RL277 - Old Sauce

The week, Merlin and John talk about:

  • John losing his front tooth again (Stories)
  • Going through the airport with Clear (Travel)
  • Pharma-companies making a lot of money (Factoids)
  • John taking many pills every day and looking for a pill-case (Depression)
  • Wearing a vest (Style)

The problem: ”John didn’t know there was going to be a test”, referring to John being at his dentist and getting asked a question instead of the doctor telling him the answer.

The show title refers to young people nowadays trying to look like olds and putting old sauce all over themselves.

This episode was recorded on January 22nd, 2018 (3 weeks before it was released)

It is going slow for Merlin. He had a migraine last night and he ate the bugger. He likes to drink herbal teas, but he apparently neglected to drink anything with caffeine in it all day yesterday. He then thought that the 9pm-headache would go right by, but he woke up at midnight from it. He took a hot shower and moaned. He put the shower head on that special thunderous setting that often helps against a normal headache.

The other day when Merlin and John saw each other, John thought he was going to throw up during the whole day, but he refused to allow it and at the end of the day he did have some throw-ups anyway. It was terrible!

Draft version
The segments below are drafts that will be incorporated into the rest of the Wiki as time permits.

John losing his front tooth again (RL277)

John thought he was hungry at 2am, but of course he wasn’t. In the state he was in he came downstairs, found one frozen hamburger bun, took two Nathan’s Famous hot dogs, microwaved the collection of these tings, sliced the hot dogs down the middle so they had a flat side, cut them in half so they were little Wienerettes, piled them on top of this hamburger bun, covered the the whole lot with a slice of Swiss cheese, microwaved it again just to melt the cheese, started to eat his hot dog burger and his front tooth broke out. He thought if he went to sleep he will wake up and that wouldn’t have happened, but in fact he is going to have to deal with this today. He is hilariously lisping, but Merlin wouldn’t have noticed until John made a joke about it. The writing for the tooth was on the wall. It had been a long time since he had it repaired and honestly, his dentist now wants to effect a permanent solution that John has make a decision about. Merlin finds it very adorable to see a big man like John talking like this. John also says to fuck dentists, because they always have a plan for your life. They see you as a handful of teeth with a checkbook. You can pay them in Dentacoin now, which is a new bitcoin for the dental industry.

John has had this surrogate tooth for 10 years. For a time, he had his long Rock ’n’ Roll hair and a missing tooth and he just went with it. At some point he succumbed and got his tooth put back in. It is difficult to say what the lifetime of a replacement tooth is, but John’s tooth was not fastened in there in a proper way. When his dentist goes to her continuing education classes where she gets together with all the other dentists and they talk about all the new technologies, she probably does not pull up a slide where she says ”In this case, this guy won’t make a decision and so I have superglued this tooth in between his other teeth”.

John won’t wear a pontic, he refuses all the surgeries and he has increasingly refused to get a bridge the way an old person would used to have. Merlin’s wife has gone through a lot of this. Dentists want to make you into a cyborg and want to put screws into your head. The crazy thing is that if you go to most other doctors and say that your knee is killing you and you want to get a fake knee, the consensus seems to be that until your natural thing actually fails, no matter how good a job they would do, the fake thing is never going to be as good and complication-free as even a badly-working natural thing, so don’t fuck with it!

John’s best friend from High School has had back problems for a long time and thank goodness that John has never had back problems! John was with him when his back went out at the age of 24 and John had to carry him, which was traumatic for them both. John's friend has been suffering of this back problem his whole life and John got away Scott Free although he is pretty big. He worried that his back was going to be in trouble. His pal called John earlier this year just to talk and he said that he was heading into this major back surgery. He was at a point where he would risk nerve damage to his feet if he was not getting it done. Even then he was holding off because although the rate of success is not low, you can’t go back to not having had the surgery. In the dental world, they are very enthusiastic about these major surgeries that involve your entire face and John has never had anybody say (and he talked to a lot of people about it) that whatever problem John is having is probably in the long run going to be less of a big deal than sawing your face in half and crafting it together with titanium-bolts. Don’t worry, we have that all figured out!

