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Where does all the extra body come from? Why are grapefruits called grapefruits? Is it acceptable to talk about social media in real life? And more!

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[Dear Hank and John intro music plays]

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, about death! Where two brothers, Hank and John Green 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: Ahhhhh, yip ba-dip ga-buh duh-brr jah-bah - you know, Hank, - 

Hank: Ah, you know, I bet. I bet, I bet you are. 

John: I, yeah.

Hank: I bet you are all those things. 

John: My first book in six years comes out in two weeks, and, um, I am freaked out. It is weird to have nobody to have read this book and not be able to change anything, and I am freaked out about going on tour, and I am not, I would say, after having six or so months of pretty solid health, I am - 

Hank: Hmmmmm.

John: I am not all here. How are you? 

Hank: I'm good, John. Do you know - I found out something about myself that I didn't know before this week. I went in to the foot doctor -

John: Yeah.

Hank: Because I have chronic pain in one of my feet -

John: Uh-huh.

Hank: - and have since high school when I pushed a young man into a swimming pool and broke my toe on him while doing it. And that's not super fun. So I went in to the doctor and I was like, "hey, I have this problem." Because last time I went in was like 15 years ago and they were like, "there's nothing we can do." So I didn't go back. But it's been 15 years, so maybe there's something they can do now, right? Is my sort of thought. And so the guy takes a bunch of x-rays of my foot and basically I come out of it and he's like, "eh, there's not really anything we can do." But, but, but, but! John. 

John: Yes. 

Hank: I have, in my right foot, the normal number of bones. 

John: Mmhmm.

Hank: Like everybody else has. 

John: Mmhmm.

Hank: But not in the normal way. 

John: Oh!

Hank: So two of my bones that should be two bones are one bone -

John: Oh, you've had a bone, uh -

Hank: No, it's they - I was born this way. Two of my bones were born fused together. My pinkie toe instead of being, like, three bones, it's two bones or something. So that -

John: Mmm! Fascinating! 

Hank: That's a thing. And additionally, I've just got, like, a rando bone that's floating in the middle of my foot. 

John: Oh. That's not connected to anything.

Hank: It's not connected to anything. It's just, he was like -

John: Well.

Hank: - "Oh, there's one of those!" and I was like, "is that normal?" and he was like, "nah." And I was like, "but is it, like, okay?" and he was like, "yeah, yeah, it's fine." And I was like, "are you sure? It's not like, hurting me?" and he was like, "nope, just a rando bone." So I've got a normal number of bones, but accidentally because I have one less than I should have and also one more than I should have. 

John: I mean, there's something metaphorically resonant about that but I can't figure out exactly what it is. Because -

Hank: That's - yeah.

John: I'm struggling to actively listen to you. But I want to actively listen to you, not primarily so the podcast will be good but primarily so that I don't miss you saying your phrase of the week. 

Hank: Yeah. Well, I'll give you a hint. It was not "rando bone." 

John: Ok. 

Hank: But it very well could have been!

John: No, I thought it might have been "born this way," the wonderful Lady Gaga song. And Hank, if ever you feel weird about your foot bone situation, I just want to remind you that Lady Gaga wrote a wonderful, wonderful song about being born this way. And so, just listen to that if you're ever feeling sad. Can I read you a short poem?

Hank: Yeah, please.

John: Alright, this is by Emily Brontë. It was sent in by listener Lauren, thanks Lauren! And it's about Autumn. And it is kind of Autumn. 

Hank: Yeah! Well, it very much is here. 

John: Yeah. "Fall leaves fall. Die flowers away. Lengthen night and shorten day. Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the Autumn tree. I shall smile when wreathes of snow blossom where the rose should grow. I shall sing when night's decay ushers in a drearier day." 

Hank: Mmm. 

John: Yeah.

Hank: And when I think of the things that I own that I am most proud of it's my one and less extra bone. 

John: Yeah, I mean, I'm not sure that worked from a meter perspective but I'm proud of you for thinking of a rhyme. Speaking of which, Alice has recently gotten into rhyming but she can't - she doesn't rhyme correctly. And it just drives Henry bonkers. So the other day she was singing a song and the lyrics were "I'm walking in the hallway, I won't forget my mommy-way," and Henry just said, "that's not right!" 

Hank: [laughs] Henry! You don't get to decide how poetry works. That's -

 Question 1 (4:44)

John: Alright Hank, let's answer some questions from our listeners. This one came from Brea, and, you know, the more I thought about it, the less I knew the answer. 

Hank: Hmm.

John: So I'm just going to ask it of you. "Dear John and Hank, as you know, people are always growing and changing. A baby is smaller than an old man." It depends on the baby. "But where does all the extra body come from?" [laughs] I just love that phrasing! "There's so much extra body in grownups versus babies."

Hank: Mmhmm.

John: "Why do they change shape so much? As you grow, does your extra bone just appear? Completely useless at science or biology or whatever this is categorized as, Brea."

Hank: I like how Brea starts the question, "As you know, people are always growing and changing," which I am like, "yes, we learn new things, we find out that the way we once were is not the way that we want to be anymore," and then it's just like-

John: No, just where does the extra body come from?

Hank: Where does your bone come from? How do my bones bone? 

John: Yeah.

Hank: Oh, they are - we're talking about bones a lot today on this podcast.

John: Indeed. 

