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Could you take down a coyote with your arms? Should people be allowed to put things in someone else's Netflix queue? How do I cope with social anxiety? And more!

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 (00:00) to (02:00)

[Dear Hank and John intro music]
Hank: Hello and welcome to Dear Hank and John!

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

Hank: It's a comedy podcast where me and my brother John, we answer your questions, give you dubious advice, and bring you all the week's news from both Mars and AFC Wimbledon.
Hey John, how you doing?

John: Hank, we're both very tired. I know that we're often tired when we record the pod, but like right now, I've been tired for a few months and Turtles All the Way Down is finally- it's- like I'm in the last hours of it belonging to me.

Hank: Yeah.

John: You know? Like, in like, I don't know like two hundred hours so or maybe a hundred fifty hours, it will never belong to me ever again. And it's belonged to me for like six years, so I have chosen to spend these last several hundred hours with Turtles All the Way Down awake. And there are times where I have regretted that decision. But I also can't seem to make any other decision. How are you?

Hank: I'm good. You know, I feel bad that I haven't read your book because you sent it to me about a week ago, and I still haven't read it. And but I do hope that you understand that I can't do anything.

John: Yeah. Um, I, the the the candle is burning at both ends and it will not last the night. But-

Hank: Are there- are there- could you have a candle and you like split off the middle part into like a third end and light that one too?

John: I believe that would actually give you four ends. And, if so, Hank would immediately light all four of them because that's the kind of person he is.

Hank: No, actually, I've made my candle into the weapon from the movie Krull, and it spins really fast so it's extra oxygenated so all five ends can burn really fast.

John: Is that a movie- I'm just not familiar with the movie- but is it a movie in which the krill that blue whales eat turn evil?

Hank: No.

John: That's disappointing.

 (02:00) to (04:00)

Hank: In fact I couldn't even tell you anything about the movie Krull. I just remember I watched it when I was a child on television, and I was so in love. It's just- it was the best thing. And I should probably watch it again so I know how bad it is. But I really liked it then.

John: Well no hurry on reading my new book. But quick reminder to our listeners, they can read it on October 10th and get a signed copy too by going to, the number one website on the internet right now. It's blowing up.

Hank: One of the things I did this weekend that I actually quite enjoyed was Hanklerfishing almost 5,000 pieces of paper.

John: 3,000.

Hank: Oh, almost 3,000. Aw, jeez, god, wow, you doing this a lot. I did not finish. I am not done yet. But I am like two thirds of the way done and it's not an insignificant task, John.

John: No, and that's only, I will remind you, one and a half percent of the total signatures.

Hank: I feel bad for only doing one and a half percent now.

John: Well I also feel bad. I wanted to send you a second box, but you said no.

Hank: I know, I feel bad, but that doesn't mean- Here is a thing you gotta know. Just cause you feel bad, doesn't mean you have to do something. Like I can feel guilt and be like "It's really too bad that I'm not doing this thing and I feel bad that I'm not doing it, but also I'm not going to. Because I feel better about not having to do that thing."

John: Alright, Hank, that's actually a pretty good transition into our first question. We're skipping the short poem because I recited half of that St Vincent Mallay poem, so we are good on the short poem front. We are moving on.

Hank: Ok.

John: This question comes from Matt. And it involves, you know, something that is difficult that you might or might not do. Dear John and Hank, what is the largest terrestrial animal you would feel comfortable fighting in hand to hand combat? Likewise, what is the smallest terrestrial animal you think would best you? Aardvarks and armadillos, Matt.

 (04:00) to (06:00)

Hank: John, I think that there are times when my cat could take me.

John: Yeah, I mean I- actually I was thinking that as well, Hank. There's a coyote in my backyard. I mean- it's not really a backyard. There's a coyote in the forest behind my house. And I see it sometimes, and it probably weighs like 30 pounds, and I see it and I think, we both know that if you're hungry, I'm dead.

Hank: [laughs] You could totally take a coyote. I mean I think-

John: No, I couldn't.

Hank: I think, like, I think I'd have a hard time like fighting and winning against a porcupine, right? Cause, like-

John: Yep.

Hank: what am I gonna do? Like where am I going to punch you? How am I going to strangle a porcupine? Like, I might be able to get away without any trouble, but I don't feel like I'm going to win.

John: Similarly, I don't think I could kill a skunk. Um, I think the smell would overpower me. I would lose consciousness. And the skunk would slowly eat me over the course of three days.

Hank: So, John, definitely the largest terrestrial animal I could kill is probably a tortoise, like a Galapagos tortoise. I would just hold it and prevent it from getting food.

John: Yeah. [laughs]

Hank: Or like just turn it over on its back.

