RW232 - Books

This week, Dan and John talk about:

The show title refers to John unpacking boxes of books and not knowing which ones to keep and what to do with all of them.

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 Please do not quote these texts directly without applying your own editing first!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.

Subconsciousness, faith, believe (RW232)

John is still recording only on his left and he could grab the adapter in between the shows, but as is true with so many things he is waiting for the adapter to find him, like his passport, there is precedent for that. Dan wonders how much credit John gives in a case like that to his subconscious, where without knowing consciously what he is doing subconsciously he will be directed to need something or look for something or stumble across something, like autonomous heartbeat, breathing, that kind of thing. Subconscious John will direct conscious John to do something without him knowing it.

John doesn’t think about that very much or at all. He doesn’t have a very explicit relationship with subconscious John, he doesn’t even acknowledge that there is a subconscious John. This is different from Future John and Present John because those are both very conscious Johns. Past John is there, aware of what he is done to Future John and Present John, but subconscious John? A John that is operating at another level, vibrating like an id? John doesn’t acknowledge the existence of such a thing. Like God he cannot say: ”I don't believe in it because I don't see any evidence of it!”, he can only say: ”I don't see any evidence of it!”, but to say that that means he doesn’t believe in it he never makes that leap because belief is one of those words that we say all the time and if you say it 4-5 times you get that Ted Lasso problem where it turns into a gibberish word.

What exactly is belief? John is not sure that he has very much belief. It doesn't play as large a role in his life as other things. Does he make a distinction between faith and belief? What does he have faith in? That is a deeper question. He believes the children are our future (lyrics Greatest Love of All by Whitney Houston), but beyond that he is not sure that his relationship to ideas is one where belief plays a very large role. And faith? He can't say that faith does either. He is much more apt to look for patterns that sustain themselves and he will rely on the idea that if this has happened 15 times it is probably going to happen a 16th, but that is neither faith or belief, it is just pattern recognition.

There are things in John’s life that fill the faith/belief areas, but he is always ready to be surprised. When something breaks a pattern he is always waiting for that because every pattern is going to come apart at some point. He just stays in that state and a lot of it has to do with although he future-fucks himself and although he both luxuriates and languishes in his past the area of time right around him, like the next hour, the next day, the next month, and the last hour, the last day, the last month he lives in it very presently and does not look forward an hour from now and have any dread or any expectation.

He can say: ”After I get off the phone with Dan I am going to go keep sorting through these boxes of books!”, but he doesn't have any particular feeling about it and if it gets interrupted he wasn't invested in it. That seems true of almost everything. He makes very little investment in his own plans, so if an hour from now it turns out that nothing about today turned out how he imagined it would he just bounces off of it, like a turtle: the wave moves him off of the mossy rock and he just goes to the next mossy rock, which seems like a contradiction because he is so consumed by the his past, other people's past, historical past.

He churns on it and he thinks a lot about the distant future and he does have a relationship with his Future Self a day or two or four away, but it doesn't involve plans, it is a mocking relationship like: ”Oh, I bet you would like me to clean the bathroom, wouldn't you Future Self of tomorrow? Here is another rude awakening for you, my friend!”

It seems contradictory that John would also be extremely always in the moment, but not in the moment in a woo way or in that weird quantum woo way, and not in a yoga sense or an Eastern religion sense, he just is in a bouncy house of the world and has the attention span of a dog, which is something they have talked about quite a bit: attention spam. John doesn’t really have an attention span, it is merely as long as his arm, and to have a very short attention span does not comport with being invested in your plans because who can see their plans?

Having no expectations in your plans (RW232)

When he sits down to make a plan he gets distracted before it is through. He puts the first thing down: ”Today I am going to sort these books after I get off the phone with Dan!”, and if he gets off the phone and remembers that that was his plan, he will do it, but if he gets off the phone with Dan and forgets that that was his plan, if on his way to go sort the books he sees a book that yesterday he sorted about the fighter aircraft of the Cold War he will pick it up and start looking at it and forget all about sorting the books. If he wrote a plan down, first of all he would get bored after writing down the third step.

