Anonymous Mailbag

Rejoice, it’s Tuesday, and time for the anonymous mailbag.

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“Back in July, myself and a couple buddies decided to make a big bet on Kyler Murray to win the Heisman Trophy (pictures attached below). We ended up getting good odds and are now looking at a pretty substantial potential payday between the 4 of us ($72k).

Now comes the issues, what would be the best way to go about collecting and distributing this money? We’re also curious about the potential tax implications of this? And finally, all of us are 23-24 in entry level jobs making $50-60k, what would you do with the money if you were in our shoes?”

First, congrats on the potential big win.

That’s awesome.

I’m still not convinced Kyler Murray will beat out Tua, but if he does you’ve got a huge win to celebrate.

Just as an FYI, when you collect a bet of over $10k they will give you a tax form so the IRS will know about your income and you’ll need to report it. This means you four guys will be obligated to pay tax on your $70k profits.

Given there are four of you and you each pay around 25% on taxes based on your income, I’m guessing this means you’ll end up with around $13k each.

I’d take like $3k of this and pool it with your three buddies and take an incredible trip together. For $12k total you guys can have a phenomenal vacation and you’ll remember that trip for the rest of your life, long after you would have tired of something you could purchase with the money. I’d pick an incredible destination you would have trouble getting to once you have kids or a family. Australia? Asia? Somewhere awesome in Europe?

Then I’d take the $10k and stash it as a rainy day fund in the event you lose your job or something really bad happens to you.

If you want to stash that rainy day fund in an investment — which would be smart — I’d just buy S&P 500 index fund shares and leave it alone for the next 20 years. At your age, in the event you never touched it, by the time you get close to 45 you’ll have a huge nest egg saved up to deploy on a major purchase. And, who knows, maybe you use that money to buy a first home some day.

Good luck.

“I need some parenting advice from a professional dad.  The time has come again for the Elf on the Shelf to come out.  My step son loves the Elf.  My wife spends all evening looking up ideas on instagram and then setting up a stuffed elf that supposedly moved itself from the night before.  As a parent, is there an age that I can just go ahead and say “son, lets think about this, the elf thing is not real, come on”.  My boy already lives too much in an imaginary world and I am concerned about his street smarts and actual real life thinking about things.  My wife says I have no say in the matter and it will happen naturally.  I just think a kid that is going to be taking standardized tests in 3rd grade next year probably needs to move on from Santa and the elf. I know your boys are right at this age too.”
Well, I don’t want to step on the family dynamics here, but you said this is your step-son, right?
You ARE NOT the person who tells the kid that Santa isn’t real and his elf on a shelf is a ruse. That’s a tough spot for a parent and you don’t want to turn into the evil step-dad because grandma and grandpa find out you killed Christmas for their angelic third grader.
I’l be honest, if I were divorced and I found out the step-dad ruined Christmas for my kids I’m not sure I’d ever forgive him for that.
So this isn’t your job, steer clear of the drama associated with ending this charade.
Personally my kids are so enraptured with Santa and the elf on a shelf that I don’t want to steal their excitement or end the child-like magic. I actually told my oldest kid that if he spoils Santa and the elves for my two youngest kids I’ll blame him forever. That may be harsh, but so far it seems to be working. (Full disclosure: I ruined Christmas for my sister by telling her Santa wasn’t real, but that was a dick move by me. Further disclosure: my parents also weren’t willing to lie about Santa being real and I was a smart kid, too smart to believe in the physics behind Santa’s trip around the world in one night).
Moving the elf on a shelf every night, however, has became such a chore in my house that my wife said our elves sometimes take days off from going back to the North Pole because they’re tired. So that way we’re covered if they don’t move. (Moving these damn elves is a job unto itself).
Having said this, if your kid is in fifth or sixth grade it might be time to let him or her know the truth. No one wants to be the last kid to believe in Santa Claus.
I’m not sure what the appropriate age is, but at some point all boys, for instance, have to stop fantasizing about Santa and start fantasizing about girls. You can’t let these things overlap for Mrs. Claus’s sake.
“So my girlfriend wants to take our dog to get pictures with Santa at the mall. I told her go ahead if you want but count me out. I find it ridiculous anyone would want to do that. Now I love our dog, very happy we got it. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to lug this dog around the mall to take pictures with a man dressed up in costume like a idiot. Am I wrong here? Is this worth fighting over or should I just suck it up and take the dog.”
How hot is your girlfriend?
Because “I took my dog to get our picture taken with Santa at the mall with my girlfriend,” level hot is just off the charts hot.
Your girlfriend better be a Victoria’s Secret supermodel.
And even if she is, there’s a 0% chance I’m waiting in line with all the kids to get my picture taken with my dog and Santa at the mall. (This also seems like a way try too hard move by a single guy too. If you took your dog to the mall to get your picture taken with Santa, I’d immediately question what you were hiding. This seems like the kind of move a guy with a deep dark secret makes while pretending to be the perfect guy. Be leery of those guys, ladies.)
Plus, those lines can get long as hell.
If your girlfriend really wants a picture of herself and your dog with Santa, she can get it, you don’t have to go.
And you shouldn’t go. (Unless she is so hot that you’re afraid this might be the breaking point. And even then, honestly, you’ve set a bad precedent to keep the relationship going. I don’t know how you can ever say no to anything again if you do this.)
Finally, there will be plenty of times when you are married with children to take ridiculous family photos with your wife and kids.
You should fight the onset of those days for as long as possible.