John: I don't know if you could hold it. They weigh like 400 pounds.

Hank: But, like, there's a number of sizes. Maybe a juvenile.

John: I feel like you and a Galapagos tortoise, you'd probably win, but it would take like 14 days of hand to hand combat before a winner was finally declared.

Hank: Yeah, totally.

John: You know what I mean?

Hank: John, I met an armadillo recently. A three banded armadillo. They can fully enroll, meaning they can become 100% ball, and they can just roll down a hill. One of the few animals that can do that. I think maybe the only vertebrate. And what I found out is that in addition to being able to fully enroll, the three banded armadillo will close almost all of the way and leave a little gap intentionally, so that a predator will put its nose into that little gap to try and get it, and then it closes all the way.

 (06:00) to (08:00)

Hank: And it totally will like, will like, basically bite, but with its armor plate, the nose of the predator, which is- and this happened to my friend Jesse, who runs Animal Wonders and takes care of all of these exotic animals-

John: Did she survive?

Hank: Her finger was stuck inside the armadillo for like half an hour.

John: But she lived?

Hank: She did survive.

John: So we could take an armadillo. Or at least Jesse could.

Hank: Yeah, I mean, yeah. I mean, do I have any tools? I guess I don't because then-

John: It's hand to hand. Or hand to-

Hank: No weapons, no punching, no- or, punching, but no like baseball bats or anything.

John: It's just, could you take down a coyote with your arms? And I don't think I could.

Hank: Alright John I've got another question. It's from Katrina who asks "Dear Hank and John, My summer job consists of scanning and destroying old files at a law firm. During this process, I have to remove all of the staples from documents before I feed them through a scanner. I have come to accumulate many mugs full of used staples. The summer is only halfway done, so more will be added to the collection. It feels wrong to just throw away all of these staples. What would you suggest I do with them? Sometimes paperclips and fasteners, Katrina."

John: I mean you definitely have to melt them down into like bullets or something. You've got to melt them down into something awesome.

Hank: Well what is a staple made of?

John: That's actually much more of a Hank question than it is a John question.

Hank: Well, John, it just so happens that inside of my brain without googling this at all: Modern staples for paper staplers are made from zinc-plated steel wires glued together and bent to form a long strip of staples. So, there's zinc-

John: That sounds like you just already knew and not at all like you're currently on the Wikipedia page for staple, and then in parentheses fastener.

 (08:00) to (10:00)

John: Because there's more than one kind of staple. There's Staples the store. There's presumably some other kind of staple.

Hank: Where's the disambiguation page for staple?

John: [laughs]

Hank: There's surgical staples. There's the staple right, "a medieval right of certain German ports to require merchant vessels to unload and display their goods for sale for a certain period, often three days." There's the Statute of the Staple.

John: There's, sure, there's Vince Staples, the American rapper born in 1993. There's the famous American politician King Staples, who was a Republican member of the Wisconsin State Assembly. That seems like a very low bar to have to jump over to get a Wikipedia page.

Hank: And there's of course the Christian post-hardcore band, Staple. Because apparently there are Christian post-hardcore bands.

John: I mean, that's actually great. That's great. That's wonderful. There's a Christian post-hardcore band. I wonder if there's a Christian pre-hardcore band. Oh, and of course there's Staples Canada, which is like Staples, but it's in Canada.

Hank: Oh, oh I thought that was the name of a town that maybe Staples bought.

John: Oh god, that's a great idea. Hank, speaking of which, have we finally gotten to the point in our lives where we could buy Winner, South Dekota, the town that is exactly equidistant between our two homes?

Hank: You know, probably not. Property value is surprisingly expensive. We gotta buy that McDonald's. We gotta buy the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Winner. And then all of the-

John: Do they have a Holiday Inn Express?

Hank: They do have a Holiday Inn Express.

John: Oh, wow, alright, we definitely can't afford it. I'm not out here trying to buy Holiday Inn Expresses, OK? That is a thriving town if they have a Holiday Inn Express.

Hank: We gotta buy that great elevator.

John: Let's get back to this question of the staples.

Hank: So you're going to get some zinc and you're going to get some steel. And zinc is mostly what pennies is made out of, so you could send that off to the pennies people and they could make pennies out of it.

 (10:00) to (12:00)

John: That's a great deal.

Hank: Probably you'd get like a third of a penny out of those staples.

John: I think that what you should do is you should freak out the attorneys that you work with. I think you should start spelling stuff out in staples at night when they're at home on their desk, and then in the morning they'll be like "Why does it say 'put $50 in the scanner or I'll tell your secrets' in staples on my desk?"

Hank: Right, good, good. Is there some kind of like fashion options here?