The shocker for John was that for years they have been saying that they will break John’s lower jar, saw some piece of it out and move his lower jaw back so that it fits. His teeth come straight onto each other and he bites like a wolf-trap. Teeth do wear, that is the story of getting old, and there are not an infinite number of late-night-hot-dog-sandwiches in John’s future, while when you are young you think that you can have hot dog sandwiches stretching to infinity.

The terminal moment with the dentist was the time John went in to talk to a specialist who was this diminutive man with a white sort of Einstein haircut. He drove a Porsche 911, which is how you know that you have got a good dentist and he was probably wearing driving shoes and maybe even driving gloves while they were talking. John told him that everybody wants to break his jaw and move it backward and the dentist laughed at him as though that was John’s idea. He asked him what he would think: Does this improve your airflow or constrict your airflow and John didn’t know there was going to be a test, he had no dog in this race, so why won’t he tell John? They don’t do that anymore, they don’t move the jar back because it makes your airway more constricted. Instead they now usually cut the top palate off and move it forward which improves your airflow.

The same is probably true for all surgeries. In the back-surgery world, there are people walking around - or not walking around - who’s backs were operated on 35 years ago where they put two metal bars in there, put gaffer’s tape around it and screwed it together with dry-wall screws. Nowadays they go in, they whistle while they work, they put some fiberoptic cable in there and you got CCTV. It is a whole different game, but it doesn’t make you feel like the top-technology right now is as good as it is going to get. What do you do? You get back surgery and then 6 weeks later someone at the continuous education dinner puts up a slide and says ”We have figured it out: Never do that again!”

John typically tries to go through this life on this big blue marble in space by relying on as few things as he can. He tries not to rely on technology and he tries not to rely on comfort. There are for sure all kinds of benefits for someone who attaches themselves to hoses and eels, like John Travolta in Spaceship Earth, but John tries to limit the number of those, particularly the ones that people do voluntarily without thinking about it. John got a conditioner that works with his hair and it costs whatever it costs $70, but if John doesn’t have his conditioner, his hair just doesn’t play ball. The problem is that at a certain point he is a man in his 40s and has a missing tooth and there is a better solution which is to get something slightly more permanent.

Going through the airport with Clear (RL277)

Hodgman gave John Clear, which lets you go through the airport without talking to anybody. It is a system where you pass it on and get knighted, but then after you had it for a while, they will bill your account. That is how they keep snorks out who don’t have the money to pay for it. They are over there in the Dickens line and if you have more than 3oz of cold cruel, please throw it here in the bin. Nobody yelled at John in Clear. He was in Clear at SFO and the woman gave the Heisman to the TSA guy, like ”This guy is with me!” and she walked John right up to the thing. One day he feels like he will get into that Clear line and instead of the flight taking him to Atlanta, it will put him onto a flight to Elysium, but they will say ”Don’t worry about it! You are not going to Atlanta anymore because Atlanta doesn’t exist. You are going up!”

The problem with it is that if you amortize it, you got to fly 40 times to make it seem like it is reasonable. The number of times John flies a year, he is paying $15 per time he flies, but there will be that one time when it is 150.000% worth it. When John was at SFO the other day, he got dropped off by his Lyft and was sitting at the gate in terminal 1 six minutes later. It is almost like it was to go to the airport back in the day. John’s dad would walk down the gate with John and would even go on the plane with him. It also happened more than once that the jetway was already pulled away, but his dad told them that he was Dave Roderick and told them why they would need to pull the jetway back.

Pharma-companies making a lot of money (RL277)

They have to talk about this some day, because every time Merlin reads about it he is completely fucked up: It is a crime against humanity and the thing is that you don’t think about: When you think about the CIA and the government intervening in populations, you think about them putting AIDS into the gay community or crack for black people, but you do not typically think about it as a conspiracy. Merlin read an article saying ”The opioid epidemic has also made some pharmaceutical companies very rich, a real barrier to get into the industry to buy into change. Sales of prescription opioids almost quadrupled between 1999 and 2014. 4X in 15 years as the number of prescriptions soared. By 2010, there were more than 8 opioid prescriptions for every 10 people. Mundipharma, the makers of OxyContin had sold more than $25 billion worth of the drug in the past decade.” Jesus Christ! If you backed up the OxyContin truck and asked John to take as much as he could take, he would take zero, but if you forced him to have it in his house, he would dump it into the pool and let the worms figure it out. Somewhere downstream some fish in Lake Washington would be like Wooooooaaah, but John doesn’t want it around.

