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Do fish swim? Is Hank snapchatting? How do I stop my earphones from getting tangled? How do I deal with a job that I hate? And more!

 Intro (00:00)

Hank: Hello, and welcome to Dear Hank and John!

John: I said, can we do a cold open?

H: What's a cold open?

J: With no theme music. Where we just do a cold open.

H: Oh, ok. I don't know what that is.

J: So I feel like on especially important Dear Hank and John episodes, when we have especially important news, we should start with a cold open instead of starting with the music.

H: I didn't realize there was especially important news.

J: Oh yeah. 

H: Hello. This is Hank and John Green--

J: No, no, we're already in the cold open, Hank.

H (chuckling): Okay. What's the especially important news?

J: Why are you looking at your phone? 

H: I'm at VidCon. I'm organizing things.

J: The especially important news, well, there's two pieces of especially important news that we have to get to before I think we start the podcast. 

H: Okay.

J: The first is that in the last episode of Dear Hank and John, I slightly undercut my argument that I am acquainted with The Pope by misnaming the pope. 

H: Yes, you did call him Benedict.

J: In fact, his name is Francis. I want to apologize to my friend, The Pope, for using the wrong name. The second and most important news, Hank, is that in our last episode, you and I made a bet about whether humans will get to Mars by 2027. And I said that I was going to start a Twitter--

H: Yeah

J: Leon Muss.

H: Yeah, for Earth.

J: Leon Muss 4 Earth, number 4. Leon Muss Number 4 Earth. And that Twitter, which you said I was not serious about--

H: I didn't say you were not serious about; I said that you weren't gonna follow through, and I do not call this, a week later, following through.

J: First off, LeonMuss4Earth, number 4, Leon Muss, @LeonMuss4Earth, has 1,265 Twitter followers, Hank. Do you know how many accounts he follows? 

H: One.

J: One. You know what that account is? 

H: NASA Earth.

J: NASA Earth. NASA's greatest work. 

H: NASA does do a lot of important Earth science. 

J: I would argue it's actually the only important science they do. I am so committed, Hank. 

H: Why is this before the intro?

J: Because, Hank, on BIG BIG days, we need to do cold opens. @LeonMuss4Earth is the biggest development in Vlogbrothers since, arguably, 2007.

H: Alright. Should we intro the podcast now?

J: Alright, let's launch the theme music.

(theme music)

H: Hello and welcome to Dear Hank and John.

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

H: It's a comedy podcast where me and my brother John give you dubious advice, answer your questions, and bring you all the week's news from both Mars and AFC Wimbledon, and we are together right now in Anaheim, California, for VidCon-

J: Yep. We're here for VidCon. Vidcon! It's Vidcon. It's happening.

H: we get to have one of those lovely Hank-and-John-are-in-the-same-place podcasts which are some of my favorites. 

J: Are we recording?

H: We are!

J: Okay.

H: I was just looking at the thing to make sure. Leon Muss asks, "Question Time: What's your favorite thing about Earth?" For me, it's how much better it is at supporting life than Mars. 

J: (laughs)

H: (laughs) How are you doing, John?

J: I'm doing great! Hank, I've never been so committed to a project as I am committed to the LeonMuss4Earth Project. You know, Leon Muss, he's even invented a hashtag to support his cause.

H: Yeah?

J: #YesEarth...

H: Yeah.

J: #EarthLife. That's the other one he really likes to use.

H: (laughs)

J: ...and then of course, #notuntil2028.

(both laugh)

J: I am going to win this bet. There will be no humans on Mars until 2028 at the very earliest thanks to the hard work on twitter of noted Earth activist Leon Muss. 

H: And all of the twelve-hundred-something people following Leon.

J: I mean, it's going to be more by the time this is uploaded. In fact, Hank, just while we've been having this conversation, @LeonMuss4Earth got a new follower. 

H: Oh I'm very excited for him.

J: Don't worry, I'm going to- I'm going to name them. @Kirakerry? I just want to say thank you.

H: (laughs)

[John:] Thanks for standing... for Earth (4Earth).

[Hank:] Hashtag!

[John:] Hashtag YesEarth (#YesEarth).

[Hank:] (laughs) All right.

[John:] (Cackles)

[Hank:] Hashtag NO EARTH YES MARS (#NoEarthYesMars)- no. Both. We can have both.

[John:] (laughs) Why both? We've got a great planet!

[Hank:] Oh you...

[John:] I can't wait to win this bet. We still haven't decided what the terms are going to be. Lots of people had great suggestions but keep sending in your suggestions for what you would like the terms of my bet with Hank to be over whether or not A) AFC Wimbledon will make it to the premier league by 2027 and B) whether or not humans will make it to Mars by 2027.

[Hank:] So we got a suggestion from Jess who says, "If there are no humans on Mars in ten years, the podcast shall be renamed Dear John and Hank!"

[John:] Oh that is a fantastic idea!

[Hank:] (laughs)

[John:] That is a fantastic idea. That's it! We found it.

[Hank:] (laughs) All right!

