RW25 - A Pint Glass full of Meatballs

This week, Dan and John talk about:

The show title refers to John trying a healthy diet for a week, but within an hour he was already holding a pint glass full of meatballs in his hand.

It is going really well, John is sitting there, googleing ”Up art versus pop art”, which doesn't really bear any more conversation, it is just what he was doing.

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 Please do not quote these texts directly without applying your own editing first!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

Fizzy water (RW25)

Dan came prepared for the show today and has something he wants John to listen to. He then opens a can of Lacroix Coconut-flavored sparkling water that he wants John to try, but John reacts with: ”Ugh!” Dan thinks there are few things in the world that are purely good and this is one of them. First of all, coconut flavoring is basically the flavoring of suntan lotion. It does taste like you imagine suntan lotion would, but in a good way. You are licking someone's back who has just had suntan lotion applied. If you put coconut on a cake, you are basically putting suntan-lotion flavored fingernail clippings on food.

Dan would have agreed with John most of his life. He was very apprehensive toward coconut until his family did the whole gluten-free Paleo. Now there is a lot of great oils and things you can use, but seven or eight years ago there it was all coconut oil because the Paleo community didn't know about the others because they didn't have the branding and the fame and the publicity to get it out in the world. Where are you going to get beef tallow from? John claims you can get it in any butcher shop in Seattle, but they didn't have those in Oviedo, Florida. The whole idea behind Paleo is that it is old foods. You are supposed to cook in the beef tallow, the duck fat, or the coconut oil. Dan’s wife brought home this coconut oil: ”That is what we are using now!" They were strict paleo for years! Dan had to deal with the coconut head-on for a while and he was very opposed to it and then it started to grow on him and now it is one of his favorite flavors in the whole world.

This is classic Stockholm syndrome. As soon as you say: ”It really had to grow on me over the course of several years…”, it is like metal shavings would grow on you over several years.

Flavored water is neither water, nor is it really a good drink. It is just water which has had like some unpleasant taste in it because it came out of the taps of Atlanta, Georgia, that has been sitting in a holding pond and because it tastes like salt and aluminum, they put some vague taste of coconut or peach pear, which are two things that do not belong together, vague aspartame-flavored essences of these things injected into some fizzy water. It is just too many steps for an end-product that tastes only vaguely like a thing. Just drink water and suck on a lollipop! Even an aspartame lollipop. John just doesn’t see it, but people close to him drink those things by the metric ton, case after case of it!

Merlin drinks 3 half-racks of soda water at a time. He will open a can of soda water, absentmindedly walk around his house, put it down, half-consumed, like John’s dad smoking cigarettes: He would half-smoke a cigarette, put it down in an ashtray, forget it was there, and go light another cigarette. Merlin is like that with those soda cans and down in his garage are 42 half-drunk soda cans because he opens one, goes down in his garage to look for a screwdriver, puts the can down and leaves it. John understands that, it is just unflavored fizzy water and those cans cost $0.15 apiece, by all means! But by a half-rack of them and just throw them out the window because it is basically cheaper than drinking tap water.

Maybe John can understand lemon/lime, which was always Dan’s go to until he found the coconut. You squeeze a little lime on fizzy water, that is as old as trees. But coconut? If John were washed up on a desert island he would develop a taste for coconut and thank the heavens for coconut. This is the natural environment for coconut: Washed up on a desert island or you are a child who is born on a desert island or in a tropical place and the older kids and the adults make fun of you by making you climb up trees and knocking coconuts down. That is a time-honored tradition: Make the little kid go up in the tree, get the coconut which nobody really wants.

Another thing is coconut milk as a base ingredient in Thai food curry. Yes! That needs no further explanation. That is delicious. But John’s ruling on coconut-flavored Atlanta tap water is: ”No, thank you!” Fundamentally in principle Dan agrees with John, but this is maybe an exception to that. Merlin got him on the whole seltzer water cake, he got one of those little machine things with the injector thing. There is something about the contemporary world where filling us full of gas is part of some culinary revolution. Tap water? What are you talking about? That doesn't put enough gas in me!

Something happened with this LaCroix… Dan saw some woman eating alone at the bench in front of the Whole Foods and she had one. Then the next week he started noticing them, they were popping up everywhere and he saw his wife walking around with one of these things. What is going on? Now he started noticing them, perhaps they had been there all along and now Dan’s radar is tuned in to see them and now he sees them everywhere. You start dating somebody who drives a Volkswagen Rabbit and you start realizing there are Volkswagen Rabbits everywhere and you had completely forgotten about them. LaCroix is from Fort Lauderdale, not Atlanta, not that there is much of a difference.

Foods that John doesn’t like, olives, potatoes, Tater Tots (RW25)

John thinks that Dan is obviously compiling a spreadsheet of all the foods that he endorses that John declines. It is only two so far, which is easy to remember in Dan’s head, but they will eventually have to have a long spreadsheet. They will sit down at a long table and Dan can bring out Fluffernutter on a tray and serve John coconut-flavored LaCroix and John will endure it, it will be like the Henry VIII feast, except Henry VIII is a totally deprived, tiny, skinny king, who is being forced to eat garbage food.

John doesn’t like olives, and a bowl of olives, a tray of Fluffernutters washed down with coconut LaCroix, that is going to be a hell of a party. Let's invite all our friend! John also doesn’t eat potatoes. Any kind of potatoes. He will eat a sweet potato before he will eat a white potato. No, mashed potatoes with some fried chicken or something, no French Fries, no potato chips. It is a prejudice against the Irish. They have discovered that John is Irish, mostly. What they assumed was Welsh, they did those genetic tests, and the Rodericks went over to Wales before 1700, but really they are Celts all the way back to before the dawn. So much for John’s Irish racism.

