy prep boarding school—the Fay School—that looks both prestigious and like a torture chamber for Holden Caulfield. What is surprising is that they’re the sympathetic party in this story.
The parents of a 12 year-old student are suing Fay for failing to provide a safe environment for the boy. If this were with regards to building codes or a real illness the child suffers from, this would be cause for sympathy. Instead, the parents claim he suffers from Electromagnetic Hypersensitivty Syndrome (EHS), a “disease” completely unrecognized by the medical and scientific communities which induces nausea, migraines, and paranoia in the alleged afflicted.
What is EHS? This is EHS:
Kind of. Electromagnetic sensitivity is indeed a thing in as much as some types of EM radiation cause sickness (the best example is the sun, which can burn your skin, give you sun poisoning, or cause cancer). That is to say, it’s probably not being caused by Wi-Fi or anything man-made, if it’s being caused by electromagnetic radiation at all.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what EHS purports. Much like Michael McKean demonstrated in Better Call Saul, EHS is much more likely symptoms of a different and actually real disease, psychosomatic, or a little of both and almost certainly has nothing to do with standing within 20 miles of four or more cell phone towers.
There’s a pretty simple solution here in my mind: a Faraday Hamster Ball. Combine a Faraday cage and Jake Gyllenhaal’s bubble from Bubble Boy and voila! He can roll around campus in steampunk style without having to worry about all the Wi-Fi in the air or wearing Chuck McGill’s space blanket. In the best case scenario, he and his parents go to an actual doctor and find out if the kid simply has migraines. In the worst, the boy almost certainly grows up into the world’s first true supervillain.