[John:] So we are just eleven short years away from my dream coming true, and this podcast being called Dear John and Hank.

[Hank:] (laughs) The nature of the universe shall change!

[John:] I mean, that's the best possible victory.

[Hank:] All right, John. Do you want to do some questions or do you have a short poem for us?

[John:] You know, let's just- let's just go- (incoherent stumbling of words for several seconds)

[Hank:] (giggles)

[John:] You know if I could just read one short poem, Hank.

[Hank:] Oh, okay. Well that's usually how you do it.

[John:] Do you know- do you mind?

[Hank:] Yeah, don't do two.

[John:] I won't do two. I'm just going to do one short poem for the day. It's a prose poem. 

[Hank:] Is it by Leon Muss?

[John:] It's by Leon Muss! (wheezes)

[Hank:] (outright laughter)

[John:] (high pitched giggling) (wheezing) He writes- (breath) It's a poem by Leon Muss. It's on his twitter @LeonMuss4Earth... (giggles) (breath) "People often ask me, 'Leon Muss, should we send humans to Mars?' And I always tell them, 'Yes. In 2028 and not a day sooner'." (breath) (laughs)

H: (laughs) Good. Great. That's beautiful.

J: You're welcome for the short poem. (burst of laughter) I have already had more fun in this podcast than I usually have ALL WEEK LONG. Hank, let's answer some questions from our listeners.

 Question One (6:08)

H: Alright this one is from Natano and Noah in Israel, Natano asks "My wife keeps asking me to ask you guys the question in the subject line, which is: why does the urge to pee increase as I get closer to my apartment, and even more so right at the door."

J: Is there a reason for this Hank, is there a scientific reason?

H: I have this. Do you have this?

J: I have this too.

H: Where like the closer you get to the bathroom the more you have to pee?

J: In fact, the most recent time I peed my pants was precisely because of this phenomenon.

H: Yeah, you had gotten to the place?

J: I didn't pee my pants, but I did pee in a non-ideal location because I realized that I was either going to pee in my pants or I was going to pee in a non-ideal location while not getting pee in my pants.

H: Right. Yeah. *Hank chuckles*

J: It was on the set of the Paper Towns movie and we had apartments, all of us had apartments in the same apartment building, and I had the really intense urge to pee as I got closer to the apartment. It got more intense, it got more intense, it got more intense, and then I realized I didn't have a key.

H: So you just peed on your apartment!

J: No, so I ran outside and I peed... uh, I can't tell this story.

H: You can't?

J: No, it's too late. I'm backing off, I'm backing away. I'm walking away from this story. The short answer is that we don't know.

H: No, I do know.

J: Oh, Hank does know.

H: Along your urethra you have a series of 86 sphincters...

J: Wow.

H: And-- I'm making this up.

J: *cackles* You had me sold. I was like 'I had no idea that I had 86 urethral sphincters.' That's some of the most dubious advice we've ever offered.

H: You do, there are some-- so I think, I think, I've gotta look this up, that there are some that are controlled by your sympathetic nervous system, your like sub-- it's like your body doing body things, and there are some that are controlled by your mind. And when your body says it's time to pee, you only have like one mind-controlable 'do not pee' system thing that actually you control. And if your body lets go of all of them it can be very difficult to keep that one. And I think it can even intentionally relax the last one without your permission. And that is as much as I know but--

J: That seems very dubious I just gotta tell you the truth.

H: I think you know your body is just like "Oh it's the time, we're here it's time to do this, go go go. It's time." But yeah I do-- this is absolutely a thing, we al agree.

J: Yeah it's definitely a thing.

 Question Two (9:03)

Let's move onto another question though Hank. This question is hugely important and difficult and complicated. It comes from Anthony who writes "Dear John and Hank, should I delete the 'sent from my iPhone' in emails I send from my iPhone?"

H: What?

J: You know how at the bottom, when you send an email from your iPhone it says "sent from my iPhone"

H: Oh yeah.

J: Should you have that signature in an email sent from your mobile device, or should you have no mobile device signifier at all?

H: Here's what you should do: So I have some friends who do a thing which is they will leave a message like "excuse any typos I wrote this on my phone." I don't like "sent from my iPhone" 

J: Me either

H: because it seems a little bit like "I'm so special I have an iPhone."

J: Right.

H: It's like, I don't want a brand integration in my email.

J: Right. Agreed.

H: I should be getting paid for that.

J: Right.

H: I don't have anything though, I just cut it off completely.

J: You know what I have? Uhh... "John"

H: So you don't have to write that.

J: That way I don't have to write my name at the end of the email. 100% of the time it just says "John"

H: Here's an idea: how about if I put in my email signature "sent from my iPhone," That way people think I'm super busy and like so important that I wrote this five page email on my iPhone.

J: I mean, that's a good idea, but Anthony, if I could make one recommendation it would be to change your iPhone signature to just say "John" because I think that's the statement you want to make, is that this was sent from John.

 Question Three (10:34)

Hank, I have another question.