John taking many pills every day and looking for a pillcase (RL277)

John was putting his little pills in his pillbox today. First he had started taking the pill for his bipolar and he discovered it worked for him and it was a medication that he actually endorsed. Another doctor had been telling John for a long time that he has high blood pressure or hypertension and John was like yeah, yeah, yeah. but now that he is already taking medication, he switched it all over to his lady doctor who yelled at him about his bipolar and he asked her about his high blood pressure. She confirmed it and gave him another little pink pill that is just a diuretic. John's take on it is that it is like drinking coffee. He also needed to take a second one, a strangely mustard colored pill and because John wasn’t fighting it anymore, he took them both.

Now he was at a point where he needed to get a pillbox and he looked for a cool pillbox, not one of those old-lady pillboxes! Every day some ad for Dudewell pops up in his Instagram feed, a box with a knife, a hatchet and mustache wax and all this crap that nobody needs that smells like sandalwood. You will get another eel and another subsidized box of shit every month. It is leather, so it is masculine. It has aspects of a daily carry, but it is coming every month and so you would presumably change your everyday carry every month, which doesn’t feel that the everyday carry people would want. They want to hone it down to the fishing line that can also be used as a garrotte and a radio antenna. For finding fresh water you do a Gorka and get a cup of pistols, a knife, a turnichete and a divining rod or wire which you can also use to escape or to bind an adversary. You connect it to your knife which is also a hatchet and also something you can hook up to a roof and use as a ladder. Does the knife rely of fucking bluetooth? No, it does not!

John is looking at these things while he is looking for the bespoke pillbox. Here is what John wants: He wants two weeks worth of little doors, that is 14 little submarine ICMB doors, each one with a missile in it, he wants it to be small enough so he can throw in a bag and not notice it. It should have round edges. He doesn’t want it to be rainbow color plastic, but something individual that belongs to him. He already looked at old apothecary things and old drug store stuff, searching all the weird bins to repurpose a thing that has 14 doors, because that is his favorite Jackie Chan movie. He wouldn’t mind if it was silver and had little glass doors and he wants to be able to look inside the little containers to see which ones are full and which ones are empty. Nobody is making artisanal pill-cases because the artisanal people are all 38 and they are not eating 15 pills a day.

As John had these 3 pills going on, he thought that he is living in Seattle in the wintertime and he should throw some Vitamine D in there since he is taking pills anyway. Then he added a big B-Vitamine as well. Back in the day he would sometimes take a bottle of B and it made him feel better. Then about 1,5 years ago, his Millennial girlfriend started taking Elysium, which John wasn’t entirely onboard with. They banter about it for a while. John’s mom told him that she was taking pills that were good for her joints containing Glucosamine and Chondroitin, but what evidence does she have? She replied that there is no evidence, but she takes them on faith, because they are made out of the same collagen that is in our joints. John threw those in there because he got this bum knee from when he jumped off the outfield wall at RFK stadium during a Grateful Dead concert in 1990. It is basically Jerry Garcia’s fault! When John goes to the doctor about the bad knee, the doctor tells him that he doesn’t want to do a knee surgery until he has to. He should rather wrap a Spandage around it and he doesn’t have to pretend it is fine.

At one time, Merlin brought John some Ephedrine and some Theraflu when he was deathly ill and had a show at Great American, but John didn’t want either one because he didn’t like to put that stuff into his body. Back in 1991 John knew a lot of junkies, more than what he knows now, it was the style of the time, it might have been peak junkie. Back then being a junkie was a thing you did when you were an urbanite who was wearing black eyeliner, but you are a junkie if you are living in West Virginia working on cars. The junkies John knew in the 1990s were doing their heroin by shooting up. You cook it in your spoon and you do the do. If you are lucky you don’t die sitting on a toilet at the Café Roma, make the employees try and force the door open, call the ambulance and then the café is closed. John does know some junkies now, but they are all these maintenance junkies who claim that they are not a junkie, but they just have to take these pills for anxiety and pain. You are 48 years old and you are strung out? Talk about an eel! It is the ultra-eel!

