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Am I making unethical sandwich decisions? Am I a sucker for not cheating in school? Do we need drive-thru reform? Why do farts smell worse in the shower? And more!

 Intro (00:00)

Hank: Hello and welcome to Dear Hank and John.

John: Or as I prefer to think of it, Dear John and Hank.  

H: It's a comedy podcast about death where my brother John and I answer questions, we bring you dubious advice, and we'll bring you this week's new from both Mars and AFC Wimbledon. The AFC Wimbledon news this week--

J: Hank it is a big big big big AFC Wimbledon news week. The biggest one ever.  

H: Yeah and you're just going to have to wait, though. All of you people listening, to the end of the podcast, because we can't tell you. We have to do all the question stuff, which I know is the boring stuff that nobody's here for. They're just really here for the AFC Wimbledon news. John--

J: I actually think this week they will be pretty pleased and surprised and excited about the AFC Wimbledon news.  

H: It's pretty freakin' cool. But first I have to ask you, John, how are you doing?

J: I'm doing great, entirely because of the AFC Wimbledon news that for some reason I am not allowed to talk about until the end of the podcast. I have thought about nothing else all day. How are you?

H: I believe you. I'm good, I'm in Los Angeles. It's actually a little chilly. But I do like it chilly, so I'm not complaining. And I've gotten to see so many cool people in the last two weeks. I'm just so pleased to be a part of this community of creators and I just think it's so fascinating and I love talking to them and I'm just such a fanboy. It's so cool to be both a fanboy and a creator and for people to, like, want to talk to me even though I mostly just am a fan. And they're like, "let's have conversation about-- It will be useful to both of us." And I'm like, "yes, sure, I'm sure it will. But really I just want to talk about how great you are and how I like the content you make." So it's been really fun and I'm going to make at least two videos out of the stuff I've collected while I'm here and I'm excited for both of them.

J: Well I am thrilled for the fact that you're in Los Angeles on my behalf so I don't have to be there.

H: Yeah I mean, there are lots of bad parts about it. Mostly the getting from one place to another. You know I thought that it was that the traffic in LA was bad, but it's really just that it's gigantic. The traffic can actually be quite good but it's still takes like 45 minutes to get somewhere because its just a very big place.  

J: Also the traffic is terrible. Would you like a short poem for the day?  

H: Yeah, tell me all about it.  

J: I thought I'd read you another haiku by Richard Wright. I liked the last Richard Wright haiku so much and I like this one so much. Written right at the end of his life, when he was living in exile in Paris, he wrote:

Burning out its time
and timing its own burning
one lonely candle.   

H: Oh yes, yeah. I liked it.

J: Just one little beautiful haiku at the end of life. 

H: That was great. High quality.

J: I know, that Richard Wright, he could do a lot of different things. Great non-fiction writer. Great novelist and turns out, a pretty darn good haiku writer.  

H: I know nothing about this person.  

J: What do you mean you don't know anything about Richard Wright? Of course you know something about Richard Wright.  

H: What do I know about him?  

J: I mean....  

H: I'm Googling right now.  

J: I'm fairly certain that you read a Richard Wright novel in high school like Native Sun or his memoir Black Boy. I'm pretty positive that every American high school student has to read at least one Richard Wright book.  

H: Well I will say that despite what I may have been required to read in high school, I didn't read all those books. 

 Question One (3:33)

J: Alright, well let's just answer some questions from listeners before I start getting mad at you for all of the things you haven't read.

H: Alright, we've got a lot of good questions here John. Do you want to start with a fun one or a serious one?  

J: Fun!  

H: Oh, John. This may be my favourite Dear Hank and John question of all time. It's from Sam who asks: "Dear Hank and John. I work at Subway and sometimes I worry about the health of my customers, especially children. I assuage this by giving customers light mayonnaise when they don't specify what kind of mayonnaise they want or giving them far more spinach than lettuce when they ask for both. Is it wrong of me to sneak these healthier options into customer's sandwiches if they don't know about it?"

J: Wow, that's a great question.

H: I don't know how to feel about you Sam. You're a little sneaky. Sneaky Subway Sandwich Artist Sam.  

J: Hank, as you know, my wife is also a former Subway employee.  

H: Aren't you also a former Subway employee?  

J: I was never a Subway employee. I think that you're mixing it up. I'm a frequent Subway customer. It's a common mistake but...  

H: Okay, okay. I will also say, John, that I am a frequent Subway customer and in fact the guy who, Ethan, who works at my Subway he may... I'm pretty sure he's fan so he may be listening right now. Hello Ethan, if you're out there.  