He also doesn't have any sense of scale in plans. The first item is always ”Facilitate World Peace!” and then the second one is: ”Go down and sort books!” He would write down a list and then he would forget the list. He is not forgetful in the sense of: ”You said you were going to and you didn’t!” He doesn’t have dementia and he is not a Mr. Magoo, he just doesn’t see plans. A lot of people have so much anxiety about the future, there is so much worry, they wake up in the morning and they are already stressed about the day, but John’s psychic pain is all expectations-based and most of it is inwardly directed.

He doesn’t really have any expectations of his day, only vague expectations of other people, like that they would be nice and not be mean, that they would behave rationally. That is a major expectation and when they don't behave rationally he is always thrown off, which causes him a lot of trouble because it is hard for him to blow people off, even casual encounters, but he always wants to go back and sort it out and figure out in what way they felt that they were behaving rationally because he makes the assumption that everybody thinks they are being rational.

Dan doesn’t think that this is even on most people’s mind, and that is evidence just by the way that most people act, like when it comes to driving. For him it is the destination, not the journey for a short trip. If he needs to get to Target to buy some thing, he wants to get to Target and buy the thing, but he doesn’t really want to go to Target at all really. He is going because he needs to get this thing and the sooner that it is over the better. Other people don't have that mindset, they are actually out for the drive, and maybe they are happier on a deep level because they are more mindful and more in the moment, but if you told Dan that he could do a 5 minute drive instead of a 15 minutes drive he is going to say ”Yes!” every single time.

It is not like it is fun to go out anymore. COVID makes everything horrible. You can’t go and have a fun time interacting with people, no one wants to see you, no one wants to be where they are, there is a plastic shield in front of everything. It is not fun to go and do something. That is very different from going to get together with a friend to do an activity or hang out or to have some great food somewhere or see a show or a movie. That is social interaction and that is being with people.

Or if you want to do the nature thing, like going on a hike, Dan loves to do that kind of stuff, or going to a gym to work out. If he is going to go on a hike he is not thinking: ”I just want this hike to be over with!” because he is here for this hike, but the way to and from the hike is not the fun part and driving in the car to get to the place where you have the hike is an extra step that wouldn't it be cool if we could just be on the hike now? Dan thinks John is giving people too much credit and too much agency over their lives.

John’s relationship to all that stuff is as soon as he walks out the door he puts a quarter in the game of Frogger and his little Player 1 walks out the door and everything that Player 1 encounters is just Frogger, going from log to alligator. Because he has such such a constant rap going on with his inner voice everything he is doing is like the stuff that you are doing when you are on a phone call and you are tapping a pencil or you are doodling. All his activities outside of the house are just doodles because he is carrying on a lengthy dialogue with himself, which is why he used to go on very long walks before he had a car.

What he meant by people thinking they are behaving rationally is that if you ask people if they are right, most of them are going to say they are right. If you ask them: ”Did you behave morally today?” they are going to say: ”Yes!” - ”Were you correct in your assumptions or in your opinion?” - ”Yes, I was correct!” If you take two people who have behaved completely opposite today, one Texan is protesting for abortion rights in front of the Capitol, and the other Texan is getting ready to sue somebody because they had an abortion, and you ask them both: ”Did you do right today?” they are both going to say: ”Yes!”

It is not just that in a world of opinions everybody gets to be right, that this is a pathology, that dealing with human beings there is some kind of evolutionary advantage to think that you are right and not go out every day like a small minority of us do and question every decision. The problem globally is that everybody thinks they are right and you put a proposal in front of people and this person got a vast education and years and years of experience, and they have an opinion about it, and this person over here has never left their town and has never read a book for pleasure, and they have an opinion, and they both think that they are right. What do we do as a culture with that?

