RW122 - The Alaska Problem

This week, Dan and John talk about:

  • Roadwork listener survey 2018 (Podcasting)
  • John’s sophisticated audience (Career)
  • Getting a challenge coin from ICE (Objects)
  • Roadwork Merch (Podcasting)
  • Does John's daughter call him dad? (Daughter)
  • John not making promises or swearing oaths if he doesn’t mean it (Personality)
  • Sharpie your friend who has passed out vs picking people up from the airport (Personality)

Bonus-content for Patreon supporters:

  • John burying his geometry homework in the garden (Early Days)
  • Meeting his High School girlfriend (Early Days)
  • Resistance to meditation (Dan Benjamin)
  • How does Dan feel when his former cohosts do their own thing? (Dan Benjamin)
  • Would John do a podcast with his mom? (Parents)

The show title refers to the Alaskan way of treating friends: You will stay with them at the hospital when they need you, but you also draw on them with a sharpie when they pass out at a party because they drink too much.

Dan is coming on really hot, but nothing has changed in his setup. Personality-wise, Dan Benjamin is here 110%, rolling in like a semi truck.

John has only been awake for eleventy seconds. It was nice and sleepy in the room he just was and it is still a little bit sleepy inside of his little head house, but he will be arriving in temporal space very shortly, or in meat space as the Internet wags say. It seems sunny outside.

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

Roadwork listener survey 2018 (RW122)

Dan’s friendly producer Haddie put together a listener survey for Roadwork and they do already have 426 responses. Dan had put a link in the show notes of Episode 120 and he tweeted about it, but he forgot to mention it on the show. Their sponsors want to know more about their listeners in order to decide if they should sponsor their really cool thing, like gender split, education level, pets, if they are mostly retired military, if they are employed, their income, and what other shows do they like. John wants to know the gender split of every single person on the show! He is looking at the survey while they record and he wants to take the listeners by their hand and guide them through this.

John’s birthday is next week, but that will not change his age range between 45 and 54. He identifies with the 35-44 year olds, because that is how old he thinks he is. Dan’s internal age is about 32. Results so far:

  • 35-44: 39%
  • 25-34; 27%
  • 45-54: 23%

John's gender identity is male and the gender split of the show is 88.5% men, 11% female and not even 1% in the other categories, even with John’s sex appeal and charisma. The women probably haven't filled it out yet.

John is a United States, a WA for Washington, and a Seattle. 75% of their listeners are in the U.S. John got an e-mail the other day from a guy in Turkey who listens to the show every day crossing over the Bosphorus on his way to work.

John's marital status ”Single never married”, but he was not really sure about the options there. Results so far:

  • 57% married,
  • 23% single never married,
  • 8% in a relationship,
  • 6% in a domestic partnership or civil union,
  • 5% divorced or separated.

They even have some widows in the audience.

Home ownership:

  • 60 % of their audience owns their home
  • 39% rents


  • 46% Bachelor’s degree
  • 20% have a Master's or postgraduate degree
  • 7% doctoral degree

There are some dropouts in there, too, but they do have a very well educated audience. John has to chose Bachelor's degree now because it recently turned out that he does have a bachelor's degree.


  • 78% employed full time
  • 12% self-employed
  • 3% student
  • 2% part timers
  • 2% retired
  • 1.17% percent unemployed and not looking for work
  • 0.94% employed but looking for work

The full-time employees are the people who should support the Patreon!

Pet owners:

  • 30% owns a dog
  • 22% own cats
  • 48% no pets

Whenever they post an episode John starts getting replies in real time. There have to be a lot of people who listen to it immediately, which is amazing! A sizable portion of their listeners are apparently doing a job where a new podcast can arrive and if they are not in a meeting, talking to a co-worker or thinking about something else, they can start listening to it and still continue to do their work. It has always amazed John that a lot of people are doing work that doesn't take 100% of their brain.

