RW126 - Terrifying Muscle Pig

This week, Dan and John talk about:

  • John’s six-drawer dresser (Objects)
  • Roadwork merch, socks (Podcasting)
  • Follow-up: John’s back injury (Aging)
  • Golf (Sports)
  • John doesn't like to watch bicycling or basketball (Sports)
  • Bodybuilders and going to the gym (Sports)
  • John looking for trouble (Trouble)
  • Sitting at the end of the dock in the middle of the night (Trouble)
  • Looking for an optimist (Trouble)
  • Being curious about Tinder (Trouble)

Bonus-content for Patreon supporters:

The show title refers to John's pal in High School who all of a sudden turned into a terrifying muscle pig by taking steroids.

Today is going to be great! October 4th is National Taco Day in the United States of America and Dan had tacos for lunch. John is going to have tacos today for sure!

John just woke up one minute ago. His alarm went off a long time ago and he forgot about it and was so asleep until Dan in the form of White Walker came into his dream and told him to wake up. John jumped out of bed, had a text from Dan saying ”dingdong” and he has ”on my way” set in his phone as a thing he says all the time to people instead of ”Oh shit! I forgot about…” John is 100% still asleep.

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

John’s six-drawer dresser (RW126)

John has a really cool low mid-century modern dresser that he found somewhere 20 years ago in really nice shape. It is now probably worth $2500 now, but while he didn’t find it on the side of the road, it was somewhere at some Goodwill. John doesn’t have a lot of that kind of furniture around, but he got that. The dresser has six drawers. The top right drawer is a drawer that he has never understood. He used to keep a video camera in there and now it has probably 250 handkerchiefs, pocket squares and bandanas in it. It is not like John wears bandanas every day.

That top right drawer and the whole right side has always been very confusing. The second to the bottom right drawer has shorts and swimsuits and the bottom right side was empty for a long time. In case a friend would be living with him for a while it could be her special area, but then he decided to just forget about that. Forget all friends forever! What are friends for anyway? Why would you leave them a drawer in your own damn room? Eventually he put stuff in there like long johns and bondage equipment and whatever he wasn’t going to use all the time.

The left side has all the key stuff: The top one is underwear. Since they got the nice silverware underwear endorsement John started to get a bunch of nice underwear, but was reluctant to throw away the old underwear, so he got a lot of underwear. The second to the bottom drawer and the bottom drawer on the left side are two entire drawers devoted to socks and neither of them will close because John has so many socks! He is not proud of it, because he has seen the creeping ”Oh, quirky socks!” happen over the last 10 years.

John has been saying ”No no no, stay out of my quirky sock space, all you people!”, but here they come! They came into his beard space and his mustache space and his quirky sock space. John would wear Lacrosse team socks and he would find socks in foreign countries that were part of their sports community, socks you could pull up over your knee, socks that were argyle socks, but they were sports socks. It all started with argyle socks when John was young, but it was hard to find them. You had to expend your energy to find cool socks.

Any time you walk into a store there is a rack of socks with pork chops, Garfield's face, or little sayings like ”Behind every great man there's a woman on a bicycle” on them. People naturally know that quirky socks are a thing John doesn’t shy away from. He gets them as gifts and if he is going through the gift shop at a museum, because his daughter loves to go to museum shops, and there is a pair of socks that have Van Gogh's Starry Night, the Declaration of Independence or something like that on them that he has an emotional attachment to, not just a pork chop or something from Urban Outfitters, a cool thing, he can't resist and he will get the socks. If he sees wool socks that have a bunch of different colored stripes at REI, he will get them as well. John has so many socks and he believes in socks, even though it drives him crazy when people tell him that he looks normal, but he has weird socks. Everybody should wear funky things! If you are wearing your girlfriend's underwear to work, Good On You! If your socks have pork chops on them, John drinks a toast to you!

Roadwork merch, socks (RW126)

Listener Jim Krogsund has tweeted at them ”Not T-shirts, not mugs, but roadwork socks are the swag we need. Fun and funky.” John thinks that Roadwork socks are a great idea, but then he and Dan have to agree on what goes on a Roadwork sock. They couldn’t even agree what goes on a T-shirt, but Dan feels like socks are easier to do. Maybe they can get a picture of Jim Krogsund on there because his avatar on Twitter is a picture of him looking very happy. He has very straight teeth, glasses and a baseball cap on and he is holding a dog that is so small that his hand is mostly able to go around its midsection.

