Anonymous Mailbag

It’s Tuesday, time for me to solve all the problems of the world in the anonymous mailbag.

As always, send your anonymous mailbag questions to claytravis@gmail.com, anonymity guaranteed.

With that in mind, here we go:

“My son is on a 10 and under football team. They just won a semifinal game to make it to the championship game in the league. The league has rules stating each player must play at least 10 snaps per game. The opposing coach filed a protest claiming we didn’t reach this requirement. They had a video. It was reviewed and they lost the protest.  My question is, how big of a bitch move was that. And, who wants to win a game on that kind of technicality?”

Imagine reviewing game film of a game your team lost in ten and under football to count the snaps that each kid on the opposing team played.

Then protesting because you think the number of snaps played didn’t fulfill the rules.

And getting it wrong. (If the protest wasn’t upheld, it must have been pretty close too, right? That is, you were protesting based on a single play or two, not based on kids being held out of play completely).

Look, would it be a dick move to not follow the rules and only play your best players? Yes. But as someone who has coached in little league baseball and football I think it’s far more likely someone would make this mistake in error than to intentionally try and win a game.
In other words, we’ve made errors on rules before in little league. And I can personally guarantee you it’s just because I haven’t taken the time to read the entire rule book, not because I’m trying to break the rules to make sure our team has a better chance of winning.
At some point, as you hunched over your computer screen hitting pause to count the players on the field in your ten and under football league on each snap, wouldn’t it occur to you what a total and complete loser you were? And even if you were right, can you imagine gathering your team to announce that the other team was having to forfeit because they didn’t play all their players for the requisite number of snaps? Would anyone on the team be excited about that?
If you want to coach competitive football, coach competitive football. But if you’re breaking down ten year old game film to count the snaps, you have serious issues in your life.
Find another hobby, bud.
“I’m currently a early 20’s, 5th year senior at an SEC school graduating in the spring. Like almost all graduates, I am having anxiety about what I’m going to do next. I have a friend from college who graduated and moved to NYC and has expressed interest in rooming together. That is what I thought my move would be, but lately, I’ve been doubting it as it would completely take me out of my comfort zone. The jobs would be better there, the cost of living would also be higher. And to further complicate things, I am on the verge of a relationship with a girl a few years behind me and I’m hesitant to make a decision now in fears that she will avoid the relationship because she knows I won’t do a LDR. 
It’s also important to mention, most of my closest friends from home are in long term relationships or married with a house, all at 23 years old or younger. So I feel like I have a natural inclination to feel that I am falling behind them. 
What advice can you give me?”
Here’s my general rule for new graduates: the more smart people you can surround yourself with, the better off you’ll probably be in the long run.
This, by the way, is the real value in paying for a top college or university. Not because the actual classroom instruction from your teachers is that much better, but because of the network you’ll develop based on your fellow graduates.
Go to good schools and go to big cities because smart people tend to be more successful than dumb people and the better the school and the bigger the city the more smart people are likely to be there. And the more smart people you’re around on a regular basis, the more successful, as a general rule, you tend to be as well.
So if I were you, I’d move to New York City. (And I’m not saying this as a blanket endorsement of New York City. I’d also move to whichever “big” city many of you are considering: Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Nashville, Austin, the cities can be of varying sizes, what matters is you stepping outside of your comfort zone and challenging yourself by surrounding yourself with other young, smart people from a variety of backgrounds.)
I went to college in Washington, D.C.
It was a major challenge to my sense of self to suddenly find myself at 18 years old in a city where I didn’t know anyone. I was incredibly home sick. So home sick that I remember going to the freaking library and looking up books about Nashville so I could read about home.
Seriously, I did this. (This was before the Internet existed in a substantial way. Later I’d read local newspapers to feel more at home, but back in 1997, it wasn’t as easy to do this. When you went away to college you didn’t have cell phones and social media that kept you connected to everyone else back home).
But it was incredibly important for me to toughen myself up.
I don’t think I would have had the success I’ve had in life I hadn’t made the decision to go away to school and to stick it out as well. That toughened me up in a big way.
My toughest year of adulthood was my freshman year of college.
Nothing since has been that tough.
Not to be too tough on you, but you kind of sound like a pussy in your email.
“Oh, I’m 23 and there’s this girl that I like who is younger than me and my friends are getting married and I feel like I’m falling behind.”