John: [gasp] That's a great idea. You gotta make a chain mail sweater out of staples. That's it!

Hank: Yeah, chain mail.

John: You make the chain mail sweater out of staples. No one will mess with you if you have a chain mail sweater.

Hank: Also it will be impossible to take off because the staples will not loop completely and they will just bind to whatever you're wearing underneath.

John: Furthermore, if you had a chain mail sweater, then you could take a coyote.

Hank: Yeah, definitely. Well, I think you could take a coyote with or without a chain mail sweater, John. I just think that you need to be properly motivated.

John: No, no. No, but I could definitely take a coyote if I had a chain mail sweater on for no other reason than it would make me feel super confident.

Hank: I feel like it's really nice to hear that they're using some paperclips and fasteners because those can be reused. Staples are just a one time thing. And I- also we have a big stack of documents. It's not just like the hand staplers. Like the swing line that they got in office space but like this almost like a staple gun but it's like [dramatic noise] and it goes through- like it could go through- you could bind like two pieces of wood together with that thing.

John: I've been using a nail gun recently for a home improvement project, and oh my god. Like what- I mean I am done with hammers. It is over between me and hammers. Nail guns are amazing! I'm sure that eventually I will nail my finger to a piece of wood and I'll be like "hmm, maybe hammers aren't so bad after all." But right now, man, I am loving life with a nail gun. Let's move on to another question Hank.

Hank: Alright, I feel like we did a really good job.

 (12:00) to (14:00)

Hank: Katrina, the short answer is, you're going to have a couple of mugs of staples for the rest of your life. So it just happened.

John: No, you're going to make a chain mail sweater, and it's going to be amazing. This question comes from Sarah, who writes "Dear John and Hank, why is it that when something is spinning quickly such as a fan, a wheel on a car or a fidget spinner, the object itself appears to be spinning in the opposite direction than it is actually rotating? Vita incerta, mors certissima, Sarah." I believe that means "life is uncertain, death is certain" but I'm just guessing.

Hank: John, I don't know the answer to this question.

John: I know the answer to this question! It's finally happened. It's finally happened. There is a question about science that Hank does not know the answer to, which happens all the time, but he is not pretending to know the answer, and I do know the answer.

Hank: Are you sure you're not wrong?

John: I'm pretty sure that I am not wrong.

Hank: OK... I know why cameras don't- I know why cameras see them go backward or go in slowly.

John: Yes, it is because our eyes are not actually that dissimilar to cameras. It is because the frame rate in our brain is not infinite. We see individual images, we do not see motion. And then we create motion with our brains. And that makes things weird when they're moving really fast.

Hank: Hmm! I mean I know- I am surprised that our eyes work that way, if they indeed do. And I look forward to emails from people telling us whether or not John was right about that one.

John: I'm sure. I can't wait for the corrections. They will be legion.

Hank: [laughs] OK. Hey, how about this one from Emma, John, who asks "Dear Hank and John, OK, so I may have made an impulse purchase of 527 glow in the dark stars from Amazon. They were only $3, so don't judge me. While gazing up at my home made galaxy, however, I couldn't help but wonder how the stars are able to shine. How do things glow in the dark? Space is vast and mysterious, Emma."

 (14:00) to (16:00)

John: OK, so my theory is that glow in the dark stuff absorbs light and then spits it back out when it is dark.

Hank: Well, it spits it back out whether or not it's dark. But kind of, yes. So you know like some things you look at, like some markers or pieces of paper, and they like for some reason they like seem to be- it's not just the color they have- they're also like throwing out like more color than you feel like they should or like a different color than you feel like they should. This is especially obvious when you use black light. So you have a black light, and you're shining the black light on a white thing and suddenly it looks like the thing is glowing. There's like way more light coming out of the shirt than there is going into it. It appears, right?

John: Right, yes, I am familiar with this.

Hank: So what is in fact happening is that there is light going into that shirt that you can't see. And then it is being re-radiated- or not I guess, but it's being re- it's like, it's absorbed by the atoms in the shirt and then it is re-emitted in a different wavelength. So it goes in, electrons do some magic stuff, and when the electrons do their magic stuff, another photon come out, and that photon is at a different wavelength that you can see. In a similar way, when you have a glow in the dark thing, the photons go in, and then it messes with the electrons, and then the photon comes out, but there is a delay. It doesn't happen immediately. It happens a bunch, and it happens all the time, and it happens in sort of a curve from like, you know, the moment when you take the light away is like the most photons come out, and then slowly as time goes on, fewer and fewer of the photons come out. So that's basically what's happening.

 (16:00) to (18:00)

Hank: I'm not a huge- I don't know a huge amount about that. But when light hits a thing, it can change the energy level of a photon- or of an electron going around the atom. And then when it drops back down to its old energy level, which will eventually happen, sometimes immediately and sometimes after a fair bit of time, it will release another photon.