He is holding the dog up and the dog is a small white dog with brown or black ears and a little bandana around its neck. He is wearing a wedding ring and a white T-shirt that appears to be Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street and he got his seatbelt on like a proper gentleman. His dog could be on the sock! John finds that it sounds amazing, but dogs have nothing to do with this program. They both don’t want dogs and the only way they talk about dogs is with great trepidation. Jim seems like a fine upstanding young person, but this is the first that he has ever really appeared on the scene. What about socks with a bathtub or with pictures of underwear?

One of John’s favorite T-shirts is from a band and has a picture of a T-shirt on it. The Long Winters once made a piece of merch that was very successful, a T-shirt with a trucker hat on it that said The Long Winters. It sold like hot cakes! John never kept any of his shirts, but they are out there! There's the kind of person who would wear a shirt with their own company logo on it and there's the kind of person who wouldn't. The president of Nike does not wear a Nike shirt because they are too good for their own brand, but Greg Norman is of course wearing the shark!

Tiger Woods usually wears a red Nike shirt with a little white swoosh on it and his hat will be the Tiger Woods hat. He has his own brand of clubs and other gear and usually he has a black hat with a TW logo. John didn’t have any idea when he asked that question that Dan was going to have such a comprehensive answer, but Dan loves golf!

Follow-up: John’s back injury (RW126)

Once John injured his back (see RW107), his concept of ”all better” might have changed forever, because he has a strong feeling that he is never quite going to be the same. John is ”all better”, but he doesn’t have 100% confidence anymore that he can just do whatever the hell he wants without suffering any consequences. His back doesn't feel weak or shabby, but it does feel like something is different. He is not in pain and he is essentially doing whatever he wants with his body, but he continues to pick up his daughter and throws her around.

If somebody asks him to move this thing that's too big to move, he is still like ”Stand aside!”, but now a part of him is thinking ”Don't fuck this up! Don't give yourself a back injury, Dumdum!”, but he still pulls it off each time. Maybe he is on his way to having another back injury, but he is trying to be more conscious. The ”getting into better shape” thing still eludes him. Dan recommends John a personal trainer for a few sessions to design a workout program for him based on his goals. If John wanted to commit to it a little bit more he could get a trainer for a month or two and they would be there each time and walk him through each thing and see how he was doing until John could finally graduate to not needing one anymore.

Golf (RW126)

Dan loves golf and he watches golf all the time! He is not a very good golfer, but he enjoys it when he gets out. John has so much to learn about Dan and it still amazes him that there are these depths to plumb into. John doesn’t shy away from watching TV golf, but he has never played a round of golf himself. He has played miniature golf and he spent a lot of time on golf courses because he was in cross-country running and cross-country skiing and both of those sports in High School are partly performed on golf courses, but he never stood at a tee, looked out across the grass yelling "4!" and tried to whack that ball. Yelling "4!" is never what you want.

Usually you are not lucky enough to be the only person on a gold course. You are with a small group of people, sometimes they are your friends but sometimes they are just strangers that you have gotten paired up with, which is not good, it is like eating dinner in an Amtrak, which Dan has never done. Sometimes the course is really busy, but other times you just don't want to go out on your own and you want to go out with other people. You are allowed to go out on your own, but it depends on the course and how busy it is.

Anyone who is behind you has to wait for you to play your hole and the same is true for you as you are behind somebody else. Sometimes if you are taking a long time, someone will ask if they can play through, but that is rare. You shout "4!" if there is somebody you think could get hit by your ball, it is like ”Heads up!” If you are just walking along a golf course and you hear "4!", you want to look around and maybe take evasive action. You usually have time for that, because the ball is not traveling that fast.

John understands how Golf is played, because he is a reader, he has watched golf on TV, and he asked tough questions of other people that are golfers. When John was in Junior High, his dad wanted to get him golf lessons which would be good for business, but John didn’t want that. It was another one of these things his dad wished he had learned and now he was going to force John to do it. His dad was a sporty jock, but he still didn’t learn it and wanted John to just get a couple of lessons so he knew how to hit it. They went back and forth about it and, as was usually the case, John got out of it because his dad had no follow through.

All the way through High School John thought his dad might come into the room at some point and be like ”Golf lessons!”, but maybe he brought it up one more time. When John was in college he got exposed to all kinds of other young white dudes and his roommate was a golfer. They invented a game where they would go out on campus and just hit golf balls, which was a drunk thing. The hole would for example be the Physics building and all you had to do was hit the building. They did that a couple of times until somebody embedded a golf ball in the windshield of a car near the baseball field, and they all ran for their lives and never did it again.

