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When should I introduce my kid to Star Wars? Can I dislike parts of my life even though I have privilege? How did humans start swimming? And more!

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 (00:00) to (02:00)

(Intro music)

H: Hello, and welcome to Dear Hank and John.

J: Or, as I prefer to think of it, Dear John and Hank, but I appreciate The Count stopping by from Sesame Street.  

H: It's a comedy podcast about death where two brothers, Hank and John Green, will give you some dubious advice, answer your questions, and bring you all the week's news from both Mars and AFC Wimbledon.  Hi, John, how are you?

J: Uhhhh.  You know the truth?  Like, if we're gonna be perfectly honest?  

H: Oh God, no.  I don't wanna know the truth.  Lie to me.  Lie!  Lie!  

J: I can't.  I can't lie.  Can't lie.

H: Then...then you should ask me how I'm doing.

J: I--Hank, I have had one of the most, like, emotionally, in terms of my professional life, just like, emotionally up and down weeks I can remember.  I've laughed, I've cried, I've had panic attacks, threw up from nervousness, it's just been up and down.  It's been every which-way but Sunday as my mother used to say.  By the way, that old phrase never made any sense to me.  I don't really know what it means, because Sunday isn't even a way, but it reminds me of something else.  The answer to your question is that I'm doing really well right now, like, super well.

H: Oh, good.  Great.

J: But I had some hard times in my past, but the--I just wanna quickly tell you a story, which is that I used to always explain to my now-7 year old son when one--somebody would say something that was just like a weird euphemism or something that like, doesn't make sense if you are a literal translator of English, as most like, four and five year olds are, I would just be like, Henry, that's an old saying, you know, it's just an old saying and here's what it means.  Well, one time, I was driving Henry back from picking up some kind of horrible, you know, fast food dinner that I'm sure his mother would have not approved of, and we're driving back and he's eating his french fries in the carseat and he says to me, "Lemon salty whales."  

 (02:00) to (04:00)

And I said, "What?"  And he said, "Lemon salty whales."  And I said, "What??" And he said, "Dad, it's just an old saying."  

H: Hey, John.  The world's been around for a long time.  Maybe it is.  

J: Maybe it is.  Maybe somewhere there's a culture where people are just like, ugh, lemon salty whales.  Got us again.

H: Whatcha gonna do?!  

J: You know, you think you're in control of your life and you think things are going pretty well, and then, pff, lemon salty whales.

H: Well, speaking of lemon salty whales, John, I got this microscope, you know, recently.

J: Yeah.  Yeah, I do know.

H: And I have been having a lot of fun with it.  You know how sometimes you'll turn your keyboard over and you just tap it on your desk and--just to clean it out, 'cause there's some stuff in there?  Well, I took that stuff and I put it in a little pile and I put it on my microscope plate and then I pointed my microscope at it, and don't do that.

J: Really?!

H: Mmm, I didn't wanna know.

J: Just a bunch of dead skin cells, right?

H: It's just a--it's so many different things.  How can so many different things get in there?  It's just--

J: I would imagine it's just dead skin cells, which is one of the very few things that I'm not pathologically afraid of.

H: It's also, it was a bunch of food, it was a lot of food.  A lot of little bits of food.

J: Oh, yeah.  

H: Food, too.

J: Food particles.

H: But also things I didn't recognize and like--

J: Sure.

H: Things that looked like crystals and I don't know--and maybe, I don't know if it's like the leavings of bugs as well, maybe?  

J: Oh yikes.

H: Yeah.  I--

J: Bug poop.

H: Mhmm, yeah.

J: Do bugs poop?

 (04:00) to (06:00)

H: Of course they poop, John.  They got a front end and a back end, and it goes through the tube just like us.  

J: I guess i wasn't thinking about like, roaches when I was thinking about bugs.  I was thinking about, you know, like, I don't know, like an amoeba.

H: Uh, well, amoebas are not bugs.  

J: Okay.  Good to know.

H: And they have waste, but they do not poop.  They do not have a tube, amoebas do not have a tube.

J: Alright, well, with that noted, let's move on to some questions from our listeners.

H: Okay.  I got one that I think we have a good answer to, John.

J: Great.

H: And I think that we've had a good answers to it--humanity has had a good answer to it, or at least the English speaking humanity has and we need to share it.  It's from Jade, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, I work in a therapy office and about half of our clientele is couples and families.  I usually refer to the couple or family, the unit, as 'you guys' as in "Your appointment started ten minutes ago, are you guys still able to make it?"  I've always disliked that male nouns and pronouns are considered universal/the default.  I'm sure that our female clients are used to being referred to as 'you guys', and it probably doesn't bother them too much, but I, as a female, know that there--know that if there was a more inclusive word or phrase people could use, I would want them to use it.  Is there another word or phrase that I can use to be more inclusive?  Thanks."

J: There is.

H: Of course--of course there is.  

J: There is.  You wanna say it on three, Hank?

H: Yeah, sure.

J: 1...2...3...

H&J: Y'all.

J: Y'all.

H: Yeah.

J: We have already invented this word, and just because it's closely associated with the American south does not mean that it is not a useful and good word.  Admittedly, I am from the American south, I say y'all very comfortably, it doesn't sound weird to me, it never has, but y'all is a great gender-neutral word for the plural you and solves one of the great problems in English, which is that 'you' and 'you' is both singular and plural.  It's extremely confusing and it needed to be addressed and we have addressed it successfully.  