J: I have to say a well made Subway sandwich is so much better than a poorly made Subway sandwich that first off, I value Sam's seriousness about his work. I also value the fact that he uses more spinach than lettuce, even though spinach is more expensive. I don't know if his manager has told him that but the manager in my Subway definitely has and I don't think if there are no specific requests for kinds of mayonnaise, I think it's fine to use light mayonnaise if you think that's the better mayonnaise for the sandwich.

H: I don't think that I do John.

J: And it's fine to use more spinach if you think that's better for the sandwich. 

H: Right.

J: I don't think, Sam, that it is your place to make other people's health decisions.

H: Yes. I think that the light mayonnaise at Subway and the mayonnaise mayonnaise at Subway are not even close to the same thing. If I ask for mayonnaise I know what I'm asking for and it's not the light mayonnaise, which is a very different thing.

J: I'm looking up...

H: It's like if I asked for mayonnaise and they gave me ketchup, they are that different.

J: Really?

H: They are very, deeply--or like ranch dressing instead of mayonnaise. It's just not the same.  

J: Okay, light mayonnaise has 50 calories and 5 grams of fat. Mayonnaise... regular mayonnaise has... oh my... 110 calories and 12 grams of fat. So it really isn't the same thing.  

H: No it is not, and also its a fairly significant contribution to the health of your customer. But, and maybe its okay to sort of feign the fact that you made a mistake if they come back and were like, "What did you do?" and then you have to throw the sandwich away. And if it's a child especially, they probably aren't going to be able to tell because children have just notoriously no connection with reality. I do not understand them at all. But, I do think that it's somewhat problematic to be, sort of, making the health choices of other people for them. And I think that--

J: Right to use an extreme example, without being their doctor, you for instance don't know if maybe they've been told they need to get much, much more fat into their diet for some reason. So, I think that obviously that's unlikely, but its not impossible, so I don't think it's your place to make other people's health decisions, or in fact, to judge the food that they're eating.

H: Right, right, no yeah, and I do... that's sort of my bigger problem with this is like, the way that we judge other people for the way that they eat is, I think, problematic. But if somebody asks for spinach and you give them more, they can always take it off but I don't think--many people wouldn't complain about having more spinach on their Subway sandwich. In fact, usually I am wondering why I got so little.  

J: Yeah, I always have to guiltily ask for more. I've actually started to offer an extra quarter in exchange for a proper amount of spinach.    

 Question Two (08:00)

J: Alright Hank, our next question comes from Janine who asks "Dear John and Hank, despite my university having a strict honor code, a lot of students cheat on homework and tests. On the one hand I know these students are missing out on getting the most out of their educations but on the other hand, their cheating hurts me because class grades are often curved depending on class averages. Especially if I won't be able to directly apply what I'm learning outside of an academic setting, how can I come to terms with the people around me getting higher grades than I do when they aren't grappling with the material? Do they deserve these high grades if they can  successfully cheat and not get caught? Am I just a sucker for not figuring out how to play the system?"

J: So let me submit that you are asking many different questions, that have different answers. Are you a sucker for not figuring out how to play the system? No. They are suckers for spending money on a college education that is not educating them. Do they deserve these high grades if they can successfully cheat? Of course they don't deserve the high grades. How can I come to terms with the people around me getting higher grades than I do when they aren't grappling with the material? I would answer that question by saying that grades don't actually matter very much and grappling with the material matters a lot. So, to me that's how you come to terms with it.

H: Yeah I mean...  

J: I don't think that it's your moral obligation to turn those people in.   

H: No I agree with that. But I also think that like we have this structure in our education system that makes us think that the grade is the most important thing and in a lot of ways it is but mostly on the way to university it doesn't matter. Mostly it's a... it's like judging you to make sure that you are placed into university and can get scholarships if you need them but once you're there, this is not about the letter that you end up with at the end of the semester, this is about you learning and being a better person and gaining that knowledge and insight.

And I think that its more important that you struggle and that you, you know, you even maybe talk to your professor about the success and perils of your struggle and like... and... you know, depending on what you're studying of course, this is all very different stuff. The, like, the knowledge and the connection between you and your professors is going to be just by the virtue of you progressing and struggling is going to be more significant than your peers who are just coasting. And, you know, using whatever tools they can to get that letter bigger. Yeah I...  

J: The letter is... you know as someone who hires a lot, I just don't buy the argument that the letter is very important. I just don't think GPA's are very important. I think that where you go to college is like slightly important. I think that what you study is slightly important. But I think in the end, it's about skill sets and, you know, being able to contextualize yourself and understand social cues and work in teams and lots of things that frankly, college isn't very focused on in most cases.  

H: I've never looked at a GPA while hiring. Ever, ever, ever.   

J: I have no idea if any of these people even graduated from college to be honest with you.  

H: Yeah. I was recently surprised to find that one of the, maybe the highest person at our company that isn't me and John, I don't believe graduated from college. And, one of the highest people didn't graduate from high school.   