John: Well that is interesting.

Hank: [laughs] Good, I'm glad.

John: I'm so- I'm glad I know that. It turns out I was basically right all along. And also to the extent that I wasn't right, I don't really understand. Let's move on to this other question from Anonymous, who writes, "Hello Brothers Green, My husband and I just found out we are pregnant." [doubtful mmm sounds] You're pregnant. He is-

Hank: Excited.

John: Involved.

Hank: He is pleased.

John: Or, yes. "We are very excited but would like to tell friends and family until the second trimester when the risk of losing the baby is lower. However, friends and family have already been asking us about our plans to have children. And some have even asked us directly if I am pregnant." Those people should be banned. They should not be allowed anymore. "I am sure that these questions are well intentioned, but I still find it awkward and hard to respond." No, duh. "Signed off, Anonymous." This happened to us. I don't know if it happened to you. It probably did.

Hank: [affirmative mhm sounds]

John: I probably did it for god's sake, I'm sorry if I did. This happened to us all of the time because Sarah wouldn't be drinking wine, and people would be like "why aren't you drinking wine, are you pregnant?" And Sarah would be like "I don't want to talk about it."

Hank: [laugh] Yeah, it's like well now I either have to lie or tell you the thing that I obviously didn't want to tell you.

John: Yeah, and there are good reasons why people don't want to talk about pregnancy in the first trimester. And that is- or whenever- it shouldn't be up to anybody but you when you tell people that you're pregnant and who you tell. And it is super annoying to ask and it's incredibly invasive and don't ask.

 (18:00) to (20:00)

Hank: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, [sigh] especially like the thing that- there's like, I mean- [sigh]. So serious note, like some people try very hard and for a very long time to get pregnant and can't. And then you're kind of bringing up a sore subject. Some people have, you know, repeated miscarriages, and then you're bringing up that. And that's no fun for them to deal with. So in general, yeah, it's just sort of like, it's- I understand why you want to bring it up and why it's funny and why we do it. But like there's also this, like, it's kind of like, you go there and 90% of the time or 99% of the time it's like fun and like a cute fun thing that happened, even if you are pregnant and you're like "OK, fine, I'll have to tell you that I'm pregnant. You've uncovered my mystery." And it's not that big of a deal. But like there's that small percentage chance you're bringing up a super sore subject, and that maybe we don't- like it should be up to that person whether or not they're going to bring that up.

John: Also it's not 90 or 99% of the time. It's way closer to 75% of the time.

Hank: Sure.

John: Something like a quarter of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. So it's just there's no reason to bring it up.

Hank: Yup.

John: As far as I'm concerned. I'm sure I'm a little bit biased in that, but yeah. Your responsibility, you should feel free to lie to those people is my answer. Because I think they have put themselves in the position where they are gonna get lied to.

Hank: [laugh] Yeah and then when you tell them later, they won't be like "Ohmygod, you're a terrible person for lying to me!" You know.

John: Or if they are, you just be like "well, that's strike two."

Hank: [laugh] One more chance and you're out of the friend bucket. This is the bucket where I keep my friends and you're leaking out the bottom, my bud.

 (20:00) to (22:00)

John: Hank, I think that's a wonderful image that we should use more often. I think we should tell people, "You're about to leak out of my friend bucket if you don't watch out, mister."

Hank: I've got a friend bucket and it's got holes in it! Maybe, what can we do to patch up our friend buckets, John, so they're not as leaky?

John: I feel like actually my friend bucket is not leaky at all. I haven't lost a friend in like a decade. Now, I will say, in my early twenties I used to lose a lot of friends. But I haven't like had a friend dump me in years. Which-

Hank: Maybe it's like- maybe you've got a bucket and it's not leaking, but you're kind of going through life and it's kind of sloshing around a little bit. So when you have your bucket super full of friends, some are going to fall out. It's just going to happen. And that's OK. But when you're 37 and you have like two friends left, it's like: maybe I should be a little more careful with this thing. And also it's harder for them to fall out because yeah.

John: Maybe. I think that also might be one of those places where like the metaphor itself is limited in how far you can take it.

Hank: Maybe. Possibly. Who knows. It could be. It could be. But there's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, and I've got only one friend left.

John: Alright. Let's go to this other question from Renee, who asks "Dear Green brothers, My best friend and I shared an apartment in college, and during that time, I gave her access to my Netflix account." Uh oh, someone's leaking out the bottom of the friend bucket!