 (06:00) to (08:00)

H: So, this is an unrelated side-note here.  When I--I took Spanish in high school, and there's a plural noun for 'we', no sotros and because nouns in Spanish are gendered, there's no sotros and there's no sotras and if you're a group of guys, you're no sotros and if you're a group of girls, you're no sotras but my Spanish teacher literally said this to me: "If it is a stadium of women and there is one man, it is no sotros"

J: Really?

H: So like, if it's a group of split, like, multiple people but like, all you need is one dude to--and I thought that was like, so wrong and weird and bad, but at the same time, like, we say 'you guys' for any group of people.  

J: That's true.

H: So it's everywhere and and it is a convenience and it is also illustrative.  

J: I think y'all is plenty illustrative, actually, and I'm not backing down off of my support for y'all.

H: Oh, no, no, no.

J: It is the greatest word that is not widely utilized in the English language.

H: When I say 'illustrative', I mean it is illustrative of a deeper thing in our culture.

J: Oh.  Oh, yeah, it definitely is illustrative of that, of a system.  

H: Yes.

J: Yes.  Quite.  Quite.

H: But I'm--

J: Hank, I have another question and it's very important.  I'm sorry, I think we need to get to it.  It's time sensitive, okay?

H: Okay.

J: And it's a hard  one.

H: That's bad.  That's bad news, because these do take a while to get up.

J: "Dear John and Hank, I have the same name as Trump's new FBI director.  I'm afraid the Russians will come after me.  What do I do?  My claim to fame is my name, Christopher Ray."  

H: Chris, there's an easy solution here, which is just like, wait a couple weeks.

J: 'Cause he's not gonna be the next director of the FBI, Chris.  

 (08:00) to (10:00)

H: I mean, and even if he is, he's just gonna get fired.

J: Yeah, I mean, at most he'll be--

H: It's just not a job with a long-life span.

J: His best scenario is director of the FBI for 14 hours.  That's as good as it's gonna get for Christopher Ray, so if you just hold on to your name, you're gonna be fine, but that's not actually what I would recommend, because I also disagree with the premise of the question, because I would argue that the Russians are not gonna be coming for Christopher Ray.  

H: I mean, I don't know.  I don't know.  I don't know what the Russians want, John, and that's what they want.

J: Hank, uh, we have decided not to talk about this in public in detail, and I think that is the right decision, but you and I have both received some information that actual hackers, sponsored by an actual government, have pursued information related to us.

H: Yes, this is correct.  

J: Uhhh.  Uhhh.  Uhhh.  Uh, it is deeply dis--I'm sorry, I am trying to choose my words extremely carefully.  It is deeply disturbing to us, and also it really, um, highlights how common this must be, since Hank and I are not, I would say, A-level targets.  

H: Yeah.  

J: Like if I were a foreign government and I wanted to access even the information related to say, a thousand Americans, I'd just don't think I'd put me on the list.

H: Definitely not on the list.  I mean, what they probably do, John, is they just go through Twitter and they try and hit anybody who has a substantial number of followers and they're just, you know, just information gathering, but yeah, it is really like, it's super weird, it's super weird to get that note.  

J: It's scary, I mean, there's no getting around it.  So, um, Christopher Ray, to be totally honest with you, I would probably uh, turn on two-factor authentication on your email and all your social media accounts that matter to you.

 (10:00) to (12:00)

That's my honest advice.  I would do that, if I were you.  I don't think that's an overreaction.

H: No, yeah, and it's, you know, it's not just the Russians coming for you.  Anybody wants access to that stuff.

J: Buh, buh, buh, buh, buh, I'm just gonna stop you right there.  We do not know if it was the Russian government.

H: No--

J: And even if it were, I would just like to state for the record that I think the Russian government has often been misunderstood and--

H: And they're very super nice folks, just like, real--

J: They're doing a really good job leading the country of Russia and if anything, I think that they need to have more influence on American politics.  So I just wanna state that that is my--I am, Hank, I am a coward.  That's one of the other things I learned from this experience.  I am a weak, weak man.  

H: Oh, well, yeah, I mean, it's weird when somebody comes for you, and it's like, ahh, I learned something about myself today.  I just want to have a good time and not be dealing with that!  

J: I just want to have a good safe life, Jesus Christ, just let me stay here in Indianapolis and have a normal life.  Oh my God.  That was my immediate reaction.  So yeah, I mean, usually I would be like, ah, this is not a big deal, just go by your middle name or we would come up with a bunch of jokes, but I actually did wanna tell you to go ahead and turn on two-factor authentication.  It's the least that you can do.  And also probably the most that you can do.  

H: This question comes from Wesley, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, What is the best way to introduce my young son to Star Wars?  Should I try and hold back as much as I can until he's between four and five and then show him the original trilogy or should I throw caution to the wind and allow my own Star Wars obsession to spill over into his life as well?  Lasers, swords, and burp rags, Wesley."  

J: So I have a pretty strong opinion about this, Hank.  

H: Well, I mean--

J: Cause I've been through it.  

 (12:00) to (14:00)

H: Oh, oh, John, this morning, we put Orin, for the first time, into the Star Wars cute thing that you got him, by the way.  