J: This one comes from Grace who writes "Dear John and Hank, I'm a high school senior and it is now the time of year when everyone is asking for signatures in their yearbooks to remember you by." Uh, this question might be a little bit dated, but don't worry, we're still gonna answer it. "However, I don't know half of these people, currently I'm drawing random internet memes in the yearbooks of people I don't know to avoid writing the cliche responses like never change' or 'have a great summer,' what do you write in the yearbooks of people you hardly know?"

I think writing "never change" by the way is a huge mistake.

H: Yeah, because you should definitely-- "please change."

J: If I could say one thing to my 16 year old self it would be, "change."

H: Just one word.

J: Yeah, "Change." Maybe that's what you should write Grace, in big capital letters.


J: *chuckling* "I didn't know you, but I bet you need to change.

H: Yeah. Grow... up. No, just grow, not grow up.

J: Just grow.

H: Uh, I... why are you writing in strangers' books anyway?

J: Hank do you not remember high school, this was a huge part of high school experience, that you have to sign yearbooks for people with whom you are not terribly well-acquainted.

H: Yeah, not terribly well-acquainted.

J: I-- this is something we have experience in because on a pretty regular basis we sign items for people whom we don't know well--

H: At all yeah.

J: And so we have a strategy for doing this and I think it's actually quite a good strategy. I don't know what your strategy is, mine is that I write "Best wishes!" exclamation point, and I sign my name.

H: I have a couple.

J: Yep.

H: So it helps if you can come up with something cute that you can draw quickly. 

J: Right, like a Hanklerfish.

H: Like a Hanklerfish. But it's good to have that in general. And then you can draw something and then that's nice, you made them a thing. And then sometimes I'll write "Just keep swimming!" cuz it's a fish, next to the fish. 

J: Mhmmm. That's good.

H: Or I'll write "DFTBA"

J: DFTBA is a winner for me because it's five characters long, so you can get it done pretty quickly, and "don't forget to be awesome" is reasonably good advice to more or less everyone. 

H: Yeah. Yep.

J: So Grace we're gonna say either draw a fish and say "just keep swimming..."

H: No, that's mine, don't do that!

J: That's also good advice, to be fair.

H: Get a-- draw a giraffe and say "reach for the highest apple."

J: I don't think giraffes eat apples...

H: *wheezes with laughter* Well it's still cute.

J: Exceptionally dubious advice.

H: Hey, fish don't swim!

J: *chuckles* This is the worst episode of Dear Hank and John ever.

H: Hank Green out of context: "fish don't swim"

J: This is the one that we've made entirely for ourselves and 0% for our listeners, we're clearly like punch drink on VidCon anxiety and we need to move onto another question, but Grace congratulations on finishing another year of school.

H: Good job! If it sounds like we're getting a lot of text messages--

Both: It's because we are.

 Question Four (13:39)

H: Alright, this one's from Iris who asks "Dear Hank and John, I have a lot of red curly hair and people always tell me how beautiful it is which is flattering. However, total strangers also seem it's OK to touch my hair without my permission. I find this uncomfortable and it makes me anxious, but I never know what to say, so my question is: What's the polite way to tell someone that you don't want them to touch you?

J: Uh, I have a version of this.  I don't have beautiful curly red hair, but I have a version of this which is that people often ask to touch my puff when I meet them.

H: Right, 'cause you've got--you've got the puffy hair.

J: Even when I was a bar last night, someone just touched it without asking or anything, and it also makes me anxious.  I think anytime a stranger is touching you without your permission, it's a little bit of an imposition.

H: Yeah, I don't know if it can't be done with a facial expression.  Maybe not to everybody, but to some people, I think there are certain facial expressions that will tell them that in fact the thing you have done is incorrect.  

J: Yeah, and then maybe but they won't do it in the future, but it doesn't help you for, like, you've maybe taught them an important lesson, but you haven't solved your problem, which is that you don't like your red hair being touched by strangers who haven't asked for permission.  So first off, let's just establish as a rule, the same way we have the armrest rule--

H: Right.

J: --that Dear Hank and John listeners, or Dear John and Hank listeners, as I prefer to think of them, do not touch strangers without asking for permission.  Let's just not do it.  

H: Okay.

J: Let's just--I mean, unless like, you're in a subway and you jostle against someone or something.

H: Right, if you're in a mosh pit at a conference, you are--con--concert is what I meant.  

J: Yeah.

H: Or if you're in a mosh pit if you go to a really great dentistry conference and they have one of those great dentist mosh pits.

J: Oh, those are the best, those are the best, those people know how to party.

H: Oh man.

J: They got the laughing gas.  

H: Well, yeah, and also, they can just fix their teeth if they get knocked out.

J: That's true, so they don't even have to worry.

H: (?~15:39)  Yeah.

J: Yeah.  Um, this is the worst episode.  

H: It's real bad.

J: I know.  We should--

H: Dentist mosh pits!

J: I know what we're gonna call it.

H: Yeah.

J: The Worst Episode.

H: Oh, I thought we were gonna call it The Worst Episode Ever.