When John gets replies from ”within a week”-people, they usually start off with an apology that they are behind or haven't listened to the episode yet, but most of their listeners are actually listening to it the same week:

  • 48% listen within a week
  • 23% immediately
  • 14% let multiple episodes stack up, the shameful bunch.

Yearly household income:

  • 24% 100-150K
  • 14% 150- 200K
  • 13% over 200K
  • 10% 75-100K
  • 9% 60-74K
  • 6% under 10K a year

Some people prefer not to answer.


  • 21% Software development
  • 11% Other
  • 7.5% Education
  • 7% IT and Systems integration
  • 7% Professional scientific and technical services
  • 7% Military, government or defense work
  • 5% Designers

John hears a lot from people that they listen to his podcasts while they are going to sleep.

I'm interested in:

  • Comedy: Yes.
  • Business: Yes.
  • DIY: That's not a thing!
  • Gaming: No.
  • Sports: No.
  • Cooking: No.
  • Politics: Yes.
  • Style: Yes.
  • Health and fitness: Yes.
  • True Crime: No.
  • Music: Yes.
  • Others: Yes.

Have you ever written to us via e-mail or Twitter? A lot of people have contacted them after John made them tweet him in RW112. (He followed up on it in RW113)

How long have you been listening to Roadwork? John listened to half of it, because he is only listening to Dan talking back to him.

John’s sophisticated audience (RW122)

John always thought of himself as being in the Rock'n'Roll business and a lot of his friends are in Show Business. John's friends tend to self-select people who are like them, but John always knew that his Indie Rock audience would have a Bachelor's degree, because it is college rock. For the whole length of John’s career, people would come up to him after his shows and talk to him about what they did. Enough people said that they were either in the library sciences or in the hard sciences that it felt statistically meaningful. John had expected to hear from a lot of people who study modern art or who are in college teaching graffiti.

Instead many of them were Ichthyologists or professors who listened to John’s music with their students while they used little toothbrushes to brush the dust off of the dinosaur bones that they put in little paleontological boxes. It was Scientist! Scientist! Scientist! Librarian! Librarian! Scientist! and John wondered what was going on. He does not make science music, but his music is emotional. When John got onto the Internet side of the cultural equation, he expected a lot of IT people and web designers because that were the only ones who were on the Internet at the time. Now everybody's on the Internet! Maybe the reason why the majority of podcast listeners are still tech people is because podcasting still feels like an art form for early adopters.

It is very interesting that such a large proportion of their listenership is in tech or science. According to their survey that number is around 40% which is a significant amount. Dan is a computer and tech person and he is bringing people from the computer tech culture, but this is true of a lot of the work that John’s friends do. Who is a fan of Hodgman? You would maybe see it skew even more, even though Hodgman thinks of himself as being a member of a literary culture. Adam Savage of course has 1000% tech people which is appropriate.

John thinks of himself as a an artist. He is not Randy Newman, but he thinks of himself as someone who is making something broadly for all. Maybe 40% of all people worldwide are now working in tech and science? How many people at your university are in the liberal arts vs the sciences?

Getting a challenge coin from ICE (RW122)

When John was in Washington D.C., he got a message from someone at ICE (Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement) who listens to the show and wanted to meet up. They did this clandestine where John stood on the Mall in front of the National Portrait Gallery and saw this character coming from a long way away. He had mirrored sunglasses, he was wearing a suit while it was really hot, he looked super bad-ass, and although there were a lot of people walking around, John knew this was his guy. He had pretty good tradecraft and John wanted to talk to him, not just give him a high sign, so they stood and talked for a while.

He was a neat guy who didn't join ICE to send people back to Mexico, but he is a professional person who wears a suit at his job. This encounter was after the elections, but right before all the ugliness with ICE. He was quick to explain that not everybody in government services is behind the president and he gave John some challenge coins.

John went through his collection the other day and remembered that in addition to the super questionable challenge coins he already had from people, he also has these extra awesome hot potato ones. The guy from ICE is now listening to the show out there, sitting at his desk filing papers!