J: Yeah.  You're welcome.

H: He is now big enough to wear it.  It's adorable, so he's already starting.

J: Good.

H: Like, he's only seven months old and he's already a fan.  

J: Right, but--but he hasn't seen the movies yet.  Here's my theory, and I'm going to try to say this without spoilers.  There's something that happens in those movies, specifically toward the end of Empire Strikes Back, that is a, oh wow, holy crap, oh my gosh moment.  It's one of the great oh my gosh moments in the history of any movie, and your kid has to be old enough in that moment to have that oh wow experience, or else the trilogy will kind of be lost on them.  Now, I guess they can watch the prequels whenever, but the--but movies four, five, and six, I think you have to get that oh wow moment.  Now, I have friends who showed--who are big believers that the order when you share it with your kids should be first movie four, Star Wars: A New Hope, and then the prequels, and then movie five, so you can get the full boom of that oh my gosh moment, but I think your kids have to be old enough to get that, and also, kind of maybe old enough to be able to watch the not insignificant amount of violence.

H: Yeah.

J: And then, there's the secondary issue, which is that if you wait too long, the whole thing gets spoiled on the frickin' playground.

H: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.  Well, that's the thing.  I don't really know how to be a human in the world who hasn't been spoiled on that spoiler.  

J: Uh, I mean, you totally can be.  I--there's lots of humans in the world who haven't been spoiled on that spoiler, but it is--the extent--as far as I can tell, the only thing that happens on the playground at Henry's school is that the kids swap spoilers for all the books that they're reading. 

 (14:00) to (16:00)

Like, we're reading Harry Potter right now, and--

H: Wow.

J: --and, I mean, it's not just that Henry know some spoilers.  Henry knows like, an incred--he knows thousands of spoilers.  He knows--he's essentially read--been read the books by his classmates in such a way that, like, while we're reading the book, he'll be like, you know what's about to happen?  And I'll be like, no, I don't know what's about to happen, even though I do, and he'll be like, dragons.  And I'll be like, dragons?  And he'll say, and not just any dragon.  A Hungarian Horntail.  And I'll be like, how?!

H: Oh my God.  

J: How?  How??  

H: How?  Well, that's--I mean, that's kind of intere--like, I like the idea of people, like, telling these stories to each other in their own way.  There's something ni--like, especially children.  Like, they love the story so much they want to tell each other the story and like, it becomes, you know, it's a--they get to practice their storytelling skills and they get to entertain each other that way.  I like--I kind of like that, and, you know, that might be more important than, you know, getting that big oh my gosh moment, but maybe not.  But, but, but Wesley, there's really good news for your specific situation, which is that if you want to save that, the--you know, the original trilogy, you can, because there is a lot of Star Wars stuff that doesn't have anything to do with the original trilogy.

J: That's a very good point.

H: Like, you can Clone Wars--

J: Star Wars: Rebels.

H: Yeah, you can--there is so much kid-focused Star Wars stuff for you to show your children.  

J: Yeah, that's a great point, Hank.  

H: I mean, yeah, and you can save that, you can save the original trilogy for when they are old enough for that.

J: On that front, I have to say there's a series of Star Wars, kind of like, middle grade and YA novels that have come out lately, one was written by Beth Revis.

H: Mhmm, yeah!

J: One by Adam Gidwitz.  

 (16:00) to (18:00)

They're really good.  So, that might be something that you can share with them as well.

H: Yeah.

J: Okay, Hank, this question comes from our old friend Anonymous, who writes, "Dear John and Hank, I'm a 17 year old gay girl living in a middle eastern country and I am extremely privileged.  I go to one of the best high schools in my city and I live in a highly comfortable life surrounded by people who love and support me.  My dilemma is, I still hate it here.  I'm miserable living in this country, even though I have so much privilege.  I feel stifled and depressed that I can't be who I am.  I am so tired of having to be in the closet to everyone because I could actually go to jail for it, and I don't wanna hate it.  I feel like I have no right to hate where I live when I have such a comfortable life and other people are suffering so much more than I am, even in the same city, going to bad schools, barely enough to eat, and horrible health care.  Is it okay that I'm not happy and dislike my county even after my life has been amazing here?  Hope and feathers, Anonymous."  

H: Um, no, yeah, it's fine.  That's fine.  I mean, first of all, you can like some things about your life and about how your life is and about the privileges you've had and also dislike other things.

J: Yeah.

H: About your life and about how you are being controlled and not allowed to be the way that you are.  

J: Yeah, I mean, that's an extreme form of oppression, to not be able to be yourself and to have forces that are larger than you saying that who you are is not okay, and that who you are is, in fact, illegal, which is what the government is telling you, and that's a very very hard thing to hear.  It's a dehumanizing thing to hear and I don't think that there is--that the privileges that you have enjoyed in any way lessen or diminish that.  Would it be harder to be the same person and having not enjoyed those privileges?  Of course it would be, but that doesn't mean that your pain and your experience isn't real and isn't painful, because it certainly is.  

 (18:00) to (20:00)

I mean, that sounds really, really difficult to me.  I want to be really careful here not to out people, but I know people who are living in similar situations and it is extremely difficult, even if you have all of the privileges in the world, all the structural privileges in the world, all the money in the world, it is extremely difficult to be told by your community and your government that who you are as a person is illegal and wrong and not fully human, I mean, that's a--those are incredibly difficult things to hear.  