Hank: Of all the things I'm proud to own, it is my one extra and one less bone. There you - that's better.

John: Mmm? It's on the right track, and yet not there.

Hank: I'll keep working on it. Your bones are alive, just to be clear. they're not, like, rocks inside of you. Your bones are constantly replacing themselves and growing and fusing and like, when you break them they're able to join back together again, and your bones are living tissue that is created by the cells of your body. So they are always, as you grow, changing shape, and that is done in the same way that all of your body tissues change shape, which is really complicated and weird! So like, I can tell you that there's nothing special about bones, the way that bones do it. But also the fact that all of your body's tissues do it is in fact very weird and we don't understand it that well. 

John: Alright Hank, while you were talking I wrote out some iambic - it's not pentameter because it only has four feet, but just to get it out of my head, to solve a problem that you've created in my mind I wrote two iambic lines that rhyme own and bone just to shut my brain up, and it is this -

Hank: Uh huh. Okay. 

John: Of all the objects that I own / I'm proudest of my floating bone. 

Hank: [laughing] Okay, good. That's good. 

John: The only thing that I'd add to that is that I actually find it weirder that after growing for a long time, we then start shrinking.

Hank: Mmhmm. 

John: Like, my doctor recently said to me at my 40th birthday checkup - because of course, how else was I going to spend my 40th birthday? - I was like, I used to be 6' 1". This is an ongoing argument between Hank and me.

Hank: Mmm. 

John: And my doctor said, "it is perfectly possible that you used to be 6'1" and that, you know, the shrinking has just begun." 

Hank: Or, or, or- 

John: That rhymes, actually. That rhymes. Alright, I'm going to work on that one. 

Hank: You were just lying the whole time. Because I've always been 6'1" and yet an inch taller than you. 

 Question 2 (8:02)

Hank: This next question while John is working on his poem comes from Jenny, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, I'm currently doing my Master's thesis in art history. I find my studies very interesting and feel like I have chosen the right path. However, parts of my thesis are dependent on interviews from some Very Important People in the art world," - and those words very important people are capitalized - "I'm not usually scared of talking to people, but when faced with the task of emailing Very Important People and asking them to meet up with me to help me with stuff I crumble in a ball of anxiety. Will this ever go away, or will I have to be scared of talking to Important People in my field for the rest of my life? From the block, Jenny."

John: That's a good name specific sign-off.

Hank: Mmhmm. 

John: I mean, yeah, it probably won't ever go away. What do you think, Hank?

Hank: I think it won't ever go away unless and until you yourself become a very important person. That does help. Though it doesn't help that much. Whenever - I still hang out with people and I'm like, eh-heaagh. Eh Hyeaangh! 

John: Yeah. 

Hank: Real good to see you!

John: It's like anything. It depends on the pond that you're playing in. 

Hank: That is for sure. 

John: Alice is certainly completely unimpressed by what I do for a living. So much so that she insists that my job is racecar driver. And when anybody asks what I do for a living she says, "my dad is a racecar driver." And when I tell her that I am not a racecar driver, she says, "but you did do a racecar race in Minnesota." Which is true, I did a racecar race with Maggie Stiefvater, a YA author, and I say, "yes, I was in that one racecar race, but that does not mean that my job is racecar driver, Alice." And then she says, "you got a trophy," and I say that I know I got a trophy because Maggie Stiefvater very kindly let me win one of the races, but that still does not mean that my job is racecar driver. My job is writing books and making videos with uncle Hank. And then she says, "Your job. Is. Racecar driver."

Hank: [laughs] It's fascinating. But John, do you have advice for Jenny? 

John: Yeah, but it's going to be dubious. I feel like it's kind of okay to be a little bit intimidated when you're sending those emails because you want to make sure that they are good emails -

Hank: Mmhmm. 

John: Like, you want to re-read them to make sure there aren't any obvious typos and you want to have a certain level of deference going into it, but at the same time you have to remember that these people, who are very important people in their field - even though my wife works in art history, I almost certainly haven't even heard of them. So just remember that, you know, outside of their pond, they are normal people.

Hank: Mmhmm.

John: And so, be - you know, I think it's always helpful if you just treat someone as if they're human. You express interest in their interests, you make it clear that you understand who they are and what they do, and you make it clear why you want to talk to them, because you share an interest in the field. 

Hank: Yeah, and in my experience of interviewing important people, who are important either to me because of who, just who I am and what I'm really into, or because like, objectively, they are the current president of the United States, like, it's terrifying, and the thing that goes into it and the thing that I had to fight for in those moments was staying present. And not being like, "this is so weird, this is so weird, this is so weird." But just being like, "I am listening to the words and I am understanding the words that you are saying." 

John: Right, right. It would be very stressful to be the president and to have essentially every interaction you have with someone be that person being like, "oh my god, it's the president. Oh my god, it's the president." 

Hank: Yeah.

 Question 3 (11:42)

John: We have a question from Lucy, who writes, "Dear John and Hank, for the last few months one question has bothered me. Can jellyfish suffer?" That's it.

Hank: That's the whole question?

John: She signs off the classic, "Pumpkins and Penguins, Lucy." Hank, can jellyfish suffer? Wait, is suffering necessary? 

Hank: Wait, I don't understand.

John: Can I ask a backup question?

Hank: I don't understand the question.

John: Is suffering a necessary part of life? 

Hank: I don't think that it's necessary for one to suffer. No. No.