Roadwork Merch (RW122)

Dan and John have been talking about putting out roadwork merch since the very beginning. They got really far along and made a T-shirt that had a logo out of the stupid Fluffernutter font, but then Dan said he didn’t like it. Dan thinks they should do mugs, because he has mugs that predate his own lifespan, but he doesn't have any T-shirts that are older than him that he would want to wear. John might have some because he is sort of a Clothes Horse, but most people wear a T-shirt for a period of time until they eventually don't wear it as much and it winds up in the back of their closet. Then it winds up in a drawer and then it winds up in the Goodwill pile and then it is gone. That is the lifespan of a T-shirt, but a mug can be handed down through generations and has a much higher degree of permanence. You can wear the same T-shirt once or twice in a week, but you can have a mug on your desk and use it every single day forever!

The concept of planned obsolescence is about not selling permanent things to people that they will have for thousands of years, but selling them something which they will wear and enjoy and which will eventually end up in the Goodwill, but then they will buy another T-shirt later when there is a new design. Dan has sold lots of mugs and T-shirts in his career and it is much easier to do mugs because mugs are all the same. For a T-shirt you need got to take preorders from everybody, you need to get them all printed, you need to order extras because there are always little issues, something gets lost in the mail or there is a little thread and someone needs a new one.

Dan is absolutely not talking about one of those T-shirt companies because you give away 100% of your profits. Those are only useful if you want to do it as a marketing thing, but Dan is trying to save for John’s retirement. Dan sold a thousand damn Philly special shirts (see RW99) and if he had sold them with one of those 3rd-party companies, he would have made $8-9. Instead Dan actually put some money in the bank. John thinks this is just as crazy as Dan telling him he is going to commit suicide by getting eaten by a shark (see RW120).

Dan has done all of this! He has used 3rd-party companies and he has used his own company. It is a much better deal to do it yourself if you have the means, which Dan does. He has the technical know how to set it up and he has a great company that does this kind of stuff. People who use 3rd-party companies don't have the time, effort, energy, interest, or concern about doing it themselves, but that is not Dan! He likes to roll his sleeves and do it. He likes to be right there on the frontlines!

The reason why they have not done it yet is because they don't have a good design for the shirt. Plus Dan wants to do mugs. John super doesn't care what is on the mug, just do it! It could be a child's drawing of the word Roadwork. Dan can let one of his kids write Roadwork in crayon, but ask the one that can write less well. People will buy it and they will be at work with their mug that they've had for 200 years and people will say ”God, what is the deal with that mug?” and the person will laugh!

Make it so! Let's have it happen. Mugs and T-shirts! There is no reason not to do both! Some people will buy both because we live in a materialist culture. People want to use their money to support things they love. Dan counters that for T-shirts he will have to do preorders and then people have to wait and get antsy, but John doesn’t care about their antsyness! If you are listening to the show and you get antsy, go run around the block or jump up and down in your chair!

Does John's daughter call him dad? (RW122)

Dan asks if John’s daughter calls him "dad" or "John" and John gets quite upset because nobody calls him John except his peers. Everybody else calls him Mr. Roderick! His daughter’s friends only very shyly look at him from under their bangs and answer his questions with one word, which is what little girls apparently do. His daughter said to him last night that she may not always call him daddy. When she I gets older, she might call him dad. Even now she sometimes calls him dad and when she gets older, she will still call him daddy sometimes, because when she is 22 and wants to borrow money to buy a car, she will go daddy every time. When he said that, she had a look on her face that revealed that she had no idea what John was talking about, but her mother laughed. When she was born, John told everyone in the family that he was going to raise her to call him Herr Doctor and people were not 100% sure whether or not he was serious.

John not making promises or swearing oaths if he doesn’t mean it (RW122)

Until his daughter was born, John had always done whatever he wanted in life. Because he was not bound by the convention of marriage, an awful lot of people close to him, in his home and in concentric circles going out from him either openly or by implication expressed the expectation that John was going to be unreliable as a parent, because they equated the fact that he had always just done what he wanted with being unreliable, even though he had never especially let anybody down.