H: Yeah, and, I mean, there's--there are also hopefully maybe ways to like things about your culture and about your traditions while also really disliking that part of your--of your country, of the thing that you are inevitably a part of, like, it is--where you are will always be a part of you, and um, and you can hate that thing and--but hopefully still not hate everything about this other piece of your identity, which is, you know, your home.  

J: Yeah, but that's--it's a very difficult thing, and I also don't wanna--I don't wanna pretend that Hank or I can give you a clear answer on that.  I can tell you that, as I hope you know, you're not alone in that and that the struggle for justice and the struggle for accepting people as fully human, it's gonna take a while, it's gonna be difficult, but I think we see in human history causes for hope, so I hope, I hope that that gets better for you.  I hope that you're more comfortable with your life as time goes on, but I also want you to know that you shouldn't certainly be beating yourself up over feeling that pain, because it seems to me that that pain is very real.

 (20:00) to (22:00)

This next question comes from Corey, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, So as a 14, soon to be 15 year old, my hormones and my genetics make it so that a good amount of acne tends to appear on my face.  At the same time, hair tends to sprout from my face as well.  Not wanting to go through the commitment of growing a full beard--" Also, let me be frank, you probably can't--"I have to, on multiple occasions, shave my face but with said acne, it can be very difficult to do that without cutting my face, so I ask whether it would be better just to wait 'til I'm done with the whole puberty thing or is there some magical trick to not cutting your face?" 

J: Well, you've come to the right place, Corey, because Hank and I are both experts in really bad pubescent facial hair.  

H: And, also, you know, a fair amount of, though certainly not the worst acne that has ever happened, which is like--can be a really, like, difficult and painful thing.  What I will say, don't use a razor.  Getting an electric shavey thinger and that will make it so much easier and so much less painful and also you'll have fewer scabs and fewer bleeding--less bleeding--and all of that, so--get an electric shaver with a guard.  You know, they can--over the life of it, it'll probably be about the same price as buying razors anyway and if you can't afford that, then ask your parents to help you with this thing that is difficult and hopefully they will and can.  

J: Uh, yeah, I totally disagree with your advice.

H: What?!  

J: I do.  

H: I don't.  I mean, you're wrong.  

J: So, Hank, unlike you, I went to boarding school for high school, and also I hit puberty very late, which meant that I experienced, like, most of my puberty related learning from my peers.

 (22:00) to (24:00)

There are parts of that that I can recommend.  There are many parts that I can say are not the best.  Not the best, and one of the ones that isn't the best is that my 10th grade girlfriend, Fran, taught me how to shave, because she'd become fed up with what she referred to as "my Fischer-Price My First Mustache".  A joke that, like several other jokes Fran used, I have stolen, I think twice, in two different novels, because I liked it so much.  So, shout out to Fran who, these days is doing amazing work on behalf of LGBTQ youth all over the country and had a huge, huge role in getting marriage equality, the law of the land here in the United States, she's an amazing, amazing person, but the point is that she taught me how to shave, and I would say that that maybe is not like, not her number one area of expertise, but I have stuck with the Fran method for shaving ever since.  I have--I know of no other method--

H: I mean, how is this--how is this helpful?  It sounds to me like you've made a huge mistake!  

J: Every--Every single time I shave--Every single time I shave, even now, as a 39 year old person, I hear Fran's voice explaining to me how to do it, and uh, I'll tell you, the Fran way of shaving, which is to always shave with the grain even though it leads to a less close shave, does result in significantly fewer cuts on pimples.

H: Yeah.  Sure.  

J: So that is my advice, is the Fran way of shaving, just don't go against the grain.  Let yourself not have the cleanest possible shave and then you're less likely to burst those pimples.  

H: Agreed, but you will be even less likely if you get an electric shaver with a guard and use that, which is basically designed for zero irritation at all.

 (24:00) to (26:00)

J: I--I mean, I've never even heard of an electric shaver, so this is complete news to me.

H: Also, I will suggest, Google how to safely shave with acne and I watched a little bit of this video that this guy made, his name is Bryan, and it seemed like good advice and I wish that I had had YouTube videos to Google and podcasts to ask questions to when I was shaving around my terrible spots. 

J: Okay, I would--I just want to say one thing here, Hank, which is that anybody who ever asks us any question should just go to Google.  

H: Dear Google, I have the same name as Trump's new FBI director.

J: Yeah! It's gonna get a way better answer.  

H: Oh God.

J: Okay, Hank, let's move on to a question from Marie who writes, "Dear Hank and last but not least, John," That's honestly--that's worse.  That just--I know that that means 'but actually least', it always does.  The only time it doesn't mean 'last but not least' is when it's like, uh, a bunch of people are being introduced, like one time I remember I was at a movie screening and they introduced everybody and then they were like, you know, and last but not least, Shailene Woodley, and we were all like, oh, yeah, no, we get it.  Shailene's the most important person here.  But anyway.  "Dear Hank and last but not least, John, It seems that all mammals except for orangutans, chimpanzees, gorillas, and bonobos can swim.  Humans can swim, too, but they have to actually acquire the skill while all the other animals capable of swimming don't.  My main question is: how did humans start swimming?  Why must this--what must this individual have been thinking to come up with this idea?"  I suspect that individual was thinking, I want food and there's food in that water, but anyway, "Additional super extra bonus question: do you think there is a way to teach one of the apes mentioned above to swim?  Chutes and Ladders, Marie."