John: But, so like, single celled organisms don't experience suffering.

Hank: Oh, ok, I misunderstood your question. I thought you were saying, so, given that someone has the capacity to suffer, will they necessarily suffer. I don't think that that is the case. I think that it's very likely that if you have the capacity to suffer that you will spend at least some of the time while you are alive suffering. But -

John: Who - wait, wait, who's this person who didn't spend any time suffering? 

Hank: I'm not saying that the person exists, I'm just saying it's possible! 

John: Mmm. A hard disagree -

Hank: And maybe not a person -

John: I rarely find myself hard disagreeing, -

Hank: Maybe not a person, maybe like a fish. Or maybe like a dog or something that's capable of suffering but never did. Stuff like that. 

John: Mmm. Mmm. Unconvinced. I'm going to register my disagreement and allow you to go on. 

Hank: Alright. And then, as far as, is suffering necessary for you to be a living thing? No. It is a useful tool but I think it is a fairly complex one. Certainly not anywhere close to the most complex system that an animal can have, but I think that suffering is - I think, my guess is, that suffering is outside the capacity of a jellyfish. My guess is - but it's very weird! It's hard, and we don't know and we'll never know. We don't know what it's like to be other organisms. We don't know if a tree can suffer in the same way that like, you know, it's kind of like, one of the - for me, a condition of life is to sort of want things and to take action to move in the direction and to try to acquire those things.

John: Mmhmm.

Hank: Like that's sort of like, it's a good life definition.

John: Mmhmm.

Hank: And so if you're being prevented from getting to that there are negative feedbacks that any organism will experience, and I feel like suffering is one of those negative feedbacks, but I don't think it's the only one and I think it's not one that every organism has. But I don't know, because maybe is any negative feedback saying, like, I am not able to get to the thing that I want to get to in order to survive or to procreate and that is, like, I'm getting that negative feedback, saying, like, "work harder, figure it out, you're going to die, this is bad," if any feedback like that could be interpreted as suffering. 

John: Right. Yeah, it is kind of a question that asks someone to anthropomorphize in ways that are problematic.

Hank: Right. 

John: Like, you have to look at the world from a jellyfish point of view to answer the question about jellyfish, and I doubt that jellyfish if they could understand what suffering was would define what they experience as suffering, but if they could understand what suffering was, they wouldn't be jellyfish. 

Hank: That is for sure. Though, for a long time we didn't think that any organisms except for humans could suffer, which was like, just, I feel like, wilful -

John: Yeah, it does seem -

Hank: - misunderstanding. 

John: Right. It seems like the kind of thing that you would only believe believe because it's extremely convenient to believe it. Speaking of which, Hank, I have written a, uh, iambic pentameter couplet about my height. 

Hank: [laughs] Okay. 

John: I'm fairly sure I used to be 6' 1". / But doc reports the shrinking has begun. I'll be here all week!

Hank: I mean why don't we just read a short poem from John Green every week? 

John: Oh yeah, these are of such high quality -

Hank: These are so good! 

John: Oh my god.

Hank: Well I mostly - you know what I like most about them, John? 

John: What?

Hank: That they're two lines long and that they end and then I'm like, "ah, good! That was good! Let's move on to the podcast!" 

John: [laughs] Listen, I tried to cut the weekly short poem and then people got really mad! 

Hank: Yeah. I mean, it's good. It's good- 

John: So, I'm sorry.

 Question 4 (16:08)

Hank: I have some really good advice for Lizzie, who asks, "Dear Hank and John," - Oh, actually she says, "Dear Hank, and also John," -

John: Mm. 

Hank: Just to the side there. "I've been trying my best to keep my Tupperware cabinet tidy. But somehow every time I open the cabinet the containers end up recklessly strewn throughout. Why do different brands have slightly different sized containers that make them so difficult to stack? Should I invest in some type of organizational device to buy or larger tubs to put my tubs in? Seeing that you guys have been adulting for much longer than I have and you have kitchens of your own, I assume that you have run into a similar crisis. Any advice would be appreciated. Always covered in Tupperware, Lizzie." Lizzie. Here is the thing you need to do. Throw out all of your Tupperware.

John: Correct.

Hank: This is the biggest moment in your life realizing you are an adult. Throw it away. 

John: Mm. That's an exaggeration.

Hank: Throw it away -

John: But the first part was true. 

Hank: Go to Target. Buy a 15 dollar 36 piece Tupperware set and they will all fit together because they will be the same brand. Do not save -

John: That is wrong. 

Hank: Do not save the little containers that your deli meat comes in and say, ah, this is clearly meant to be a reusable container. Don't do it! Go to the deli! Get the little plastic bag deli meat. It's better anyway. Don't - just use the one kind of Tupperware. Get one inexpensive Tupperware set and use that and then after five years when it breaks down because it was cheap, get another one. 

John: Okay, as usual, Hank is one third correct. Hank is correct in that right now, before you even get to the end of this podcast, you need to throw away all of your mismatched Tupperware. It is a source of tremendous anxiety and just wretchedness. Throw it out. Throw all of it out. Hank was right about that. He's wrong about everything else. What you need to do is you need to call your local Thai restaurant. I don't know if they do delivery. Hopefully they do. If not, you're going to have to go to the restaurant and pick it up. And you're going to order your favorite dish. Every night, for the next 26 nights in a row. And then, the amazing thing is that you will have 26 identical medium-sized Tupperware containers with 26 identical medium-sized lids and all of your problems will be solved forever. 