As their life went on, his friends took on greater and greater responsibility in the form of working a full time job that then led to a job with more responsibility, or they got a car payment and a house payment, or they started to employ other people. People took on greater and greater responsibility in their own lives and because John was not doing any of those things, the reason must be that he cannot take responsibility or it must be that he is immature or unreliable. It is a general presumption that comes with the territory.

From the choices he has made and the way he lives John has accrued a lot of benefits over the course of his life, but those come with disadvantages and people will see you in a certain light. For instance, John is trying to get a loan from a bank, but they can’t loan him a significant amount of money because he has no visible means of support. Although Joh wishes he could get that money from the bank like a lot of people can, he is not resentful. It is not that the man or the system has arranged against him, but he has made unconventional choices and the benefits of those choices far outweigh the fact that it is much harder for him to do things like getting a loan. That is true in a lot of social ways, too.

When his daughter arrived on the scene, the people closest to John and the people in the next two rungs out from closest all cast aspersions. They gave the impression that they were waiting for John to leave or become one of those millions of dads who see their kid every once in a while or will have a new girlfriend and not see his kid for a month. A dad or a male, basically. They expected that he was going to let everybody down and pursue his own interests. A lot of women do this, too: They meet a new guy and move, whether they take the kids or not, but they split up the family because they are following their own heart. John was a little offended as those aspersions were being heaped upon him, but he understood. He has benefited so much from the choices he had made that he had to own the downside of those choices.

John never got a job and people might think that is because he couldn't get a job or couldn't work a job. They try to explain to themselves why John is the way he is and it is much easier to say that he did it because he couldn't do it rather than to say that he intentionally didn't do it. When John said he was going to teach his daughter to call him Herr Doctor, there was a lot of angry pushback from people, because it didn't seem implausible to them that in fact that was what he was going to do, even though it was 100% a joke. It seemed like the type of thing that a flaky nutty dad who was basically Captain Haddock would do and then drift off.

John insisted to give his daughter a kooky middle name and looking back at it there is no wonder people don't loan him money. He does make questionable decisions and giving her a kooky middle name seemed totally right! Of course people now want to know the name, but that is for her and her alone. At some point in her life she can utilize it or she can leave it out 100%. It is on her birth certificate, but she doesn't have to deploy it unless she decides. Maybe she can submit a change of name at some point and get it completely erased. It is not embarrassing or something like that, but it is like ”What am I doing in this world?”

A lot of people did not expect John to fulfill his responsibility to his daughter to the overwhelming degree that he has, because they didn't think it was in character, but John knew it was! It boiled down to the fact that he doesn’t make promises and he doesn’t swear oaths. People have the natural assumption that he doesn’t make promises and doesn't swear oaths because he can't keep promises or oaths, but it is the opposite! John absolutely keeps promises and oaths and he doesn’t make them or swear to them for that reason: He is not going to make a promise that he doesn’t intend to keep and he would never swear an oath that he wouldn't honor. People make promises all the time that you can see them break as they make it. They make promises out of convenience or they swear an oath and two years later it is no longer convenient and so they break the oath. John could never fathom that and he has a strong sense of betrayal when he watches someone break an oath they made to someone else.

What the hell is the purpose of an oath? Oaths are not equivalent to ”Yeah, I'll do that for a while as long as it is convenient” That is not an oath, but that is what they should have said instead! Dan suggests that might be like a New Year’s resolution to them and they have good intentions, but John calls that a resolution and not an oath. You can make resolutions all day and that's what it should be!

You can stand up in church and say that you will absolutely make a resolution to have this marriage last, but the requirement of an oath is precisely that when it becomes inconvenient, when it is no longer fun, when you are no longer profiting from it, when it becomes a burden, when it becomes a source of pain, when it becomes a source of agony, you will still keep the oath! The only reason to make an oath is to be bound by it as an assurance that you will continue to do this thing in spite of the fact that it now defines your life as something that you hoped your life would never be. You fulfill the oath to the detriment of your life! That is how oaths work.