John’s experience in traveling the world is that everybody he meets he is aware of the fact that they don't think they have anything to learn. Very few people do get home and it is not uncommon to get home and say: ”I'm not sure I did the right thing in that situation!”, but it is not very common that at the end of the day people review their behavior and come to the conclusion that maybe they could have handled that better. Encountering people in the course of the day John is mindful of that and it makes him then constantly be assessing his own behavior, and not in that uncomfortable way where you are never present and you are talking to somebody and you think: ”Am I being weird? Do they know that I am stoned right now?”

It is not that, John is very comfortable with people, but he is listening to them and then he reviews the experience and wonders what do they think, what was their experience of that, and what is his. He doesn’t go into those encounters with a lot of beliefs and when he encounters other people's opinions and other people’s attitudes, mentalities, they don't immediately clash with some suit of armor of belief that he has, but he has to weigh what they said against what he assumes is their experience and then contrast it with his experience. He is always trying to come to the truth rather than use his own belief as a colander that lets the water through and holds the spaghetti back.

John unpacking many boxes of books, getting rid of books (RW232)

John has a lot of boxes of books, his whole basement is filled with boxes of books, and he doesn’t know what to do because he doesn’t like getting rid of books, but he also recognizes that in making this transition to this new house and in making this transition into his 50s, what is he going to bring with him? What goes in his backpack? He is keeping a small bag packed, not a shipping container packed. A lot of people have this picture in their head of Leonard Bernstein sitting at a piano, and in the background he is in his palatial Upper West Side apartment and the walls are covered with books and the piano is covered with photographs, but books play a large role. Those magazine articles where you walk through somebody's really beautiful Paris apartment, and it has books everywhere.

John is going through these boxes of books and in his mind and in his memory he thinks back to a time when he read all the time and he remembers it petering out in the 2000s when he started to tour a lot in 2001 and he was not reading as much. As he is unpacking these books he realized that 2001 is when he stopped reading novels. Before that his bed would have three novels and he would be reading all three of them at the same time. You pull back his sheets and there would be three books in there, all halfway read with a bookmark somewhere in the middle.

John didn't stop reading in 2001 because as he is opening these boxes he is pulling out these books and he read all these books, he didn’t stop reading until that moment where everything became available on your phone. 2007 was the first iPhone, but he didn't get one in 2007, he still had a flip phone, then a little BlackBerry Pearl. He got his first iPhone in 2011 probably and it took him a long time to find media on it because he didn't subscribe to media on it, he didn't read long-form articles on it, he used it for texting, email and then Twitter, but he didn't sit and read long things until maybe 2014 when a lot of stuff went online.

Opening these boxes he realizes that he read all these, a lot of them non-fiction past 2004 when a lot of it then switched over into books about the Reformation or whatever, books about just whatever, like foreign policy. There were also boxes with books that he hadn't read, like the 1500 page biography of Henry Kissinger, he just never quite got around to it, he never read The Gulag Archipelago, even though he schlepped it around for years, he had a book called Soros On Soros, which was George Soros wrote a book-length interview with himself. Many pages are him asking the most boring esoteric questions of himself because that is what he thinks people want to hear.

There were books that he hadn't read and John found it easier to get rid of those than the ones he had because he had an emotional relationship with these ones that he had read. The Hare with Amber Eyes (by Edmund de Waal), how could he get rid of that, he has a relationship with the hare with the amber eyes. The Sadness of Lemon Cake (by Aimee Bender)? John has no idea where these books came from! What was he reading where he read about the Sadness of Lemon Cake and went and bought it and read it, because he had to have read something that suggested he might want to read it.

One of the things he did going through these boxes is that he would always open the book to see if there was an inscription and if the book has been gifted to him by somebody, and it turns out The Sadness of Lemon Cake was given to him by the author and she wrote: ”I hope you enjoy this book as I enjoy your music!” and John doesn't remember the encounter where there would have been an opportunity to have met her. He looked her up, she looked like a familiar person, somebody that he definitely would have met, she is his age or a little younger and the type of person that would write a book called The Sadness of Lemon Cake. There was a surprising number of books where someone had written: ”I think you are going to like this book!”