Hank: [laughs]

John: "She has now graduated. And while I was happy to let her use the account while we lived together, I feel like it is time for her to get her own. I pay for Netflix for my whole family, myself, my three siblings, my parents, and my grandmother, and having her use the account adds another person to an already limited server. She also uses my profile and fills the queue with shows I have no interest in watching."

Hank: Oh, come on! Don't put stuff in the queue!

John: That is one of the worst things I've ever heard in my whole life.

Hank: Oh my god. It's not your account. You're being done a tremendous $9 a month favor, $10 a month favor now-

 (22:00) to (24:00)

John: I'm shivering.

Hank: And you're just abusing that privilege. Renee, you need to drill a hole in that friend bucket.

John: If you're using someone else's Netflix account, you have to, and by the way I include my own spouse in this, like when I watch Netflix as Sarah, I have to be an absolute ghost. Don't rate anything. Don't queue anything. Don't list anything. Just be as close to a ghost as I can be. And that's- and we're married, you know.

Hank: You have separate Netflix profiles?

John: Of course we have separate Netflix profiles. We don't have identical interests.

Hank: Oh man.

John: It says "Who's watching Netflix?" the moment you log onto Netflix, and I say me or Sarah or kids. And the kids, I mean oh my god, the things my children watch on Netflix. If I have to watch- there's all these Netflix kids shows with no words in them, Hank. You're not familiar with this yet. But there's this show Oscar's Oasis, that I guess is like, it works in every country because there's no language. It's fascinating the stuff that they choose to watch when they get a hold of Netflix before we wake up on a Saturday morning. But anyway yes, Sarah and I have separate Netflix accounts because we watch different kinds of things. Ok? Like when we watch Netflix together, we can watch on either person's Netflix account. But when we are watching stuff alone, I don't want to have, you know, my bucket poisoned by all the weird, you know, crime procedurals Sarah likes.

Hank: I mean Katherine and I have the exact same interests, John.

John: I find that weird.

Hank: Indeed, we do not. I guess, is Netflix confused by us? They're like who are these people that like both House of Cards and the Vicar of Dibley?

John: [laughs] Is the Vicar of Dibley a real show?

Hank: Yeah, it is.

John: Oh my god. I mean that show sounds like the best made-up show.

 (24:00) to (26:00)

John: It's like you walk into the BBC offices. You sit down in front of, you know, the person who makes all of the BBC shows, you sit down, you look them dead in the eye, and you say: The Vicar of Dibley. And they just, like, pull out a stamp that says "yes."

Hank: They're like "here is our highest budget. $300. Go make it."

John: "You-" [long laugh break] Yeah they order like 250 episodes.

Hank: Yeah.

John: After you say The Vicar of Dibley.

Hank: I mean Katherine doesn't even like the Vicar of Dibley that much. Mostly mom likes that show. She watches it on our Netflix account.

John: Oh man. Anyway, point being, Renee, obviously you need to have a talk with your best friend about putting things in your Netflix queue. That is, I mean, [groan] that is not cool.

Hank: It's a little like- I don't understand, when you were living together, why that person had to have access to your Netflix account at all. It's just, it's in the TV. Like, did you have- did she have to watch it on her computer? And I guess, so you could watch different things at different- aw man. Then you're stuck.

John: Honestly, I would go to the best friend and I would say, "I will pay $50 for your first 5 months of Netflix on your own, so that you can build your own queue. And I get your weird stuff out of my queue, so I don't have to keep watching the Vicar of Dibley."

Hank: I mean it is like best friend though. Like you can't- you're not going to unfriend this person.

John: Do you think there's anybody with a Vicar of Dibley tattoo?

Hank: I mean there's only one way to find out, John.

John: I know, hold on, it's a race. It's a race! Get me to Google Images!

Hank: Oh my god! Yes! Yes there is!

John: Oh my god! There is!

Together: Oh wow! Wow! Wow! Wow!

Hank: Oohhh, that person-

John: That is a Vicar of Dibley tattoo.

Hank: ... really likes Vicar of Dibley. Oh man.

John: Oh man, and it's a big smile.

 (26:00) to (28:00)

John: It's a big Vicar of Dibley smile.

Hank: That's going on the Patreon. Saving that to the Desktop right now.

John: Oh daddy! Oh man. I wanna go back in time to the moment before I saw the Vicar of Dibley tattoo.

Hank: Oh my gosh. Oh.

John: That is not a small tattoo. Don't you think it's different- like, I've been very lucky that people have been willing to put stuff that I wrote in quotations on their body, but so far as I know there's no tattoos of like my face. I think it's different if it's a tattoo, like that is a tattoo of the Vicar of Dibley's smiling face with the cross and the ya know priest outfit and everything. Oh boy.

Hank: Oh boy. So yeah. I really yeah. John Green face tattoo. No, it's just you with peanut butter on your face. That's all I got.