J: Right, I think that there is a kind of an equivalent experience category when it comes to applying for jobs. That said, I still think that it's best to go to college and complete it in the vast majority of cases.

H: Yeah, absolutely.

J: And the statistics are with me, although less and less each year as college becomes less and less reasonable but yeah...

H: In terms of its cost you mean by reasonable?

J: Less and less reasonable by cost. Yes. I think that it remains reasonable in terms of valuing reason.

 Question Three (12:18)

Alright Hank we have another question, this if from Katherine. She writes: "Dear John and Hank, In 2009, John made a video about the stimulus plan that was going to be signed into action by the president on February 16th that same year. I was wondering: how has this affected us? Has it worked? Has it hurt or helped us? What has happened since then?" That's a great question.  

H: Oh god! I don't know.  

J: I do!  

H: You know? You tell me John. You tell me.  

J: Okay. So it is very hard to find economists who do not acknowledge that the stimulus plan, which was called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, was a success in the sense that it probably lowered the basement of the recession. In fact,  the stimulus plan has been used in lots of conversations among economists since then as evidence for the Keynesian economic model, in which, during recessions, governments offset decreases in private spending by increasing public spending. Lots of economists have been like, "Look it worked, it pretty clearly worked. This is as close as we can get to a real world example of the Keynesian economic model working." Now of course the other side of the Keynesian economic model--that the governments spend less during periods of growth--is the part that nobody wants to embrace... right? Like because that's the part where you have to be like, "Oh things are going well, we're going to spend less money and just keep it in a lock box somewhere for when things aren't going well." That's a little bit of an unfair oversimplification of Keynesian economic theory--

H: What a surprise!

J: --and also I should note that I'm not an economist. I was, however, the 3rd best C Student in economics when I was in 11th Grade at the Alabama State Academic Decathlon.  

H: *laughing* That's not nothing.  

J: Did the stimulus work? Yes, obviously it did not immediately end the recession but it probably made the recession suck less, and there's a chance that if it hadn't been for the stimulus, the recession would have sucked so much worse that it would have led to a deflationary spiral which would have led to a big Great Depression-like thing. But, it speaks to our short political and economic memory that almost no one ever talks about the 2009 stimulus anymore and when we do talk about it, we talk about it as a thing that made a small impact, because it was ultimately a pretty small impact one way or the other. So if the stimulus had failed, it would have failed in a minor way and at least I think the stimulus succeeded, but it succeeded in a minor way. In general that's the case for almost all of these legislative initiatives that we fight and die over and say are going to save or ruin America. Right? When we look back at them, 8 or 9 years later, we think "Well that was a modest success" or "Well that was a modest failure". Like we look back at the Bush Medicare prescription drug plan and say, "Well that was a modest failure," and we look back at Obamacare and say either, "That's a modest success," or, "That's a modest failure". I mean the truth is not that many people are enrolled on the exchange, it hasn't changed things that much.

H: That's not what I tend to hear.

J: I just think a lot of the time, the stuff we fight over is the wrong... it's like the stuff that's not going to be that important in the future.

H: What I mostly hear in these conversations is Obamacare is a massive failure.

J: It's hard to say Obamacare is a massive failure when...

H: No I completely agree with you. I completely agree, but that is in terms of what we want to talk about... I think if often has more to do with how we want, how the people in the news media want to frame the issue because they want to frame the issue in a way that is good for the politics they ascribe to. I, uh, yeah. I think that we shouldn't get too caught up in this, John, but I do like your answer.

J: Alright, well then let's just move on.

 Question Four (16:46)

H: Alright, I've got a question from Renee, who asks: "Dear Hank and John, now that we have established some armrest etiquette, I feel it is time to decide another one: drive-thrus. What are your thoughts on a threshold to decide whether a person needs to order inside or use the convenience of the drive-thru? No more than 3 complicated Starbucks drinks? No mini vans ordering for the family of 6? Should they be treated like 10 items or less lanes at the grocery store?" Oh come on, Renee. You can't tell people how they're gonna use the drive-thru! Anybody can use the drive-thru if they want to, if they don't wanna pull 8,000 kids out of their car seats and put them back in, that's fine.

H: You, if you want convenience, can get out of your car and go inside and have the shorter line inside. I always feel like the drive-thru is the long option! The drive-thru always takes longer because it's people who don't want to get out of their cars. I'm gonna go inside, and talk to a person, cause I like that, and I have strong opinions, apparently, on this.

J: I actually don't know which is longer, but I do know that if you have 17 kids, you should be allowed to use the drive-thru. Because anyone who's ever put 1 child in a car seat knows that the thought of taking that child out of that car seat for 5 minutes to get food, and then putting that child back in the car seat is so overwhelming that I'll sit in a drive-thru line for 3 hours.