If somebody is dying and they ask you to swear that you will help their kids make it through college and you say ”I will, Dan, I will make sure your kids get through college, you have my word!” and then your friend dies, you don't get to say four years later that those kids are really ungrateful and you are changing jobs and their mom has to take care of it and it will be fine and just drift off. You don't swear an oath if you are not going to fulfill this oath. John feels the same way about a promise, which is why he doesn’t make promises. He doesn’t say ”I promise” under duress to get somebody off the phone and he doesn’t say it if he doesn’t mean it, which is frustrating to other people, because they will ask him to promise he is going to do this and John will say "I'll do it, don't worry! I'll do everything in my power to get it done!” A lot of things can happen, but John is going to work his ass off to get this thing to them.

People they don't understand why John won’t just say ”I love you!” For years and years he wouldn't say ”I love you” to somebody if he didn't love them and that is frustrating. Over the course of his adult life a lot of people were telling John that they loved him, but he didn’t love them. He doesn’t know exactly what love is and what happiness means. He is not 100% sure what it is and he didn't want to use the word speciously. He certainly didn't want to use the word, like ”Well, we've been dating for 6 months, so our language now has to ratchet up a notch, just as a component of working our way up the ladder of our relationship. Now I guess I love you!” That’s frustrating and in some ways that was immature.

There are expediencies that you just say ”I promise!” or you say ”I love you!”, but the language doesn't have to be pregnant with so much Catholic meaning! It can just be language and you can just use it poetically. You could just say ”I love you!” and ”I promise!” and later on when you don't love them anymore and you break your promise, you just deal with the fallout, but it always felt intrinsic to John to maintain some kind of honor, because that was going to make him dependable. He wasn't dependable in the sense that he showed up for work every day at 8:00am, but if he told you he would do something, you could count on it.

When John’s daughter was born, he had a very close group of friends, all of whom were married. Every one of them threw him a lot of shade about the fact that he was having a daughter without being married to the mother. What was he going to do when she meets somebody else? Was he going to let his daughter get raised by some other dude? What were they talking about? John was having a baby with this person and why were they filling his head full of this crazy shit? What does that have to do with anything? These were alternative people and they were not talking about it from a religious standpoint, but they were saying John needed to lock this down by getting married.

This was not a friendship-ending lack of understanding, but John knew it was going to be fine and they didn't need to worry about him. It was always the men who said that John was crazy to have this baby and not be married, although the women were always 100% supportive of their husbands. Now eight years later, of that group of eight couples who were consulting him and who mentality took John aside to read him the riot act, five have subsequently divorced and four are now remarried to someone else, just in those same 8 year that John has been raising his daughter ”out of wedlock”. There was never an apology or self reflection, because each one of their marriages ended for its own reasons because of this or because of that. They got remarried because of this or because of that, and each time they said the same vows, each time they vowed their life and each time they made all these promises.

They had a lot to say about what John's obligations were, whether or not he was going to be able to meet those and what he needed to do. Now they say ”Wow, you are such a great dad, we never would have guessed!” Nothing about John has changed! He has always been like that. A lot has changed in their lives and John didn’t have anything to say about it when they got married and he doesn’t have anything to say about it now, except in the context of the way that he was judged for not making an oath he knew he couldn't keep, but then keeping that oath to the best of his ability, rather than making an oath, hoping that the oath did the work and when it didn't, break it as easily as you made it, make another one, keep on making oaths, keep on hoping that the oath does the job and not that you have to do the job!

Sharpie your friend who has passed out vs picking people up from the airport (RW122)

John will always pick you up at the airport. He is not one of those friends who will ask you to take a cab in like his friends in New York and Los Angeles who will tell you ”See you when you get here!” John has never lived in New York or Los Angeles in a way in which he would have to pick somebody up at the airport and he cannot speak to it as much as he thought he could, but if a friend comes to Seattle and asks John to pick them up at the airport, he will do it even at 2am because it is actually pretty fun to pick somebody up at 2am.