John is never going to give those books away. There was some really old book that had Van Gogh color plates in it and the spine was coming apart and he wondered why he had this and when he opened it up the whole the whole front leaf was a kind of poem that someone had written him, saying: ”These beautiful paintings are like what I wish for you to live life as abstractly and as fully as as he did and these paintings represent to me our journey through life as friends!” He could never get rid of that ever, but at the end of the day he put a dozen boxes in the back of the truck to take to the thrift store, like Henry Kissinger all these books that are Elizabethan England, he is not as interested in that as he thought he was when he got this book.

He read a book on the 30 Years War and thought he needed to know more about other things in the broader picture because this book is making all these references, but it turned out he didn't want to know that. He did that with World War I and got seven books on World War I, he has an entire library on Yiddish humor because he really wanted to understand Yiddish humor as translated into English and of course you can't really get it translated into English because there are so many allusions and inside jokes and freaking Hebrew numerology, but people are trying to do it.

Now John got 25 open boxes of books and he has thumbed through every one, he has all these relationships, and he is not sure what his next move is. The author of The Hare With The Amber Eyes didn't inscribe it to him, he is very unlikely to read it again, but it goes on the shelf. He has always been conscious of the fact that there are book shelves that you have because you want somebody to come along and look at them. John will arrange a bookshelf so that the whole bookshelf tells a story. He used to have a bookshelf that was only the obscure Beat writers or the obscure Beat books. They were arranged on this bookshelf vaguely chronologically, but also thematically. He didn’t think anybody in the world was going to come along and look at that bookshelf and feel like the shelf itself was an act of literary criticism, but he was doing it for that person who lives in his head and would go by that bookshelf and look at it and go: ”You said it, my friend!” That relationship is one he cultivates.

How many times can he do that? How important is it that he is entertaining one of his inner life friends who is maybe not even that great of a friend. Imagining to get them all out of here…

Dan’s M.O. is not asking: ”Which one should I get rid of?”, but: ”Which one do I absolutely need to keep right?” September 1st just happened, which is the start of Halloween season, Dan’s favorite season, and that is when the different companies that do cool Halloween stuff like T-shirts or other things start to come out. If you don't get it now they won't do it again, it is a limited edition kind of thing. Even in a situation like that where there is artificially imposed pressure he will look at it and say: ”How bad would I feel if this was no longer available? How bad would I feel if I totally miss this opportunity to get this thing ever?”

If the answer is: ”I would feel really bad about that!”, then that means he should probably get the thing. The flip of that is when he is getting rid of stuff each one of these things needs to prove its worth to him and has an obligation to show its value, and that value has to be greater than the value that someone else would have from getting it for the first time. If he has a book that he has read that is not inscribed to him personally, and he doesn't feel that he is going to read it again he almost feels obligated to give that to somebody or to donate it because he always admires people who read a book, maybe even make notes in it and put it on their shelf, and later in life, maybe a week, a year, or somewhere down the road they go back to it, they read it again, they lend it to a friend who comes by and is sitting in their Paris apartment.

Dan is an English major and his aunt ran the FAU Library, and his mom is an English Professor and you would think that he would have a special sanctuary in his mind for books and written things, but he doesn't. He is often jealous of people who have the amazing books and shelves like John was just describing, but he never puts that together. A book is an experience that you have and when the experience is over you want to share that with someone else maybe and you give it to them. Dan has read hundreds of books that were great, but he doesn't know what they were and he doesn't have them anymore, but they have worked their way into his subconscious.

Halfway through John started making gift boxes for certain people. He is not sure how he would feel getting one of those boxes of books if someone had made it for him because some of it was: ”This person needs to read this book!” or: ”These are not books that this person would choose for themselves, but I want them to have read these books!” They weren't insults, but a lot of them had a character where you would look at the books and go: ”Ha, I wouldn't have picked any of these books!” - ”I know!” and he hesitates a little bit with that impulse.