Hank: Well, you've got to make sure that it's the kind of classy place that puts it in a Tupperware and not in one of those foldy Chinese food boxes -

John: Obviously! 

Hank: Because that's what my Thai place does. 

John: Obviously, obviously you have to make sure of that in advance, but once you've - so you just, what you do is you just start ordering takeout from various restaurants until you get the correct sized Tupperware container and then you go back to that restaurant 26 consecutive nights until you have 26 sets of Tupperware. Boom, done. 

Hank: I mean, it strikes me that you think you're saving money, but literally a Tupperware set - like a 36 piece Tupperware set costs less than two of those meals. 

John: Right, but you get 26 - how many? I can't remember how many I said. Let's say it was 26.

Hank: I think you said 26. 

John: You get 26 amazing meals in the interim. It's totally worth it. And then you've got an amazing story. When people are like, "hey, where'd you get all that incredibly well matched Tupperware," you can say, "oh, I just ordered from Sawasdee Thai restaurant 26 consecutive days." 

Hank: That's good.

John: That's our local Thai restaurant, by the way. It's excellent. It didn't sponsor today's podcast, but i highly recommend it. 

Hank: Yeah, our local Thai restaurant is called Sa-Wa-Dee, which I think is probably the same phrase but slightly different grammar. 

John: I don't know. I don't know, but it's very good. If you ever have a chance to go there, 86th and Ditch, really solid Thai restaurant.

Hank: Jeez, everything in Indianapolis is at the same intersection. 

John: Almost everything is at the intersection of 86th and Ditch. I had a pivotal scene of The Fault in Our Stars occur at the intersection of 86th and Ditch because I was sitting at the intersection of 86th and Ditch at the Starbucks while I was writing it, and I thought, "where could they go?" and I looked across the street and I was like, "oh, they could go to that gas station." 

Hank: [laughs] That's good. My book takes place in New York City so I always have a tab that's just a street view of New York City open. Just like, walking around where they're walking around. 

John: I remember that James Joyce, when he was writing Ulysses, he used to write to friends in Dublin, because -

Hank: Oh my god.

John: - he didn't want to go back. He used to write to friends in Dublin and say, "hey, could you do me a solid and walk this exact route and then write back to me about how long it took, what you saw, and what the road was like?" 

Hank: [laughs] Oh god. 

 Question 5 (20:44)

John:  Alright, we've got another question, Hank. This one comes from Abigail, who writes, "Dear John and Hank, I work two jobs. One is an overnight job three days a week, the other is a daytime job two days a week." Oh, god. 

Hank: Yeah, no.

John: "I've been doing this for two weeks now, and the transition between sleeping at night and sleeping during the day is rough. My body is very confused all the time. Any advice? Writing this at 3 a.m. because that's when my lunch hour is, Abigail." 

Hank: I mean, Abigail, this is not how the human body is designed to operate. 

John: Yeah.

Hank: There is no way to fix this.

John: I mean, it may be a sustainable situation for some people - it may be a situation that you just need to be in right now, but that is going to be rough, I think, moving forward. I had an overnight job for several months working at the Steak and Shake in Winter Park, Florida and even that messed a lot, I thought, with my brain. It is really hard to work third shift. Now, I have a cousin who has been doing it for like, 30 years, and, - hold on. [long pause] Hold on, it's coming! Nope! It's not. Oh god I need to sneeze so badly and it didn't happen for me that time. Agh. Now I'm just frustrated. I want to go back in time and work harder to get that sneeze out but now the moment has passed. Anyway, I have a cousin who's been doing it for like 30 years and swears by it and says that it allows him to spend way more time with his kids and do all kinds of stuff. I could not do it. So different people have different needs I guess, but I just don't think that there is a way to make that not suck. 

Hank: I agree, John. I do not have good advice. So I'm going to move to the next question. But only after commiserating and saying, "Keep going. Just keep swimming, little fish."

John: Man, you are- you would just be a terrible motivational speaker. 

Hank: Just, that's something that - Finding Nemo. Just, yep.

 Question 5 (22:43)

Hank: "Dear Hank and John," this is from Maria, "I have a serious question about hangers. What's the right way to hang a hanger? With the hanger hook facing the wall or the hanger hook facing you? I just painted my mom's closet and we are in the process of refilling it with her clothes, and she wants to hang all the hangers with the hook facing the wall, and I believe you should hook facing you. Any answer is appreciated. Mulgere hircum, Maria."

John: Is that also a joke from Avatar, the Last Airbender -

Hank: Yeah, one has to assume -

John: - or is that Latin?

Hank: - that that's an Avatar, the Last Airbender thing, because at this point what else -

John: We can't risk it not being - we got - I have never received so many letters as I did about our failure to understand the Avatar, the Last Airbender joke. Maria -

Hank: Uh, John, wait, wait, stop. Wait, stop. I googled it, it's mulgere hircum, "to milk a male goat." 

John: Okay. What? Oh, god -

Hank: Oh! It's a phrase to like, attempt an impossible thing. 

John: Ohhh. I had gone in a different direction. 

Hank: Or a different direction. 

John: Maria, let's get back to your question. Immediately. Maria, here's the deal. And I feel bad about this because you're obviously a nice person. The hook faces the wall. 