 (26:00) to (28:00)

Chutes and Ladders is a great sign-off, because just like life, that game is completely arbitrary and right when you think you're winning, it turns out that you are at your most vulnerable.  

H: Um.  I did a little bit of research on this, and--

J: Okay.

H: Unsurprisingly, we aren't sure how many mammals can swim, because we don't make a habit of just, like, throwing like, the hundreds of different species of bats into a lake and seeing what happens.  

J: Are bats mammals?

H: Sure they are, John.  We're pretty--I'm pretty sure that there are a number of mammals that cannot swim.  Armadillos, for example, don't do well in water, as you might expect.  They're covered in heavy, bony--or not bony plates, but heavy keratinous plates, and they don't have much ability to move their arms so they just sink.  They don't do water good.

J: Uh, just quick heads up, armadillos can swim.  In fact, they like to swim.

H: Wait a second.

J: Yep.

H: Not all species.

J: Uh, I'm just telling you that I am looking right now at an armadillo swimming.  It's sort of a dog-paddle thing.  I mean, I wouldn't say that this armadillo is an amaizng swimmer, but it's swimming.

H: Oh my God, I mean, John, I almost want to cut this out of the podcast because I say that so confidently and I'm so wrong.  

J: I kn--Well, it's just, it's pretty typical actually of the things that you say very confidently.  

H: I mean, this armadillo isn't only swimming.  It's diving beneath the water, and like--

J: Yeah, I would argue this armadillo is actually a better swimmer than I am.  

H: It's amazing!  I read--

J: Can you think of another mammal that might not like to swim that I can provide a YouTube video providing evidence otherwise?

H: Um, I mean, there's a picture here of an armadillo competing against human swimmers--I believe it's photoshopped.  Probably photoshopped, but if I say it confidently enough then we got it.  

J: Yeah, yeah, I'd have to come in and correct you and be like, actually, Hank, an armadillo once won a silver medal at the Olympics in the 200m fly.  

 (28:00) to (30:00)

His name was Dan.

H: I read an article that was like, armadillos can't swim and I was lied to.  

J: What other--hey, Hank, quick question, what other mammals do you think can't swim?

H: Yeah, I don't know.  But like, I know that we don't just go around throwing animals into lakes, but I also--

J: Okay, well we now--

H: I will also tell you that like, chimpanzees and orangutans can swim.  I don't know about other--these other primates listed, but they can.  It turns out swimming is a thing--but like, it is interesting that humans do have to learn to swim and I am curious whether that is the case for these primates as well, like, maybe not all chimpanzees can swim, but I don't know the answer to that.

J: Oh my God, I am watching a video of a chimpanzee swimming and it is the cutest thing I have ever seen in my entire life.  

H: But there is--

J: Oh my God.

H: There is a widespread myth that chimpanzees can't swim, there's a widespread myth also that camels can't swim, which would make sense because they're big giant things that live in the desert and they like, have these longs legs that you would imagine don't catch a lot of water, but camels can also swim!  

J: This chimpanzee--it doesn't just know how to swim, it knows how to tread water so that it can just stand upright and be comfortable.  It--this is an amaz--this chimpanzee--I don't know if chimpanzees are eligible for the Olympics, but if they are, I think that we've got a serious issue on our hands.  We might have seen the last human swimming Olympian.  This is amazing.

H: Ohh, he's so happy!

J: How many countries have--I know.  

H: Oh, he so loves it! He loves (?~29:36)

J: I kn--are you watching the one about Cooper?  

H: Yes!

J: And he even breathes underwater.  He blows bubbles underwater.  It's adorable.

H: He likes it so much.  He's like, I'm in the pool!  I get to hang out in the pool!  

J: Yeah, no, so the answer's--

H: Thanks everybody.

J: The answer is that all mammals can swim.  Period.  

H: Except for humans.  

J: Except for humans, but we can learn how to swim, and I think the reason we struggle with swimming naturally is, I--I mean, I'm sure you have to teach chimpanzees a little bit, but I also suspect you have to--like armadillos have to teach other armadillos probably somehow.  

 (30:00) to (32:00)

Maybe not, I don't know.  What do I know?  I'm so far outside my area of expertise right now.  Can--the only thing I know for sure is that I know squirrels can swim because they can surf.  

H: Yep.  I haven't found a video of a gorilla swimming.  The one that I found clearly is fake, but everybody thinks it's real in the comments and wow.  But, apparently, humans are just real bad at stuff.  We have to learn this seemingly innate skill that all other mammals have. 

J: But I think to get to the point of how did we learn it, I mean, there's so much food in the ocean and a lot of the earliest human--well, a lot of successful early human communities lived near water.

H: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

J: Either near a river or near an ocean and at some point, like, wading just becomes not that great.  I would also argue, though, that like, based on watching my kids, like, you do s--you sort of learn to swim from learning, but you mostly learn to swim from being in the water.  

H: You just start to do it and you're like, ahh, I'm catching on here.

J: Yeah, yeah, you start out with the doggy paddling and then you just kind of go from there.  