Dude, you’re 23, you shouldn’t be worried about what everyone else is doing, you should be focused on yourself instead of trying to keep up with them.
Plus, trust me, all your friends getting married at 23 are idiots.
And if you move to New York City you will be swimming in hot girls from all walks of life instead of chasing a younger girl in college.
Try out life in New York City.
What’s the worst thing that can happen? You hate it and you move back to where you before in a year or so. (You need to give any new city at least a year before you bail.)
Challenge yourself, the results tend to be important and beneficial, even if they aren’t always easy.
“I’m 41 years old, two kids, beautiful wife. Kids are 8 and 1. Wife is lucky enough to stay home with the 1 year old now so I’m the only one working. I don’t make a lot of money but our house is paid off thanks to a small inheritance. Wife really wants me to get a better job and I do too, but the huge elephant in the room is I have a felony on my record. This causes me a lot of anxiety and really just makes me feel worthless.
Every time I see that question when I’m filling out job applications it just makes me get that horrible feeling. The felony is from when i was young and dumb around 23 or 24. I got caught with a a lot of weed but that felony I feel like just makes people turn away from hiring me cause everything is just computers for applications. What’s your advice.
I could get the felony taken off my record but I owe some fines that have to be paid first which is like $6,000 and I just don’t have the money. What are your thoughts?”
First, I’d save up the money to get the felony expunged off my record. And if it truly costs $6k, I’d see if there’s a lawyer who will get the arrest expunged on a payment plan. It can’t be that much work, in general, so I’d think you could find someone who would do this on a payment plan, as opposed to you needing to pay everything up front.
Put simply, it has been nearly twenty years since you made your mistake, you should do whatever you can to erase that from your permanent record.
Second, if the felony is truly killing your chance to get a better job — and in this low unemployment rate it might not be the felony that’s holding you back it could be something else — then you need to make the expungement a big priority.
In the meantime, if I were you I’d be tempted to lie on the job applications you’re filling out.
I know, I know, you’re never supposed to lie, but if they catch you in the lie, you’re not getting the job anyway. But if they don’t catch you and you get the job, you are already on the path to expungement and if they ever ask you about it you can just claim you thought the felony had been expunged from your record and that’s why you answered the way you did.
The point here is you’re not the same person you were twenty years ago and I don’t think anyone should be held hostage in the future by a mistake they made in the distant past.
Good luck with getting that felony expunged, with taking care of your kids, and with the job search.
“Me and this girl have been dating for a month and a half now. She’s wife material, couldn’t believe it when she said yes to the first date. However, she almost seems disinterested. I’m always the one asking when we can see each other next, or hangout again. I’m also always the one leaning in for a kiss or hug. We rarely kiss when together which is cool, but I mean who the hell doesn’t love a good makeout? But she doesn’t make herself open to it. We don’t talk a ton when not together, but that’s fine, we’re both very busy. But she will completely ignore messages and change subjects when I’ve asked questions that really should be answered. Am I reading too much into this or is this girl not into me and just doesn’t know how to tell me? Should I talk to her about it?”
You’ve been dating for six weeks, bud.
I’m not even sure if you’re exclusive.
She’s probably like, “Why won’t this dude stop blowing me up all the time?”
This girl’s behavior seems completely normal. She’s casually dating you and not really sure how much she likes you. So why would she upend her life — or even readjust her life at all — for you at this point in time?
The last thing anyone wants to have six weeks into a “relationship” is a conversation about the future of the relationship, this is a bad idea on your part.
If you really like this girl, the best thing you can do is probably pay her less attention. Trust me, it’s science. The more disinterested you seem in a girl you’re dating, the more interested she gets in you.
If you end up in a serious relationship with her, these are all red flags, but you aren’t in a serious relationship with her right now.
If you like her, just play it cool.
You know how the Patriots win most games by just not making mistakes?
Don’t make mistakes here.
“Clay- my wife is pregnant for the second time. We’re considered a high risk pregnancy, so we have to see a specialist. It’s the same specialist we saw with our first child. This doctor happens to be a guy which we thought was great the first time around so we asked to see him again. Now, I had to leave our first appointment early.
At the end of that appointment, he gave my wife his cell number to text if she had any concerns she needed an answer to. I thought that was pretty nice at the time. Since then, there’s been a couple instances she’s texted him questions about how she’s feeling. He always responds to her real quick and she tells me how nice and awesome he is for that.
At each appointment he tells her to call or text him any time she has questions.