Dan explains golf terminology like par, bogie, birdy (1 under par), eagle (2 under par), albatross (3 under par), condor (4 under par), ace (hole in one) and how golf courses are rated. There are usually 3-5 stokes for a par and usually two of those are for putting. Dan explains different kinds of shots and clubs. The difference between a one, three and five driver is the angle of the club face. A one will throw the ball far and flat, but it is very difficult to use and Dan has never used one because he is not good enough. It is fun to grab your driver, whack the hell out of that ball and see that thing go hundreds of yards. This is what golf is all about. When you finally get to wherever it landed, hopefully on the fairway, you will find that you really suck at putting. Golfers usually come up with something to draw on the ball that lets everybody know that it is theirs.

The drives of Tiger Woods are not only incredibly powerful and far ranging, but also accurate. Not only was he hitting it from the tee all the way to the green in one stroke, but he was getting it right where it needed to be so that he could do a quick and easy approach shot, lay it up and hit it in with one or two more strokes. He turned these par four or par fives into par twos. When Tiger Woods first came on the scene we had this feeling that he was one of those great athletes that only come along once in a while.

It didn't matter whether you liked golf or not, because somebody who is a winner like that in a way that the vast majority of us will never be, someone who is the greatest in the world at something, is so exciting! He has a long story about how his dad raised him up to be a golfer. John doesn’t always look at those stories and think: ”I wish that I had worked that hard!”, he generally doesn't think that, but it is so impressive!

There is an awful lot of walking in golf. Dan says that John is going to get a golf cart and he is not going to walk the course because he has his heavy golf bag and so on, but John says it is in his nature to walk. There are ladies who drive up and give you little beverages and snacks and stuff while you're out there, which does not happen at a public course. You have to pay for those, they are not free drinks.

John doesn't like to watch bicycling or basketball (RW126)

John could never get into watching the Tour de France very much, because it has that bicycling problem where the bicycles go by so quickly and you have to be in a helicopter for it to be interesting. Even then: A bicycle race is all day long! John doesn’t like basketball for the same reason: They go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth through the entire game and then the score is 98 to 100 and it always comes down to the last minute. If it doesn't come down to the last minute, if the score is 106 to 50, it sucks!

A basketball game in the NBA is four quarters of 12 minutes. The NCAA is two halves of 20 minutes each and High School is four quarters of eight minutes each or halves of 18 minute. Dan doesn’t watch basketball or soccer. John thought basketball games last 4 hours, largely because people are doing the same thing all the time and John is not the first to say that a basketball game should be four minutes long. If you can't decide who is better within eight to ten minutes, then what's the point?

Bodybuilders and going to the gym (RW126)

The big reasons why John didn’t want to play golf is that golfers are assholes. John also does not want to get drunk and a lot of people are just out there to get drunk. There are an awful lot of assholes in the world and why would he want to be with assholes? Skiers are also assholes, but you don't have to deal with them because you ski on by. Runners are assholes, but they are all being assholes by themselves or in very small groups.

Dan says that a lot of fights break out in gyms because they are all on juice. Even in a normal gym in a normal town people are on steroids, growth hormones or things like that. At the very least they are on creatine. John wonders why normal people take steroids and Dan explains that they want to get stronger faster or look a certain way. There was a kid in John’s High School who was just a cute string bean kid. He was a good skier and John liked him as a person. Some time in High School, he and his harmless friends all of a sudden got into steroids and he turned into that giant muscle-popping monster while still remaining a really sweet guy. Nothing changed about him except that he all of a sudden looked like this terrifying muscle pig. It had to have been steroids because it happened in the space of six months. Between when he was a sophomore and when he was a junior he turned into a completely different animal. (John says ”aminal”)

John can't imagine why you would do that to yourself. He cannot even imagine why you would be a bodybuilder in the first place, so he is the wrong person to ask. Dan says there are three kinds of people who are going to a gym to move heavyweights around:

  1. People who want to maintain their health and strength or who are recovering from an injury and people who are doing it for overall health and fitness.
  2. People who want to be strong and see how much they can lift or competitive lifters.
  3. Body builders doing it not so much to be strong, but to look a certain way. Usually that way is defined by having a very lean, low body fat and lots of muscle definition and size to go along with the definition.