J: Oh, that's better.  That's good.  You know, you're a clever chap.  In summary, unless you're in a mosh pit, don't touch strangers, especially if they have curly red hair, because they've probably been treated as like, weird objects of fetishization and objectification for their entire lives and it's unpleasant for them.

H: Okay!

J: Sorry that happened to you, Rebecca.

 Question Five (16:18)

H: I'm got another question, John.

J: I can't wait.

H: It's from Kylie, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, I know that dust is particles of air dirt--"

J: Yep.  Correct.

H: "--But I clean my house pretty often and yet it always gets all over my things."

J: Yeah.

H: "What is dust anyways and how can I keep potentially harmful substan--and how can I keep this potentially harmful substance from collecting so often and invading my nostrils?  Any dubious advice is greatly appreciated."

J: First off, my understanding is that dust is made out of like, human leftovers.

H: A great deal of it is indeed little bits of skin.

J: Guhhh.  God.  Uchh.  Hank, I recently recatalogued--

H: But some of it's other stuff, if that makes you feel any better.

J: Not really.  I recently recatalogued by home library, which was an extraordinarily fulfilling experience, as I'm sure you can imagine, and in the process, I dusted each of my books individually and then dusted all the shelves and everything, and it is astonishing--

H: Yes.

J: --how much dust collects on items.

H: Yes.

J: It's almost like we shouldn't have items.  It's almost like we shouldn't have horizontal surfaces in our homes.

H: It's hard to not have any horizontal surfaces unless you live in an elevator shaft.  

J: Well you need a floor.

H: Yeah.

J: You need a floor.

H: You need a floor, yeah.  

J: Yeah, it's true, it's a good point, Hank.  I'm clearly--

H: Just live in a bottomless pit.  No horizontal surfaces, I'm just falling.

J: I'm not an architect.  

H: I mean, they have--it doesn't--just falling--

J: Here's your new home.  Good news and bad news.   Good news: not gonna have a dust problem. Bad news: it is an eternally falling pit, so--

H: The pit of--you will eventually, I think, get used to it.

J: Yeah.  

H: But cell phone service is gonna be a problem.  

J: How long could you fall--if there were a theoretical hole through the entire Earth, how long could you fall?

H: You would--

J: I mean, I know you would die, 'cause you would get very warm, but I'm saying--

H: Well, if you would--

J: An air conditioned hole.

H: You would kind of fall forever, in a way.

J: You would?

H: Because you would fall.

J: Yep.

H: And then you would reach the other side and you would fall back and sort of yo-yo back and forth.

J: So it is, I mean, it's not--

H: But then eventually, you would settle in the middle of the gravitational center of the Earth.

J: Right, yeah.  

H: And then you would just sit there. (?~18:53)

J: And so you would have--and no dust.

H:   There would be dust, it would just, like, they have dust on the space station, and they have to control for it, but it doesn't settle the same way, like, it sort of just gets into everything.  

J: Oh, great.  Alright, so--

H: Problem not solved.

J: Cutting a hole through the Earth is not going to work as a solution to our dust problem.

H: Okay.  I--yeah, having a smaller home space does help, 'cause it's easier to keep clean, and also, what I will say about dusting is that a great deal of dusting is just putting the dust back into the air where it will once again fall.

J: Correct.

H: So, doing things that actually absorb the dust and then washing that thing is much better than just like, fluffing the dust off so that it can once again land upon all of your things.  That's my home maintenance tip from Hank Green, home maintenance expert.

J: I mean, that's just extraordinarily dubious advice.  

 Question Six (19:57)

H: Hey, we're recording Dear Hank and John.  Eyy, at VidCon. It's a--hey, John!

J: Are we--are you Snapchatting?  

H: Yes.

J: Alright, Hank, let's move on to a slightly more serious question, although dust is a very serious problem, I don't want to minimize it.  This question comes from Lauren, who asks, "Dear John and Hank, Every once in a while, I have this feeling creep inexplicably up on me, and the only way I can describe it is homesickness.  It's a bit of a tight feeling in the chest and stomach that's part nostalgia and part anxiety.  The thing is, I'm 36, and I'm actually not homesick, nor would going to my own home or my parents' home make the feeling go away.  Do you ever have this sort of feeling, and if so, what the heck?!"  I do have this feeling, and reading this question felt like someone was seeing very specifically inside of me, which is not a feeling I have that often, that like, somebody was feeling something that feels to me quite private, and so I was fascinated by the question.  Do you have this feeling, Hank?

H: Um, is it a kind of nostalgia?

J: That's--

H: Is it--is that what we're talking about?

J: It's not quite nostalgia.  I actually usually describe it as dread or longing or like a place between dread and longing, but it is a very specific feeling in my chest and stomach where I feel a distance from something that I want to feel close to, but I don't quite know what the thing is.  It's a very--I used to, when I was a kid, I had it when I was a kid, too, and when I was a kid, I would call it "the night feeling", because I had it mostly at night, which is when I sort of like, my anxieties would be allowed to like, run wild.  You don't have this feeling.

H: Huh.  I don't think so.