When John was still a drinking person he got super drunk, but he never blacked out. If he had been somebody who blacked out or passed out in public, it would have been a strong motivator not to drink that much. He can't imagine a scarier thing than to wake up in the morning and not having any recollection of what happened over the course of hours. That is terrifying! John knows people that this happens to. They don’t go unconscious on their feet and fall to the floor, but they continue to do things and say things and get into cars and go places with people, but they don't remember.

John can’t imagine that! He has been shit-faced as you can be, but he always knew enough to get his back into a corner or something. He had a strong self-preservation instinct that for the most part kept him from passing out in public. John could hold his liquor, but even if he was super-drunk he would go behind the party and barf so he could go back and drink more. He drank like that because he could, but if he had passed out every time he drank, he wouldn’t have gone to parties, but he would have done his super bad unhealthy alcoholic drinking at home.

Years ago John was at a party at Colin Meloy’s house in Portland. He was immature and he went into their bathroom, stole all their toilet paper and wrapped the trees in the front of the house in toilet paper while everybody was in the backyard. It was hilarious and pretty great, but it was not regarded as great at the time and Colin was mad and chased him down the street. Someone at the party, a Rock star that we all know, fell asleep from drunkenness and John looked for and found a sharpie. There was a lot of ”Oh my God, really? Are you really going to sharpie your drunk Rock star friend?” and John said ”Yes, absolutely! If you pass out in the middle of a party, of course!”

Another Rock musician friend said: "There are two kinds of friends in the world: The kind who sharpies you while you are passed out at a party and the kind who picks you up at the airport, no matter when you arrive!" and John said ”You are wrong, sir!" The same person can be both kinds of friends, but that is hard for people to accept. You can be an immature, awful, disrespectful, total pain in the ass bastard to your friends and also always be there for them. This is the way John grew up in Alaska: If your friends aren't dunking on you constantly, if they are not always tying cans full of Rocks to the back of your car even if it's not your wedding day, if your friends aren't pranking you, then they don't really love you! But they also would always be there and perform surgery on you if you needed it.

So many people out there would take you to the hospital and drop you off if you got hurt, but in Alaska that is just not how it is and your friends will take you to the hospital and go in with you as far as the doctor would let them go and stay there until they were given further orders. One of the things that was hard about moving to the Lower 48 was moving into a culture where if you said ”I'm hurt! I need to go to the hospital!”, they will call you a cab, but they would not leaving a party that is still ongoing. Things like that happened multiple times!

One time John was standing outside of a bar in Idaho with a group of friends. They all had fake IDs and the guy at the door stopped John and said he was not so sure about this ID. John replied that they all had the same ID and were traveling as a group of the same age, 21 years old, but the guy was like ”Not you!” and pulled John out of the line. It was a group of four friends and John had to watch all four of them go ”See ya!” and go into the bar. They had fake IDs and they could get into this fancy bar, but it didn't work out for John. Sorry! They had been good friends, but they weren't John’s friends from then on and although they are still his friends to this day, it is not in the same way. This would not have happened in Alaska in a million years and it is basic standard for John.

One of the wonderful things about Alaska are the basic rules that are a product of the fact that Alaska is a culture strongly influenced by people from the South and from the far North. It is a melting pot of hardy people, some of the last to still hold on to old codes. His friends going into the bar was an affront John would not let pass. He did find something else to do and made some new friends that night, in fact, but he lost some old friends, too. If they had drawn on his face with a sharpie when he was passed out, he would have said ”You dicks!”, but he would have deserved it. Don't pass out at a party! To get drawn on at a party is not a friendship ending thing to John.

On the other hand, for people who don't have the same friendship code being left outside of a bar by your friends is not a friendship ender, but getting a dick drawn on your forehead is, but that is a culture John does not belong to and those are people he does not identify with. Anybody who would not want to be his friend anymore because he sharpied them while they were drunk, he doesn’t want to be friends with, either! Whatever their priorities are, they are not the same!