John doesn’t like potatoes because they are a granular, earth-flavored food that has the texture of mushy sand and the only reason that people eat them is as delivery-devices for fat. You are always ladling fat on this dirt-flavored mush. An actual potato is just dirt in a ball and you slice them up and dip them in fat and burn them, so they are burned fat and then you cover them with fat in some fashion, gravy or butter, all this other fat, No thanks! John will just eat a handful of fat if he wants fat. He doesn’t want a ball of dirt covered with fat, and he never did, even from when he was a little kid. You go to a birthday party when you are 5 years old. They just throw fat dirt at you in the form of chips and fries and hash browns.

You stay the night at somebody's house, you wake up in the morning and there are hash-browns. Potatoes everywhere and there used to be even more potatoes in the 1970s because there were only five kinds of food. They are shooting potatoes at you all the time and John never wanted them. Of course everybody wondered: What kind of kid doesn't like potatoes? John never liked them, from the first potato somebody put in his mouth, he was like: ”Why are you putting dirt in my mouth?”

Particularly when macaroni exists, if you are going to put some starch covered with fat in his mouth, why wouldn't he have the delicious macaroni which does not taste or the texture of dirt? Macaroni is just as easy to make as potatoes. To Dan it seems like John has a special relationship with macaroni because he told him on multiple shows that macaroni and cheese seems to be his go-to food. He described how he will make a pot of it and then take the whole pot with a wooden spoon up and eat that in bed.

If John had to pick a way, he would be savory, not sweet. He likes a waffle, but if he had to choose for the rest of his life to either eat waffles and French toast and pancakes for breakfast every morning, or eggs with green peppers, onions and some kind of sausage or bacon or hamburger every morning, he would definitely pick the eggs over the pancakes. You eat pancakes once and then you are good for a month, whereas spicy eggs you can eat any time. On the other hand if you are going to deprive John of late-night cake and ice cream he wouldn’t know what to do. He will eat spicy eggs all day long from morning till night until about 11 p.m. and then he wants cake and ice cream. He doesn’t want sweet foods in the day, but sweet foods are for night when you are holed up in your cave. That is when you eat the pears! You don’t eat the pears in the morning.

When John was a kid in the 1970s there were pork chops, hamburgers, hot dogs. Spaghetti was the one ethnic food that had made it over the wall. John doesn’t want Tater Tots. If he could have a gun that shot Tater Tots he would shoot them all day, sit in his yard and just shoot cooked Tater Tots. Can you imagine if you had a machine gun that shot hot Tater Tots? A machine gun that is hard-mounted to the back of a Toyota HiLux. What if you went to a music festival and you pulled up and you just started shooting hot Tater Tots in the air? All those people that love that kind of thing, shooting them into the crowd at Coachella. You aim them up in the air so the Tater Tots are coming down and you are not just splatting people with it. People are opening their mouths, it is raining Tater Tots. John would like to be the one that is making it rain, but if he were in that crowd an Tater Tots were coming down, he would be highly offended.

John’s health, joking about cancer (RW25)

John probably has four different kinds of cancer. That is not a thing that everybody wants to joke about, but you get to be a certain age and the only thing that you can attribute your problems to is cancer. The cold John had last episode has to just be a symptom of cancer and because John is a middle aged man he doesn’t want to go to the doctor and get diagnosed because you figure you fight it off!

John’s dishwasher having a water-leak (RW25)

The other day there was a water stain on the bottom kick-plate of John’s kitchen, which is not a thing that you normally see, but John was down on his hands and knees, picking something up that his daughter and thrown there. John said: ”Oh, well, that will probably fix itself!” Then the area rug that he keeps on the kitchen floor was a little damp, but maybe somebody spilled some water at the sink. Whatever, it will fix itself! Then he went to New York for a week and when he came back he made a point to look under there and it was wetter. It didn’t appear that it was fixing itself. John put on a head lamp and went down into the basement and it was raining in the basement.

It was determined buy the plumber that John called that the dishwasher, one of the modern conveniences that is meant to relieve us of all this onerous work so that we can all be artists. We don't have to do the dishes anymore, we don't have to iron and starch our shirts anymore, we have all this free time and we are all going to be using Etch a Sketches to design Mandalas, but No! The dishwasher is not saving John any time or money because it has decided to break and is not under warranty anymore, break underneath in an invisible place, and the water did not run out onto the floor, but instead went behind the cabinets and down to soak the basement.

The plumber said he doesn’t fix appliances, but he did make a house call and even though he has only been here ten minutes, normally he would charge $250 for the 10 minutes, but he gave John a discount of $150 dollars for 15 minutes, which is $10 a minute. After the podcast John has an appliance repair person coming who has a 75% chance of telling him that he should buy a new appliance. But maybe the appliance repair person will tell him that it is an easy fix. Now the pots and pans are piling up in the sink, not because John doesn’t hand-wash dishes, but because he had to shut the hot water off to the kitchen in order to keep the broken dishwasher from continuing to flood the basement. Now John got no hot water in there and he could schlep those pans up to the bathtub, but that is terrible and Dan also says it is not sanitary because of the secondary body spray.