At one of the appointments, he noticed an abnormality that resulted in him asking us to come in the next week. He said he’d be there Wednesday, but not Thursday. My wife looked at me for the schedule, I said I could for sure be there Thursday, but wasn’t sure about Wednesday. Her schedule works better Wednesday, but she could rearrange at her work to come to an appointment on Thursday, although her work does get annoyed with that. We didn’t really come to a conclusion and he said he’d walk up front and tell the scheduler to put us down to see him Wednesday. In general, we don’t always see the same doc bc they work variable schedules, but we mostly see him.

After the appointment,  I did some internet reading about this new finding and thought we fit several of the other symptoms associated with what he was looking in to.  An organization associated with this problem had research showing less risk if you drank more milk. Since my wife is a worrier and HIPPA prevents me from calling the doctor office to ask questions about her care, I texted him to see if her other symptoms in addition to his finding warranted us to start drinking more milk prior to the next appointment. I never got a reply back.  This guy is a couple years older than me (and in a few years older than my wife) and has a wife and children.  Does he have a thing for my wife?”

I think you’re way overreacting here. This is pretty innocuous behavior by the doctor.
Put yourself in the doctor’s shoes, does it seem very likely he’d decide to have a thing for a woman in a high risk pregnancy and seduce her via text messages about her health conditions that she sends him of her own volition? Or is it more likely that he’s doing his best to respond to her concerns as promptly as possible because she has a high risk pregnancy and he knows how stressful that can be for her?
I think the latter is way, way more likely.
Now if he starts just randomly texting her about how much he likes the new season of “Succession” or you see shirtless photos then I’d be skeptical about his intentions, but as is, I just don’t see anything to be concerned about based on their interactions you describe.
Furthermore, I’m not an expert on HIPPA regulations, but if you can’t call to ask questions about someone else due to patient-doctor confidentiality issues, why should you be able to text and ask questions about other people? The doctor may not be ethically able to respond to your text about your wife’s medical condition. (Or he might just not feel comfortable doing it since he’s her doctor, not your doctor, and this is her medical condition, not yours.)
As for why the doctor picked Wednesday, he may believe he’s the best doctor for your wife and since she said she could do Wednesday, he took care of scheduling it for her rather than have her see another doctor she might not know as well.
He may also feel, potentially correctly, that your wife is more comfortable without a bossy, controlling husband at every appointment. Maybe there are things she wants to ask him that you don’t need to be involved in?
In other words, he may dislike your behavior more than he likes your wife’s.
It may not be that he likes your wife, it might just be that he doesn’t really like you.
Again, I don’t know how you interact in the office, but sending an email asking whether the doctor is hitting on your pregnant wife based on the evidence you laid out here seems pretty reaching — and borderline controlling — to me.
If I can see it in an email, is it shocking that a doctor might be able to see it in person too?
Regardless, good luck with the pregnancy.
But chill, dude.
“I don’t know what to do with a friend from high school who is the textbook definition of an “energy vampire.” For context, I am two years older and currently in graduate school for an MBA while he dropped out of college a few years ago. 