John: Well, there you go. There you go. Um. I think I- there's something extremely intense about having somebody's face on your body for the rest of your life.

Hank: Well, the Vicar of Dibley is a very good show. It's very funny and I appreciate super fans in all stripes, whether you're you know, sending in clips for weird nerdfighter projects or whether you're tattooing the Vicar of Dibley on your bicep.

John: Hank, if you like the Vicar of Dibley so much, you know what I think you should do?

Hank: No.

John: I think you should get a Vicar of Dibley tattoo.

Hank: I don't have any tattoos, John.

John: I know, it would be a great first tattoo. And people would be like so why did you pick the Vicar of Dibley? And you'd be like "oh, it's for a goof on my podcast. I've never actually seen the program."

Hank: No, I'll be like "well, I wanted to pick a piece of media that I like but didn't love. Just to be sort of representative of the like I don't want to be too all anything. So this is more of a celebration of sort of liking stuff, more than a celebration of this particular show."

John: It came down between the Vicar of Dibley and NCIS: Los Angeles.

 (28:00) to (30:00)

Hank: A show I have never seen.

John: I don't even know if it's real. Speaking of which, today's podcast is brought to you by the Vicar of Dibley. The Vicar of Dibley, now on Netflix.

Hank: It is. It is. And also available wherever British people are. It's like they walk into a room and then it just happens. This podcast is additionally brought to you by 527 glow in the dark stars, available apparently on for three bucks!

John: And of course today's podcast is also brought to you by fighting to the death against a coyote. Fighting to the death against a coyote, not totally confident.

Hank: Yeah. No. Unless you got that chain mail made out of staples.

John: Hank I want to answer another question because I actually feel like I might be able to help with this one. Probably not. But maybe. This question comes from Dina, who writes "Dear John and Hank, I've come to realize I have a major social anxiety disorder and it's really starting to back me into a corner." Then they talk about going to an expensive therapist for six months and feeling like they weren't making progress. Then "there are a number of phone calls I have to make and emails I have to send somewhere intimidating, others so simple they shouldn't intimidate me, but I'm just avoiding all of it. And I know I am and I keep doing it. And I feel like I'm in such a rut. I don't know if I should see another therapist or if it's just time to grow up. I don't know. This problem is only getting worse. Your dubious advice would be appreciated, Dina." Or possibly Dina. I'm not very good at pronunciations.

John: So this is something that everybody experiences, not just people who have anxiety problems. Right, like Hank, you have definitely experienced needing to send an email and not being able to.

Hank: Yes. In fact, I did that all weekend.

John: So in my experience, and I want to be clear that I am not a therapist, and I do think that you should see a therapist, I think that you should see somebody who is experienced in helping with this. However, in my experience, avoidance does not make the problem better. At least over time. 

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John: It might make you feel better right now, but it won't- it will- you're right that the problems tend to get worse when avoidance is the main strategy. So here is my strategy: So like in that email, you say "some of these emails are so simple, they shouldn't intimidate me." But, well, they do. So it doesn't matter "should" or "shouldn't" like don't put that value judgement on it. Let's just send those emails. Today. Now, actually. Let's- not if you're driving. No distracted driving.

Hank: Pause the pod.

John: Pause the pod, pull over, get out your laptop, get connected to wireless...

Hank: Get on the internet Wifi that's on the interstate...

John: Get on that Panera Wifi. And break that task up into however many little chunks you need to break it up into in order to get it done. Because once you start rolling down the hill of getting things done, and stopping avoiding them, like anything, it gets easier each time. And you will love the feeling of being on the other side of this, and you know that. But the only way to get on the other side of it is to break it up into tiny little tasks. You open your email program. You go to compose. You hit reply. Whatever. And you reread the email to get to the parts that you need to reply to. And you write the reply. And you send it. Just break it up into constituent parts, and once you start, it's going to feel so much better. Because I think, in my experience anyway, it's the avoidance, it's the sort of behavioral response to the anxiety that makes- that I think will make the anxiety better by like not doing the thing that's scaring me, but often in the medium and long run makes the anxiety worse.

Hank: Absolutely the case for me.

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Hank: I mean, so much of the negative emotions I have are due to, you know, in part having signed up to do more than I may be physically capable of. But also, you know, knowing that those things are there and not doing it because, and it's the not doing it that makes me uncomfortable and unhappy. It's not the actual process of doing it. Like not doing it is holding me back from doing it in a weird way. If that makes sense.

John: Right. Yeah, no. I mean a lot of it- yeah, absolutely. Like the dread of not doing something becomes overwhelming. It becomes the primary experience that you're having. It becomes like, it becomes the work. You know, like-

Hank: Yeah.