H: This question comes from Helen who asks, "Dear Hank and John, I just got a voicemail on my phone that was not addressed to me.  The message seemed important and urgent even.  My question to you is whether I should call back and tell them that I'm not the person they intended to call." Helen, of course you should.

J: Helen!

H: If it's urgent, at least send them a text!

J: Two notes.  One: how could you send us this email and not tell us what the frickin' urgent news is.

H: Seriously.

J: Now I'm stressed out.

H: Yeah, what--yeah, how urgent was it?  Was it like, I'm at the hospital, my baby--

J: Did Helen leave her phone number?

H: No, Helen did not leave her phone number for us, John.

J: She did not leave her phone number.  Oh my God.

 (32:00) to (34:00)

H: You gotta do it, you gotta call-you gotta at least text.

J: Obviously, you have to call, but we have a problem now, Hank.  Helen had a problem, which is that she didn't know she had to call to let the person know that they were leaving the voicemail on the wrong phone, but now you and I have a problem, which is that I don't know what the content of that urgent news was and until I do, I am gonna worry that it was something horrible.  

H: Well, you know, I mean, it's almost certainly something like, some business thing or like taxes or something.  I like--which is, to be clear, horrible and if you don't--

J: No, it could be something much worse--it could be much worse than that.

H: It could, it could be.  I mean, it's almost as if one of us professionally thinks of circumstances for a living.  

J: Ughh.

H: Dramatic circumstances.

J: God.  Ugh.  I mean, ugh, it could--Helen, I'm gunna need a follow up, just, I need to know that everything turned out alright, or I am not--just--I am not gonna be able to close the loop on that one, and it's just gonna make me miserable, so Helen, please, please reach back out to us.  Tell me that you're a regular listener to the pod, not somebody who just dipped in because you needed advice.  I can't imagine anybody comes here for actual advice, though.  Please tell me it all worked out okay, but yes, if somebody leaves--I guess maybe you can text them.  I can see how somebody might do that as a way of trying to get you to call back and then maybe it's a phishing thing, so you gotta be careful about phishing obviously in every situation these days, but I--yeah.  If it seemed honest, I would worry about it.  

H: Yeah, well, I mean.  Probably you can text it right back.  If it bounces back and it says it's a landline, just call and be like, hey, just so you know, yeah.  It's all part of the--it's all part of how the world works.  We have to fix it when little things like that go wrong.  

J: Okay, we've got a question from Mattie who writes, "Dear Green Brothers, I'm 19 years old and I'm working at my first full-time job.  The job is pretty boring and some days it feels like I don't actually do anything and I might be working for a fake company."

 (34:00) to (36:00)

H: Well, that's a--that is a concern.  Is that the question?

J: I mean, I wouldn't say that's a concern.  I would say that it's a point of interest, though.  "However, this "company" gives me an hour for lunch and I have no idea what to do with it.  Some days I have a car, so I'll drive around a bit, but that wastes gas and kills future children.  What can I do for an extra hour?"

H: Oh my God.

J: "Touch not the cat without a glove, Mattie."  Which is good life advice.  I don't know if there's anything else to that quote.  Like, I don't know if it's from Shakespeare or something.

H: No, it's uh, it's from her clan, clan (?~34:39) which is clan of the cats.  It's the Scottish clan motto, which means don't mess with us, or we'll get you back harder basically is what it says in the PS here.

J: Oh.  Oh.  Sweet.  Sweet.  Yeah.  I wanna have a clan motto.  Hank, why don't we have a clan motto?  

H: 'Cause we're Irish, John.

J: Oh, yeah, I forgot about that.  Yeah.

H: It's terrible.  Terrible news.

J: You know, somewhere our great grandfathers are like, standing about at the grave, screaming at us for saying that we wanted to be Scottish.  There was not a lot that our grandfather Green cared about more than that we understood that we were Irish and not only Irish, but that we were a particular political political persuasion of Irish that we don't need to get into at the moment.  Hank, Mattie is working for a fake company that gives her an hour for lunch.  Isn't it possible, Mattie, that you're just working for a company that doesn't--isn't--just isn't doing a lot of business at the moment and that they're giving you an hour for lunch because that's what any normal employer would do?

H: Yeah.  Yeah, an hour for lunch isn't super uncommon and--

J: It shouldn't be.  Jeez.  

H: I mean, I've--yeah, I've definitely not gotten an hour for lunch some, but, but, I mean, like, I can't--I got like, what do you for a normal hour?  You have a phone, right?

 (36:00) to (38:00)

Like, is there wifi, 'cause I think--

J: Bring a book.

H: Or, I guess--

J: Bring. A. Book.

H: You know, John, when I worked at Wal-Mart, I would like, take books from Wal-Mart and read them and then return them to the shelves.

J: Yeah.  No.  That works.  I mean, there's no reason you can't do that.  So if you're in a place where there are books, just take existing books, read them, and return them to the shelves.  Otherwise, go to your local public library, get a book and enjoy that hour of reading per day as kind of a relaxation, although it sounds like potentially your job itself is pretty relaxing since there don't seem to be any customers.  

H: Well, yeah, I mean, I think you should definitely listen to podcasts, but yeah, you don't have to like, you don't usually have to leave during your lunch break.  Do they have, like, there should be a place where you can go during that time and sit around, listening to podcasts?