People write John all the time: ”What is the book I should read about World War I?” and he got a bunch of books and if he were the type of person who went that extra step and put books in envelopes and send them to people, but he is not and he will not send you a book because he will never get that far down the path. Somewhere along the line he stopped pretending that he was going to do that, but he definitely has books that he would say: ”Oh, this is for you!” He has often thought about putting a box of books together, take put them under a park bench, and then tweet: ”There is a box of my books under a park bench at this location!” and somebody in Seattle with a beard is going to go find that box.

John’s old professor Jim Clowes (not spelled Jim Claus)… John found a little stack of books that Jim Clowes had, and he did this before he knew he was dying, he put a little book plate in the front that looked like the old card that you would check a book out from the library and write your name down and the date, and John has a lot of decommissioned library books that have that stuff, and some of them are super cool, all these people that checked this book out in the 1930s, and it is just fun to think about. He has a couple of books that are really old, a book from 1857, and the book is trashed, an Almanac, and he just likes the fact that it has travelled from 1857 to here.

He has a book that is written in German and he doesn’t read German, and it is written in Gothic script because it is old enough to have been written in that, a book of German poetry, and he only keeps it around because the date it was published puts this book in a mid 19th century world that he has spent a lot of time thinking about. Imagining this book arriving on the scene in a bookstore in mid/late 19th century Berlin and somebody bought this book then, it conveys John to Berlin in 1880 and he gets to stand there and hold this book and be in Berlin in 1880, which is a thing that he has always wanted if he could time travel and there was no limit to the number of destinations he could pick.

This little stack of books had a book plate from Jim Clowes and it was part of a movement called Sunshine Superman.Com or something, with the goal of the old fashioned thing where you read a book, you write your name inside the front cover, and then you leave the book somewhere and the next person hopefully looks at that and says: ”Oh, cool!” and they read it and they write their name and send it on. It was like a youth hostel thing. You would go to a youth hostel somewhere in Europe and there would be a bunch of really thrashed books, and you open it up and there would be all these people that had read the book and picked it up at a youth hostel somewhere, read it, left it at another youth hostel somewhere. That was cool!

John doesn’t think most of those books survived even a single year because they were heavily trafficked, but you felt like you were part of a fun game, all these people you would never meet. Somehow Jim had this idea, and he didn’t necessarily know he was dying, he was just trying to go through his own library, and go: ”Ha, a paperback copy of Mick Teague? I don't need it and I am going to send it out into the world!” He wrote his name in it, gave it to John, wrote John’s name in it as an incitement for John to do something, but it stayed with John who never read it and never left it somewhere.

John was thinking about putting a little sidewalk library up with books in it and every week he could populate it, like this week it would be only books about Bismarck or this week you got Henry Kissinger and George Soros and there is a great book called Witness to a Century written by a guy in the 1980s who at the time was in his late 90s, a journalist character who had just met everybody, he met Lenin when he was 24, he was there every time, a fun and hilarious book and just need to think about that one person… it is almost like Flashman, he just happened to be there at every event except this was a real guy.

John imagines going out and stocking some little library out in front of his house with all these books, but they would just sit there forever. Who is going to come along and go like: ”Wow I have been wanting to read that animistic book-length interview by and of George Soros!” You want to put fun things in those libraries because people are out for a walk and they have to carry this book all the way home. is for sale, by the way, and the minimum offer is $3000. That is how all these domain squatter people are still making a ton of money, guys our age that are just living off of the domains that they have been squatting in 25 years.

Domain squatting, if only you had bought Bitcoin (RW231)

Dan remembers when domain names didn't cost anything and if you were an Internet provider you could just get them. Then they were $100 and Dan was sitting there one time, his friend ran a dialup ISP, an Internet service provider in Orlando, and it was called MagicNet because the Orlando Magic. It was and they had a really great policy that if a customer who reports that they got a busy signal at any point in time, then they will add five more lines. They had a room with bank after bank of dial-up lines and modems and people getting on the Internet at 2600 baud. At this point in time you might have had to pay or you might have had to show justification, maybe have a business that matched with the name or something, but you could just buy them.