John: I've found that ever since I was a kid, like I remember being a kid and my parents saying to me "if you just started this project when you started worrying about it, it would be over." You know? Like, and that's still true for me. It's still something I struggle with. But that's what works for me. It's just like saying "this starts now, and we are going to break it up into tiny little parts and I'm not going to judge myself for it being hard because it may not be hard for everyone, but it is super hard for me. And that's the way it is." Before we move on to the news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon, I want to share an important piece of news. Hank, you may remember that a few weeks ago, Sarah wrote in to ask about her husband shaving his head because he wanted to shave his head to know what his head looks like. And we answered. And we told him that he should shave his head. So there was a head shaving party. Good news. Sarah reports that her husband's head does not look weird shaved. And there is an amazing video of it- of the highlights of the head shaving party because they went all out. It was a full on head shaving bash.

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John: And we are putting that on the Patreon because it is just absolutely magnificent.

Hank: I am watching the video and this bash is just appears to be two people in a room with an electric razor.

John: First off, you know that there's a third person because somebody is holding the camera.

Hank: Sure, OK. Three people is a party.

John: Secondly, Sarah is wearing what appears to be a formal gown, so it is obviously a party.

Hank: She is wearing an apron! John!

John: She is wearing an apron. My mistake.

Hank: You are confused. There is another man. Another man has shown up.

John: There is- OK, there are at least four people, one of whom came pre-head shaved or at least pre-bald.

Hank: Oh yeah, he's not shaved, that just happened to him over years. Is he drinking a La Croix?

John: Very possibly. Hold on, I gotta zoom in. I gotta go to 720p and zoom. That is a La Croix. In fact, I can tell you right now that's a pink La Croix. What is that pink flavor? Is it cranraspberry?

Hank: I've never had a pink La Croix, I don't think. I'm a real pamplemousse man.

John: So yeah, I can confirm that is a cranraspberry La Croix and I can confirm that this is a party. Because if there is La Croix and four people, that is a bash.

Hank: [laugh] And I'm looking at his head. His head is now shaved, even more than his face is. And he's got a great head!

John: It looks great!

Hank: Good head shape.

John: In terms of shape, I'm gonna say it's an A+.

Hank: Good head shape.

John: Hank.

Hank: John.

John: What is the news from Mars?

Hank: Well, it looks like Elon Musk being, ya know, our only chance of beat our deadline of 2028, has scheduled the launch of the first test launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket, which is the rocket that Elon hopes will take people to Mars and has enough umph to have people on top of it and get them all the way there. And it will have its first test launch, not in 2013 John, when it was first scheduled, not in 2014, when it was second scheduled, but indeed this year, in November, John, he is-

 (36:00) to (38:00)

Hank: How's it looking for 2027? Not good. Not good at all. Indeed, this test launch might not even reach space. It probably will just be a super test. Their Mars mission dates have been pushed back to 2018 and 2020. Eh, it seems unlikely that they'll hit that. You know, Elon Musk is good at getting stuff done. And I'm not saying that it's like, I'm not saying that this is a bad thing. I'm pretty impressed honestly. Not hitting deadlines, but also making things happen. It seems to be a lot of what's happening with my man Musk these days.

John: Yeah, he seems to be one of those people who realizes that if he just slightly over promises, then he can get people including himself to work harder.

Hank: Yeah.

John: He was like "we're going to be done with the Tesla Model 3 in July." And he was like "look, we finished one."

Hank: [laughs] I said "a," not "the," "a." You misheard me.

John: [laughs] That's right. It's a huge difference between "a" and "the." Hank, the news from AFC Wimbledon is that a contractor has been announced.

Hank: I don't know what that is.

John: Well, do you know how when you build a building...

Hank: Oh, a contractor!

John:... It is necessary to have a contractor.

Hank: A contractor for like a building. OK. Yeah.

John: A contractor has been announced for the new stadium at Plough Lane, Andrew Scott Limited, which built Stoke City's stadium, and they're in the Premier League now. So I don't know if there's necessarily a one to one correlation, but we can keep our fingers crossed. They are the preferred contractor for the new stadium at Plough Lane. Really, really exciting news. Because as each of these little steps forward, it becomes more and more likely that indeed there will be a new stadium in Wimbledon's historic home.

 (38:00) to (40:00)

John:  Maybe even for the 2019-2020 season. Meaning that AFC Wimbledon are going to be back home at least eight years before humans will be on Mars. And probably ten years. Or maybe even fourteen, sixteen, forty.

Hank: Oh god, yeah. I mean at this point...

John: Will you live to see a person on Mars, Hank?