Dan visiting South Korea, secondary body spray (RW25)

Dan went to South Korea in like 2000 and they spent about two weeks there, staying with extended family on his wife's side. They really got the experience of visiting South Korea. They didn't stay in a Western style hotel, but they lived essentially with family in their homes the way that they lived, which was very different from anything Dan was used to. You sleep essentially on the floor, not really always with a pillow, just sometimes just laying on the floor with a blanket draped across you. Sometimes they would have a pad, sometimes not. They had a quilt that would go down there, but the floors are heated which is warming to you. Even eating you sit cross-legged on the floor, you don't sit up at a table. They stayed with one family who was a retired colonel and he spoke perfect English. They had a dining room table, a fancy wooden dining room table out of carved wood, it was beautiful, but they said they never use that, it was almost a status symbol rather than something you would actually use.

Their bathrooms, although they might have a shower stall, nobody, and they stayed with multiple different families all across South Korea, multiple different cities: No shower curtains. Right. In the center of the bathroom floor, not just where the shower is, but in the center of the bathroom floor there is a drain and the implication is that water is going to spray everywhere in this whole room and there is just a drain in the center of the room and everything will just roll out right into the drain. They have by the door little flip flops that you put on when you go into the bathroom because it is just a given that the whole floor will be wet from people washing, showering, whatever.

Dan thought it was a fluke the first place he stayed, but the second place was the same thing: No shower curtain! It just stayed that way. If we could convince South Korea to start using shower curtains, this could be a business opportunity. They could come here, show them that they are missing with shower curtains, tear them out of the third world, make them a modern country! They would have their toothbrushes and stuff sitting right out by the sink where everyone in the whole family is showering and spraying, it is getting on everything, they are pooping, and everything is out! The least germophobia person Dan has ever met was his brother in law and he was grossed out by it. Dan didn't want to give away that he was revolted, he was trying to play it cool, bur the brother in law said it was disgusting because of the secondary body spray.

You are there in the open shower and some water is ricocheting off of you, potentially ricocheting off the toilet, mixed with soap and other detritus from your bodies, and then kind of like the bullet that killed Kennedy it takes another turn and then it goes through Governor John Connally and then it hits your toothbrush and all of a sudden diseases spread. Dan is not saying you are going to get sick from this, but make sure you don't think about it when you are in there. The bathroom Dan doesn't think of as a place where you want to bring your dishes to clean them.

John often eating in the bathtub (RW25)

John absolutely takes meals in the bathroom. He eats meals in the bathroom all the time. He walks into the bathroom, closes the toilet and puts his plate of hot food on the closed toilet seat while he fills up the bathtub. He scoots the little table over where he has his magazines full of crossword-puzzles, and then he sometimes will just eat the meal with it still resting on the toilet seat. John doesn’t usually say ”meal” and ”toilet” in the same sentence, but the closed seat of the toilet, even if it has secondary body spray on it, the plate which contains the food protects the food from… John’s sense of germs is not that they crawl or leap. They neither crawl nor leap, and airborne germs are everywhere and the toilet seat is not exuding airborne germs. It is not spraying germs into the air. Maybe they are adhered, maybe you keep your bathroom mostly clean, although John can't really claim that he does.

The transmission of germs to food happens when you don't wash your hands. 99% of the germs that would ever end up in food are from that, and eating in the bathtub is one of the great joys of John’s life. He got a crossword puzzle, he got his novel, his little old bath desk. John is not in the bathroom right now, but he is podcasting from bed again because he is waiting for the appliance repair guy. John got up and changed his sheets today after maybe a week and a half. John doesn’t want to be portrayed here as someone who is living in a hovel with food in his bed and just licking the toilet, but John has been to many places where the bathroom is in the entire enclosure considered a shower and a bathing area.

John once stayed in a in the public housing apartment, a efficiency 1-room apartment in Romanian public housing in the city of Arad, staying with a girl who was living in this building and it was a decrepit building, there were no light bulbs in the hallways, so you had to feel your way down this concrete hallway. Her bathroom was very small, the size of a wardrobe almost, bare concrete walls, not even painted. There was a toilet in there and there was an electric cord that came out of some hole in the wall and draped down and was hung on a hook and that was a light bulb and then the cable continued on to be connected to a hairdryer or something. This entire wardrobe was also a shower. As far as John could tell you were actually meant to sit on the toilet when you showered because there really wasn't even anywhere to stand. That was a situation where John was a little bit insecure because in order to be in this enclosed space you had to have the light on, but with the light on it seemed like you were in a death chamber.

Sitting on the toilet to shower, not that John thought it was a unsanitary, it was comfortable, but these were living conditions… she was a very tidy young lady and John could only imagine what the neighboring apartments were like if anybody in there didn't take care of themselves, or if it was a family of three living in this apartment that was the size of a wardrobe. Maybe if you lived in an apartment in Cabrini Green you would probably have quite a bit more space than this girl had, but if your shower worked it was not an electrocution chamber. John never was in an apartment in Cabrini Green, so he can't say for sure, but American public housing at least was built with enough of a utopian notion in the beginning that maybe the shower was differentiated from the toilet. But in Romania in the 1960s, they were just throwing it up, making concrete forms and figuring that people would live in there, but the people that were designing the building and the people that were human beings were different people or something.

John has been in that exact same situation. In fact, in his GMC RV the entire bathroom is also a shower. Johns thinks of the Korean people as being very bath and hot water oriented. There are the bathhouses, which are very, very, very popular there. It is a regular pastime going to the baths, a combination of saunas, pools, but Dan did not get the opportunity to go to one when he was there, but he probably would have gone if he had had the opportunity.