J: I think that's good news for you.  Although, it's not--I have to say, it's not a wholly bad feeling.  The other time I get it, maybe this will help you, is when I'm driving alone on a highway at night and I feel a sort of mix of poignancy and yearning, but I don't quite know for what. Is this at all helpful?

H: Nope.  

J: Hank doesn't have feelings like the rest of us have feelings.  

H: Uh, I--yeah.  

J: Alright.

H: Do you want to move on to--

J: Lauren, Hank obviously not qualified to answer this question, but then again, that doesn't usually stop him.

H: Ohhhh.

J: I will say, what, we have 86 urethral sphincters?  I will say you are not alone in this feeling, I know you're not alone because I also have it, and I think maybe it's part of being a person that you yearn for something that you don't quite know what it is, and I think just being okay with that makes the feeling less scary, at least for me.  So, that is my dubious advice, and now, we will move on to a question that Hank feels that he can answer, because it's not about feelings.

 Question Seven (23:12)

H: *giggles* Alright.  This one's from Gerardo, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, I work as a lifeguard every summer, and over the course of this past year, I gained some weight, which had the unexpected consequence that there is a spot on my back I cannot reach to apply sunscreen.  I don't want to ask the other guards, because it's embarrassing, but I would also not like to get--but I would also like to not get skin cancer on that one spot in my back.  Any dubious advice as to how to cover your entire back with sunscreen as a larger/less flexible person?"

J: Yes!  

H: You've got this one?  

J: Oh, yeah.  Well, this is a problem that I have.  I also have a spot on my back that I can't reach, and I have--I use the spray-on sunscreen.

H: The spray-on, yeah.

J: Which I think is A: fantastic, it's underappreciated as a product, and B: It's extremely effective. You can spray it, like, at least 10 inches away from the spot.  So if you can get within 10 inches of the spot, you can get there with a spray-on sunscreen, so that's what I would say.  

H: I just put some sunscreen on the wall and then I just rub up against it.  No.  I do like the spray-on sunscreen, I have a problem with it--

J: What is it?

H: It's that they put something in it that makes it taste bad, and I'm not saying I'm spraying it in my mouth--

J: I was gonna say, it seems like a pretty easy problem to avoid.  The thing--it also doesn't recommend that you eat sunscreen.  

H: The problem is, it tastes--it smells like delicious coconut, but it tastes awful.  

J: Let me ask you this, Hank, how does regular sunscreen taste?  Is it delicious?  Do you like that?

H: Okay, I think that they put some kind of bitterant in it, so that people don't huff it.  They put--


H: I'm serious, I think that they put something in there--

J: Ugh.

H: --that makes it, and like, I am like, every time I use it, like, there's this very strong bitter taste in my mouth if I get--if I like, breathe at all while it's happening.

J: Yeah, well, I mean, again, I don't wanna underscore this, Hank, but you shouldn't huff sunscreen.  That's the problem.

H: Okay.  I'll keep that in mind in the future.  But yeah, the spray-on stuff, you don't have to--'cause it's a little more expensive--you don't have to use it on your whole body, but you can use it on that one spot.

J: Just use it on that one spot and then use the cheap sunscreen for the rest of your body.  That is exactly what I do, by the way, because I don't--I think the spray-on sunscreen is a bit of a scam, because it feels like it's a lot of sunscreen, but it's really not.

H: It's not, yeah.

J: It's just like a highly pressurized can.  

H: Mhmm, yep.

J: Alright, I'm glad that we--I'm glad that we're on the same page about sunscreen, even if we aren't on the same page about the yearny feeling that one sometimes gets unless one is Hank.  

 Question Eight (25:49)

H: Alright, we've got another question from Lauren, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, HELP!  Do you know how to keep my headphone cord from getting tangled?"  No.  No, no, no, no, no.  And I ha--I mean, I try my best, and I have a system, and I like, wrap it up around my hand and then I wrap it around my wrap, and I put it in my pocket, and then I take it out of my pocket and it's made of knots.

J: So, Hank, this is actually a subject of like, like a pretty intensely studied subject in mathematics.

H: Yeah.

J: Because it's a weird pattern and there is this thing called spontaneous knotting of an agitated string, that like, over time, an agitated headphone cord or other string will tie itself into like, incredibly complicated knots, and the short answer is that there is some awareness that this happens, but we don't really know why, at least like, the math--the like, my understanding, and I mean, I am definitely not a mathematician, is that there--this is still, like, a fertile ground of research, rather than a settled question.

H: Right, right, understanding the specifics of it is actually important for biology, because understanding how DNA, which is a very long string--

J: Right.

H: --keeps itself organized and when it does not, what happens, 'cause it does happen and that actually creates disease.  But the sort of like, broad top level reason why headphones get tangled is because there are more ways, infinitely more ways, for a string to be knotted than to be not knotted.  There is only one way for a string to not have knots in it, it has one state, but there are an infinite number of ways for it to be knotted.  

J: Literally infinite?

H: Yes.  Well, no.  Not if there--not if the--if it was a line and did not have like, thickness--

J: Oh, if it was an infinitely long line, there would be infinite number of ways--

H: Or even if it didn't have thickness.