Dan was debating to get,,, all of these were available, but at the time he was probably 22 years old and $100 was a shit ton of money, he was not just going to spend $100, that is outrageous. This was still at the point where if he went out with his girlfriend they would say: ”I will order the Coke, you get a Water and we will just share it because there is free refills at the Applebees!” The idea that Dan would spend $100 on was dumb. Years later he had gotten a domain and he sold that thing for $15-20.000. He could have gotten, but he thought no-one cares about domain names, no-one was even on the Internet.

Now you look at domain names and what they sell for and it is absolutely crazy, even the stupid TLDs that you would not have thought of. Dan went over to Namecheap and typed in Halloween to see what comes up in the list of domain names with prices. is $550.000, $6500, is $5000, that seems high! Even if it is a .co or something that feels mainstream, people will still ask: ”Do you mean .com?” - ”No, I mean .co, it will work!” They could be millionaires if they had gotten those. Half a million dollars for Nobody is buying it, but if they had gotten, or

John could have bought Bitcoin at $0.50. Dan has a Bitcoin investment, he hadn't checked in on it, and it has quadrupled in value! It went from $100 to $400, which is pretty good. He should have invested $10.000 and then he would have a lot more money, but he didn't. The receptionist at Dan’s therapist's office was gone one day and after a few weeks she was back, but she said ”Just for today. I am just helping out!” She didn’t work here anymore, she had a Bitcoin investment and she never needs to work again. It just makes you feel so dumb!

It is not like when Netscape first went IPO and a few people understood what that was and a lot of people didn't, but everyone hears about Bitcoin and you are just standing there watching other people do stuff and you don't want to lose the money and you think if you had invested $100.000 you would have just lost $100.000, not made $5 million. John looked at it and he could have put $3000 into it at the time, but then he was asking himself why he would throw $3000 away, that seemed dumb.

What is mostly depressing about it is how the people that did do it John just doesn’t like. If he had done it he would probably not like himself, and that might be the best explanation of why he didn't do it. If he never had to work again, that would be nice and he could live with that. There are things he would spend his time doing, although life is long and there really aren't that many things to do. What is there really to do? Not that much! We are not meant to do that many things.

We were meant to walk around and look for things to eat and then make and eat those things and have sex and try to fend off anybody that came around looking to steal our food or have sex with our partners, and also fight off animal predators and survive the winter. Those are the things right. Don't drown, don't fall from a great height, don't get burned, don't freeze to death. Keep your shelter from blowing down in a storm, sow some hides together in order to keep you either warm or safe from cat scratches. What else? Express yourself by carving pictures of animals into rocks, whittle little sculptures, little rock penises or fertility goddesses, but that goes back to the having kids thing.

Depending on who you are and what the available resources are, you could be the ones that go raid other villages and steal their food and take their sex away, and those are the ones that started all the problems because then you got to spend more resources protecting against those guys and those people who are doing that are living off of their ill-gotten gains and that is the beginning of resentment. You look at them and go: ”Why did you do that to us? What is your freaking problem?” Up until that point, if you just leave other people alone for the most part, if you don't take the easy route, but that is what Bitcoin is, it is basically trying to figure out a way where you don't have to go hunt, get your own food, and attract your own mates, but you are just going to take them from somewhere and you feel like the people that work real hard are dumb and you are smart for being a stealer or a weadler (?)

But the problem is that for 300.000 that is all we did and now all of a sudden we got all these things to think about. If you had all the money in the world, you just basically have taken care of all those things and what else is there to do? Go to concerts? John can tell you how fast going to concerts gets old. What you end up doing is fucking with people because you have got all the time in the world, all the money in the world, nothing else to do, why not fuck with people? Why not try and box people out of their investments, steal their business, screw with property and screw with nations or the opposite version of that, which is fuck with people in a nice way and go into the village and build a new well.