H: The other day I was driving past an In-N-Out and I was like, "I should get In-N-Out, I'm in LA!" and the line WAS that long. And I was like, "I'm gonna go to McDonald's."

J: *laughing* Oh man.

H: Where there is no line at all.

J: I made sure to go to In-N-Out Burger on my way out of Los Angeles. It's always my way of saying goodbye to Los Angeles so I have a nice memory of it.

H: I still haven't been to In-N-Out this trip, I need to figure out how to do that. We should do it today, Katherine. Katherine's sitting right next to me. She's looking at me with these eyes and she's holding her hand to her mouth and making mouth motions. And now the whole hamburger's in there. The mimed hamburger is inside of my wife. I think we've settled this question very quickly and efficiently, John.

J: Great, let's go to the next one.

 Question Five (18:50)

J: Anonymous writes: "Dear John and Hank, Recently my partner of half a decade broke up with me out of the blue." Let's just start by saying that you're saying "half a decade" as a way of trying to like, make it longer, which I'm going to say more about in a second. "He has been my best friend for the many years we were a couple. We lived together and talked all day. Now he has moved out and we have no contact. We've broken up and gotten back together before in the past but I think that this time is different."

"My friends all say that space and no contact now is the best thing in order to heal and have a chance at friendship later, but actually taking this advice feels like the worst thing in the world. What should I do?" Uh, I actually think that you should probably take your friends' advice, although I am very sympathetic to the fact that it is, it truly probably does feel like the worst thing in the world. Um, there's an element of catastrophizing that accompanies any major trauma or major loss, like losing a relationship like this.

Because the people around you don't understand what a big deal it is. Especially if you weren't married or you didn't have, you know, like, because it's not legally complicated they think that it's not emotionally complicated, and that you sort of just need to kind of get over it. Um, but of course that's very hard to do practically, slash, impossible.

J: I mean it hurts because it mattered. It hurts because it was important and because there's a real, profound loss there. But not acknowledging the loss is not a way forward. You have to let yourself grieve, you have to let yourself be inside of that loss. And you have to know that it's okay, not judge yourself for being sad or angry or whatever you feel, and because only through that process of grief are you going to get on that other side when it is no longer the worst thing in the world. So I really think that, at least in my experience, space and no contact is the way to sort of rebuild your life. And go out with your friends, you know, have as much of a social life as you can handle, and you will find yourself slowly over the course of time rebuilding a life that doesn't include that person.

And eventually you will probably, if you're anything like me, look back on it and be like, "Huh, sure am glad that happened." Now, that's no comfort now, but I do think that um, that sometimes it takes years but you look back on your life and you feel grateful for the way things happened. I don't know. Maybe that's too much hope. Just give you the little bit of hope that going out and hanging out with your friends is a good thing to do.

H: Yeah. Yeah, I agree. I, uh, that's real rough. That's real rough.

 Question Six (21:41)

H: I have another hard question, John. Do you want another one?

J: Great, yeah, let's keep going.

H: This one's from Gaby, who asks:  "Dear Hank and John, I received a sexual invitation from a 60-year-old former teacher a while ago. I am 17."


H: "I was very good friends with him, and I know him to be a very good man otherwise, but this thing made me so angry. I was angry that he felt attracted to me, I was angry that he expressed those feelings to me. Why am I so angry?" Well Gaby, I think that your anger is justified for a lot of different reasons. I think this is all tied up with how you imagine this man as like a mentor and a friend, but obviously more of a, you know, an authority and a leadership figure rather than a peer. And you had an image of this guy as a good person in your mind and he broke it, and he did that with--he must have done it with the knowledge that it, that that was the likely outcome. And i just can't imagine that in another way.

J: Yeah, no, and I mean I think, you know, you're angry because you've been hurt. And betrayed.

H: Yep.

J: In important ways. Your trust has been betrayed--

H: Yeah, I think he like--

J: Your friendship has ben betrayed, and you've been sexualized and romanticized in ways that, um, that are really abusive to you, ultimately. And it's not fair, it's not right, and it's okay to be angry. I think that sometimes we feel guilty about being angry, and that just like worsens the spiral of it. So maybe there's some comfort in knowing that it's okay to be angry. That, in fact, like, I think anger is probably the appropriate emotional reaction there. And then just to create the distance that you need to be well. But it's a huge betrayal and a big loss.

H: Yeah, and likely the cause of that is his--some internal problems that he has and it is completely possible to be a good guy otherwise and have also, you know, real issues that are very problematic, and he, you know, at this point probably will never be able to deal with fully. And that's, uh, yeah. This person intentionally sacrificed a good relationship for, um, in his own weakness. And it's very difficult to see that, uh, that weakness in someone who is much more powerful, much older, and so the result is just sort of like deep, like how could this have happened, kind of feeling. And also like, oftentimes, and I don't know, this doesn't seem like it's the case in your situation, but it could be that somehow you are responsible for that. But you are not. 

J: Yeah. Yeah, that's really important to emphasize. And also that like, there is no such thing, at least in my opinion, I feel pretty strongly about this, as a healthy romantic relationship between a 17-year-old and a 60-year-old because the power dynamic can never be equal. 

H: Yeah. Especially if that person is a former teacher. Like, in every way, this is clearly the wrong thing to have happened. 

J: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I'm just really sorry.

H: Yeah. It's awful. But I think you've handled it well.

 Question Seven (25:15)

J: Alright Hank, let's move on to another question and see if we can continue this hilarious comedy podcast. "Dear John and Hank," Um, this might be the least funny episode of our comedy podcast ever, which is really saying something. Not least because we haven't really talked about death yet!

H: So let's try and work it in. 

J: Well I will try to work death into this question, actually, because I think it's almost impossible, to be honest with you, I think it's almost impossible to answer this question without talking about death. So, that might be why it's an appealing question to me.

H: Okay.

J: You ready?

H: Yeah.

J: This question comes from Maya, who asks: "Dear John and Hank, I recently took a shower with another person for the first time, and I very much enjoyed the experience and everything turned out fine. Even though this was a rather spontaneous event, I did find some time to worry about it, which left me wondering: why do farts smell so much worse in the shower? With love, Maya." Maya even heroically included her last name, but I'm not going to read it in case her parents listen to this podcast. (H&J laugh) Well, Maya, I'm glad that you asked this question about why farts smell worse in the shower, especially when you're in the shower with someone else. The answer is that there are trillions of bacteria inside of your body, and they are dying--

H: No, no no no.

J: --and eating, and as they die and eat--

H: No. Stop.

J: --they make scent--

H: *laughing*

J: --and that scent comes out as farts.

H: Well, okay, but that's not the question. And actually I think you do know the answer to this question because you wrote about it in, I believe, An Abundance of Katherines?

J: I mean, I wrote that book like 10 years ago, I have no memory of it.

H: Uh, is that the, I apologize for having done this to you, but that's the one with Colin who is the child prodigy?

J: Yes, that's the one about the child prodigy.

H: Okay, well he said--

J: I do remember its basic subject matter.

H: There's a scene in that book where they talk about when the shower comes on and the shower curtain get sucked toward you, but that seems like the wrong thing, right? It seems like the shower should turn on and it should push the air out, and the shower curtain shouldn't try to touch you with its cold sliminess, right? You remember this part of the book?

J: I do.

H: So what happens is, and Colin knows the answer to this. Colin, is that right?

J: Colin.

H: Okay good I'm glad I remember his name. It creates an air current inside of the shower, that's sort of like this weird heat and humidity tornado that is happening around you. And that brings air into the shower and in toward the middle of the shower in particular, and what's happening is all of the air in the shower is sort of being rushed around your face and it's being taken from all around you and sort of brought up and out in this convection current in your shower. And what's happening is your fart smell is just being brought much more quickly up to your noise without being dispersed very much. You're also of course in an enclosed container when you're in a shower.

J: It could've been the partner's fart smell, that wasn't really clarified. But yeah, somebody's fart smell. The point is somebody's--the remnants of the dead and dying and eating bacteria that's colonized your body is being forced into your face.

H: Yeah, right. Well I think, my read of this question is worrying about a future potential problem rather than an actual occurrence in the first lovely experience of partner showering.

J: Maybe. I assumed it was a sweet funny thing that happened and they were able to like laugh it off because you know we're having our first shower, etc.

H: Either way, I do believe that is--

J: You know what, I'm just happy that somebody is in apparently a happy relationship.

H: It can happen. Or just real close friends. Y'know.

J: Yeah, yeah. Right, but that's still a relationship. Whether it's romantic or not is of less concern to me than just being like highly functional.

 Commercial Break (29:26)

H: Well John, this podcast is brought to you by non-romantic partner shower farts. Non-romantic shower farts, a little embarrassing but mostly just fun.

J: And of course this podcast is brought to you by the news from AFC Wimbledon. The news from AFC Wimbledon, I can't believe I still don't get to talk about it yet.

H: And of course this podcast is brought to you by all those suckers who don't cheat in college. What are they thinking? Paying money, learning, come on!

J: And finally this podcast is brought to you by regular Subway mayonnaise. Regular Subway mayonnaise, containing more calories and fat than bread. Like, the whole sandwich bread.

H: It's so good. It's delicious, John, I love it.

J: I hate mayonnaise. There is no, other than pickles, there is no sort of broadly available Amercan food I find more reprehensible than American mayonnaise.

H: Oh my god. I disagree. It is the best, it is the best.

J: It is disgusting. It always looks to me like some kind of industrial lubricant. You know, like it's used to make ball bearings work properly.

H: Its color, its sort of off-white yellowish color, is a problem for mayonnaise. I think it's a branding issue. And if it were more like ranch dressing which is sort of white with fun speckles, that would be better for mayonnaise, but in the end I think that mayonnaise has a rich history and a rich flavor, and I'm 100% on the mayonnaise boat.

J: Emphasis on the "rich" for sure.

H: This podcast is brought to you by the mayonnaise boat, it's a boat made of mayonnaise. This podcast is also brought to you by our supporters on Patreon, if you want to go to you can join the community there whether or not you give us money, there is stuff there for you. But also, you can give us a buck or something to help us pay for our intern and our editor. And they would appreciate it.

 Question Eight (31:30)

J: Also we just got this question from Josh who writes: "Dear John & Hank, is it possible to purchase a Dear Hank & John t-shirt?" Heck yes it is, Josh. At you can get an "OH MY GOD IT'S BURNING" shirt which reminds me: oh my god, it's burning.

 Question Nine (31:45)

H: Well done, John, well done. We have another question, this one's from Ryan. And Ryan says, "Dear Hank & John, my name is Ryan, and I'm fortunate enough to live a pretty comfortable lifestyle.--"

J: Wait wait, what's his name?

H: "By the way, my name is Ryan."

J: This is the 17th time you've said his name is Ryan in the course of twelve seconds.

H: "So I've recently started to attend a new university, and my new friends, who call me Ryan, are not as fortunate as me. *John cackles* One of my friends told me--"

J: *laughing* I don't know why Hank, I don't know why that joke got me so much, but it got me so much, oh my god. Oh god.

H: "One of my friends told me, one of my friends said to me 'Ryan, I can't afford groceries this week, Ryan.'"

J: *John giggles* Just keep doing it, it doesn't stop being funny for me, it's like a sine wave, it's like every time I think I've heard enough Ryans another one comes and I'm literally in tears.

H: "So I, Ryan, offered to pay for her groceries and she got mad at me, who is Ryan, for suggesting that and now won't even talk to Ryan anymore. I've had other similar experiences when trying to help my friends out. Am I wrong for trying to help my friends out financially? I just want to help them. Love Ryan. Who is Ryan. Ryan. I like your podcast, my name is Ryan."

J: *laughing* I'm sorry to laugh at what is not a funny question.

H: It's not a super funny question, it's also not the heaviest one we've dealt with this episode though. So if we're going to make a joke during one question, it might as well be this one.

J: This is what I would say, here's what I would say, Ryan. Ryan, I think that you are trying to be nice and helpful.

H: John, would you say he's... Tryan?

J: *laughing*

H: Katherine doesn't like this. She's making a face.

J: I would say, Ryan, that you are trying to be nice and helpful but when lots and lots of people tell you that you are not being nice or helpful, it is important to listen to them. I think probably it ultimately isn't helpful to them to be constantly reminded that at a moment's notice you could help out with small problems they may have like groceries because probably the big financial problems that they have, while they wouldn't be big financial problems for you, are things that you can't easily solve for them, like tens of thousands of dollars of college debt or whatever. So in my experience, if someone asks for help, that's one thing. But I would wait until they ask.

H: Right, it's so hard to understand how weird money is in our society and what a gigantic divider it is among us. I would say to be conscious of your friends' economic positions and like and if you know that your friends are having a problem like paying for groceries, don't be like, "let's go out to have drinks."

J: Find ways to host at your house.

H: You can do nice things for these people, and you can talk to them and help them with their issues. And also like don't loan them money, to be clear. Giving money to a friend is always better than loaning money to a friend, because then you're setting yourself up for a really weird power dynamic if you're sort of always expecting the money to come back to you. But if a friend is in a seriously bad situation and they need help, it is worth maybe having a serious conversation with them, but this isn't a little thing, when you just start to front your friends cash all the time. And understanding the position that you are in can be very confusing to people who have never been in your situation, just like you are going to not fully understand what it's like to be in their situation. So I applaud you for wanting to help out, but it's surprising out weird this all is, and you have to be careful, because it's our weirdest thing I think.

J: I don't know if money is our weirdest thing. You know what I think is our weirdest thing?

H: What's our weirdest thing?

J: At any moment, completely without cause or explanation, your entire existence can be snuffed out.

H: Oh good, glad we got there. You're right, I think that is our weirdest thing, John.