15 years ago sleeping on a floor wasn't as crippling as it probably would today, but Dan didn't like it, he didn't sleep well on the floor for two weeks. One part of the trip they were in Busan, a beautiful beach town with Hyundai Beach, and of the whole time that they were there, they hadn't spent any money at all on staying anywhere, they were just with family. They had this beautiful, really nice hotel right on the beach and they decided to be tourists in Busan for a couple nights. Dan asked their handler to take them to a hotel and explore the city on their own a little bit, something a little bit nicer, and he said jokingly points over toward the far corner of the island and says: Hyatt! There was this gleaming modern Western building that had become a Marriott, but it was a Hyatt at one point and was the best hotel in town.

It wouldn't be bad to have a respite and a nice night's sleep in a Western style bed after spending a week and a half and on the floor. They went in there and people were all speaking English to Dan when he walked in, which was not what had happened up until that time. If you were not in Etewon (?) by the American Army base there, they might speak English, but they were not going to speak English to you. Dan went in there and the night worked out to be like $80 or $90 for a high floor beach view five-star hotel. In any beach city in the US it would have been at that time probably $500-600 a night. It also comes with a complimentary dinner, drink tickets, and this and the other.

Dan went down to the car and said they were staying here and their handlers looked at him like he had just rented out a multimillion dollar yacht and was staying on that. These were working class folks that they were staying with and the idea of spending 320 KRW a night was: Forget it! They went in and looked at that bad and said: All right, w just rest for a minute and then we will go eat something, and they slept over 12 hours, they didn't even move, get changed, nothing, but they just laid there sleeping. Dan doesn’t think he could do it quite as easily now with his back issues and stuff.

cancer (cont)

John is almost sure that he has 100 cancers, just as payback for the way he lived. Every time he goes into the doctor and ask: ”Do you smoke?” - ”No!” - ”Did you smoke?” This is a new thing that they do now. If you say: ”No!” they check some box and when John was a kid half the time the doctor smoked, sitting there with that little mirror on their forehead: ”Do you smoke?” - ”No, I'm 7 years old!”, but now they say: ”Did you smoke?” and John has to say: ”Yeah, I did” - ”How long did you smoke?” - ”Come on, let’s get off this topic!” - ”How long did you smoke?” - ”Twenty years?” and then they nod solemnly and turn the page to check off a box. This is all going to catch up to you!

John smoked like a fiend! He smoked cigarettes, pot, crack and whatever you could smoke, so that is coming at him. John’s dad had a little skin cancers all the time, even though he always attributed those skin cancers to the fact that he made the world safe for democracy by fighting World War II in the South Pacific. He was a fairer skinned man than John is. John was never in Bougainville, fighting any kind of war for America, but he still feels like probably he is going to get the skin cancers. He is also a middle aged guy and assumes he is going to get prostate cancer. Lung cancer, skin cancer, prostate cancer: Those are just the basic ones that John probably has. Then there is attitude cancer. John is the kind of guy who has done everything that he was not supposed to do to his own body and he is still going to outlive everybody. John hopes that is true, he has always wanted to be 160 years old and have sired 80 kids. He is just getting started.

Sponsor: Mack Weldon (RW25)

Their sponsor is Mack Weldon and John is wearing Mack Weldon underwear right now in bed, underwear which is threaded through and constructed partly out of real silver fibers that are somehow incorporated into the fabric of the underwear, which feels very silky. The silver is meant to neutralize whatever bad things happen in one's underwear, like odors. John got this underwear because he saw that there was this underwear made out of silver and if there is an underwear that he should have, it is underwear literally made of silver. Now he wishes all his underwear were silver, that could probably be arranged. It feels like John is wearing Mithril, the lightweight chainmail that Frodo finds in the hoard of Smaug that protects him against knife wounds. What is more John than garments made of silver thread? It absolutely feels like an elven fabric.

John is not sleeping in it because he sleeps in the altogether. He is a naked sleeper and got up this morning and put on his underwear and T-shirt, which is housedress, he did his morning ablutions, went to the kitchen, didn't know what to do in the kitchen, left the kitchen, read the news, and then came back to bed to do the podcast, but still attired in his garments of silver. John is assuming that everybody has their special pair of underwear. Dan has a series of underwear that he would consider to be better than the rest, but no individual pair.

John has always had at least one pair of special underwear and until very recently it was a pair of boxer shorts with a very elaborate floral pattern. He knew when he had the flower boxers on that he was headed out into the day and he had a little bit of a confirmation bias: If the day went well, he attributed it to the flowered underwear, and if the day went poorly, he tried to forget that he was wearing the flowered underwear because he didn't want to think that they didn't have a little magic in them. Now his Mack Weldon silver sugar-pants are absolutely the bullet-proof underwear that he wears to the special events and so far it all turned out just as well as he could expect. The only problem is he only has one pair of the silver underpants and he can't be so protected all the time. He has to save them for when they are really needed.

John went to Costco a couple of years ago and they had Champion brand underpants on sale and John bought a whole shelf of them because: Why not have all the underpants? This is a tradition among certain types of people, and it spread to more and more of us: You have a certain utilitarianism when it comes to certain items of your daily project. For John for a while it was underwear and all his underwear were going to be the same. His mom has it with socks, she just buys 40 pairs of the same socks and never has to think about it again. Every pair of socks John has is different, but for whatever reason all his underwear should be the same. Now he has these Mack Weldon underpants, which almost feel like they should have their own drawer and John is gradually realizing that these Champion underwear, he needs to put them in the Tater Tots cannon and get them out of his life.

What surprised John is that the Mack Weldon company has decided that they only make underwear, T-shirts and socks. They are not trying to put any collars on their shirts, they are not trying to get into the pants business, but they are confining their area of expertise, which John admires greatly. It makes a lot of sense to John, too.