Hank: Oh yeah, no, you're super wrong about this, Maria. This is terrible -

John: Yeah. 

Hank: Like, think about it. If you have your, like, disco pants, and you want to party down in your party pants and like it's time to go party, you don't want to be, like, flipping them out and pushing them toward the wall and bringing them to you so you can go to your disco party and have disco jams.

John: Correct.

Hank: You need to - you need pants. Now. No.

John: Yeah. So the whole idea behind getting your disco pants as quickly as possible is just lift and pull. 

Hank: Yeah! 

John: The way that you're proposing it involves lifting, pushing, going down, and then pulling. That's four motions. By the time that you're done with that, the party is probably over. 

Hank: It's terrible. 

John: Yeah, this is actually similar to the long standing argument, it's one of the longest pages on Wikipedia, about whether you should put toilet paper rolls so that they face out or -

Hank: Mmhmm.

John: - you have to come from underneath. And to me it's so obvious that it's not worth debating. But then also, you know, we only have this one brief precious flicker of consciousness and I am glad that some people are choosing to spend it with me thinking about this stuff that doesn't matter but that I can't stop thinking about anyway. 

Hank: I mean, it's weird to me that either of these things could at all be debatable. The only reason to hang your toilet paper not facing so that it's easiest to get to is if you have a cat that does the thing where it spins is down. Because if you do it the other way the cat can't spin the whole toilet paper out. 

John: Or -

Hank: It's the only reason.

John: - if you live with enemies and you want to make their lives harder. 

Hank: Yes. 

John: I mean, that's the argument that I've seen for it that actually makes some sense. If you're trying to, like, push somebody out of your house, just trying little tiny ways -

Hank: Just make something a little worse!

John: - to communicate to your roommate that this relationship has come to an end. That kind of thing really, really works. Like, putting the hanger in backwards, the toilet paper in backwards, I think that's like the universal sign for, "it's time to leave, Phil." 

Hank: If your roommates consistently hang your toilet paper incorrectly then you maybe need to find a new living situation. 

 Question 6 (26:17)

John: Alright, this next question comes from Maddie, who writes "Dear John and Hank, why is there a fruit called a grapefruit when there is already a fruit called a grape?"

Hank: Yeah!

John: "Signing off, Maddie." 

Hank: This is an excellent question, because isn't a grapefruit a grape because it is a grape fruit? 

John: Ah. Yes. Well, it isn't a a grapefruit because it looks and tastes absolutely nothing like a grapefruit. 

Hank: Yeah! Did - yeah!

John: Do you know the etymology of the word grapefruit? 

Hank: No! In fact, I was about to look it up! 

John: It come from the words grape and the word fruit. 

Hank: This is not a shock.

John: Do you want to know a few interesting facts about grapefruits? 

Hank: [laughs] I want to know more about the frickin' etymology of grapefruit! 

John: Ok - they, okay. Because grapefruits grow in clusters and people thought the clusters that grapefruits grow in look kind of like gigantic clusters of gigantic grapes.

Hank: They don't. Grow. In clusters! Have you seen - it's just like an orange tree. It's the same as an orange tree. 

John: Hank.

Hank: Yep.

John: I am telling you what Wikipedia, which is never wrong, says. 

Hank: Oh god.

John: Oh wait - 

Hank: Okay, so, -

John: Some other people think that it might be because -

Hank: Yes. 

John: - the Latin name is "citrus grandus" meaning "great citrus" or "great fruit" and then people just mispronounced it. 

Hank: That is - I wouldn't be shocked, if there was some kind of like both of those things had an effect on this. 

John: Okay, can I tell you some interesting facts about grapefruits?

Hank: Mmhmm.

John: Well that's too bad, because I've done quite a lot of research and there are no interesting facts about grapefruits.

Hank: Please send us, to , your interesting grapefruit facts! we can share them next week because we are incapable of finding anything at all even remotely interesting about this fruit.

John: I don't think anybody's going to find anything. But godspeed, my friends. 

 Question 7 (28:24)

Hank: This question comes from The Bookleman. "Dear John and Hank, - " oops! It's "Dear Hank and John, I know that successful football and soccer teams must replace their players with better ones to improve, but if over time, all the players have been replaced on AFC Wimbledon, will it still be the AFC Wimbledon team? If it's not about the players, but the location, why do teams compete? If you and I were just to hire chess players to play against each other in chess and my player won, it wouldn't prove anything about my chess skills. How is that different with sports teams? Best wishes from the ship of Theseus, The Bookleman in Cleveland." 

John: I mean, this is a great question and it gets to the heart of the problem with franchises which is that ultimately a sports franchise is owned by - usually - by one single rich person or one single rich family, and if they want to move the team, they can, and the definition of the team is "the thing owned by that rich family." 

Hank: Yeah, interesting. 

John: And the whole ship - for those who aren't familiar with the ship of Theseus, the basic idea is this- a ship takes off from port and the mast breaks so they replace the mast with a different piece of wood and then all the other parts of the ship slowly break over a long journey and they replace all the other parts and then by the time it gets back to port, it is an entirely different ship, but at the same time, it is the same ship. Because - and this question is applied to a lot of problems - especially problems with self, you know, like if you start out as one person and you end up as a different person, then are you still the same person? But also football teams, I guess. So I think the answer in AFC Wimbledon's case is actually relatively straightforward, which is that the football club is the community that is based around it, which is why - 

Hank: Mmhmm.