J: Oh, maybe they're like, Mattie, we're gonna need you to leave for an hour for your "lunch break" and then Mattie has to be like, uhh, okay and then she has to leave and that's when they launder the money.

H: Because they're packing up the drugs?

J: No, they're laundering the money.

H: Right.  They're remaking the receipts.

J: There was a store in Lincoln Square in Chicago where I lived for many years and we were all pretty sure that it was a front for something and we would always make a joke about it.  We'd always be like, there's nobody ever in that place.  It must be a front for something, and then one day, the FBI came and it was a front for something.

H: That's great.  That happened in mom and dad's town, too.  It was like this hot dog place and it turned out that they were having like, high stakes gambling in the back.

J: Oh, yeah, I remember that.  No, this was a straight money laundering operation.  It was straight laundering of drug money and they were saying that they, you know, were a wildly popular business and there was literally never anyone in there and when you would go in there, the service you got was exceptionally weird and poor, so I don't know, Mattie, if you've been told to be super rude to customers to try to keep them out, but if you have, that might be another--

H: Warning sign?

J:--red flag that you might be working for a front business. 

 (38:00) to (40:00)

H: Yeah, but--well, I mean, I guess, what's the thing to do if you are actually working for a front business?  Are you just like, well, I'm not gonna rattle the cage here, 'cause I don't want to get in trouble with the law or also the potential mafia that I'm working for. 

J: I think if you're working for a front business and you know you're working for a front business, you probably have a legal and ethical obligation not to turn them in necessarily, but to maybe submit your notice.

H: Yeah, be like, I have--oh boy, I got this great opportunity working for a podcast!

J: Yeah, I just, I've got this, I just, yeah.  By the way, if you need an excuse, just tell them that you're coming to work for us.

H: Or, no just say like, ahh, hey, mafia boss--

J: We're rolling in it.

H: --my podcast got really big so I'm doing that full-time now, and they'll be like, what is that?  And then you're like, it's an internet thing, don't worry about it.

J: Yeah, and then they'll be like, uhh, you need some protection for that podcast?  And you'll be like, no, I don't think so, and then the next week--

H: Not really sure that's how it works.

J: --your podcast is gonna be destroyed and you'll be like, ohhh God.

H: Yeah, they're just gonna throw a window right through your podcast.

J: Now I've gotta pay protection money for my podcast.

H: Wow, I just said, "Throw a window through your podcast", which is not really what I meant, but also, also bad.  Like, you don't want someone to throw a window through your window.  

J: Yeah, no.

H: That's worse than a brick!

J: Very bad.  Much worse than a brick.

H: That's double the glass.

J: Yeah.  So much broken glass to clean up, if nothing else.  

H: Maybe it was a double-paned window that they threw through your window.

J: We need a podcast mafia.  It's a great business idea, Hank.  Like, the number one thing that podcasts are missing right now is an organized crime syndicate that extracts value out of podcasts.

H: It's good.  We--I mean, if anybody can do--don't you think that it would be us?  

J: I mean, we don't have a strong criminal past, but we do have a strong past of organizing creators around certain goals and this would just be organizing creators around the goals of not getting your podcast destroyed by Hank and John Green.  

H: Well, John, this podcast, of course, is, in fact, brought to you the podcast mafia.

 (40:00) to (42:00)

J: Yup.

H: The podcast mafia: already exists, we're just very secret about it because we don't want anyone to know that that's how we make the majority of our money.

J: I mean, if you're in the mafia, Hank, you don't brag about being in the mafia all the time.  You just make jokes like, hahahahaha.

H: Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

J: Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha.  Today's podcast is also brought to you by our Irish grandfather.  Our Irish grandfather: definitely in favor of the unification of Ireland.

H: Today's podcast is also brought to you by the word y'all.  The word y'all: it's the best plural you.  

J: And lastly, this podcast is brought to you by that big oh my gosh moment in the second Star Wars movie.  That big oh my gosh moment: I'm sorry, you're my what now?

H: Alright, John.  Do you want to do one more question before we move on to the news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon or have we gone long enough, 'cause we seem to have gone a long time.

J: Yeah, we went way too long, Hank.  We've gotta move on to the news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon, especially because it's the off season, so there's so much news.

H: Mm, I feel ya.

J: It's always the off season for Mars.

H: There are seasons on Mars, and they're all on!

J: Alright, alright, what is it? 

H: In a new paper, SpaceX founder and do you know it, basically inventor of everything Elon Musk has made his argument for a self-sustaining city on Mars, so not just going to Mars, he wants to build a place that can make us a multi-planetary species because he's not busy enough trying to make every Tesla supercharge station solar powered and also create a hyperloop system so that we can have pneumatic tubes that connect our cities together, but also be a species that has a back up plan.  

 (42:00) to (44:00)

Not that I think it's a good back up plan, as I have said before.  Reiterating.

J: Very bad back up plan.

H: Reiterating, if Earth goes kaput, Mars will be a couple years behind.  I don't--unless we're talking about like a 10,000 year back up plan.

J: And even as a 10,000 year back up plan, we need a much more Earth-like planet, I would argue.

H: Well, we--hopefully, in 10,000 years, we can make Mars a more Earth-like planet, John.

J: Maybe.  May--I mean.  I don't know.  I haven't seen a lot of evidence for that, but then again, to be fair, 10,000 years ago, we were just starting to think about agriculture, so maybe I'm not being fair.