At Dan’s second job out of school there was this one guy and Dan was talking to him at the office and said he has a dentist appointment to do another filling, and the one guy says he never had a cavity, he just brushes his teeth, that is all. His secret is that he buys the hardest toothbrush that he can, brushes as hard as he can for as long as he can take it, and he has done this for 20 years. That is everything we know to be wrong about how to take care of your teeth, and yet that guy there had no cavities. John had a lifetime of pushing his body to the extremes and he will walk away unscathed from it and won't die until he is bored.

John has a new lady friend (RW25)

John got a new lady friend who has no cavities. He doesn't think she brushes her teeth that much. She is John’s special lady.

Having cavities, eating healthy (RW25)

When John was growing up in Alaska they always told themselves, or the legend on the street was that if you just a muktuk your whole life you are never exposed to sugar and you would never get cavities. This is whale blubber and if you just chewed on muktuk all the time, it wouldn't give you any tooth decay and so the old pre-contract Eskimos never had any kind of tooth problems, but then they were introduced to Western food and all of a sudden it all came apart because they were just eating American food and it was no good for them.

They would tell themselves we should all have just a muktuk diet, but of course that is not what you want. You can have strong gums and shitty teeth, you can have strong teeth and shitty gums, or you can be one of the lucky ones that have strong teeth and strong gums and you can just live your life and eat coconut and Tater Tots all day and never suffer any ill consequences, or you can be somebody that religiously brushes their teeth and always has and still gets cavities because God likes some people and not others. That is what it comes down to.

Some bizarre things have happened to Dan since he went essentially gluten free and stopped eating and kind of processed food and he doesn’t really eats food with sugar in it that much. Dan’s hairline was thinning and receding slowly and that completely stopped, he was hypoglycemic and that stopped, allergies stopped being there. When he was at the dentist they said they were going to put a watch on C17, put a watch on this, basically saying like it looks like he was going to get a cavity in there.

Progressively each time Dan would come back and some of the watches would convert to cavities and other ones that weren't yet watches would now be watches. That was a very regular thing, even though Dan was brushing and flossing. Then he went Paleo for a few years and they stopped finding new watches and then they would take watches off of some of the other teeth. Apparently your teeth can re-mineralized themselves because they are bone, they are living things, they are not dead stomps in your mouth, and the last time Dan went in there were no watches, down from seven watches. He is not brushing or flossing any different. Your teeth can come back.

The first time Dan met John in person at XOXO three years ago John had said he had been gluten free for a while now until recently because it was his birthday and he had a whole bunch of pizza. He was feeling like shit, though and gluten continues to make John feel like shit, but just because something makes him feel like shit has never impeded him from pursuing that thing and gluten reliably makes him feel like shit, so he knows what he is getting into. He is going to eat this and then he is going to feel like shit. Like all things that affect Future John, Present John does not and traditionally has never taken Future John’s feelings or the convenience of Future John into consideration when making decisions about Present John.

Past John has never ever considered Future John. Present John of the moment, sitting here talking to Dan with no looming decisions about the condition of Future John, but as soon as John is done and headed down the stairs, he immediately begins taking Future John into consideration or not. In the small ways it is: ”Do I replace the toilet paper on the roll because it is out? Does that benefit me now? No! I just used the last of the toilet paper. I am leaving the bathroom and let Future John worry about it when he has to go to the bathroom!”

In many ways John despises Future John, just based on the way he treats him. When he says: ”I would like a piece of chocolate cake, it is one of life's great pleasures!”, for sure there is a momentary consideration of Future John and how he is going to feel about it, and even beyond that Future Future John who is looking one day into the mirror because he is incredibly vain, and he is going to say: ”God, I am so fat!” But Present John doesn't care about either of those guys. In some ways he laughs at them and says: ”Ha! Fool! I eat this cake to spite you!” John routinely makes those decisions just cavalierly because Present John is a greedy little snot. John is gluten-free in principle, and for a while a couple of weeks ago he was meat and lactose free.

John’s new lady friend (cont)

This is all at the behest of John’s special new lady friend. She lives on this food system that in some ways boggles John’s mind. They will go into a restaurant and she will order a glass of hot water and then some some salad leaves which she doesn't finish. ”Leave the pomegranate seeds off of it because they are full of sugar!” and then she will have a little tuna fish sometimes, but this absolutely satiates her: A glass of hot water and tuna fish on salad.

Having a choice to pursue a healthier diet (RW25)

For a week John was avidly pursuing this diet and it was amazing because Present John at the time was really into the experimentation and: ”Let's try this!” because Present John is very adventurous. But then, when John was left to his own devices Present John reverted to his old self immediately and within hours he had a pint glass full of meatballs and Future John was left to suck it. Present John was looking at Past Jon and saying: ”Yeah, you were pretty virtuous!”, but Present John is full of contempt for every other John, contemptuous of Past John or Future John, he is terrible! Present John is just terrible! John has a very little admiration for him.

Dan says that if this was important to John he could make a change, but this is one of those things that people say about alcoholics: ”Your alcoholism is affecting your kids, it is ruining their lives, if they were important to you, you would stop drinking!” Of course the alcoholic's love their kids just as much as the Russians love their kids, but the alcoholism trumps it, it trumps everything. That is not to say that you love alcohol more than your kids, you love kids more than anything, but the alcoholism somehow causes you to continue to make awful decisions, even in the face of consequences.

This is one of the crazy things about being a drug addict: No one ever gets better because of consequences. People quit drinking, people wreck their car, and they will say: ”That is it! I am done!”, but that never lasts. Maybe one out of 10.000 people has the willpower to just draw a line in the sand and say: ”The end!” and they white-knuckle even for the rest of their lives. John may be one of those people. He just drew a line in the sand and is able to exert such a tremendous amount of willpower in spite of the fact that we are not really pursuing a path of spiritual health. He was able to stop doing drugs just out of sheer force of will, but that even isn't a result of consequences, but more of an expression of furious self-abnegation or furious power over oneself.