John: - when the English FA decided to move Wimbledon FC to Milton Keynes, it did not mean that Milton Keynes suddenly had Wimbledon. And then Wimbledon restarted as AFC Wimbledon and even though they went from the 3rd tier to the 9th tier overnight, they were still the same football club. They still had the same history, they were still the same community, they still had the same supporters. And that's a lot of what I find so interesting about the AFC Wimbledon story, is that at a time when the social order said to these people "you don't have a football club anymore," they responded, "no, we still have the same football club we always have," and then by the force of their will and their determination as a community, eventually the authorities, the social order itself, was forced to be like, "our bad, you were right, you do still have the same football team." And I find that very beautiful. So I think in the end a good organization, any good community is defined by the people who are inside of it and they change over time and that changes the community over time but hopefully there is some level of continuity that allows the ship of Theseus to still be the same ship when it gets back to port. 

Hank: Well, which gets to the very thing that sort of solves the ship of Theseus riddle, which is that it's not about the ship, it's about our imagining of things.

John: Right. 

Hank: And that is really the interesting thing about the AFC Wimbledon story is that it wasn't about like, The Team, it's about the people who enjoy it and who make up the community. 

John: Right.

Hank: And I feel that same way about, like, this podcast and about all of the stuff that we make on the internet, that it is defined by the people who appreciate the thing. And imagining that and understanding that makes it a much more rich thing to be doing. 

John: Right. Exactly. Yeah, I mean, you've got to understand when you're part of a community, but especially when you're leading a community like that, that so much does really depend on the way we imagine the world. Like that's - the story that my new book gets its title from, the turtles all the way down story, is ultimately a story about understanding that the world is, in part, the stories we tell about it. 

 Sponsors (32:32)

Hank: Which leads us to our sponsor this week which is Turtles All the Way Down! Turtles All the Way Down! A book by John Green coming to a bookstore near you, available for preorder in lots of different places, but only signed if you go and figure out which ones are going to be signed, if you go to 

John: And just to emphasize one thing, the book comes out on October 10th, and it will be available wherever books are sold. And also some places where you might not traditionally look for books, like Costo. 

Hank: [laughs] Oooh! 

John: Today's podcast is also brought to you of course by the suffering of jellyfish. The suffering of jellyfish! Complicated. 

Hank: This podcast is also brought to you by the inconsistent object that is yourself. You are being constantly replaced and your bones that once were your bones aren't actually your bones. They're new bones! You. 

John: And lastly this podcast is brought to you by grapefruit. Originally a great fruit. Now just a grapefruit. 

Hank: That's a - used to be great. Now it's just a -

John: That is actually a pretty good - that is the only interesting grapefruit fact is that it possibly used to originally be known as the great fruit. 

Hank: It's a big fruit! 

John: It is! 

Hank: Like, how many fruits are - okay, fruits by size, [typing noises as he speaks] fruits by size. What are the biggest fruits, John? Watermelon has to be the biggest fruit, right? 

John: Mmmm. I mean, I'm not going to pretend to be an expert in this field. I don't even really have a guess. 

Hank: I bet pumpkin is the biggest fruit. Nope! Nope, weighing 268 pounds - oh, nope, nope, nope, that's wrong. That's wrong, it's wrong! John, John, help, save me! What's your word, what's your phrase of the week, go! 

John: I haven't used it yet! 

Hank: Oh, that is amazing, an amazing hint, John! 

John: I'm still going to be fine. I'm still going to win. I'm not even worried. Have you used yours? Oh, you're not going to tell me -

Hank: I'm not going to tell you! 

John: Of course you're not going to tell me. Of course you're not.

Hank: Oh, no, absolutely not. 

 Response 1 (34:34)

John: Alright, Hank, before we get to some more questions from our listeners, I really have to read this vitally important response, some of you may remember that in a past episode of the pod somebody wrote in to say that they had been harboring a secret snake in their home and that they wanted to take this secret snake to college but they couldn't figure out how to get the snake to college because their parents were going with them on the drive. So Devin and Draco wrote back in to say, "Dear John and Hank, back in episode 87 you answered my question about owning a secret snake. As of 7 p.m. Friday, September 22nd 2017, one year and nine days after I got him, Draco is no longer secret." 

Hank: Oh, I was worried about what the plot twist there was going to be. 

John: I know, I too thought he might die. But no. "My dad discovered him while look for our cat, who was in the basement."

Hank: [laughs] Okay, good. I'm glad that the cat wasn't in Draco. 

John: "While he is not thrilled that there has been a secret snake in the house for one year and nine days -"

Hank: Wait, wait, wait. You didn't take the snake to college? You just left the snake at home? This - I need more information!

John: I - actually, you're right. I have more questions than answers. did he leave the snake at home to fend for himself, or did he, in the end, just decide to take a semester off from college to delay the inevitable? [both laugh] "While he is not- " so, we don't know the answer to that question, but we do know this, "While he is not thrilled that there is a snake in the house, I played my dad the segment from your podcast and he found it hilarious, and Draco is allowed to stay, although I have been warned that there will be a tarantula in my bed if he gets loose. As John said in his answer, everything turned out better than expected. Snakes and secrets, but no longer secret snakes, Devin and Draco." 