The reason John doesn’t take Theraflu is that the junkies back in 1991 used to huddle around their little fucking Bic lighter fires and say to each other the secret junkie language that John learned to speak. They would say that if you can’t get junk and you start to get some DTs, you take Theraflu and it takes the edge off. This made John start to think that Theraflu was powerful medicine, because if it is helping those creepy crawlies, if it is helping the feeling that flies are burrowing in your arms, then it is probably stronger than John needs when he got a cold. He typically only employs Theraflu when he doesn’t give a shit anymore if he would end up being on OxyContin, because then he is so sick he doesn’t care.

The Elysium thing feels like an executive drug. Just like with his mom’s magic collagen pill, John did some separate research and the collagen pill says on the label ”We are not at all saying that this does anything” Elysium is this substance called NAD+. NAD is pretty easy and cheap to get, but then you combine it with some other things and add a ”+” at the end. There is only one company in the country who makes NAD+ and Elysium gets their NAD+ from the same company as everybody else. They also combine it with a second ingredient, so it is not just NAD+, but NAD++. It is the same reason why Japanese-made Ibanez tube screamers sound better than Korean-made tube Ibanez tube screamers. John said that if the active ingredient in Elysium is NAD+, why does he not just get his NAD+ from the bulk supplier? The pillow-talk answer was that Elysium is something else and don’t fight for city hall! It has got all the scientists and those Nobel laureates behind it! John didn’t want to get left behind. When Matt Damon goes up to the Elysium and starts kicking ass with all the people who are living in a terrarium up in Wall-E super-spaceship, John doesn’t like to be the one left behind. He was not going to sit here and watch his girlfriend take Elysium every day and not also do it. She is already younger than he is, so she has got an edge. So that goes into the pillbox.

When John started taking the bipolar medicine, he started to feel that he was not remembering certain conversations. He went online for some research (everything he gets is online, it is the biggest eel of all), because John’s memory is a big part of his self-identity. He remembers things and can still tell you everything about the Grateful Dead concert where he broke his knee, but he couldn’t remember having met this person a week and a half ago and it spooked him! He went online and looked at the contraindications of drugs, which all tell you every conceivable symptom, like memory loss or not be able to hold your poo in. One of the things they said online was that Lamotrigine may effect your memory, but if you suffer from memory loss caused by Lamictol, you can take NAC.

There is no plus or minus and John was already taking NAD+, so was he supposed to take NAC, too? This is how they get you! So alright, shitdog, John now got a pill-case that is the size of a Honda Civic with 14 doors, he is going to order some NAC. The problem is that if he runs out of one of them, he can’t remember if it is the NAC or the NAD! They look absolutely the same. None of them are FDA-approved for anything. NAC is approved for asthma attacks, but it also restores your memory, and NAD+ is basically a placebo that makes you think you are going to live on a spaceship. John needs a really good pill-case like a Fanny Pack strapped to his leg like Tomb Raider. When he bought the NAC, he got them in 125mg pills with serving size 2, so why won’t they make them 250mg already? Now John is taking a bunch of pills as big as a bird’s nest, like if he was eating 4 blue eggs a day.

John figured he could as well throw a fish-oil pill in there. We are up to like 9 pills at that point and John doesn’t know which ones counteract each other. With this one you can’t drink grapefruit juice, this one over here can't be taken with soup, John doesn’t get it! None of them are prescription drugs, but shit he found on the Internet. There is no lethal dose, but if John sat down with a pharmacologist, they would tell him that all you need is this one fish oil thing, because that is what any of us really needs. Or they will say that if you take this one for your heart and this one for living on a spaceship, the two are going to combine to turn into a ryclocylobide. Is that going to bounce off the free radicals? It might be the opposite of synergy? Is he a great man? Does he ride the lightning? Has he ever seen the C-beams clutter off the Tannhaeuser gate? No, and John doesn’t want it!