There was no part of John’s decision to stop drinking and doing drugs that was based on the wreckage of his life at the time. It was much more like: ”I clearly need to stop this! There are a lot of ways this can go and I am just going to do it to just say: Fuck you! to everybody!” You look at the people who just wrecked their whole lives, their family falls apart, they end up living on the streets, they die of cirrhosis, and all those consequences are evident to them. They are aware of it, but their present self hates their future self or some component of that insanity where the present self takes the future self not into consideration at all, or only to say: ”Go to hell!” That is what is so heartbreaking about drugs: The sadness compounds.

They are aware that they have screwed up their family and they are aware that they are distant from their children and that they have served them poorly, and they are also aware that all of their rationalization about it is horse-shit. That is why they are so apparently liars. When you ask them: ”How could you do this to your family?” - ”Well, I am trying to get back on… I am going to come back one of these days and I am going to make it all right. I was really dealing with a lot of stuff right then.” They are just churning all this bull, and they know it and you know it, but they just can't be honest because it is too ugly to look at it.

You don't do that to yourself and not know, but you can't stop and you can't understand. You can't explain why you would ruin your family, it defies explanation. John is sitting here white-knuckling it, he is not in danger of using drugs or alcohol, but he sure as shit is going to have a piece of chocolate cake tonight because that still governs him, that mentality of just: ”The future is imaginary and I do not care how this plays out! I am going to go into this and explode in a ball fire!” It defies reason. You cannot apply reason to it somehow because it is all emotional.

John is seeing this gal, she is content with a glass of hot water and some seeds. She doesn't even eat nuts or legumes, but she will eat seeds. This is hilarious to John because he often denigrates vegetarians or vegans by saying that they eat birdseed, but literally if you put birdseed in front of her in a bowl, she would eat it like the Road Runner. She goes like great gangbusters. She would climb a flagpole right now if you put some birdseed on the top of it. She didn't instigate in the sense that she said: ”Why don't you try this diet with me?”, but it was more in the spirit of exploration, but also in the sense of: ”All right, we are going to spend this week together. Do I sit across the table from you eating big piles of meat and gravy and both-face your food-virtue?”

The only way John would be able to do that is either guiltily, and he prefers not to live in a state of guilt, or aggressively, just like: ”Waiter, more hamburgers!” and while she is roadrunnering her lunch, he would be sitting there just wallowing with all of this arrogance and ego. It would be so much easier to just order what she orders and see what happens and how it affects John. It was amazing, there was no denying it. John could survive on that if that was all that was available to him. He would be better, frankly, but he set an expiration date on it. She lives in San Francisco, but she knew because John copped to it and said he was going to have dim sum with his friends, but he didn’t eat any of the pork dim sum, just the shrimp ones, so it was still within the category.

Dim sum are just little fat-soaked salt balls! Then John had some Pho and you are not going to get vegetarian Pho. 80% of the Vietnamese restaurants are just going to give you beef-water anyway and say this is vegetarian. Sure it is! You can put some vegetables in some hot water, but who believes that? Most countries in the world, if you say: ”Can I have some vegetarian food?”, they say: ”Yeah, sure!” and they bring you a whole chicken because chicken is vegetarian. It was a very short time before John had a pint-glass of meatballs in one hand and a chocolate cake in the other and he was like: ”Wow, that wasn't even a slide, that was just a precipitous plummet into this diet, which immediately made me feel bad and awful!”

The next time they saw one another, John was ostensibly eating what she was eating, but he was sneaking off to have hamburgers and they went into some vegetarian restaurant and he ordered a tuna salad and the tuna had olives in it, which wasn't on the menu and John used that somewhat as an excuse to feel like everyone was lying to him. It is all just this emotional insanity. When you ask John: ”Are you gluten-free right now?” - ”Who knows!”, ”No!” is the answer, but John is not just eating like a normal person, he is not eating like an American thoughtlessly. Everything he puts in his mouth he got five or six complicated feelings about.

John’s food situation when growing up (RW25)

John has some version of body dysmorphia in a bad way because when he was a kid his mom fed him precisely the amount of food that was necessary to keep him going, no more, no less. They didn't have a lot of money and she was a depression baby and had both frugality and also a lot of suspicion about ”plenty”. She didn't trust ”plenty”. The whole family, John’s sister, his mother and he shared a box of macaroni and cheese. Why would you eat to excess? Then John moved in with his dad in 1978 and he knew only: ”You should have everything all the time!” He was one of these epicureans, but not in the sense that he loved good food, just that he loved all food.

All of a sudden John said he wanted macaroni and cheese and his dad was not going to eat macaroni and cheese, so John was faced with a plate with the entire box of macaroni and cheese, which is seven ounces of food, this abundance John never faced before. In 5th grade John got pudgy. He had never been pudgy before, he was one of these lean little kids. Lean and mean, a scrappy youth, a scrappy toe-headed precocious child, and all of a sudden if you look at his 5th grade class photo he is wearing a very cool black Rayon shirt with a large collar and little Moons, Saturns and spaceships on it. John got this fat head all of a sudden and doesn’t look like himself!