Bodybuilding is about appearance, strength training is about being strong. One of the side effects of steroids is that you lose a lot of body fat while you are building muscle and you get that veiny dehydrated look which is the goal for a lot of bodybuilders. People who are doing steroids for strength want to deadlift 650 pounds (300kg), but they have topped out at 625 (280 kg) and they don't know why. One of the ways you can do that is getting on one of these things that will help you get to that point.

John wants to retain vitality and has never been in a situation where he wished he was stronger. He came into this earth with a certain amount of strongness that has never failed him. He has never wished he could have moved that car off of that child faster. If there is a child under a car, John will just move the car with the amount of fast as required. But John wishes he had more flexibility and more overall health. There are probably people listening who are suggesting ”Yoga” or something, but like all people who struggle to work out, John finds all exercise-related things boring.

Many years ago John yanked his knee and he can’t do some of the most boring stuff like running and biking for exercise. He keeps thinking maybe he should get one of those water-filled rowing machines like in that TV show called House of Cards that takes place in Washington D.C. that has the best theme music of any TV Show (They talked about that in RW105), starring Kevin Spacey. That rower became so popular after the show came out that the company couldn't make enough of them and they couldn't even keep them in stock. Maybe that is a total asshole thing to have in your house? John’s dad was a rower and John always felt like rowing was maybe something he should end up doing.

Dan has a regular air rower at home and he rows four or five times a week. He was rowing for 30 minutes this morning. Dan had bought a cheap rower at first, but it was so loud and crappy that he eventually bought a nice one which made a big difference. He has a little attachment that holds an iPad and he watches TV shows while he is rowing. This morning he watched a show on Netflix called Broadchurch, a murder mystery from the UK with David Tennant who played Doctor Who. Other times he will watch a movie, like he will watch Michael Douglas in The Game for the 50th time. Dan makes a conscious effort not to let his attention get away from the exercise and onto the media. Mere inches away from the top of the iPad is the display that shows his strokes per minute and the intensity of his strokes and it would be difficult to not notice that.

Recently Dan watched the Christopher Nolan Batman movies and during the chase scene he was really rowing! Sometimes it has the opposite effect. When he first started his back was so screwed up and he had such a lack of core strength that he couldn't row for more than 5 to 7 minutes without being in real pain, but he just gradually extended it. Now he rows for quite a long time and it becomes much more of a cardiovascular tiredness than a physical tiredness, but it is still hard work. John has this directed attention problem: If music is playing in the house he will often get absorbed in the music and forget halfway through washing the dishes that he was doing something, but more than that he gets overstimulated because there is too much going on.

It would be too much going on for John if he was looking up at the TV in the gym watching the news or a TV show while doing his exercise. At first he is in a helicopter and then he is in a hovercraft. It is too busy and it starts to irritate him on a static level. He can handle two completely separate songs playing at the same time, but music or visuals while he is trying to do something else is too much. He can drive and listen to music, but if he was working out he would get so into the pain of it that the TV show or the music would feel like a burden and he would have to turn it off. Maybe John doesn’t know what he is talking about and it is a beautiful world and he should just listen to beautiful music while he does his beautiful workout? He could position the rower so that he is looking out of the window and look down upon the real water and pretend he was out there. He could grow outside for real!

John has a lifetime experience in gyms. He keeps meaning to go, but the problem with gyms is that they became like cell phone companies or cable companies. John doesn’t want to sign a contract and he doesn’t want to have to think about the fact that this place has a different philosophy than another place. He just wants a big room with fluorescent lighting, mirrors and a bunch of weights on a bunch of machines. That’s exactly like the gym Dan goes to, but where did those places go?

In the gyms by Orangetheory there are treadmills, relatively light weights, kettle bells and things like that. Somebody is there in a very tight nipple-articulating polo T-shirt yelling. Like Gattaca you have got to wear a heart monitor and it displays your heart, pulse and blood pressure up on a screen for everyone to look at so they can see how bad you are suffering. You are competing with the person next to you to. They will tell you to have your heart on level 3 right now, not level 5, or you better better start walking instead of jogging. They are yelling at you and there is super-loud EDM-music. That concept is for people who really need to be motivated but can't find it within themselves and need to be pushed. Those gyms are very popular and a lot of people go there.

Dan agrees with John. He wants just a basic gym. He doesn’t use any machines with maybe one exception for pull downs, and that is the most basic machine, a pulley with weights on one end and a handle on the other, but otherwise he just does free weights. A lot of people use machines and at most gyms there are just tons and tons of these really high end machines. Dan’s gym is month to month with a flat rate, a big room, fluorescent lights and a bunch of weights. They have some machines, but mostly straight up weights and lots of benches, six squat racks, and three deadlift platforms.

Crossfit is a whole other thing, but John is not interested in that. John doesn’t want to compete, but he just wants to do his little thing. Going to the gym with a friend who is on about the same level and talking about the news of the day while lifting things and moving things around would be fun! You would also have another person who keeps you in check and holds you accountable, like it was in High School, but John doesn’t have any friends that are at liberty to do that. He would not do it with a listener unless they were already friends for some other reason. All his friends who are like that are trying to get John to do hot yoga and enough guys are doing it like Dan’s good friend Jason Finn. He would be pleased as punch if John would do it with him!

The path to fitness for John has always been walking because there is enough going on that your mind has plenty to occupy itself and your body just trucks along. If John would just walk five miles a day, he would stay in fairly good condition. The other stuff, like a flat stomach and the ability to row? John can throw a rowing machine in there. This is all just conjecture, however and it is all somewhere in the future, because at this point in his life John is right in the middle of a big upheaval of everything. There is no ground underneath his feet right now. He is 100% flying through the sky!

John looking for trouble (RW126)

The other night John was sitting around and had a feeling that sometimes overtakes him: When he was younger he would get the same feeling in the middle of the night and he would go out, pack a little bag of stuff that he might need over the course of the next 12 hours and he would just start moving. "Looking for trouble" isn't exactly the most accurate description for it, but it was at least in the family of ”I'm looking for trouble” John was literally looking for trouble yesterday and, in case he couldn't get into it, he wanted at least to get proximate to it. John had that feeling all the time!

John had a few canisters of trouble and if he wanted trouble he would just open one of the canisters. He knows people who are trouble, there are situations that are trouble and when John was sitting around and got that feeling that he needed to get into some trouble, and would pick up the phone and open a canister of trouble. Lately John has been pruning most of the trouble out of his life because there is enough regular trouble, like bills-to-pay style trouble, and he doesn’t need to go out in the middle of the night and find it. He also wasn’t getting enough sleep lately and was exhausted all the time.

But now that he was looking for trouble he wondered where a person could find some trouble nowadays. He doesn’t want to walk out the door of his house and start walking around looking for trouble like he used to because there's plenty of trouble in his neighborhood that he doesn’t want to get into. John phrased it as a joke and it was received as a joke by a lot of people, but it was not a joke. He tweeted that it was Tuesday night and he was fucking looking for trouble. "DM me!"

The thing is he didn't open his DMs, which was the joke and that is what made everybody go like ”Ha ha ha ha! He's joking! That is the style of Twitter jokes we used to tell one another”, but it was in fact a filter and if you were really trouble, you would find a way around this! If you are really looking to get in trouble you are not going to be inhibited by the fact that John didn't open his DMs. John is always trying to gauge how to engage with the wider world via the Internet without exposing himself to being too visible. He doesn’t want to go on a dating site, he doesn’t want to publish an open letter, he doesn’t want to have conversations with people visible to other people. As part of who he is, he prefers to remain in the shadows in some aspects. Obviously he is not in the shadows, he has fucking five podcasts, but the part of him that he keeps closest is not revealed.

John has got the internet with all these people and some small percentage of them are interesting to him, but not just like ”Oh that's interesting!”, but he could get into something that he wouldn't know if he just went around a supermarket with a shopping cart. There is no way that Paul F. Tompkins is going to go on Twitter and say ”Hey, who wants to get into some trouble with me?” Putting yourself on the Internet that way is not part of the culture John is in. There isn't a safe way of filtering people either. If John would open his DMs, he would get 50 messages from dudes like the one who wants them to make socks who have a dog in their avatar who are like ”Dude, I'll get in trouble with you! I'm in St. Louis right now, what should we do?” That is lovely, but that is not what John meant.

John doesn’t know how to calibrate his considerable access to the world. He would want to get into trouble with some of the people who might want to get into trouble with him, but they are sitting there thinking ”He would never want to get in trouble with me! There is no adventure that we could go on that he would be interested in!” No, don’t think that! People contact John a lot and open with ”I'm sorry to bother you…”, but they are not bothering him and have required very little of him so far. All he had to do was read their message, which is no imposition.

There are 1000 levels of shyness, reticence or inhibitedness. The first ones who jump up and raise their hands are generally the extroverts and the ones who aren't thinking it all the way through. They think that ”John Roderick will entertain me!” John does not want to take someone else on a magic adventure and be fun for somebody else. Instead he is looking for somebody who has some contribution to make or bring some interest to him, some difference, some some crazy thoughts or something.

John is not thinking to have a conversation with a young guy about his future in the middle of the night on a Tuesday, although if you send him a letter in the middle of the night and there is nothing else going on, John will absolutely be like ”Let me tell you about what happened to me!” When they asked people to send them tweets and say hello many months ago (in RW112), they got a lot of tweets, which was great! A lot of them said that they hated that John made them do this, but here I am: ”Hello! Thank you! Goodbye!” and that is absolutely what John would have done, too. There are also thousands of people who were like ”No thanks!” or ”Yeah, I'll probably tweet him one of these days” or people who are never going to get a Twitter and they don't even having it suggested. Whatever it was, John could relate to every single one of those things.

Sitting at the end of the dock in the middle of the night (RW126)

On a Tuesday night when John wanted trouble and he didn't have access to the world through the Internet he would gave gone to stand in front of the supermarket for a while and see what happened, or he would go down to the houseboat docks and walk all the way out to the end of the dock on his tiptoes and see if he could meet a sea lion. which is what he did the other night: Everybody knows about the houseboat communities of Seattle. There are some wonderful little neighborhoods, primarily floating on Lake Union and the city is going Huckledy buck all around them. You can't just get down on the docks because most of them have gates or are private, and even if you could, most people aren't even aware that they are there. You can't see him from the street. It is a whole universe of people who live down on the water with the rest of the city swirling around them.

25 years ago when John was out looking for trouble on a Tuesday night, he started going down there in the middle of the night, trying to find all the houseboat docks where you could go out to the end of the dock. A lot of those houseboat docks have 25 homes tied to them and are basically sidewalks that you can walk down and look at all these cute little old bungalows. There was a class of people who built funky 1980s-style glass brick house boats. It is neat! You get to the end of the dock and all of a sudden in the middle of the city, in the middle of the night you are out there, the lake is calm and there are otters, beavers and lots of animals wandering around the lake at night. Every once in a while a little boat goes by. You can hear the city far off, but it feels like a place of real solitude and everybody else on the houseboat dock is asleep because it is 3am.

John is not doing anything, he is not peeping on them, he is not stealing anything, he just wants to be at the end of their dock, which is a place that he is not supposed to be. For 22 hours of the day he would be unwelcome there, but nobody is using it at 3am. There are all these wonderful things at this late night place but it is not getting used. It is fine for John to be down there because he is using it and he is not taking anything away from anybody. His presence down there is not threatening to anybody, he is not bumming anybody out, and he is not in anybody's way. A lot of times they will have a little neighborhood bench down at the end of their dock and John will just sit on the bench. When he used to smoke cigarettes he would sit there and smoke cigarettes.

As John was looking for trouble the other day in the middle of the night, he couldn’t even remember the last time he was down to the end of a houseboat dock. It had been years! There was one he loved the most and he drove over to this place and parked. Since last time they had improved the bike path and the parking lot was different. It used to be railroad ties and weeds, but now they have fixed it up and turned it into a commuter thoroughfare. John was very pleased to see that the neighborhood was still very secluded. Even if you ran by there everyday you might not even notice the little gate tucked back in the bushes. The gate was unsecured and he tiptoed down to the end of the dock, the bench was still there, but it was kind of falling down and John had to be careful not to break it. He sat on the little bench and watched the calm lake and the critters and listened to the traffic in the distance.

This is not bad trouble! It is the best kind of trouble! For most of his life, John never had somebody there with him and he did the most interesting things by himself! He was always sitting and watching the sun go down by himself on some ledge. Lots of people have lived like that and have always had a partner. Maybe it is a ”grass is greener” situation where John didn't have a partner because in the end that wouldn't have been fun, but he doesn’t know, he doesn’t have a point of comparison. The place at the end of that dock wouldn't be his, but it would belong to them. That was our song! That was our dock! John doesn’t know if going down there now would be the same if this was where he and Megan used to watch the otters. As it is, it is just where John went down to watch the otters, but the romantic in him always imagines that there is a partner in crime that would a) find that interesting, and b) not be a drag, which is a big part of it.