H: So--that's very true--so, in his little paper here, Elon Musk, he says that he's looking for a ten year time frame for sending the first colonists.  He says that is feasible.  John, what year is it right now?

J: *sigh* 2017.

H: And when is ten years from now?

J: It's 2027.

H: Hmmm.

J: Oh, I would be shaking in my boots if Elon Musk had ever made a deadline, ever.   So anyway, you know what, Hank?  I believe--I'll believe that humans will be on Mars in 2027 when my Tesla Model 3 costing $42,000 arrives at my house in 2013.  

H: Elon Musk says--

J: Hank.

H: --there's a huge amount of risk.  It's going to cost a lot.  There's a good chance we will not succeed but we're going to do our best to try and make as much progress as possible, so...he also doesn't think he's gonna do it.

J: Yeah, I appreciate his honesty.  The news from AFC Wimbledon is, as always, it's complex.  

 (44:00) to (46:00)

Hank, you know the biggest dream for most AFC Wimbledon supporters, aside from getting back into the football league, is to be back in Wimbledon.

H: Oh, okay.

J: Right now they play in Kingston at King's Meadow.  They want to build their own stadium.  They want to be back in Wimbledon at Plow Lane or across the street from the historic Plow Lane and there is a plan to do that and everything is lined up.  The financing is lined up, everything has been agreed to, the plans have been agreed to.  It's just now there is one more hurdle to jump over, which is that some people are saying that the greyhound stadium that will be demolished to make room for Plow Lane, which is a greyhound racing stat--stadium and not, I have to say, just being perfectly honest, a particularly beautiful one, should be listed as a historic place in England, which would make it impossible to ever do anything to it.  You know, like how Westminster Abbey is a historic place so you can't tear down Westminster Abbey and build something else on its place, which is a lovely idea.  I don't feel the same way about greyhound stadiums myself, but that decision was delayed by the election.  Before snap elections, no decisions can be made before--within six weeks before an election so as not to use the political process to effect outcomes, which is a good rule, I think, but an annoying one in this case, and the instability that resulted from the strangeness of the vote has left the whole affair a little bit up in the air, so we don't know quite where it stands, and we don't know quite when it will be decided and we don't know quite what will be decided.  That appears to be the last, actually last, hurdle to Wimbledon's Plow Lane dream, to being a team with a stadium in Wimbledon again and closing the loop on this very difficult chapter, this now 25 year long chapter in their history, so I'll keep you updated on that, but that's the current situation.

 (46:00) to (48:00)

H: Um.  Thank you for keeping us updated.  I'm sorry, appare--that you apparently did not get any new players in the last week.  

J: Oh yes, we did not.  We did lose a couple new players, though.  We lost--uh, yeah, it's not great.  Well, I mean, this is the nature of football in the third tier.  Like, Tom Eliot got a job playing in the second tier, which is incredible for him and who would blame him for taking it, and then another player who has been really, really good for us left for the Scottish league, where he'll be in the top league in Scotland and get to play Celtic and Rangers and that's a cool, I mean, that's an amazing opportunity, so you can't tell players like Tom Eliot or Sean Kelley not to move on when they have those opportunities.  All you can hope is that if AFC Wimbledon is the kind of club that builds and nurtures players to make them good enough to make those jumps, that more players will want to come and play at Wimbledon because they'll recognize that it's the kind of club where you become a stronger player and can move up the leagues.  

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

J: Well, uh, we learned that Hank and I are running a protection racket in the podcast game.

H: We learned that armadillos can swim and so can everything apparently.  Everything can swim. 

J: Everything swims.  We learned that bugs poop.

H: They do, John.  They're just a tube. Stuff goes in one side and out the other, and of course we learned that the Russians are coming for us and we welcome them.

J: We welcome them with open arms.

H: Sure, fine, what--come.  You guys seem, you seem great.  Great.  No issues there at all.

 (48:00) to (49:54)

And again, we wanna say for the record because we do have a lot of Russian listeners who sometimes take offense, and with good reason, to the idea of "The Russians' as a monolith.

H: Yes.

J: Which of course, they are not, so let's just be specific.  We learned that Putin is coming and we think that we are in great hands.

H: Yeah, just--just leave our emails alone, thank you.

J: Strong, capable, very strong hands.

H: So strong.  

J: So strong.  They're gonna hold us so tight, so tight we're gonna be like, it's a little too tight.  

H: The white knuckle grip on the reins of your horse of control.

J: And on that note, thanks for listening to Dear Hank and John, a comedy podcast about mostly these days, Putin.  

H: Apparently.  This podcast is edited by Nicholas Jenkins.  It's produced by Rosianna Halse Rojas and Sheridan Gibson.  Our social media manager is Victoria Bongiorno.  Our music is by the great gunnarolla.  If you want to email us your questions, you can do that at  We're also on Twitter, @hankgreen and @johngreen.  That's us.  We're--we got our own names on Twitter, 'cause we're great.  We were early.  No, you weren't early.  You did something to do that, didn't you, John?

J: The important thing is, actually, that I'm not on Twitter.  I haven't written one of my own Tweets in almost six months.  

H: Well, you can send us Dear Hank and John questions there, though, and we'll find them, and I think all I have to say now is as they say in our hometown...

H&J: ...don't forget to be awesome.