From that moment on, halfway through his 5th grade year, John never looked at himself since that time without saying: ”You are fat!” from 5th grade to the present day he never not looked at himself and said: ”You are kind of gross!” There have been multiple times throughout the years where John was not fat. He was 3rd sexiest man in Seattle and in a lot of ways he was just gorgeous, but at the time he was gross, fat, and misshapen. Now, 47 years old, John can still kind of squeeze into the suit that he wore to junior prom. He is doing okay. But he still looks at himself and goes: ”Yuck. You are a big undifferentiated blob!”

It got in John’s head when he was in 5th grade and there is this dysmorphic sense of whatever one gets out of thinking that one is fat or gross and he has been wallowing in that the entire time. Every time he sees a very fit actor or model he measures himself against that person and has that self-denigrating way of talking about himself to other people when they say: ”Hey, you look great today!” - ”Not really! I am an old beat up fat pile of trash!” and in most cases, people go: ”Aha, okay. well, bye!" That doesn't make anybody feel any better. The impulse is to set everybody at ease or to turn the spotlight off of you, or some kind of impulse to not accept a compliment, which is a huge problem in our culture that nobody is able to accept a compliment gracefully and John is not either.

John sings this whole song about: ”Thank you for saying a nice thing, but really if you knew what a monster I am you wouldn't be praising me!” - ”Well, this has been a great conversation. Hope you make it!” John looks at himself in that light, it is not that people don't find him attractive, but when he looks at himself in the mirror, it is: ”Ugh!” Sitting here talking to Dan, John doesn’t feel this way because he is Present John. He got two pistols in the air! But some Future Present John… there are a couple of different Present Johns, the one that stands on top of the ski hill and says: ”You only live once! Into the breach!” and then there is the Present John says: ”I should be back in the lodge having whipped cream on top of my hot chocolate!”

Living a virtuous lifestyle (RW25)

It is the willpower thing, the clenched fists of determination where John has said he is pursuing an exercise program now. There have been multiple times in his life, the last time was 2006 where he decided he was going to go to the YMCA every day. It was a two mile walk, he would walk the two miles to the YMCA, he would go on the stationary bike for 15 minutes and then he would lift weights for 45 minutes and walk the two miles home. John did it for four months, probably, but as far as even four months in, feeling: ”This is my new life and and I couldn't live without this!”, like Hodgman said to John the other day: Ever since he started exercising, it was really hard for a while, but then he got into a place where now he would physically feel bad if he failed to get exercise.

John was listening to him talk and thought: ”Yeah, that feeling bad is just another way of feeling!” John did this exercise thing for four months every day and then one day he won't and then the second day he won't and then: ”Fuck it, I never do it again!” And that is true of every diet John has ever done, every routine he has ever done. He will decide he is going to wake up at 8am every the morning and he will manage to do it for two or three months, but then little by little it is 8:15, 8:45, 9:15, and pretty soon he is waking up at 11:00 again. In some ways, waking up at 10:45 or 11:00 is just natural for John. That is not a thing he has to try to do, obviously. It isn't a thing that anyone would try to do: Stay up until 4:00am and sleep until 11:00. No one is going to pursue that.

If John had a job where he had to be at work at noon and got off work at at 9:00pm and it made sense to stay up until 4:00 and sleep until 11:00, he would probably resist it. If he was a late night taxi driver or if he was working some shift that ended at 3:00am, he would be mad about it and stay up till 7:00am because it is: ”Go to sleep when you are tired!”, not: ”Go to sleep at a time!” That is John’s instinct.

Everybody is definitely put on a different program as far as when they get tired, when they want to wake up and a lot of the time we are not allowed to keep that particular schedule. In America for sure waking up early is seen as the better thing and if you slept in late it is seen as lazy. All these things that we think of as virtues, and this is a conversation that John has with his new special lady friend because she pursues a very virtuous life. She exercises religiously, even compulsively, she eats this spectacularly monastic diet, she works hard, she plays hard, and in every way virtue is imbued in everything she does. You could not criticize, there is not even any implied criticism that would stick to her response to all of these areas of life where there is a potential for vice. You can be a glutton, you can be a sloth, the seven deadly sins, and in every one of those areas she is above reproach for the most part.

Those seven deadly sins, every one of them John takes into consideration, he takes them under advisement, and a certain amount of sloth never hurt anybody. John is trying to push the envelope on them and see just exactly how much sin he can afford himself without descending into some kind of decrepitude. He spends a lot of time considering each of those in a silo, but he very seldom takes the way long view and say: ”What are these seven deadly sins? Is it true that were I to pursue a purely virtuous life where I woke up at 4:50am because nobody could argue with 4:50…” Even 5:00 a.m there are going to be some people.

Sometimes John is out on the freeway at 4am because he is returning from some adventure. At 2:45am there is nobody on the road. John can drive 95mph, straddling two lanes on a six lane freeway, driving like he was in the Indianapolis 500. He takes every corner according to the best line, irrespective of the way that the lanes are marked. He will come around a big corner and will be on the inside line and make his turn when it is most efficient and cross all six lanes of traffic at a diagonal to to make the next corner at the inside. Because: ”Who can stop me? There is not a living soul on the road!” The troopers aren’t out at that hour because why would they be? Every once in a while, a guy will go by him at 120mph on a speed bike, because the speed bike guys know that just as John does that this is their moment to shine.

All John can do is tip his hat to them. ”Here is your time! I am doing the same thing. I am completely free!”, but by 4:45am-5:00am the roads are full of people again. Who are they? Where are they going? What time did they wake up to already be in their car with their cup of Starbucks headed somewhere at 5am? They have to be a work at 6:00? What world do they populate where they are off at 3pm and they are taking their dry cleaning somewhere? They have these laurels of virtue and John is straggling out of the house at 11:15am, he might as well be smoking a chair root for all of the virtue. He might as well be going on his way to rob a supermarket. The angels up in heaven are just wagging their fingers at him like Bernie Sanders, but where did it come from? Did John just get put on this earth as a some hibernating bear, somebody that has too many Neanderthal genes and it just doesn't comport with all of these people that have more UFO genes?