Hank: At this point, I'm just- I hope that I live to see humanity just continue to get better in lots of different ways. And if that's our understanding and exploration of our solar system and universe, that's great. But also just taking care of each other and being nice and not driving humans apart and making them angry at each other all the time.

John: Hank. Real quickly. I just have to break a little bit of political news to you. People listening this will be listening to it of course in the future when all of this will be known, but I'm about to tell you something that you don't know, which is that Donald Trump has just fired Anthony Scaramucci after eight days as White House Communications Director.

Hank: In deeply shocking news, oh my god, that is amazing.

John: Eight days. Hank.

Hank: What. [groans] Well, you know, John, I'm not sad about it.

John: No, I don't think, I will not miss him. Although, I'd like some continuity in American-

Hank: You know, John, you know what I want? I want to have never known that that guy existed.

John: Yeah, that would have been great. But that's not how it went down. Hank what did we learn today?

Hank: That you can't keep track of this! And like you just can't! The other day my mom said something about Corey Lewandowski, and I was like who? Because it's just there's too many of them. And they come so fast.

 (40:00) to (42:00)

John: It's something of the strategy to have like- to have these news cycles be constant. I think it must be a strategy because it's really effective in a way. Like I have a lot of friends who've published books in the last six months. And there's a rule that you never publish a book in the like six months before an American presidential election because you can't get any media to cover it because the only thing that the media is talking about is politics. And the genius of what's happened in the Trump administration, I mean you can say a lot of bad things about it, and we have, but the genius of it is that it has taken that six months before presidential election and extended it infinitely. So now you also can't get any media attention for your new book.

Hank: Or anything.

John: Because people are too busy talking about the events of the day.

Hank: Yeah, well-

John: Because the events of the day are always perpetually dramatic and astonishing.

Hank: Yeah and dramatic is the word because it's not - it doesn't necessarily have a significant effect on things, but it is dramatic. And it is sort of amazing. And it is not just- it's everything. In previous years, we've had the ability to like when a famine on the level of the one that is happening in Sudan could get some traction and there's just no space for it. Nobody's hearing about it.

John: Right. There's no space to talk about cholera and Yemen. There's no space- yeah, that's very true. And it's true for every news story that doesn't start "Donald Trump today," You know? It's a weird time. But we also learned that Oscar's Oasis is a children's television program with no words.

Hank: Well, I learned that. I have a feeling that you knew that quite well. We learned that you've got a friend bucket, John. And you don't want to slosh too much. But you don't want to not slosh it at all.

 (42:00) to (44:00)

John: We learned that it is not OK to put your shows in someone else's Netflix queue.

Hank: No, no. And we learned that Katherine and I should probably have separate Netflix accounts or thingies. So that it knows when to show up that good ol Vicar. From Dibley. And when it knows to show me what I wanna watch, which is mostly just nature documentaries.

John: Hank, this is going to stun you because it stunned me. Are you ready?

Hank: Is it more about the Mucc?

John: Oh, no. [laughs] No, it's that there is actually no English place named Dibley. It's a made up place name, which seems so unlikely because all English place names sound made up. But the village of Dibley actually is made up.

Hank: Why didn't they just pick one of the amazing actual names?

John: No joke. Why didn't they just pick like Hertfordhirelandbottoms? Or whatever. Scunthorpe.

Hank: Yeah. Wetwang.

John: [laughs] Oh god, nothing matters. Thanks for listening to Dear Hank and John. If you have questions, you can email us at We apologize for making the Trump media inundation worse by mentioning him here at the end of the pod. That's our bad. But you can email us at Your emails are always welcome and appreciated.

Hank: I also have to apologize because of course by next Monday when this comes out, this is going to be the oldest news that ever happened.

John: 27 high ranking White House officials will have been fired in the interim.

Hank: Anthony Scaramucci will have been fired for longer than he was hired by that point.

John: Hank, before I let you read the credits, I just want to- Rosianna just sent me a tweet from @sarcasticrover, the Mars rover who is professionally sarcastic, who tweeted "Mars is so far away from Earth that we only just heard about Scaramucci getting hired as Communications Director. Congradulations!"

Hank: [laughs] I'm sure things are going great!

 (44:00) to (46:00)

Hank: This podcast is produced by Rosianna Halse Rojas and Sheridan Gibson. It's edited by Nicolas Jenkins. Victoria Bongiorno is our Head of Community and Communications and handles all of our Patreon stuff. You can go over and check out great, where you can see that Vicar of Dibley tattoo and also dude getting his head shaved. If you want to email us, that's at We are on Twitter. John is @johngreen. I am @hankgreen. This music that you're hearing is by the great Gunnarolla. And as they say in our hometown,

Together: Don't forget to be awesome.

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