Every time we would hang out the past few months he would complain about what’s going on in his life and usually about things resulting from his dumb decisions. For example, he got a matching tattoo and moved next door to his girlfriend only for them to break up shortly after. So he frequently gripes about living next door to his ex and the tattoo. 
To make things worse, he had to sell his truck since it was always breaking down and now needs rides all the time. Giving him rides everywhere was bad enough, but whats worse is he would tell me that he didn’t need a ride and would show up at my place with one of his other friends who instead of dropping my friend off wold hang out with us. I am not a fan of this other friend and feel awkward around him and would rather just do the driving myself. Plus, saying he didn’t need a ride was a lie. This happened a lot over the summer.
One day around when the semester started my friend called me and we planned for me to pick him up after work and go get dinner. Well as the day went on and his shift should have been ending I didn’t hear from him. No call, no text, nothing. Eventually it go so late, I gave up and made something at home to eat. Over the next month or so I didn’t hear from him at all. No “had to work late. Sorry I had to bail.” or any sort of apology. At this point I’ve had enough and decide to just write him off.
In the last month or so he’s started reaching out to me again and I ignore everything. But every few days I get a call, text, or snapchat message from him. I have no desire to respond because of how he’s acted the past year, I’m tired of hearing about all his self-inflicted calamities, and we are in different social circles. He’s becoming white trash and I’m a “young professional.” My family keeps telling me to ignore him and I’ve been doing just that hoping he gives up and stops reaching out to me. But so far he hasn’t stopped. What say you King Solomon of the Internet?”
I mean, honestly, you sound like an asshole in this email, not him.
The entire email reads as if you feel like you’re superior to your old friend.
It’s fine for friends to drift apart because life pushes you in different directions. (After all, look around your neighborhood or the schools your kids attend. Most of us end up surrounded by people who are similar to us in education and lifestyle choices).
But just because you’re getting an MBA and he dropped out of college doesn’t mean you can’t be friends with him. Or that you should be judging him for his failures. Or that you’re a success and he’s a failure.
You say he’s an “energy vampire” — and I get it, these people suck (ba dum cha) — but the evidence you present here mostly appears like your friend is doing his best to hang out with you without being a big hindrance on your life.
And you seem awful judgmental about minor issues. For instance, you write: “One day around when the semester started my friend called me and we planned for me to pick him up after work and go get dinner. Well as the day went on and his shift should have been ending I didn’t hear from him. No call, no text, nothing. Eventually it go so late, I gave up and made something at home to eat. Over the next month or so I didn’t hear from him at all. No “had to work late. Sorry I had to bail.” or any sort of apology. At this point I’ve had enough and decide to just write him off.”
I mean, you sound like an incredible bitch here.
First, you could have texted or called him to check on dinner plans. You didn’t have to wait on him to reach out to you — and never contact him again for a month when he didn’t reach out that night. Maybe, for instance, something embarrassing happened to him and he’s afraid of you judging him for it so he just decided to keep quiet. What if, just tossing it out there, he checked his bank account and suddenly realized he had no money for dinner? Would this be a real surprise if he couldn’t keep his car? And he was too embarrassed to mention it? So embarrassed, in fact, that he waited a month to reach out to you again. Second, it’s fucking dinner. Are you really that inconvenienced by having to make your own meal? So inconvenienced in fact that you decided to hold a grudge over this and email a stranger about what a bad friend your (former) buddy is?
I find your behavior worst than his, honestly.

Finally, the end of this email, “he’s becoming white trash and I’m a “young professional” just reeks of your own insecurity.

Congrats, you’re graduating from grad school.

You haven’t accomplished anything at all yet. What’s more, as a young MBA graduate, you probably are going to have some low level grinding jobs for quite some time before you accomplish anything. Some of those people might be “white trash.”

Your friend is obviously going through a hard time in his life. Cutting him off because he’s not successful enough — when it seems like he’s making an effort to stay your friend while causing you as little grief as possible, he’s not even asking you for a ride, man — seems like a dick move on your part.

I think you ought to extend him a hand and try to lift him up instead of pushing him away.

Because while things might be going well for you in your life now you never know when you might be that person who needs that hand up from a friend yourself.

Send your anonymous mailbag questions to claytravis@gmail.com, anonymity guaranteed.

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