Fuck Face and the U.S. Senate

Back in 1989, Fleer released a baseball card we all wanted to have.

It featured Billy Ripken, Baltimore’s young second baseman who was (and always would be) most famous for being Cal Ripken, Jr.’s younger brother.

As a ballplayer, Billy Ripken was sorta ordinary. Over 12 seasons, he hit .247 with 20 home runs. He possessed an OK glove, OK speed, OK instincts. Yet Ripken had one crazy, unique, riveting, fascinating thing going for him and—to be more precise—going for his baseball card. You see, beneath the nub of his bat, one could clearly read the words FUCK FACE written in black marker.

To a 17-year-old Jeff Pearlman, this was awesome (Hell, to a 40-year-old Jeff Pearlman, this remains awesome).

And yet, it was also sorta baffling. I mean, what the hell is a fuck face? I’d never used the phrase before; never heard anyone use the phrase before. One’s face cannot, literally, look like a fuck. But it also sounded too vile … too, well, gross to be used so casually. For years and years, I wondered—fuck face? Fuck face?

Now, at long last, I have figured it out.

In case you’ve been sleeping, earlier today the United States Senate—100 men and women hired to work for the good of the people—had the opportunity to do something bold and impactful to curtail gun violence … and whiffed. Sixty votes were needed to pass laws that would have, among other things, expanded background checks for gun buyers. Sixty votes were not attained. Instead, the politicians we employed followed the NRA money; followed the NRA pressure; ignored the families from Newtown and Virginia Tech and Columbine. Just ignored them.

I kept thinking the same thing: “Fuck faces.”

I get being against an assault weapons ban. I don’t agree—but I get it. I get being against a ban on high-capacity gun magazines. I don’t agree—but I get it. How can anyone, however, be against having more thorough background checks? I mean, what would be the harm? What would be the problem. Opponents have argued, “It wouldn’t have prevented Newtown.” Fine—but this isn’t just about Newtown. It’s about making sure—making 100-percent sure—the wrong people don’t find themselves armed with guns. The amendment would have extended background checks to Internet and gun show sales. How can one argue against this? I mean, how? What is there even to debate? Guns are dangerous. Guns kill. Let’s make sure they don’t get into the wrong hands. The end, right?

Fuck faces.

Fuck faces.

Fuck faces.

You know what gets me? The laws will change—when a gunman enters the Senate chambers and begins shooting. Or when the son or daughter of a senator is killed by a gunman. That’s the sort of bullshit I’ve come to expect from our elected officials—take action, but only after it impacts them. Shame. Shame.

PS: This is just insane. As written in the New York Times: “Even a bipartisan amendment to impose stiff penalties on gun traffickers, which was supported by the N.R.A. and expected to be adopted by voice vote, instead was defeated, receiving 58 votes, as the partisan lines hardened” Amazing. Fucking amazing.