J: Oh.

H: It if was just like, a sort of imaginary string that did not have a width.  

J: Okay, alright, now my mind is pretty blown, so that's a good feeling, that's always nice.  By the way, Hank's wearing turkey leg socks today.  That's a controversial choice.

H: Yes.  Well, they are turkey legs with legs.  They're walking around.  

J: Ohhh.

H: I got them as a gift.

J: They're great.

H: They are.  

 Response (28:22)

J: I love them.  Speaking of gifts, Hank, I just wanna do one quick follow-up, Amy wrote back, "Dear John and Hank, Thank you for answering my question concerning the inherently unsexy Pizza John t-shirt."  Do you remember Amy, Hank?  She was the one who was having trouble kissing her boyfriend because he was having to stare at my face in the Pizza John shirt.  "I've taken your advice and purchased the shirt from that doesn't have John's face on it, as you can see from the attached photo" --which we'll post at the Patreon--"Matthew and I are thrilled.  Pizza John, meanwhile, has not been abandoned, but he has been relegated to the cuddling sector.  Thanks again, Amy.  P.S.  John, you made a mistake when reading the original question.  At the time I was asking, Matthew and I had been dating for two months, not two years, but here's to two years and beyond thanks to your dubious advice," and then there's a lovely picture of Amy and Matthew and Amy's new giraffe love t-shirt from

H: Which I designed.

J: You did design it.

H: Sometimes, I will wear that shirt and people will say "I love your shirt" and then I will have to say, because it's true, "I did this."  

 Commercial Break (29:29)

J: Technically, you don't have to say that, but it does remind me that today's podcast is brought to you by Hank's ego.  Oh no, Hank's ego!  Delivering high quality podcasting since 2015.

H: I have no idea what we talked about.  I--I--

J: We talked a lot about Leon Muss.  

H: This podcast is NOT brought to you by Leon Muss.  

J: That's a lie.  He's our number one sponsor.

H: Leon Muss is NOT A SPONSOR OF DEAR HANK AND JOHN.  That would be a conflict of interest!

J: Uh, I don't know what I was going to say.  Liter--

H: Literati.

J: Literally the best Twitter on Earth.  

H: This podcast is also brought to you by spray-on sunscreen!  It tastes bad!  

J: That's a terrible advertisement for spray-on sunscreen. 

H: Spray-on sunscreen, spray-on sunscreen, it tastes bad.

J: Hard to huff.

H: Don't huff it!  

J: And today's podcast is also brought to you by the longing homesickness deep in your chest.  The longing homesickness deep in your chest, a feeling that Hank has never had.

H: And finally, this podcast is brought to you by all 86 of your urethral sphincters.  Loosening up by one one as you get closer to your apartment.

 Question Nine (30:58)

J: Alright, Hank, we've got time for one last question.  I'm wondering if we can try to steer this episode of the podcast back towards something, you know, vaguely redeemable, so this question comes from--


J: This question comes from Jordan, who writes, "Dear John and Hank, I am sitting in my car in the parking lot of my workplace, and I can't motivate myself to walk inside right now.  I hate my job and the thought of doing it today has me in tears.  Dubious advice?"

So look, I've had this feeling a few times in my life, I've had an incredibly lucky and privileged professional life, but I have had this feeling in my younger years, and the first thing that I would say is that this is an opportunity to begin to try to find a new job.  It may be that you cannot find a new job today, it may be that it's not practical or possible for you to leave this job that you hate today, but this is probably--this is dubious advice, but I think this is probably a message from yourself that it is time to try to start finding some other kind of work.  

H: Yeah.  I mean, yes, and hopefully that will give you some hope as you go into doing the thing that you have to do in order to make it work, as I assume that this is part of you making it work, that having that like, knowledge that you are working toward something more than the current state. 

J: Yeah, I think there were two things that were helpful to me when I felt that way.  One was, I am doing this job for a specific--that I hate--for a specific reason, which is to pay my bills, which is to take care of myself and people I care about, which is to meet my obligations and while it is difficult and unfun and it is not forever, it is for right now, today, the thing that I can do to meet those obligations to myself and to the people I love.  And the second thing was to find something that I was passionate about, that I cared about, that I could get better at by doing in the time when I wasn't working, which for me, was writing the book that became Looking for Alaska, and that really helped.  In the time when I had this feeling most profoundly was when I was working as a chaplain, when I really--I was really bad at that job and it's a horrible job to be bad at, and it's impossible not to dread going to work unless you are a saint, when you know that, you know, kids might die and that you're not going to be very good at helping people in that situation.  I think it's possible to enjoy that work when you know that you can be helpful and useful, but I knew that I wasn't that good at it, and it really helped me to say, well, this is what I'm doing right now, because I made a commitment to do it, but I am also going to go home tonight and I am going to do this thing that I love, which is writing, and working during the day is what facilitates me being able to do this job that I--or do this work that I love at night.