All of these 5am people just have more UFO in their genes than those of us that are really from Earth, golems made of mud, clawing our way out of our old dens. John doesn’t reflect big picture enough that he has a philosophy of life that he can really stand behind and counter this philosophy of life what feels like self-denial. When John goes to France and everybody is sitting around smoking cigarettes and spilling wine on their pants, he doesn't really feel akin to them either, mostly because it is so smug.

What is John’s purpose on Earth? (RW25)

What is John meant to do besides swinging a broadsword, which isn't a skill set that is really called upon in modern times. If you handed John a battle-axe and said: ”Go over this treeless incline and fight the Scots for control over these sheep fields!” he would know exactly what to do. Go fight the Scots! Heathens! But but there is no call for that and John is just leading some tribe of dingelings. Not one of us has a battle ax. John hasn’t sat in a mud puddle and chewed on a leg of mutton except maybe five or six times in his life, and that is probably his natural state. He never felt more comfortable! When somebody was like: ”What are we going to do with all this mutton that we burned in a hole in the ground?” (see RL15)

Running for office was absolutely an experiment. He knew that he was not going to do that forever. It was a thing he was going to go do for two years, which is a long time to wake up at 6:30am, but every day would be a new experience and probably the last nine months that he was in office people would be complaining about his tenure, but for every 6am meeting that he missed he would have been out at some cultural event and they would just recognize that he was a certain kind of politician and not a wonk (?).

John knew it was an experiment, he knew he was taking this on, and running for office ended up being an experiment, just as getting elected to office would have been. John had no illusions that he was going to suddenly be transformed and be somebody that was up there swinging a gavel at 6:45. That was never going to happen. Maybe the voters of Seattle recognized that intuitively and said: ”Look, When there IS a job opening for battleaxe-swinger and mutton-chomper, you are our guy, but we don't need that right now, we need a port commissioner.” They probably didn’t think that thought that far, he just didn’t get a couple of endorsements that he needed.

Traditionally there needed to be a lot of farmers and some farmers end up being better merchants, and so there needed to be merchants, and there needed to be workers, and workers typically make a clear distinction between the work that they do during the day and their own time, their free time and their fun time. Those things are clearly delineated and they don't prefer the work time, they prefer the pleasure time, but the work time is really just as important as the pleasure time, if only to cast the pleasure time in such a positive light. There are so many people who do that every day and even if they resent the work mightily they make no effort to change it. There are so many ways to live where you don't have to resent your work all day, but the majority of people do it because it works for them even just to have their nights and weekends.

They are all doing what is native to them, even if it is just that they never thought differently it doesn't mean that it isn't native. The farmers are probably the hardest working of all people because their job is never done. John’s mom was talking to him yesterday about the canning that they used to do. They started canning in June and they canned different things. In the fall they were canning vegetables and fruit, but in the spring they were canning chicken. They would slaughter 100 chickens and sit in an assembly line, the men out in the garden chopping the heads off of chickens, and the women then parboiling them, cleaning them, and stuffing them into jars and then boiling the jars so that they could fill the basement full of chickens in jars. All of this work, all of this canning that happened all summer long just in order to survive the winter. Canning was only however many hundred years old and before that all winter long you were growing and preserving things, smoking things and then burying them in the ground, just to survive the winter.

You absolutely also needed people to defend the perimeter, and there are certain people that are just made to defend the perimeter. You get that vibe off of them immediately and there is so little work for them to do now. Oftentimes the people that become professional police officers are soldiers that are meant to defend the perimeter and then there are plotters and officers meant to command the soldiers. If you are living well you have figured out which one of these people you are and you pursue it, and there are a lot of people that are soldiers that aren't meant to be. They are really farmers and there are a lot of officers that aren’t native officers, they just klutzed their way into this job.

Then there are the people that are meant to walk away from the town and walk out into the forest. And that is not a thing you can fake. Nobody walks out of the village into the forest and keeps walking unless they want to. That is not a job that you undertake because you have some misinformation. There are a lot of people that do it who are operating on a fantasy about what is happening out there, and they come back all bruised and licking their wounds and try to assimilate. But whatever that impulse was to go out there is real and the whole town needs those people. You need the ones that go out because they are the ones that come back and say: ”You wouldn't believe the acorns that are just four miles away! Why did we build the village here?” or whatever they do? They come back with a bunch of pelts and they say: ”Here are the pelts. Give me some acorns. I will give you these pelts!”

All this stuff is just native to us and in our contemporary society we don't do enough. We spend a lot of time saying: ”You need a college education in order to get a job and the best way to get a job is to major in the sciences and the best way to major in the sciences is to major in the computer sciences or engineering or be a doctor!” All these people that are a undifferentiated mass, who really just want to work and play on the weekends, go into these things because we are spending so much time over the top of it, over-explaining.

We put this architecture over the top of our native selves and we have said these: ”This is virtue and this is vice!” and all the people that aren't really pulled to leave or pulled to do a certain kind of work all congregate over here in the virtue category. They did pretty well in school and work to be an engineer, but what they really want to do is X. There is this rampant dissatisfaction and the work that we need done isn't getting done. Nobody is guarding the perimeter, except these guys with criminal justice degrees. John doesn’t even know what that is! Somebody who is made to guard the perimeter knows what to do. They don't need a criminal justice degree. Fake degree!

Silly ending

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