The person that John was prepared to draw on was somebody who knew they could count on him and he had pulled them out of the fire before, but John was jumped by all the womenfolk, screaming ”Do not do that! No no no!”, grabbing his hand. They were protecting the gentility of the event. The idea that you would see that as a breach of friendship rather than a right of friendship was a lesson for John. He is trying to understand that culture a little bit better, but he is also recognizing that he is not a part of it and he is never going to be. He is never going to put those things first and just assume that the other things are not part of the burden of friendship. If you knock your arm out of its socket it is John’s responsibility to help you get it back in, because we're friends. If you ask him to help with this abdominal surgery and John is not qualified, he is going to give it the old college try and combine their knowledge and figure out if we can remove the spleen on the trail.

Dan wouldn't take it personal at all if someone would say they can't wait with him at the hospital or if they would get him a cab because they can't go. That's fine! But the idea of somebody drawing on him while he slept? Maybe he wouldn’t end a friendship over that, but he would be pretty pissed about it and it would be a major crossing of the line.

Right now at the age of 49 years old, John is certainly not going to draw on anybody's face at a party anymore. This event happened when he was 35, which is a time when you would think he probably already should have not been drawing on people's faces. John learned to live in a world where people do not take you to the airport or stay with you at the hospital, but also don't draw on your face. Every time somebody says ”I'm taking off!” when John has a little bit longer to go, ot they say ”See you later!”, it is not the end of their friendship, but it always feels alien to him.

Dan likes that. He is the kind of person who has gone with people to things like that and he still would do it for a friend, but he wouldn't want to be drawn on, and he wouldn't draw on anybody, and he is happy he hasn’t lived that way. John is also not going to take a drunk girl into the other room and draw on her, but if his male pal can't hold his booze and passes out in the middle of a party he would. A friend like that is in a state where he needed to be protected if the house was on fire and John would pick him up immediately and carry him out. A lot of the people who would never draw on the guy also would not make any effort to pick him up and carry him out of the house. They would shriek ”Oh no!” and they would run.

Humiliating him by drawing on him is embarrassing him for being too drunk at the party and is punishing him in a way that only a friend could do. You don't get drawn on by a stranger or by a bunch of guys that just showed up, but you get those fake tattoos from your closest friends as a form of punishment because passing out at a party is an incredible imposition and burden on everyone else. Not only are you no longer fun, but you are super un-fun and what if there was a fire? We also have to stay here now and can't leave this party because you are too drunk to go. John is not the type of person who will just say ”Well, he is too fucked up! We are going to the next party, good luck!”, because that is an incredible imposition on the people whose party it is. You bear that burden of friendship and you have to take care of this person. Fuck Yes they are going to get drawn on! Fuck Yes they are going to get humiliated here!

John knows a lot of people who would never draw on a person, but who would also leave them shit-faced for someone else to deal with. John has hosted parties where a drunk person got left by their fucking inconsiderate friends and he has been in a group of people where half the people said they were going to take off and he ended up being the only one who was going to babysit this fucker while those guys went to the next party! The person who passes out at a party is not some fucking innocent who needs to have a wet towel dabbed on their forehead by a caring loving friend, trying to bring them back to their senses, but they are a fucking asshole who drank themselves shit-faced and should have the word fuckface written on them. In the morning when they wake up, not only do they have a bad headache, but they will look at themselves in the mirror and they go ”Oh, I'm a fuckface!” John would however never fucking leave them there!

Of course, there are plenty of people who would never leave their friend at a party and also wouldn't draw on them, but naturally there aren't that many. The Alaska problem is that the drawing is normalized. If you are in cowboy country or something, maybe it has echoes of cowboy to it, but whatever, it all feels related! John is an asshole. He always was. These are not the foundational rules of civilization, but the idea of what faith is, what friendship is, what obligation is, what debt and oath is, varies a lot among people who are living right next to each other.


Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License