Somebody is going to write a long set of books one day about all the nice people from San Francisco that went and built wells in villages and that well started a huge problem in that village because the well-meaning person from San Francisco split without taking measure of the fact that there was a balance of power in that village that had lasted for centuries and now the well has thrown that off and the person whose house is closest to the well starts to get a big head or charge an admission fee or whatever. There is always something, you can't throw a tiny pebble into any pond without starting a ripple and we will never know, but there has probably never been an altruistic intervention anywhere that didn't have a ripple-on effect that caused problems. You come into a village and you give them all laptop computers, but what about the person that wasn't there that day or what about the person that just barely didn't qualify?

John's mom's neighbors' house being fixed up (RW232)

There was a woman on John’s mom's street who had lived in her house for 50 years and her next-door neighbor had also lived there for 50 years and they didn't like each other, both were Africa-American. The one woman worked as a nurse and had been a single mother and had raised her kids and she had just barely eked out a living working her ass off to get up above the line, and the other woman in the first woman estimation had been a welfare mother who had never worked, who has sat around watching TV, eating chips, living off of payments and food stamps and everything else and she had raised her kids, but had never worked and had been a drain.

The two of them had this long history with each other and at some point in the 2000s a non-profit group came and because the second woman lived below the poverty line this team of seven tall blonde boys, all in their 20s, who looked like they work for showed up and in the course of a week they put new siding on her home and a new roof and they insulated the home and they transformed this house, which had been falling apart and really dressed it up. You could see that this crew was proud of themselves, they were doing this great work, and the next door neighbor, the woman who had worked as a nurse, was outraged because her house also needed a new roof, her house also needed new siding, but not that much because she worked hard to keep up her property.

She had worked hard to not qualify for this kind of assistance and all of a sudden at the age of 80 she was confronted with the fact that all that work that she had done to stay above she didn't make it onto the list of people that deserved assistance. This happy crew at the end of the time, making this house look great and fixing it up and making it warm and comfortable inside, trundled off to their next altruistic mission. John might have told this story a long time ago, that one guy who does the Wiki would know, or Capn Mariam.

In the end they left behind a real bitterness and the woman who had the work done on her house, when the two women met, taking their garbage out to the curb, smirked at her, or maybe not. It was just a very local example of the fact that no good deed goes unpunished and the idea that we have that there is a very clear line between the needy and the non-needy neglects a huge middle-ground where the assistance that we give the needy, the people that have worked their butts off to stay above that line, they could almost feel punished. That is surely globally true, especially in a situation where there are no resources to swoop in and give even what seems to the Gates Foundation as a tiny improvement, or especially a major improvement. There is not a village in the world that doesn't have 1000 pre-existing conditions, 1000 rivalries and fragile alliances.

Here you got all this money, and what you really should do is just focus on sex. You should just have sex, but how entertaining is that past a certain point and you get to a point where you had it and it can't fill your day.

John is having a little bit of financial anxiety, he realized he was talking to his psychiatrist the other day, and he said something and John suddenly realized: ”You mean when I get a pit in my stomach, when I get butterflies, that is anxiety?” - ”Yes!” Maybe he just never learned to identify it as anxiety. A couple of years ago when he was having anxiety attacks you couldn't ignore it because he was having panic attacks and it was so terrible and he still fears them, but he is a long way from them now. One of his main fears of COVID was not that his life would be threatened, but that it would inspire panic in him. Being unable to breathe is one of the things that sparks it off.

That low level anxiety John always just thinks of as butterflies, a stirring in your mid-section when it feels like you have butterflies in your stomach. John’s psychiatrist went so far as to prescribe him a a blood-pressure medication that he said also was an anxiety reducer because it was a beta blocker and John has hypertension that he tries to control with things. It is not like John walks around with butterflies all the time, but if butterflies are getting in the way of him doing stuff. Here he is, 52 years old, and how is he going to make it? It sounds like he is contradicting what he said earlier, which is that he doesn't worry about thing, and he doesn’t know if it is worry exactly, but he is certainly conscious that there is a future.


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