What John needs is a bespoke pill-container that he can sit down at his little desk in his miserable hotel-room somewhere, because sometime when he is feeling brave, he is going to eat all these pills in one go. Then that voice in his head wonders what happens if John would choke on a fish oil pill? That would be a bad look on you! So now John takes it in 3 gulps, but feels like such a dingeling. He went from no pills to 9 pills and the pill escalation happened because he was taking one that helped. Who knows? If there is an apocalypse and John is out living in the danger, could he vene himself off all these things and then his skin falls off? What happens if the apocalypse comes and daddy is out of his Lamictol? He needs to put some in his survival bucket. He has found a way around that, but he will not tell everybody.

This whole business of people taking subscriptions: You are basically tied to the doctor and the drug store. They will give you exactly 30 days worth of drugs. John did not like to be tethered to this 30-day thing, because what happens if he goes offline or goes in the hole? What happens if the Walgreens closes? Or if all Wallgreens close?

John needs to come out with a spec for his pill-case, because they know a lot of people with 3D-printers who could make John the pillbox of his dreams. There was even a duck that lost its feet and got plastic feet from a 3D-printer. There is nothing we can’t print anymore! John is the duck with plastic feet! He wants a steam punk pill-case, but he wants it to look like Wild Wild West from the 1960s, not Wild Wild West from the 1990s.

Merlin watched Oceans Eleven last night which he thinks is a pretty good movie. Setting aside his really bad English accent, there are a lot of guys in this film with a really cool metal suitcase with foam and compartments in it. John does like that, but if he wants to handcuff something to his wrist, he wants it to be the football (or a little Jewish girl), because you got to get through Clear and everything has to be on the DL. You got to look like you are just sitting there recalibrating the phone and you don’t want to look like you are going anywhere or doing anything. You can’t be carrying a football and you can’t be handcuffed to a girl. First of all, it has to be mental handcuffs and that will take a month of work. John went to Canadia (sic) and just like Germania, they have different attitudes about drugs. You want a 333 or 222 or 555 or 110, 120, whatever it takes! They feel the same way about Lamictol, or they don’t feel any way about it, but John couldn’t go up there and buy a big bin, because they also require that you have to be tethered to these. That is not the key, he wants a giant one.

Merlin said that the generics is not always the same as the brand. His shrink told him that he had people call him up in a pretty bad way where he thought they had stopped taking the pills he gave them and it turned out they were on the generic and it wasn’t doing what it supposed to, because it is not super-well regulated. John doesn’t get the good stuff anymore and he isn’t sure why he cares about saving the insurance company money, he should just get the gold-plated ones. He got a big heart and that is part of the problem.

John should get some help from the listeners, because they know John’s personal aesthetic and they know what he wants. All the apothecary pill-boxes are made of glass, but John likes to be able to use his bag as a pillow. He does not have a hard-shell suitcase with wheels on it and walks through the airport like some kind of flight attendant, but he got a thing that if push comes to shove, we wants the ability to use it as a pillow, or maybe use it as a water bag. With a hard-shell suitcase if you bail out of an airplane on top of a glacier, you can ride that suitcase down to the end of the glacier, but that is not what John wants.

More than anything, John wants to be prepared for time travel. If he walks through a temporal anomaly and it transports him back to 1810, he doesn’t want to be standing there with some bag that looks like a plastic turtle. He doesn’t want his pill-case to be the thing that gives him away either, but in the olden times, if you want to be able to see into it, it would either be made of glass or maybe super-thin tortoise-shell. Maybe John would be a really rich person and his pill-case is made of amber or ambergris? Is John steampunk-adjacent? No, he would not say that. If he wants to wear goggles, he doesn’t want gauges on anything and he is certainly not going to wear a duster. He got the memo about that a long time ago and he is not in a John Woo movie. If you look at Han Solo, take the blaster away and replace it with a pistole, he could go anywhere and he could walk right up to D’Artagnan and ask if he needs another Musketeer. He could be anywhere and do anything! He could walk up to St. Augustin and say that he forgot his tie, but can I come in? John feels like Han Solo is a good place to start.