H: Right, and I think maybe, even if you can just do--like, work on something that you are progressing at, just an hour a day is huge, because I think that's what we all want, is to be getting better at being people, and sometimes our work that we get paid for does not allow us to do that, and that can be very frustrating, and so much so that it's hard to have the energy or the willpower to do anything--

J: Yeah.

H: --anything active when you're not at work, but finding that thing and getting through the sort of initial stages of definitely being bad at it, because that's usually how it starts out, unless you're very lucky, so being very bad at it, working until you are manageably good at it, becomes fun and you understand and can see your own progression, which has been, you know, really great for me creatively, just to play guitar badly--

J: Right.

H: --is just such a nice thing to be able to do.

J: Or not even play guitar.  Like, whether it's, you know, running or whatever it is.

H: Yeah.

J: You know, I don't think it has to be something creative, necessarily.  I think lots of people find fulfillment in sports or in all kinds of different human activities, but that sense of being able to get better at something, that sense of being able to have something in your life that isn't work that's important to you, can make work more manageable, but I also don't want to minimize this.  This sucks and I know there are lots of people who feel this way every morning when they go to work and it sucks and I think part of what maybe makes it survivable is acknowledging that it does suck.

H: Yeah, and also acknowledging that like, if you wanna trade this bad job for another bad job, your other bad job might not be as bad.

J: Yeah.

H: Because it is, in my experience, it's usually the people you're working with more than the job itself, and if you can find a place, even if it's a crappy job, if there's good people there, it makes it all more manageable.  

J: The only exception to that is when you have to do a lot of cold calling.  Then it doesn't matter who you work with, it's always terrible.  

H: I'm sure there's lots of exceptions to that.

J: That's true.  The only exception in my personal experience is when there's cold calling involved, but yeah, I'm sure there's lots of jobs where it isn't about the people you work with, but having better coworkers definitely makes a huge difference, like, I worked at a few restaurants, and whether the job was fun or okay or absolutely horrible depended entirely on whether I was able to get along with my coworkers.  

H: Yeah.  

 News from AFC Wimbledon (37:12)

J: Alright, Hank, it's time to move on to the all-important news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon.  Do you want me to start, or would you like to start?

H: You start.  I always start.

J: Alright, Hank, the news from AFC Wimbledon is that this week, AFC Wimbledon's league I, third tier schedule was announced.  We are playing the likes of Swindon Town, Oxford United, Gillingham.

H: Mmm, sounds delicious.

J: Your favorite ham, and of course, Portvale, you know, Bristol Rovers, some big clubs, but the marquee match-up, the franchise from Milton Keynes, is also down in league I.  AFC Wimbledon have worked their way up from the 9th tier to the 3rd tier.  The hardworking franchise in Milton Keynes has worked their way in the same period, all the way from the 3rd tier of English football to the 3rd tier of English football, and those games will be on March 14th is when the franchise will come to visit AFC Wimbledon and on December 10th, AFC Wimbledon will be playing on--will be playing in Milton Keynes. Big games for me include the game against Swindon Town, the home game against Swindon Town on October 15th, I'm a longtime Swindon Town fan as well, and I'm excited to go to a game.  I know I'm going to at least one game this season, October 1st, home to Gillingham.  Pretty excited about that.  Fired up.  Very, very excited for AFC Wimbledon's league one schedule.  We'll post the whole schedule on the Patreon so you can enjoy it.

H: And if you want to go to one of the games--

J: Yeah, you should go to more than one of the games, Hank!

H: Any of the games!

 News from Mars (38:57)

J: So Hank?

H: Yeah?

J: @LeonMuss4Earth has a question for you.  

H: Oh God.

J: "Are we closer--"

H: You're not gonna just let me--

J: "--or farther away to getting to Mars this week?"

H: Well, physically, we're farther away from Mars this week.

J: Huzzah!

H: Because it's moving away from us now.  

J: Another solid week.

H: Gonna come back around again in another couple of years.

J: In Earthness.

H: But.

J: Yes?

H: Practically, we're a little bit closer, because NASA has signed an agreement with the United Arab Emirates sharing information and technology in the hopes of collaborating on a bunch of stuff, but the prime objective, according to the announcement, is the exploration of Mars.  

J: By humans or by robots?

H: By humans.  

J: Uh, that's disappointing.

H: But, this is NASA's plan, so its goal is to get to Mars by 2030.

J: PERFECT!  I've always loved NASA.  

H: And they uh, they wanna--and that plan has been criticized for its ambitiousness.

J: Yeah.  I'm all for getting to Mars in 2030, I think that'd be great.  That way I could--that way we could get humans to Mars and have a podcast called Dear John and Hank.

H: So, as part of that, which could cost upwards of a trillion dollars--

J: Sure.

H: --they're partnering with a number of different countries, and the United Arab Emirates is a wealthy oil state, and they are working on some of their own Mars missions.  They have a plan to send an unmanned probe to Mars by 2021, and NASA is signing similar cooperative agreements with--or has signed--with China, Russia, and the UK, and knowing that--if we're gonna do this, it's gonna cost a lot of money, and it's not just gonna be something that one country is gonna do by itself, so NASA is working behind the scenes to--here's what Charlie Bolton says, the director of NASA, "Together we can bring humanity to the face of Mars and reach new heights for the benefit of all humankind--"

J: In 2028.

