What is the Most Infuriating Child’s Toy? Fredbag!

Recently, I sent out an email touting PSYCHO and mentioned Anthony Hopkins instead of Anthony Perkins.

The world is full of people confusing Anthony Hopkins and Anthony Perkins.

I say they have a Norman Bates/Hannibal Lecter crossover movie to settle the matter. One Anthony to rule them all. Do it with martial arts and everything, just like Freddy vs. Jason.

On to your questions!

As a parent, what children’s toy infuriates you the most?–Melanie, KY

The reflex is to go with something that creates noise and annoys via repetition or loudness. My daughter got a musical instrument set once, and I thought it would be the end of the world, but I found the whole “beating the drum for six hours” rather soothing.

We’re not fully into the Lego phase, so I haven’t stepped on any of those yet. I’ve heard stories, but without personal experience, I can’t in good faith blight Legos. They make good movies.

I’m going with those yarn/paracord/bead bracelet sets. I’ve tried those a couple of times, and looked at the directions the same way an ape might look at a James Joyce novel.

I checked the “age” on the box a couple of times. Kids as young as six are supposed to be able to do this on their own?

Being able to perfectly assemble one of the bracelets via the included instructions should be an entrance requirement to MIT.

My daughter and I worked on bracelets for two hours one evening. Ninety percent of the time was me staring at the instructions for the various bracelet-building strategies, then I just threw a bunch of beads on a string and tied the ends together.

She took one look at my creation and said, “Let’s go color.”

Yes, let’s.

I want to get into Stephen King. What should I read first? –Derrick, IL

Keep it simple. Read Misery. One of his best books with a great villain that satisfies throughout, and it’s not insanely long.

If you like that, move on to the grouping of Carrie, It, The Stand, Night Shift, and The Shining.

If you’re still hungry for more, YOU DO YOU. Any order you want.

I know there’s a ton of Stephen King hot takes out there complete with flowcharts that tell you exactly how you SHOULD experience the Stephen King universe.

Folks, there is no optimal way to experience the King universe. However, there is a suboptimal way, and that’s to force yourself into an order you saw on a Reddit thread that turns you off to his work with the bad stuff before you get to the good stuff. For what? More context for the Dark Tower?

As a beginner, you could completely skip the Dark Tower series for now and experience the best that King has to offer first. The Dark Tower is for completists. Wait a second, did I just talk shit about the Dark Tower?

I did. Read the DT saga again. It’s all over the place, and it’s best for established King fans, not creating new ones.

I know, I know, I have forgotten the face of my father.

It feels terrible to throw greeting cards away immediately, but you can’t keep them forever–how long do you keep a greeting card?–Kyle, IL

I’d love to create a flowchart for you, but I’m not the best graphic designer.

KEEP FOREVER – Anything from your spouse or kids that’s hand-drawn or extra special.

This is especially true if you’re an action hero, as you’ll want to review these at night in your darkest hour, shedding a single tear before going on a rampage of revenge.

DON’T BE A DICK – If someone’s nice enough to send a holiday or birthday card, yeah, don’t toss it right away. Put it on display to remind yourself that someone was nice enough to put enough thought and effort to bother with ACTUAL, PHYSICAL MAIL. Stamps and everything.

For example, the closet door in our foyer gets plastered with Christmas cards each year so we can stand in front of it like a thoughtful viewer at a museum art gallery and feel that love.

After a week or two, when the new car smell of the cards has worn off, throw them away, but do so with reverence. I like to put my greeting cards on a floating pyre made of sticks and then shoot a flaming arrow into it after it’s shoved off to sea.

You can also compost them and grow your vegetable garden in the thoughts and affection of your friends and family. I like a little Christmas spirit in my cucumbers, don’t you?

SHARE THEN TOSS – Just about any thank-you cards. You open it up, get that warm, gooey, gratitude goodness. If it’s for you and another person, such as your spouse, hold onto it for sharing. “Hey honey, look at this. Wasn’t this nice of them?” (Feeds to shredder).

Leaving thank-you cards lying around for all to see is a bit self-promotional (says the guy promotionally emailing you). Throwing them out is the only humble thing to do.

DISCRETIONARY CLAUSE – Keep any card you want if it feels special; toss any card on a whim if it deserves it.

I always feel like you can sense the effort that went into the card. So if you open one up, and they write a paragraph in addition to the potetic gunk already included in the card, you keep that one longer than a card that just has a signature.

If you sense that quick signature is some low effort shit, it feels GOOD to throw it away right after opening it. I REJECT YOUR HALLMARK MOMENT, UNCLE TREVOR.

Imagine you were put in charge of an NFL team the day before the NFL draft and were in charge of making all of the picks for your favorite NFL team. What would your draft grade be on ESPN the next day?–Michael, MO

Definitely an A+ and not because I know anything about how to run a draft. The only thing I’m sure of is that the NFL gives you brain damage, and they don’t agree with that data, not even after seeing the Will Smith movie.

In fact, I have devolved as a football fan and have no opinion on draft picks other than “No one knows anything so why are we bitching?”

However, in football, this is an unacceptable stance. Every scout and GM must show everyone how much they know that the casual fan or talking head doesn’t, so they trade up even though it’s always an awful idea, or they take some small school guy who has “grit,” or the best QB in the draft falls for no other reason than “he just doesn’t look like a quarterback.”

That’s how you end up with Blake Bortles. Looks like a QB, right up until the point that he throws the ball in a game.

The only guy who embraces this Socratic “I know nothing” concept is Bill Belicheck, who trades back to get as many picks as possible, picks a bunch of guys, and hopes a few pan out. Odds are, some will. GENIUS!

Meanwhile, my beloved Bears are giving up multiple picks to move up ONE SPOT, which is a surefire way to get drilled in the media. And for good reason! I don’t care if they drafted Jesus, trading up is a low-percentage play. You always overpay for the same low-percentage chance at a superstar as everyone else.

In today’s information age, all I need is an Internet connection to crush a draft. I trade back as much as possible and pick the consensus best available player.

Do you really think if I add a few extra picks and take Mel Kiper’s best available each time they’re not going to drool over my awesome draft with an A+ the next day?

What is the worst wedding reception song?–Sandra, IL

Look, your basic wedding reception tracklist is only bad because it’s played out. Repetition ruins even the finest music. I won’t begrudge you your chicken dance.

I guess the one that pisses me off the most is the Casper Slide, only because this Casper fellow doesn’t put in much effort. If you listen closely, he’s just telling people to do dumb shit, like he’s in the studio winking at someone, “Watch this, I’ll just say hop four times, and I bet they do it.”

It’s a rigged game of Simon Says. My secret dream is to dub in “Hop 400 times” into the song with four-hundred beats immediately following it just to see how long people follow along.

Interpolation: I was recently at a reception, and I was watching the YMCA closely. I always wonder, when people do the “C” in YMCA, are they doing it from their perspective, so they can read it, and showing it to the audience backwards? Or are they doing it so that everyone in the audience can read it correctly?

This is a test of empathy that should be included on a job interview.

Email of the month!

“I just wanted to enter your Stephen King giveaway. I did not know I would receive emails from you. Please remove me immediately.”–(Redacted)

Here’s a guy that isn’t keeping any greeting card I send him.

If you want to submit a question for the Fredbag, send them to mail@fredventurini.com. 

Fred Venturini

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Leave a Comment: