RW164 - What's Fair Got to Do With It?

This week, Dan and John talk about:

The show title refers to

John starts the show in a soft voice that communicates accessibility and a degree of normalcy, but he can’t do this for the whole show because his carapace will just start to solidify.

Dan wonders if John has his Facebook devices around the house now that video him at all times.

Raw notes
The segments below are raw notes that have not been edited for language, structure, references, or readability. Please do not quote these texts directly without applying your own editing first! These notes were not planned to be released in this form, but time constraints have caused a shift in priorities and have delayed editing draft-quality versions to a later point.

John having trouble knowing where his place in life is (RW164)

John just doesn't know where to be or how to be or what to be, it is just all very confusing. Every week you come around: ”I got it, I got it all figured out, I got nailed, I am this, I do this, I should be here at this time this, these are the things that I like, this is how you would define me if you were describing me to someone else!”, but it doesn't take much before that all just goes away in a cloud and it is like: ”What? Who am I? Why am I? What am I? What am I supposed to do now? How can I bear this? How can I stand it for another hour?”

Dan watched the movie ”There will be blood" with his 12-year old son. He really liked it, too, and at first he really liked Daniel Plainview, and then by the end of the movie he didn't like him quite as much. A lot of the things that John is saying now could echo that sentiment, especially when he talks about not not liking anybody and tolerating people at best. He says: ”I can't do this anymore with these people!” Dan hears some of that in John, but it seems like John represses it and tries to be good and do the right thing, but under that surface there is that competition that is bubbling up. John says that Daniel is ambitious, but Dan counters that John is ambitious as well and because of his persona, the caricature that John adorns himself with he has to downplay that a little bit.

John is so much a product of a time when children were analyzed and where children were handed the keys to that analyzation and sent out into the world by adults saying: ”All right, analyze yourself now! We have analyzed you and written a lot of things down about you, and now you have the keys go forth and never be comfortable again!” From a pretty young age John came to understand his consciousness as not a reliable thing, but as a many-layered hell, John’s awareness of his awareness of the world. Right now he is here, he arrived downstairs to record the show, he had a friend texting him, saying: ”Are we going to do something this afternoon? All of the things that you have proposed are too much work, but we should still hang out!” - ”Okay, got it!” and then he got here and his daughter had left half a banana tucked under a keyboard.

There is the person who is working just slogging through the mud, but then John got an e-mail this morning where somebody was like: ”Hey, here is some math!” and it caused John to reflect on some math someone else had sent him, so he sent them an email where he was like: ”Wait a minute, does this math add up with your math?” and that person wrote back somewhat condescendingly, explaining how math works, and in the end what she said was: ”The math is the same!”, but John came out of that exchange, that experience of three emails with a bad feeling at having been condescended to, a bad feeling of not being sure that the math is as she is laying it out, but also the worst feeling, which is that John made a choice somewhere further up the stream based on the information he had at hand, but also based on path of least resistance that put him in business with this woman, who is condescending, and she is not condescending to John specifically, it is just her manner, she is somebody who mansplaining to people who obviously know what math is.

John made a decision and in the moment of the decision he said: ”Now wait a minute! You already don't jibe with this person and also you are not sure 100% about who the math serves, and this other guy is pretty friendly, pretty nice, but it would require that I stand up and walk across the room and sit down in a chair over there and I just don't want to do that right now!”, so John went ahead in business with this lady, even though he was like ”Meh” about her, and now one of the first exchanges with her after having done a handshake is: ”Oh right, I don't like dealing with her!” and he knew it and he should have made a decision a different way back up there where when Past John should have gotten up and walked across the room. When Past John was Present John he didn't want to deal with it, but now that Future John is Present John, he is like: ”What the fuck, Past John? Why did you set me up to have bitterness around a thing that shouldn't have bitterness around?”

That is the kind of square dance where the only way John could be the disturbed by that this morning beyond just like: ”Oh, that's irritating!” and then moving on, is that he is trained and expert at judging his own motivations, believing that there are ulterior motives to everything that he does in relation to his own self. Why did he go with that woman? Was he trying to sabotage a thing? Was he afraid that things were going too well? What else was in play? Why is he incapable of doing things smoothly or being proactive or making decisions on his own behalf?

Everybody does these things! Everybody picks somebody out of a lineup and then later on is sorry about it. The difference is that they don't rake themselves over the coals about it. It is a small thing, it s not going to change the math. John doesn’t have to deal with this person, he is never going to see her, it is all just email, and who knows, she may be very nice and it may just be an email tone problem. John latches on to these things, not because other people, he is not like: ”Why do I have to deal with other people?”, but his question is: ”Why do I have to deal with me? Why the fuck can't I water off a duck's back this? Why don't I ever just shrug?” It is not about them! Each one of these encounters sets off a Rube Goldberg device inside of John, like: ”Now, what did you mean by that when you said that? Oh, this seems just exactly like that thing that you always do, or that you never do, but the fact that you never do it is a sign that you always do it!

John going to family counselling when he was 13

John could put Dan right back in the psychologist's office when he was 13 years old and went for family counseling with his family where after a couple of weeks his sister stood up and said: ”I've been in here for three weeks with you guys and I have never said a word and no-one has asked me a question, so this is ”family counseling”? I don't need to sit in here! I am not coming back!” She was 11, and nobody could argue with her. Nobody had said a word to her. That was her life! About a month after that his mom said: ”The problem in this family is between David and John and they need to work out their issues. I don't have any problems!” and she stopped coming and then John and his dad went to family counseling for a few months and one week his dad was like: ”I can't make it this week, I have a basketball game, I'll see you next week!” and then he never came again.

John continued to go to family counseling for the rest of Junior High and High School, just him because it was clear where the problem was, they finally as a family boiled it down to who it was who needed help. John can put himself in that office and that was just a psychologist in Alaska in the early 1980s, interpreting what they knew what they thought they knew about psychology, and imparting it via some process of… there was a lot of pop psychology then, a lot of positive and negative reinforcement, fear of failure fear of success talk, all these theories then that John doesn’t believe in, they do not resonate with him intellectually, but they are as native to him as any other idea he learned in high school. Those things were taught to him and they were imparted to me as true principles of how the mind works, at a time when he was very curious about how the mind works, and he was also learning that in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue, and once a week he would go in and sit in this woman's office and be invited to talk about personal matters.

She was not a bad psychologist. At no point does he say: ”Oh, I was working with a quack!”, but she was great, she was very good to him, she stood up to him when his parents sued each other later on in High School, she was a good resource for him later on. There was somebody else in the world that had his back. But she was just a professional person who was practicing what she knows. At one point doctors put leeches on you to cure leukemia. Whatever the practice of psychology was in the early 1980s, it was no leech-based psychology, but John had no faith in it and thinks it is a pseudoscience.

Talk therapy is wonderful, but for instance she wasn't comfortable talking to a teenage boy about his about his sex life. John didn't have a sex life, but an inner life, and he wanted to talk about girls and she wasn't comfortable, and it wasn't that she ever said: ”I need to limit my practice with you to not talking about girls because of a conflict or because of something!”, but she just wasn't comfortable and what she did was redirect. If you are a 14 year old boy and you start talking about girls to your female psychologist and she redirects more than once, you sure notice it. He was given a clear message: ”Don't talk about girls in here!” Well, what the fuck else does a 14 year old boy want to talk about? What they were all interested in was why he wasn't ”succeeding” and John was like: ”Since we are here: I like this girl and I don't know what to do.” - ”Anyway, let's go back to talking about your…” John didn't have anybody to talk to about girls, not a living soul. His dad was as bad as his mom at it, and you can’t be worse than his mom, except if you were his dad.

The long-term effects of early psychological ideas on John

Now John is 51 years old and he is carrying around this set of superstitions that is pernicious because it is in there with him. If you told him 15-20 years ago: ”Hey, in 1492 Columbus didn't just sail the ocean blue, he also brought dysentery and rats!”, when he started to hear some amendments to Columbus sailed the ocean blue in the early 1990s, when he read Howard Zinn, those were scales-falling-from-the-eyes moments for someone who was educated in the 1970s, but it wasn't hard, it was exciting to go: ”Oh wait a minute, the little singsong history that that most people walk around with isn't the full story? This is why I went to college!”, but there wasn't any effort to dislodge that psychology Toothpick Eiffel Tower, the only conversation that we have as a nation and as a people around that is only additive, it is never subtractive: ”We decided that your toothpick Eiffel Tower isn't quite sufficient, so we built a Toothpick Golden Gate Bridge underneath it and now on top of the toothpick Eiffel Tower which sits atop a Toothpick Golden Gate Bridge we are going to build a Toothpick Space Shuttle.”

We hardly ever hear of a sociological or psychological theory subjected to any criticism itself. The theories just compound all based on the earlier theories. No-one has ever refuted or denounced the idea that you can have a fear of failure and also a fear of success, both those things acting at the same time, make of it what you will, do with that what you want. ”What? Those are just words! You just said words! It is poetry more than anything!” If someone says: ”You have a fear of failure!” and you go: ”Right!” and you go out and do something different, then it is effective, like reading a poem where you go: ”Oh my God! I see!”, but there is no fear of failure, it is not a medical condition, it is not an institution. All the people who have a fear of failure don't go off and form a new colony.

It is just a metaphor, somebody said it and then somebody else picked up the flag and ran with it, but over across the way there is somebody else, saying: ”Fear of success!” and they run into each other and: ”Your chocolate got into my peanut butter! It is even better!” John had the hardest time shaking those monkeys out of his tree because they are up there, fucking all the time, it is what they want, they are like bonobos! John had a tree full of monkeys that are the product of those earlier monkeys. He never got them down, he never got them out, and all they do is combine in new ways that don't help, until he has a whole language, until part of his language, part of his self is built out of those building blocks, just as there are people out in the world who never looked at the sing song history they were taught, and it became not just formative, but it became foundational to them, so that if you say: ”Hey, Columbus didn't sell the ocean blue until late 1492, early 1493 actually!” you are rocking their world and they are: ”Fuck you! Columbus sailed the ocean blue, God damn it!”

John is not trying to defend this pile of toothpicks, he hates it, he refutes it, he rejects it! When he hears new things, when he opens a magazine or read something online about the latest theory of something, it makes him nauseous almost! How little is required to put out a theory of the mind and have it accepted by people who nominally are in the business of the mind. They are so busy thinking up a theory of the mind that they are not policing their own business culture. John recoils to call it a scientific culture, because the peer review is all just: ”Yeah, they wrote something, too!” because how do you test if there is a fear of failure or not? You can't!

John wants to be at war with them, he wants to be at war with it, with the culture that produces and promulgates it, but unfortunately the only thing he has to go to war with it is his own mind which is infected all the way back to the dawn of his emotions. If you think about a 12-13 year old, that is when their mind fully comes online. It is not anywhere close to fully developed, but your emotions are there now, you are in this storm, so for these ideas to be there at that layer, it is layer caked with these ideas the whole way, including when he wanted to talk about a girl that is not okay, and nobody is slapping his hand and telling him it is not okay, but they are telling him that it is not interesting or: ”Let's not talk about that!”

Maybe in 1983 teenage sex therapy wasn't yet a discipline, or maybe she was a living human woman who was probably 34 and she wasn't personally comfortable sitting and talking to a 14 year old about girls. There was probably nothing professional about it, if you talked to her about it she would say: ”What? No! I talked to him about girls all the time!” John has never been to a psychologist where the fact that they were a human person wasn't present in the room. Of course it is! The person John sees right now, his human presence in the room threatens to overwhelm John’s presence in the room.

Obviously John loves talk therapy and it is wonderful to get someone talking and to talk until you see things by just seeing them in the world and seeing them float around the room and you are like: ”Oh wait, I just said that! Interesting! It works!”, but the vast libraries of uncritically written and accepted balderdash that makes up not maybe the practice of psychology, but the long boulevards of pop psychology, which took a page from Social Darwinism and ran with it: ”Oh, did we misunderstand what Darwinism is and create a new thing that misuses evolution as a metaphor and now we are going to just say whatever we want? Wow that is a great idea! Let's take that and apply it to everything people do. Let's just take that and apply it to to our minds and our souls!”

It ends up being personal anecdote, enough of them collected together to make a pile of anecdote with no-one and no way to subject that pile of anecdote to any kind of real analysis. You just throw more anecdote on it until it looks like not only science, but it looks like the truth. ”Look at all this anecdote!” because in addition to anecdote there is propagation of it: ”This latest study of 10.000 tweets suggests that guys are cutting people off in traffic more? What is behind this cutting off in traffic epidemic?” and then that gets threaded in there.

John read an article about an epidemic of people cutting people off in traffic and then somebody else, often a journalist, writes a big article: ”There's never been more people cutting other people off in traffic than ever before! Why? How can this be? I suggest that it is because of a vitamin D deficiency in Taco Bell” and then that is just in the pile and it all forms a cloud of anecdote until we not only accept those the big ones, the big anecdotally proven truths, but all you have to do is say: ”Four out of five dentists surveyed prefer sugarless gum for the patients who chew gum.” - ”Sold!”

John’s soul is bound to this stuff! His soul was developing through all of this cloud. What he thinks is right or wrong, whether or not he thinks he is good or bad, or his actions are good or bad, it has this cancer in it. The problem is that some of the cancer are the wonderful pedestals that support some of his most closely held truths, his dearest feelings, so he can't just dismiss it all because some of it is his bedrock. His dad and his mom and their values that they were bringing to him, they also believed in psychology. It is why John was there! In the early 1960s when they were married, they were both upper middle class Seattleites during an era when it was fashionable to go to an analyst. They had the experience of the scales falling from their eyes when in 1961 someone said to them: ”Things are not as they appeared! Columbus did not sail the ocean blue, and also: Your relationship with your mother is important, not just in the ways that you think, but also: It is affecting the way you do your taxes, Dave Roderick!” - ”What? Oh, you are right! I do cheat on my taxes because my mother didn't love me!”

They were bringing this early 1960s thrill that psychology was going to unravel the mystery of their teenage son who was clearly not built according to the template. They tied their values to it, they taught John about what they learned in their culture and they put a little bow on it in the form of the experience they had analyzing their childhoods according to early 1960s pop-psychological trends. There was a history, it felt like history also was bound to this idea. Before John’s mom and dad, there was maybe one generation earlier, maybe two if you went back to Vienna, that had ever thought to think this way. Back time immemorial this would not have been a thing. It is 100% of 20th century phenomenon, 100% of thought technology that came out of the minds of just a small handful of Viennese Jews.

Now it is a thing that is dearer to John than his religion, it functions as his religion. It is no more gibberish than religion, so in that sense… if John was sitting here talking about his Catholicism and complaining about how the guilt that is rife in that culture had inhibited him throughout his life. Those are just novels, that would be a thing everyone would recognize. In that sense: ”What do I have to complain about?” It may be why John is such a Judeophile. That voice in his head resembles Woody Allen's voice, somewhere in his inner language there is a Freudian vein that through the centuries now is going to…

Keeping it away from his daughter

John hopes to arrest it now, he really doesn't talk to his daughter about whether or not she is motivated by secret forces, he pretty much just talks to her about what she is doing on the surface of things. When she was being bullied last year it is irresistible, you cannot help but say: ”The reason that he is bullying you is not that he doesn't like you, but he is bullying you because he likes you!” In 1850 people didn’t even think that way. That is such a simple formulation that John is not sure that he can put eyes back before psychiatry or before Freudianism to see if that was country wisdom: ”Oh, he is dipping your pigtails in the inkwell because he likes you!” That is Mark Twain level understanding of human beings.

The missing piece, to put it in a 20th century context would be: He is treating you that way because he likes you and he doesn't know another way to do it because he comes from a broken home and lives in an apartment building with a single mother and she has to work two jobs and is overtaxed and he is receiving negative reinforcement from neighborhood bullies. It would be to extend that Mark Twaininan analysis of the situation to encompass a whole sociological profile. But even that is hard to tie exactly to any moment or movement.

John tries to keep it out of her spaghetti-Os, he doesn’t want her to see the ghosts of John’s psychology in her own lived experience. She can't help but know that John is beset by ghost. She sees it in him every day and comments on it. She wonders why he is not happy and to her it is really disturbing. She will come upon him when he is sitting in a room, asking: ”Why are you frowning?” - ”Oh, it is just my resting dad face” - ”No, you are palpably sad!” in whatever childlike way she does, but she can't escape it, it is part of her environment that in situations that should be simple one of her parents is having…

John is not over-complicating it because he is quiet, he is just having a reaction to life that is over-complicated, but he doesn’t bring that over-complication out into his interactions with people, he doesn't sit and ramble at her or make decisions based on these voices to the best of my ability, but he is fighting them all the time. There is always a mountain-lion on him and he is trying to have the words that come out of his mouth and the things that he does in the world seem simple and self-evident.

John’s daughter is not being raised believing in ghosts or things that aren't there, or believing that behind the simpler explanation, or the simplest explanation for why one person does another thing, there are 50 stacked-up complicated explanations that better explain the thing and that require us to take all these actions that seem counterintuitive or unrelated, but these actions that we need to take in order to heal ourselves in the world, when the simplest explanation for the person's behavior is that they are hungry and if you gave them some food they would be mollified and we would be on the road.

Instead it is their fear of failure that we need to address further upstream. John really does try to keep that out of his home and off his face. Those voices don't sit peacefully in a chair in the halls of John’s mind, but they are screaming, they are balderdash, and the opposite bench is screaming back, throwing papers, one guy is pretending to nap, the prime minister is banging his shoe on the table. It is a whole parliament.

Dan’s take

Dan thinks a lot about the Future John and Past John and he thinks about himself in general. The fundamental difference between John and Dan, and they have a lot more in common than most listeners would know, and if there is a way to flip a switch and take them back to their very young childhood as early back as you can go and change this within each of them, their lives would be much more similar than they wind up being, but the subtle differences is that John’s attitude toward Future John is that he hates him, while Dan oftentimes to a fault is more concerned about Future Dan even than Present Dan. This subtle difference explains the significant differences of them and in their lives. They have a lot in common, but that one little thing creates a tremendous difference in their lives and their path and where they have gone and how they have gone there.

Dan is very concerned about Future Dan, too much! He shouldn't be, he shouldn't care or worry as much as he does about Future Dan, but he thinks about him a lot, even down to the things he does on a day to day basis, like: ”I better put that away because I will do myself a favor down the road!” It doesn’t seem John tries to sabotage Future John, but he certainly isn’t doing him any favors.

John’s relationship with Future John

John doesn’t hate Future John, he never said that, but he is furious at Future John which doesn't mean he hates him. That is a distinction he has to make with his daughter all the time: He is mad at her, but that has not changed how much he likes her. John is furious at both Past John and Future John. All Past John has done is fail him. Future John has the potential to make it right and therefore John challenges Future John and makes it hard on him, to test him, to give him challenges, to put him to the test, and to put his feet to the fire. The things John does now that don't appear to help Future John are really there to help Future John by putting him to challenges that if he succeeds he will have validated his and John’s plan and plot and he will have shown himself to be a superior person by surmounting the obstacles that John puts in his way.

John is in a very fraught relationship with Future John because everything he does now that he does with the knowledge that he will have to deal with it later, he is not kicking the can down the road, but he is packaging that up and sending it to him. That is why John hates Past John so much, because that seems like all he does: Test him and and give him things to do that aren't just as complicated as they naturally would be, but with the added complication of an expectation that he would redeem him and that his work today isn't just the burden of of the normal amount of work he would do, but he is also doing his work, not putting away the dishes or cleaning the bathroom, but he is doing his work to prove his point to show that he was right all along. John is suffering his punishment as well because John often defers his punishment to his future self.

The way John was raised, to be given insurmountable tasks, unachievable goals, to be tested, was the currency of the realm. Anything that made you struggle made you better. The problem is that it is very hard to distinguish between what were just mistakes and what were intentional obstacle. That is the problem with that e-mail chain this morning: ”Did I fuck up five days ago when I didn't just stand up and walk across the room and do business with the other person instead of the one that I ended up choosing? Was that just a fuckup? Was I just lazy, or did I do it intentionally to myself to punish?” John is not punishing because he is a sadist, but he is punishing in order to make the future person better and stronger, to give him more evidence, to learn from his past hurts.

The high expectations that were put on John’s dad

John’s grandfather, both of them, one of them in particular was a sadist, the other was just a bad. He would wake up John’s dad as a child 8 years old in the middle of the night and put him in an ice-cold bathtub water to make him stronger. John doesn’t know how this could work, it sounds like it would just make you hate your parent, and it certainly made John’s dad hate his dad. It is ”What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!” in a nutshell, not just the shock of the cold, but the shock of the betrayal. All those things made his dad who he was. You contrast that against an alternative where you get everything you want and you certainly have different expectations of the world. In John’s family it is always contrasted against someone who gets everything they want, those are the people that they were always imagining that they were fighting against, the people who get everything they want.

John’s family doesn’t get everything they want, which is good for them and they also we get a lot of things they don't want, which are also good for them. There is hardly anything that would happen to any member of John’s family where their collective interpretation of it would be anything other than: ”It was good for us!” House burned down? Well, it is good, buck up! John cannot think of a single time when anyone comforted someone else on a loss, anything, like if the cat dies there is a stoic ”honor the cat” and you say a eulogy on behalf of the cat, but John being sad or relatively sadder than anybody else about losing the cat isn't given any special treatment. There is maybe a pat on the hair.

Loss in general isn't recognized as a thing to be sad about. You lost your grandfather or you lost your house or you lost the race or you lost your wallet and the only thing you can take from that is to learn from it! Learn and grow! On the surface John still admires that a lot more than people who wallow in loss and who expect the world to stop every time they get a sliver, but he also recognizes that he doesn't have any capacity to forgive himself feeling loss and the responses is always: ”Well, what are you going to do? You are going to cry over spilt milk? Clean it up!”