H: "--and we will."

J: In 2028.

H: Really should have pushed it to 2030.  

 Question Ten (41:09)

J: Hank, we got an interesting question from Bobbie, who wrote in to say, "I was listening to the episode where Hank was talking about the Mars mission that they're planning, where there's 40 people and they're going to narrow it down to 26 people and then send them to Mars four at a time, and I couldn't help but notice that 26 is not divisible by four. Any ideas on how that'll work?"

H: I think--yeah, I think that one of the missions will have two people. 

J: I think that they're just assuming that some people will die. *hank laughs* That just--they're just building it in.  

H: Yep.  Yeah.  No, yeah, I think that--I think maybe the first mission is planned to be just two, but I'm not sure. 

J: Oh, that'd be great, I have always wanted to go to Mars with just one other person and then die there. 

H: Well, I mean, the thing is, maybe you really like them and get along real well.

J: I mean, I--

H: And you play a lot of FIFA.

J: Can you play FIFA on Mars?

H: Of course.

J: Do they have Wifi?

H: No.  But you can play two-player on the same box.

J: Ohhh.  

H: I mean, you're gonna have Wifi, but they're not gonna--you can't play, like, like, you could not play FIFA with someone on Earth if you were on Mars.

J: You couldn't?

H: No.

J: I mean--y--

H: The lag would be a little--

J: Pretty epic?

H: Chess!  You can play chess, maybe.

J: So, what you're saying is they will have Wifi on Mars, but I won't be able to Skype?

H: Did you know that the Internet used to be a capital I, according to the AP Styleguide, but they recently pushed it to lowercase?

J: I mean, this is huge news for me, Hank, because I have always styled internet with a capital I, because I believe in the AP Styleguide in all of my books, it's capital I, and even sometimes my copy editors would be like, this is technically a capital I but nobody really uses the capital I, and I would be like, we use the capital I because we believe in the AP Styleguide, so it was a little bit of a betrayal.

H: I thought it would be a huge relief!

J: It is, it's both a relief and a betrayal, because I stood up for the capital I-internet for so long that now I agree with them that now, I agree with them, that it should be a lowercase i thing, but it's made now my books look dated.

H: Yeah.

J: As opposed to before, when they were just full of a bunch of references to bands like The Flaming Lips.  

H: *giggles* The Flaming Lips are still relevant, John.  I've always thought that the internet should be lowercase, because there can be more than one of them, and if there is--if we do go to Mars, there will be a Mars internet and an Earth internet, there will be two.

J: I bet the Martian internet isn't gonna be as good.

H: No, definitely not.

J: Yes, I mean, yet one more reason.  Why try to build an internet from scratch, asks Leon Muss.

H: You should Tweet it!

J: When we've got an internet workin' right here!  

H: Yeah.

J: I've gotta go actually, 'cause I did just discover a .gif that I wanna Tweet as Leon Muss.

 Outro (43:48)

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

J: Well, we learned that LeonMuss4Earth, number 4, is your number one news source for not getting to Mars before 2028. *pause* Just--just tell me when I'm kicking the dead horse.  I know it's not yet, I know that horse is alive, but you tell me when I jump the shark on the Leon Muss stuff.

H: Alright.  We also learned that John, on the set of Paper Towns, peed on something.  We don't know what, but something he was not supposed to pee on.

J: We learned that Hank huffs spray-on sunscreen.  

H: Not true.  Not on purpose!

J: Well, I mean, that's all I'm saying is that I have no idea how spray-on sunscreen tastes.

H: And we also--I think I just have an exceptionally strong sense of taste, I have a very developed palate.

J: Oh my God, aren't you special.

H: And finally, we learned that John would like a house with no bottom, it's just a forever falling pit that disallows the existence of any gust.  

J: I just wanna live in a vacuum, is that so wrong?

H: Yeah, it saves you from all of the potential bugs that might be in your home, if your home is a vacuum, they just die immediately.

J: The other big advantage is that you also die.

H: Yeah.

J: So that's a bummer.  Yeah, okay, let's wrap up the podcast.  

H: Alright, thank you for listening to this podcast.  John, thank you for coming to Anaheim to record with me.  It's a pleasure to have you here.

J: I mean, it's not like you're hosting me.  We both run VidCon.  It's just, I don't work on it.  

H: And thank you to everyone  for listening to this podcast, where you can find this podcast now officially on the Google Play podcast thingy.

J: Well, that's exciting. 

H: Yeah.

J: Also, we wanna thank all of our Patreon subscribers at, and we wanna thank Nicholas Jenkins who edits the podcast, Claudia Morales is our intern, Rosianna Halse Rojas helps us with questions, our theme music is by Gunnarolla.  Thank you again for listening, and as we say in our hometown...

Both: Don't forget to be awesome.

H: And if you have any questions, you can e-mail us at!

J: I forgot that part!  This really is the worst episode ever.

H: It's so bad.