J: Alright Hank, before we get to the news from AFC Wimbledon and Mars, but mostly from AFC Wimbledon I am so excited--we have one update from Katie who writes, "Dear John & Hank, I love the podcast, I've been listening since the very first one." Thank you, Katie. Lots of people say that, but only you mean it. "I know several times you've discussed the issue of the human microbiome." It is one of my passions. "And how bacteria can outnumber our cells by several times, or at least are a comparable number. However, Hank did bring up that they are normally very small, and this didn't seem to sway John since he still considers himself to be half-bacteria." I don't consider myself to be half-bacteria, I am in fact actually half-bacteria. "So I pose this question to you, John. Do you consider a cupcake with one sprinkle to be equal parts cupcake and sprinkle? Do you consider a cupcake with even a couple sprinkles to be overwhelmingly sprinkled? Human and bacterial cells are similar in sizes relationally to a cupcake and a sprinkle. Is it not then possible to see that you are in fact not overwhelmingly bacteria? And plus they're really only isolated to your mucus membranes and skin. Most of your inside is sterile." Most of my inside? What are you saying about some of my inside, Katie?

H: Well a great deal of your inside is covered in bacteria, as previously discussed.

J: Yeah, lots of my stomach has bacteria crawling all over it. The question, would I consider a cupcake with one sprinkle to be equal parts cupcake and sprinkle, the answer to that is yes. So.

H: I think without the context of our current conversation maybe you would have a different take on that. But I understand you sticking to your guns, John, because you're a stubborn dude.

J: I am a man who passionately believes that he is half bacteria and there is no talking me out of it.

H: Alright, John. Let's do the news from Mars and--

 News From Mars (38:30)

J: HANK WHAT'S THE NEWS FROM MARS what's the news from Mars what's the news from Mars?

H: Well the news from Mars--

J: Make it fast, make it fast, make it fast.

H: We've got a science spat going on in the Mars community right now. Neil deGrasse Tyson and Elon Musk are having a bit of a tiff. Mostly it's Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Elon Musk ignoring it, but Neil think it's ludicrous that SpaceX is going to lead the space frontier. He in fact calls it "a delusion" and says that it's just not gonna happen because the US government, or governments, have much more long term views of these things and can afford to invest over decades to make one thing happen whereas private sector is much worse at those kinds of things. People have different takes on this, of course, and in the Mars community it has been quite, a little bit of a fracas, I believe is a word that means what I mean. And Elon Musk's take on the other hand is just to ignore the whole thing and continue to just make billions of dollars.

J: Right. It's hard out there for Elon Musk. Sometimes he has to mute Neil deGrasse Tyson on Twitter.

H: *laughing* Alright John, I made it as quick as I could so you could get to the AFC Wimbledon news, which I agree is pretty cool.

 News From AFC Wimbledon (39:42)

J: This week, it was announced that the AFC Wimbledon story--

H: Do you want to first, do you want to first tell us how they're doing in the table? Just a quick overview of how things are going?

J: Not good. Uh, yeah. AFC Wimbledon have dropped to 10th in League 2, having lost a critical game against Hartlepool 1-0 and are now unlikely to reach the playoffs. But there's eight games to go and hope is the thing with feathers, etc. For instance, if you'd told me three months ago that I was going to get to announce this news today I wouldn't have believed you. So who knows, the future is unpredictable. That's what makes it so amazing. And terrible.
J: This week it was announced that the AFC Wimbledon story will be told in movie form--

H: This is amazing.

J: In a movie to be made by Fox 2000 studios produced by Wick and Isaac at Temple Hill, and by Rosianna and me at... we don't have a name for our production company.

H: This is amazing. So I mean like you've told the story of AFC Wimbledon many times, in fact it appears sometimes to me that you tell it every single time you do the news because you gotta make it seem interesting. But you have not told it in the true, full, exciting, built-into-a-narrative movie way. I love sports movies. I don't like sports but I love sports movies. They just get me so excited, I always cry. I am so excited about this.

J: Oh you're going to cry. You're gonna cry when Danny Kedwell goes up to take that critical penalty.

H: Don't spoil it for me!

J: I mean, I am so excited about this, this is something that I've wanted to do, of course, ever since I got a production deal with Fox, and so I pitched the idea to them.

I told them the AFC Wimbledon story. You know, just a small group of middle-aged people who had this community institution that they loved taken away from them and responded to that not with hopelessness or despair, but with a strange and beautiful commitment to restart it even if that meant being in the 9th tier of English football. Even if that meant, you know, sitting on hay bales to watch games.