Future John has all this weight to carry, not just the weight John is carrying now, but the weight he is putting on Future John. His dad never put him in a bathtub full of cold water, he talked about his dad doing it enough that John feels like he was there, and lots of other crazy things. John’s dad's dad was a drunk. He would also wake John’s 8 year old dad up and bring him into the into the bedroom and have him adjudicate the disputes between his mother and father. His drunk dad yelling at her about whatever grown-ups are yelling at each other about, but he was like: ”Let's get David in here, he will tell you how wrong you are!”

He was somewhat of a transient, he did not live in the home except in fits and starts. He lived in Los Angeles. He came and went and he was disparaged by all John’s grandmother's family. John found all these letters from various uncles. His grandmother was a music teacher and lived in a big house that she had inherited from her parents, but that had fallen into not quite grey gardens level decay, she still had a cleaning lady, but she gave piano lessons and voice lessons to the sons and daughters of the wealthy class of Seattleites.

Her parents both came from the South and had arrived here from Kentucky in the 1870s and there was a sense of Kentucky gentility behind their self-image. Her brothers ended up supporting her, her eldest brother married the heiress to the Buster Brown Shoe fortune and he lived in a beautiful home in Connecticut on the water and lorded it over everyone because he was a millionaire although it was his wife's money and she had inherited it, so he just sat there and drank and waved as his goblet around, pronouncing on everyone. He did send money back to Seattle to John’s grandmother, but he always made that money conditional on the fact that John’s grandfather David Roderick Senior was not there, and if John’s grandfather moved back into the house it at least stipulated that that would be cause to cut off her allowance. This was all happening in the 1930s.

John’s grandmother was taken to Europe by her mother in 1905 to study opera in Paris with the great Parisians and it was intended that she become a singer on the international stage. The Kentucky-side of the family believed that she was their great hope who was going to validate their self-image by becoming great, but she married the wrong guy. Then they put that on John’s dad, he was going to be the one who would became great, but he flamed out relative to what the expectations were and where he was, how he was positioned when he was 24. Then it went to John’s brother David and he completely flamed out, he cratered, so it went to John. You can’t argue that John flamed out, but he is definitely pretty shot up. Maybe the tail-gunner got shot out of there, but we are not going to figure it out until we land. He is not responding.

John’s grandmother's eldest brother was a millionaire and her younger brother was a Seattle City Councilman who came up with the idea for the World's Fair. John’s great uncle Al Rochester was a Seattle City Councilman who in the moment of 1949 or whenever it was, made the first suggestion that Seattle have a World's Fair and was one of a little team of guys, the early booster, of what became the World's Fair and the Space Needle and all that. This was the story that was told around the dinner table when John was a kid and he always felt: ”Oh sure, Al came up with the world's fair!”

Most of the kids in the family called him Gaga and his wife Marguerite was Tutu. Gaga was great to kids but when they got to be about 10 years old he turned on them, but for whatever reason, and no-one in the family has ever been able to explain it, he never turned on John or Susan, his sister. Every other person in the family was like: ”He loved me, I loved him, and the day I became a teenager he became vicious to me and now I am just on the adult side where he is wicked and cruel!”, but John’s sister and he were spared that turn because he as older.

He fought in World War I, John’s grandmother was there in World War I. John didn't call him Gaga, first of all, he used to do magic tricks for John when he was little and he would say Abracadabra and John couldn't pronounce it and called him Abadaba. He taught John a lot, he would speak to him in French, he didn't talk about World War I to anybody else, but he alluded to it with John. Also, John didn't have a grandfather that he knew, but Abadaba was the closest thing, and Tutu, they were John’s grandparents by all accounts. For whatever reason the family didn't award Al a wreath for his accomplishments, and they didn't award it to Junius either. It was Mary Ellen that was supposed to do it and somehow she married the wrong guy and then it was John’s dad.

John’s uncle Jack became mayor of Anchorage, his Uncle Carl and Julia Lee were big people in the region. Uncle Cal was president a Weyerhaeuser, they were successful people, but somehow it was John’s dad that was supposed to carry the flag and he didn't succeed the way it was expected. All the way along the family has as plenty of evidence, plenty of instances, where nice things have happened and people have succeeded, but there is also this trail of bodies, people that were put up to be the one, and maybe it is only the people that were put up to be the one that feel it so acutely, except John’s sister feels that on John’s behalf and his cousins feel that in their weird ways, but you never got congratulated for what you did. That doesn't seem very fair, but as John’s dad would say: "What's fair got to do with it?"


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