Those are the pills John is taking every day:

  • Bipolar medicin
  • Pink blood-pressure medicine, diuretic
  • Mustard-colored blood-pressure medicine
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin B
  • collagen pill for the joints
  • Elysium (NAD+)
  • 2x NAC
  • Fish-oil

Wearing a vest (RL277)

A vest is a tough thing to pull off. John started to try to pretend that he is not fat and one of the things you can do is the Andrew Dice Clay thing where you cut your sideburns to look like a jawline, like a forced perspective thing on your face. It becomes the George Lucas problem where his beard certainly looks like it is 3D-printed. You have a dewlap, you are not fooling anybody and it looks like the strap of a 1940s football helmet. John started wearing vests because the part of him that he wants to conceal is his big tummy and why doesn’t he accentuate it with a garment that only is extra-tummy? He does feel like there is a fine line between a vest that makes you look like a River Boat Gambler and a vest that makes you look like a college professor who has taken his jacket off. Being a River Boat Gambler vs somebody who does card tricks on a River Boat!

Merlin’s wife has a sexy Han Solo outfit with a pretty small-profile Patagonia vest together with cool boots and pants. It is a really smart look! John is talking about a waistcoat. He has to be careful about a puffy vest or down vest. He does have some, like he has a green puffy vest that dates back to 1975 and that he stole from his dad in 1981. He still has it, but it is kind of held together with duct tape. He also has an original purple vest that Kell McCarroll stole from Gary King Sporting Goods, a purple Northface from before the time John had to demand satisfaction. This vest, if you jumped out of a plane and landed on a glacier, you could ride that vest to the bottom. John still has both of those things and he does wear them. The other day John was at a thrift store and found a Barbour vest, which is a quilted vest that is like a fancy English fox hunting vest or something like that. It was not very much and John was asking himself if he wanted to go that way with his life. He did and he got it and he did go that way.

When John was out on the women’s march, the pussy-hat march, he wore his Barbour vest underneath his other garment and as the wind picked up, he had already pre-protected his daughter with her large coat although she was mad about it. John felt that his Barbour quilted vest, which he wore as an undergarment, was like a secret weapon. It is very nice, but they are not giving it away. It is very low profile, not puffy, and it does not look like you were going skiing in the 1980s, but it is that whole English country life thing. You are meant to look like you are not meant to look, like Prince Charles has been wearing the same double-breasted jacket since 1960 and that is because he is rich and rich people don’t buy new things. He is going to be King any day now!

There is a whole website about the patches that the British royal family has put on their clothes. There are all those photographers who are just standing around to take pictures of Emma Thompson when she gets out of her car, but then there are the photographers with really long lenses who are just chasing Queen Elisabeth around Balmoral Castle, trying to get pictures of her Corgies or whatever. People have pictures of Prince Mountbatten in 1971 wearing this coat and then there is a picture from 2015 where he is wearing the exact same coat. They zoomed in on his cuffs and they have been repaired. That is old money! It is so hot! Why does John know this website is there? Because he has gone there and studied all these things. One of the brass buttons on Prince Charles’ jacket doesn’t match the others? They didn’t even bother to find a matching button? It is so brilliant! That is where that stuff comes into play, because it is meant to look like it is not meant to look and John thinks that that is pretty Han Solo, too!

John is bivestual, he tries to wear the right vest and tries not to wear the wrong vest. Sometimes it is hard. It is a commitment once you put it on and are out of the house for the day. That is why John has 14 Stetsons but he has never worn one outside. He puts it on, he tells himself that he has got it and he is wearing it today, but then he gets to the front door, opens the front door and Garry is across the street and John is not fucking wearing this Stetson outside. One day when his beard will be completely white, which is not that long from now, and when something happens that makes him just cross the line to a vest-wearing pill-popping geezer, then he is just going to wear his Stetsons. He will know when it is time!

In the 1990s you would wear your Airforce jacket with your Dread Pirate Roberts mustache and when you would be standing there with your Bacon Ray guitar, some old with dyed hair would be at the club, standing around with a group of 26-year-olds and he would be ”What’up, fellow kids?” It was a bad look and the those olds were probably 32. What had happened was that styles changed and the olds are no longer trying to dress young, but the youngs are trying to dress old. John’s mom laughs every time she opens a catalog because every single person in there is dressed like John. They caught up with him! The other way around you don’t have that indication. John is not putting Manic Panic in his hair! They are putting Old Sauce on themselves. Does John look like an old standing around trying to look like young, or does he just look like he always looked surrounded by ducklings carrying hip-holster pillboxes because he talked about it on the god-damn show? John is taking NAD+ because he wants to get as many Saturdays as he can out of this life.

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