JJ356 - Refrigerator Firefighter

The show is hosted by judge John Hodgman and bailiff Jesse Thorn.

They are only clearing the docket this week.

Leaving appliances plugged in (JJ356)

Bill and his wife share a bathroom and they are having a disagreement over whether the hair dryer is supposed to be unplugged after use or if it can remain plugged in. She is afraid that appliances that are left plugged in can cause a fire, but he tells her to please not unplug the refrigerator

John Hodgman never uses the hair dryer in their house, but he always prefers to leave it plugged in because his wife uses it all the time and in the rare instances he wants to use, he doesn’t want to get it out. Bill’s wife’s fear of fire is as rational as fear of fire from anything else, but John has to rule in favor of the person who uses the hair dryer the most and if that is Bill with his long locks of damp hair, then he should leave it plugged in. But if she uses it more, then she gets to decide.

Bill knows probably in his heart that he is wrong and he is discounting a couple of key considerations: A refrigerator is not essentially and fundamentally a narrowly contained fire, which is basically what a blowdryer is, a fire that is just barely in human control. John rules in Bill’s wife’s favor because the arguments that Jesse brought forward during their conversation make sense. Also, John's wife just texted him that they had a fire in the refrigerator, but what is he going to do? He is not a refrigerator firefighter!

When to eat popcorn in the movie theater (JJ356)

Brian and Becka had a dispute when to eat the popcorn while at a movie. Brian thinks it should be eaten during the movie, not during previews. He likes to wait as long as possible to purchase the popcorn so it is still warm when the movie starts. If Becka could, she would finish it all before the movie starts. She also believes she is distracting other customers when eating during the movie. Brian thinks that eating popcorn during a movie is part of the social contract.

John took his kids to the movies a few days ago to see Black Panther, which he had not seen because he was on the JoCo Cruise when it opened. John says that Becka should not be self-conscious about eating popcorn at movies, because it is actually built in to the communal movie watching experience, but she should stay away from the Sour Patch Kids because they are very noisy to get out of the bag. Although, John agrees that you should eat your popcorn during the previews as fast as you can and then feel sick for the rest of the movie.

Having car insurance, Erica and Taylor (JJ356)

Taylor has proposed that only one of them should carry car insurance, which means only one person in the household could legally drive. His frugality occasionally leads him to suggest impractical schemes like this one. Her argument is that in an emergency both of them should be insured to drive. She would never give it up and so he suggests that he will, but she refuses to be his chauffeur.

John says that if this is just Taylor’s hobby to save money everywhere he can, then they should get insurance for both of them, unless it is truly not in their budget.

Listener John in dispute with the whole city of Seattle

John would like to petition the court to order an injunction against the citizenry of Seattle for one of their driving habits. They often suddenly stop driving for pedestrians in the middle of busy streets who do not have a crosswalk. This seemingly altruistic behavior is actually quite dangerous to them, the drivers behind them and the pedestrians they are attempting to help. In his experiences, Seattle is the only city in America that does this. This is also bothersome as a pedestrian. Part of the leisureliness of walking is to wait for an actual break in traffic.

Under normal circumstances, John would not take cases that are not between two non-fictional individual human beings. He does not take cases against concepts, public practices in general and certainly not against whole cities. The only exception would be if the entire city of Portland would take Seattle to court, but that would have taken years for a massive class-action lawsuit.

John Hodgman introduces a friend of the show, occasional expert witness and fellow MaxFun podcaster who also is the future mayor of Seattle in his opinion, Mr. John Roderick of the Friendly Fire podcast. John is one of the best drivers of automobiles in the whole world and someone who has driven around Seattle quite a bit, so John Hodgman likes to ask him about his opinion.

John Roderick: This person is describing the situation accurately and succinctly. This is a regional convention that is just a form of vehicular virtue-signaling. By Seattle law, pedestrians have the right of way at all times, not just when in crosswalks, that is true! But a subset of drivers act like that means they must come to a complete stop for all pedestrians, rather than just to avoid hitting them. John likes to cross mid-block and he gages openings in traffic so that everyone keeps moving like a normal person, but in Seattle, drivers will slam on their brakes as though he were stumbling blindly rather than clearly nimble-footed, causing a traffic-snarl where none was needed. The fact that drivers perform this contrition nowhere else in the world is further evidence that it is motivated by hippie hand-ringing more than by people’s safety or even by social politeness. Further evidence is that Seattle police cars never stop for pedestrians, but they just drive on by.

John Hodgman, in a completely unenforceable way, finds in the listeners favor. Keep moving! Don’t hit anyone, don’t do anything dangerous, but keep moving! Jesse grew up in San Francisco as a pedestrian and he believes very strongly in stepping out into the road in front of cars. Car drivers are the ones driving hurdling death machines down our shared roads and therefore it is incumbent upon them to be considerate of pedestrians rather than the other way around.

While John Roderick may very well be an experienced and considerate driver, the last time Jesse visited him in Seattle, he was driving a Chrysler Sebring Convertible that may have had 3 wheels and he told the story of how his automotive philosophy is only to drive cars that other people have given to him.

John Hodgman says that job number one of any driver is to not ever hit people. He encourages the people of Seattle to not march out into the middle of the street in traffic because they are not merely endangering themselves should a driver not be able to stop in time, but they also endanger the cars behind that driver who might crash into that car and might hurt themselves as well. It is woefully irresponsible to walk out into the traffic, but it is still incumbent to the driver to make sure that even a woefully irresponsible human being continues to live. John didn’t take this letter as a permission to mow down people, but if drivers in Seattle see someone angling to get ready to cross the street, they will preemptively slow down, stop traffic and let that person cross.

When to wake up in the morning (JJ356)

Lela and her boyfriend Pat disagree on the appropriate time to wake up in the morning. They both leave for work around 8:45am. 6:45am is her ideal wake-up time, but she would settle for 7:15am. He prefers to wake up at 8:25am, but he would settle for 7:50am. Lela likes to take her mornings slow and enjoy a moment of relaxation. Pat would prefer to bounce right out of bed and head to work. They have tried waking up at different times but he is a light sleeper and gets frustrated when she makes too much noise when he is trying to sleep. Also, she finds it extremely difficult to wake up and get out of bed when she is the only one doing so. They tried waking up regularly at 7:15am but he says that he doesn’t think it is fair to make that compromise if she is then just going to waste her morning sitting on the couch. If they would just get used to waking up at 7:15am their bodies will get used to it and it won’t be so difficult. They are almost always in bed by 11pm and he usually the one pushing them to get in bed earlier.

John’s alarm has been set for 7am for the last 10 years, but he never got used to it ever. Everybody has a different sleep pattern, that is why human beings should never live together.

John rules that Lela has to wake up alone, how cute it might be to wake up together. Pat has to compromise and accept it if he wakes up by her being awake earlier.

Owning a flamethrower (JJ356)

This is an old letter that John somehow missed, but it is the greatest Judge John Hodgman case he ever received, both for its content, its brevity, its form and the fact that the question answers itself.

My husband does not get to own a flamethrower, right?

Obviously, no flamethrowers!

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