“While traveling recently for the Thanksgiving holiday, I ran into a small situation and I wanted to see what the Caliph of Restroom Etiquette had to say.  

My wife and I took our 1 yr old son and dog to my wife’s mother’s house.  Given she lives several states away, we had to fly.  Well, as you know, traveling with small children involves a lot of travel gear, and nothing is ever easy.  We had to stop and use the Family Restroom pre- and post- each flight to and from the in-laws. 

As we are heading into the Atlanta airport, our son has a bowel movement and needs to be changed ASAP.  Of course, the bathroom was occupied.  We had to wait several times this trip for the occupied family restrooms, but that wasn’t the issue.  I realize it takes a long time to change the baby so no problem there.  My issue was that after about a 10 minute wait (I jiggled the door handle to “make sure” it was occupied, but didn’t want to be an asshole because I know it can take a family a decent amount of time to get everything done in there), an older gentleman walks out of the restroom and just saunters off.  Out of my frustration, I said “Seriously!?” (and got a dirty look from my wife).  The man retorted back, “Seriously.” 

Now this isn’t the first time I’ve had to wait for a TSA agent, hospital employee or some other person without a family to finish in the family restroom in order to get our kid situated.  What are the rules of the Family Restroom?  Especially if there is a regular men’s and women’s restroom right next door?”

I think you can only use a family restroom if you are traveling with a kid.

Having said that, I also understand the attraction of the family restroom if there is one right in front of you, it’s unoccupied, and you really have to go the bathroom badly.

But if that’s the case you can only take like two minutes in there. You absolutely, positively can’t post up in there like it’s your hotel room.

Using a family restroom by yourself and making a family wait is a total asshole move.

I don’t blame you for calling out the guy, but I also, kind of, respect the total asssholeness of his response too. That’s a man who would have gutted a wounded soldier crying out for mercy in World War II without blinking.

“I come to the King Solomon of the Internet with a question about romance.
First, I am a senior at a medium sized college (our team has been to the CFP) getting ready to graduate in a few weeks. One year ago, I took an intro to sign language class that happened to have the most gorgeous co-ed I have ever seen in my 4 years of college in it. She was a straight 10.
Now, in this class speaking aloud was prohibited (in order to better learn sign language), so I could not verbally communicate with this girl during class. I tried to interact with her as much as possible during random group or partner exercises, but to no avail. However, the end of the semester brought on a final presentation; a sign language dialogue between two people and lo and behold we were assigned to be partners. Again, very little verbal communication as we worked together in class, but from what I could tell she actually has a great personality, and not a hot-chick personality. She was friendly, relaxed, and even laughed at my jokes. On the last day of exam week we completed our dialogue in front of the class and went our separate ways. I was expecting to see her in the succeeding sign language courses in the spring or this fall semester but have not seen her since. It has been a full year and I find myself thinking about her more and more.
Here’s my question, should I reach out to her on social media? Would the idea of a classmate she was partners with contacting her a full year later totally creep her out?
I don’t want to do nothing and for the rest of my life think “I should have just said ‘screw it’ and messaged her at the expense of looking like a desperate idiot. Now I’ll never know…” But I don’t want to just come out of nowhere after all this time and be like “Sup. ‘Member me? Sign language 1010?”
I always try to DBAP, but is love the one instance where I should SBAP? Should shooter’s shoot?”
You should definitely send her a message.
I don’t know her personality so I can’t write a specific opening for you, but just write something like this: “Hey, we were in sign language class last year. You probably remember me really well, I was the guy who (make a dorky joke at your expense). Anyway, last year I had a serious girlfriend, but I thought you were awesome. I’m out of that relationship now and before I graduated I wanted to see if you’d like to hang out some time.”
This is in no way creepy and you also have a cover for why you didn’t talk to her beforehand — you were in in a relationship with someone else.
While I don’t think this is creepy, I still think the best way to meet a girl on a college campus is to just run into her on campus or out at a bar. Have you really never seen her since the class? That seems pretty strange. The reason I say this is because if you saw her on campus and chatted for even just a moment you could then have an easy excuse to slide into her DMs and do so in a flirty and not threatening way.
Then you gauge her interest based on how she responds without having to put the full court press on her.
Good luck.
Send your anonymous mailbag questions to claytravis@gmail.com, anonymity guaranteed.
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