And even if that meant having public tryouts in a park with no uniforms or coaches or anything. And then they built it up in just nine years all the way to a football league team that's a full time professional club again. It is an amazing story about how people who have a shared commitment in the time that we often associate with midlife crises can instead find real meaning in their lives and a real community and have a new life in a way. And AFC Wimbledon got to have that new life and so did the people who are at the center of the story. I'm so excited about this. I mean obviously there's a long long way to go, like they've got to hire a writer, and then find a screenplay that they like, and then find a director. It's just an incredibly long process.

Things often go haywire but it's just so exciting. I just think, I really believe that the story of this club and the nine years that these guys spent together building it -- I should say guys and women -- spent together building it is an amazing, it's just an amazing story. And the more you dig into the details the more amazing it becomes. And I think that moment of getting back into the football league on a penalty shootout with your 37 year old captain who's never played a game of professional football in his life, getting into the football league in the most dramatic way possible.

It's just a great story. I'm so excited. I can't, I mean, I'm so freaking excited for the prospect of an AFC Wimbledon movie, and I know it's a little bit of a weird movie to be the first one that we produce with our still-unnamed production company, but it also isn't. We like heartfelt stories about real people and this is that, so. I think its a great story and it's going to make a great movie.

H: I agree. I'm so excited. When you first told me you were thinking about pitching this, it seemed kind of like a no-brainer to me because it's just a great story and it's not an super expensive one to tell. It seems right up Fox 2000's alley and I think that the movie is going to do very well in South London.

J: It's going to kill it in South London. We're gonna, I mean I don't know if we're gonna be the number one movie in America, but we'll definitely be the number one movie in South London. No, I think the other thing is that the soccer fandom is growing around the world but especially in the US and I think learning about the history of one club and how it's looked, you know, what makes English football special, which I think AFC Wimbledon really captures what makes English Football so special and what makes the football pyramid so special. I think it'll excite American fans too, so, and it's a heartwarming love story, really. It's a love story about these people who loved their club and love each other, but there's also some romantic love stories in it. So, its gonna be, it's gonna have something for everybody.

H: Yep, something for everybody, I'm very excited. If you have any idea about what the timeline is on something like this?  

J: I have no idea what the timeline is. Sometimes things happen in like 2 years, like it did with the Paper Towns movie. Sometimes 11 years later, like with the Looking for Alaska movie, it's just 2 people who no longer speak to each other. So you never know how it's gonna go.

 Outtro (45:52)

H: Alright, John, what did we learn today?

J: We learned that the AFC Wimbledon movie is going to be the greatest thing ever.

H: We learned that John Green has a lot of thoughts on Keynesian economics and how the viewpoints of it have been reinforced by the economic stimulus plan of 2009 that is called...

J: I'm going to catch so much flak from the....

H: ... the America is Better Recovery

J: I'm going to catch a lot of flak from what I said about Kanesian economics from the Austrians out there. Not the people in Austria, the people who ascribe to the Austrian School of Economics  

H: Ahhh, I see. I do not know. I do not know.  

J: What else did we learn? We learned that there's something with Mars; Neil DeGrasse Tyson going to Mars, private enterprise, public funds; AFC Wimbledon movie. I can't remember. We learned something about Mars.

H: Yes. AFC Wimbledon movie, something about Mars. And we learned... and also John, a young man named Ryan taught us that Ryan's name is Ryan.

J: The main thing we learned is that Ryan's name is Ryan. Hank can I tell you a quick story that  probably shouldn't be included in the podcast?

H: Yeah, okay.  

J: Alright, so for some reason there was a fact recently in a Mental Floss video that caused me to laugh so uproariously that we had to briefly cancel the shoot and this was the fact. That in 2006, a New Zealand man tried to sell Australia on eBay.

H: *laughing* I mean there are so many good facts on Mental Floss, I don't know why that's the one?

J: It's just every detail of that fact is just so beautiful. I can just picture the New Zealand man like putting together all of his pictures of Australia to use in the eBay listing.

H: Alright, thank you for the story John and thank you, listener, for listening to our podcast. If you were watching it, that's super creepy. How are you both in LA and Indianapolis at the same time? And which of these windows are you looking in? There's a lot of windows in this house. But, thanks for listening and thank you, John, for joining me.  

J: Yeah, so the podcast is edited by Nicholas Jenkins. Our intern is Claudia Morales. I'm very grateful to Rosianna Halse Rojas for her help in gathering questions. You can email us at or use the hashtag #dearhankandjohn on Twitter or snap us on Snapchat. I'm JohnGreenSnaps or JohnGreensNaps depending on how you read it. Hank is HankGre.

H: Gunnarolla is responsible for our theme music. John is responsible for all of our thoughts of morbidity and I am responsible for basically attempting to carry this entire thing on the weight of my own shoulders because everyone knows that John's bad at stuff. As they say in our hometown:

Both: Don't forget to be awesome.  

H: I'm not going to give you a chance to respond. Hahahaha.