Hank: John, the world's largest pumpkin, which is the largest fruit ever recorded, was 1,689 pounds, also 766 kilograms for those of you who don't know what pounds are. 

John: Alright, well there you go. A question that I've never wanted the answer to and now have the answer to.

Hank: Well, that's too bad because my entire video this week is going to be about world's largest fruits. 

John: Oh my god. I don't even think you're kidding. You're desperate for a video topic. Let me make a suggestion. Here's a video topic. My brother's first book in six years comes out in ten days. Everyone buy it at bookstores everywhere. Alright. We've got another question, Hank. 

 Question 8 (36:57)

John: This one comes from Anna, who writes, "Dear John and Hank, when you see someone doing something on Snapchat, is it weird to talk about it when you next see them in real life? I watch my friends' Snapchats and sometimes I feel like I should reply, but then it feels awkward when I do. I also sometimes want to bring up their last Snapchat in conversation but always chicken out at the last second. So my question is, is it socially acceptable to talk about social media in real life or reply to something they posted hours ago? Also another question, why is 'chicken out' a phrase for not doing something or being a wimp? I mean, what did chickens ever do? We eat tons of them every year, so shouldn't we just lay off? Any advice would be appreciated." That's a great point, Anna, I mean, haven't we done enough to chicken-kind just by eating them by the billions? Why do we also have to besmirch their good name? 

Hank: Oh yeah, I'm totally on board with no longer besmirching a chicken. Cease the besmirchment of chickens. That's my new t-shirt. 

John: [laughing] Yeah. Um -

Hank: Now, secondly, I'm so glad that you came to two men who are in their late 30s early 40s to discuss with you how to properly socially interact with people who you are friends with and follow on social media Snapchats. Because -

John: Yeah. 

Hank: - we are the experts on how to navigate the awkward world of knowing what your friends are doing all of the time but not because you talked about it. 

John: That is correct. You could not have picked two better people for this topic. And as an expert, i.e. someone who last sent a Snapchat in 2016, I feel extremely prepared to tell you that it is fine to talk in real life about someone's most recent snaps as long as you aren't sort of, like, overbearing about it. Like it would be great if you said, like, "I thought that was really funny. The caption and/or emoji and/or handmade drawing that you did," but it's not cool if you talk about it for, like, 14 minutes and you detail all of the things that you loved about the snap and how you saved it and now it's your like, screensaver on your phone and everything. 

Hank: Yeah, and I also think that, like, the thing that I - my experience of Snapchat and Instagram stories is like, "oh, look at all of the fun that my friends are having."

John: Yeah.

Hank: And so there is a certain amount of navigating the "ah that was really funny," versus, "why wasn't I invited to that thing that you did." 

John: Right. 

Hank: Because not everybody can be invited to everything all the time, and now we all know every time we're missing out on something, which is not how it was a few years ago! You didn't know when you're friends hung out and you weren't there. And that was a thing that happened but you didn't have to know about it all the time. 

John: Hank, can I ask you something? Do you ever feel like, you know that Simpson's reference where Abe Simpson, Homer's father is holding a newspaper with the headline "Old Man Yells at Cloud." 

Hank: Yeah. Yeah, he's on the newspaper. Yeah, old man yells at cloud.

John: Oh, that's what it is. Right -

Hank: I do -

John: But do you ever feel -

Hank: Yes. 

John: - like an old man yelling at a cloud? 

Hank: Uh, yeah. In a lot of different circumstances. Sometimes I feel like I'm yelling at a cloud and it's like, late stage capitalism -

John: Right.

Hank: - that I'm yelling at. And sometimes I feel like I'm yelling at a cloud and it's like, "boy, Hank just does not know what this thing is and he's kind of angry at something he does not understand." 

John: These young people these days. Yeah. I mean, I remember being a kid, and just feeling like old people were completely, deeply, profoundly out of touch about what was interesting. Like, even in my 20s I remember just thinking, like, "oh my god, how does someone let themselves get so far removed from what is interesting about right now?" 

Hank: Mmhmm. Yeah. And now I'm like, "I am so uninterested in what is interesting right now." 

John: Yeah! No, that's how I feel too. It's freaking me out! 

Hank: Yeah, there's a lot of stuff to be interested in and I think that's it's important to be okay with both yourself and with other people for being interested in what they're interested in. 

John: Yeah.

Hank: And that's going to mean that I'm not very good at Instagram stories. 

John: Well I'm actually truly going to give Instagram stories the old college try when we go on tour. Because -

Hank: It's a good idea.

John: I think like, that to me is when I can use it to make sense, have it make sense for me -

Hank: Yeah.

John: - is when we're like, out and doing something. Because usually my life is so boring and repetitive but I really like its repetition. But I don't think that it would make for an interesting Instagram story for me to be like, "once again at 3:20 I did pick up my children from school." You know, "For the 19th consecutive weekday I spent the hours between 3:20 and 3:40 in the car with the kids."

Hank: I'd be really - maybe there's a certain set of people who just want that very steady, rhythmic, therapeutic Instagram story where it's just the same thing every weekday. 

John: Right. Yeah. I mean, there is benefit to that, right? I mean, I don't know, I like the classical music station in Indianapolis partly because they play the same, like, eight pieces of classical music over and over and over again. 

 News from Mars and AFC Wimbledon (42:21)

John: Alright, Hank. It's time to get to the news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon. What's the news from Mars this week? 