Looking for an optimist (RW126)

John has never been with an optimist who was not also a Pollyanna and he is starting to feel more and more like he needs an optimist in his life. He does not want them to be a person who feels like the things in John that are not optimistic or the darkness in him is something that he needs to get over or that there is a cure for, or that they got a book John needs to read. John needs an optimist who understands that John is not a pessimist. He broods and chews on things and there is a lot of darkness that he will paw around in, but in the end John is hopeful and believes in the future and in the world. John thinks people are good and he is positive!

A lot of people tell John he needs to get outside and walk around, get some air in his lungs, that will cheer him up. Thanks for telling me what I need to do! There are the rare people who will say ”Let's go to the pool!” - ”Nah” - ”Come on, let's go to the pool!” Positive and they don't let John drag them down. They have that positive energy and they feel that the thing in John that is dark is fun, but also not permanent. It is not an impediment or a disease or something that needs to be cured. It's just something that needs to be held.

There are a lot of people who want to go down to the dock in the middle of the night, but what drives John down to the dock in the middle of the night is not just ”La di da di da, let's go look for a place to sit!” John gets to the end of that dock because he is working through things and he feels like the end of that dock is a safe and secure place. It doesn't seem to most people to be secure because you are in the middle of other people's property, but John was never 100% clear who owns those docks and what exactly keeps you from the end of it. If you were out there talking, people would come out of their little houses and ask what the hell you were doing there, but John doesn’t talk, he is down there by himself, and he is not smoking cigarettes, laughing and drinking wine either.

John has never been comfortable publicly saying that he was curious about a partnership with other people in that way. It is a vulnerability he doesn’t express. The primary thing John puts forth into the world is self-containment. He never thinks ”What if there was someone else who would add to my experience here?” and when he does think that, it usually takes the form of ”It's Tuesday night and I'm looking for trouble! Who is going to give me the most drama in the shortest amount of time?”, which stood him well over the years as far as he can tell.

Being curious about Tinder (RW126)

John asked somebody the other day if you can be on Tinder and just lurk or if you have to engage. They said you can lurk, but then you can't do anything. All you can do is look, but you can't reach out to anybody, because as soon as you reach out to anybody or anybody can see you, then you're not lurking anymore and you are in the game. John is not sure whether this person is telling the truth or not. A couple of John's friends are on Tinder swiping left and right and they saw this person and they talked to that person, people who met their happy relationship on Tinder. John knows it is there and he knows it is curious.

John also knows that there are tens and tens of thousands of people that he is communicating with on a weekly basis on his podcasts. He has never talked about this before with Dan or anybody, but he has been effectively lurking because he is not looking at listeners. They are invisible to him and he is not able to see them. Talk about lurking!

There are a lot of imbalances in the world, but John is not particularly worried about imbalance. The core strength of someone is a much greater factor, maybe 99% of the factor, of their half of a partnership. There are all kinds of relationships where one part feels that the other person has authority over them or one part doesn't make any money and the person that does make money is in control. At least in John’s relationships it has never mattered who has a job and who doesn't. Within the relationship it is clear that the power of the people is the power we are transacting with.

John's last girlfriend was rich and he is not rich. It might have been a power issue to the extent that it was a fact. If she wanted to be in a helicopter and then be in a hovercraft she could, but John couldn't. You don't have to take more than one or two steps from that to say ”Does either of us need to be in either thing? Helicopter or hovercraft? No, we don't!” This means that wealth is not actual wealth of any kind. With money wealth you can buy a house, but do we want a house? We can go to Paris, but do we want to go to Paris right now? Is that really what we want to do? We could! We don't really need anything. We are fortunate enough people, but we don't need anything, so money doesn't affect the power balance. It ended up being about personal power, about internal power.

John is not worried about somebody getting into a scenario with him where they know John but John doesn’t know them and John being a known quantity would be an imbalance. It is just a factor, but John also has an inner strength or power and that is the thing people would need to match in some way. Even if they were completely small, quiet and passive, they would have to have that inside, but if they were bold enough to bridge the gulf they would have it! This gets in the way of a lot of people: They would be embarrassed because they would be making inside jokes about Supertrain while John doesn’t know anything about them. That's just how it is! You can learn about somebody pretty fast! And Supertrain? "Believe me, you don't know anything about me! Supertrain?"


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