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The Five People You meet in a Scandal

A Taxonomical Guide To the Frothing Masses

Mike Mulligan

He can dig as much in a day as a hundred men can in a week—and he’s got the We Love Our Coach t-shirt to prove it. The moment the balloon goes up, he races to the controls of his trusty steam shovel Myopia and stokes her boiler fire with Michigan t-shirts and precious back-issues of ESPN The Magazine. This is an all-out war on his sense of self, and if the lessons of futile struggle have taught him anything it’s that a good war needs trenches. Deep, wide, trenches. Trenches you can dig your heels into. And dugouts! And redoubts! Sandbags stacked three rows high! Moats of Kool-Aid! By God, when the chips are down and the breaks are beating the boys, Coach can count on Mike to dig the earthen works and rally the troops to the cause. To arms! To Arms! Load the trench mortar with counteraccusations and fix foam-finger bayonets, lads. Don’t fire until you see the whites of their twitter handles!

Mike won’t give the bastards an inch. Coach needn’t worry his coiffured little head. Tennessee Jeff Mike took the day off work at the highway department to defend the big man’s seven-figure job.

Step one: dig four square walls with four square corners…

Morty the Fauxtrage Mole-Person

Emerging from his dark, moist den as the rumblings of trouble build to a crescendo, Morty is verminous in every sense. He’s a subterranean nuisance. A blind pest. An unattractive growth on the larger plane. You can tell recognize Morty by the fact that you never see him until the shit hits the fan for someone else. That’s the moment your metaphorical doorstep will be darkened by the gleeful moral relativism of your local mole-person. It doesn’t matter what the issue at hand is—Morty will illuminate the key details with the light of his torch, reflected so crisply off his well-polished pitchfork. It’s almost impossible to prevent a Morty infestation, owing mostly the fact that his moral flexibility makes him capable of fitting through the smallest of gaps. Mole-people of his type are fairly easy to catch, as they will often pause in the open field to tongue-bathe their own genitals in a fit of smug glee.

Also responds to jingling keys. Can co-exist happily with hogs.

Johnny Rubbernecker

A distant taxonomical cousin to Morty, the key difference is that his species exhibits underdeveloped Fauxtrage glands. As a result, he can only “just ask questions” and nod in silent, skeptical approval as the Morty sputters about “carrying water for a scumbag” and “cover-up artists” and “the death penalty.” Posts bombastic links without commentary. Does not feast solely upon misfortune, but snacks on it when afforded the opportunity.

Joe Friday

Just the facts, ma’am. Joe appears to be a level-headed and impartial observer, offering reasonable stances like “let the investigation play out” and “we can’t jump to conclusion. He asks the right questions. He writes “if” in capital letters to make sure you don’t miss it. In reality, only one of every two Joe Fridays you meet are the genuine article. The other is Mike Mulligan standing on Johnny Rubbernecker’s shoulders inside a trench coat, like two kids trying to sneak into an R-rated movie, waiting to fling it open and disassemble into their true selves with the time is right.

Paul F’ing Finebaum

The human equivalent of sand in your shoes, but balder.