Hank: Oh, John, remember last week when we were talking about how there was that group of people in Hawaii who had gone out and they hung out for months in Hawaii -

John: Yes. 

Hank: - and it went pretty well and nobody got super angry? Well it turned out one of them killed another one of them. 

John: No way. 

Hank: Not actually what happened. No. Not what happened.

John: Oh. Oh, wow! You had me for a second! Now I'm back to being bored. 

Hank: [laughs] No, though one of them did get interviewed and he said, you know, there's rough moments. The hardest part they said was the fact that they could not just get on the internet like normal and if they were solving a problem and needed information it would take days when it should have taken minutes because -

John: Right.

Hank: - you'd have to wait for so long for responses from people. Or from Google.

John: Right. 

Hank: And so that is definitely a problem to solve. But he said there was not a single insult - not a single personal insult hurled through the entire, I don't know if it was six or eight month long experience. But that's not my news. The news is that the UAE, the United Arab Emirates, is apparently attempting to build a 100 million pound Martian city. That's the currency unit, not the weight, in the Emirati Desert to simulate life on the red planet. 

John: Woah.

Hank: Yeah, 1.9 million square feet. Largest space simulation city ever built. Largest bio-dome ever. A team of researchers will live in the city for a year, carry out experiments to understand life on Mars, and it will have a museum open to the public whose walls will be 3-D printed from the sand and it is unclear when the building will begin on the project or its exact location. So who knows if it's actually going to be a thing that will exist but this Mars science city, they've got some cool 3-D renders of it. It looks pretty. And they have so much money in the UAE they can do these weird things. 

John: Yeah, that's the only Mars I'll ever visit. I'm just going to tell you that right now. That's going to be my number one all time favorite Mars that I visit in my lifetime is the Mars right here on Earth. 

Hank: Mmhmm. I mean, it looks pretty cool! 

John: Hank, can you hear that in the background? 

Hank: Mmm, it's a rumbling, it's a rumbling noise I hear.

John: No. No, it's the sad string quartet music.

Hank: Oh, oh yes, it's sad, it's like an ambulance riding away. 

John: No, not exactly. It's sadder than that. It's the only thing sadder than that. It's the sound of having lost a home game against Milton Keynes. 

Hank: Ohhhh noooooo! 

John: Two - nil. 

Hank: Ooohhh it hurts. 

John: There were many wonderful moments, almost all of them in the stands, with Wimbledon fans singing "who were you, who were you, who were you when you were us?", my all time favorite chant in any sport. But the moments on the pitch were not great. I watched the whole game live on the AFC Wimbledon app. There are some issues with the live streaming but it is much better than no live streaming. And it was really, really, really frustrating. I was yelling at my phone, which I try very hard never to do. I really, it was really frustrating, and I feel terrible for all of the Wimbledon fans out there, because that's the one game that you really want to win in a season -

Hank: Yeah.

John: - and it was difficult, and also Wimbledon did not score, and Wimbledon spent essentially the entire game in the attacking half of the field and the only two times that Milton Keynes had anything like an attack they scored. 

Hank: Mmm. 

John: And then Wimbledon went on to lose to Southend United on September 26th, which is very bad and was a game that we really should have won, and now we find ourselves in what can only - at this point I think it is fair to describe the situation as perilous. There are 46 games in the season, we're only through 10 of them, so it is not yet a period for panic. However, Wimbledon in 10 games have scored 5 goals. That is not great. And they are only one spot away from the relegation zone and only kept out of the relegation zone by goal difference. So it has not been a bright beginning to the year. 

 Phrase of the week, outro, and credits (46:49)

Hank: I do know, however, what your phrase of the week was. 

John: Well, I mean, it's not fair! Because in a bit that Hank- I got, like halfway through a bit and Hank was like, we have to cut that because you already did it and then I redid "string quartet" and of course he's going to know. So yes, it was "string quartet." I lost this week and I'm mad about it. Was your phrase "born this way?" 

Hank: No, no no!

John: Agh! 

Hank: You thought that I was just talking about disco pants for no reason! 

John: Oh, god! Disco pants? 

Hank: Ahh, it was actually -

John: It just seemed so perfectly specific! God, how could I not have noticed that! All of the listeners are going to be flooding my Twitter with comments about how I clearly wasn't paying attention. 

[outro music starts] 

John: To be fair, I'm not really paying attention, but regardless, Hank, thank you for podding with me.

Hank: Yeah.

John: We now have to go over to our Patreon,, to record This Week in Ryan, which has become a podcast about everything except people named Ryan. 

Hank: It's good!

John: But I do appreciate you being here, Hank, and enlivening my days and giving me something to think about other than the Turtles All the Way Down situation. 

Hank: Well, I don't look forward to these days when this will happen to me, but I also really do and I'm really excited for your book to come out and I hope that there's excitement among your anxiety because it's very good and I can't wait for people to read it. 

John: Ah, thanks man. I appreciate it. This podcast is produced by Rosianna Halse Rojas and Sheridan Gibson. Our editor is Nicholas Jenkins. Victoria Bongiorno is our head of community and communications. Our music is by the brilliant Gunnarolla. You can email us at or find us on twitter @hankgreen or @johngreen. Thank you again for listening, and as they say in our hometown -

John and Hank together: Don't forget to be awesome. 

[outro music ends]