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How do fish get into lakes? How do I stay aware of things without giving them views? Do aliens communicate with sign language? And more!

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[Dear Hank and John intro music plays] 

Hank: Hello and welcome to a very special sicky-pants version of Dear Hank and John!
John: Or as I prefer to think of it, Dear John and ughhhhh. 

Hank: It's a comedy podcast where two brothers who have independently contracted rhinoviruses answer your questions, give you dubious advice, and bring you all the week's news from both Mars and AFC Wimbledon. So, how you doing, John? 

John: I am sick. I barely crawled out of bed to come here, to be honest with you. I woke up, tried to get the kids ready for school, and then Sarah came downstairs and she was like, "you should just go back to bed." And then I went back to bed and then I woke up and then it was now. 

Hank: [laughs] Yeah, this morning I said to Katherine - Orin woke up, he woke up, he's sort of sitting up and then sort of standing, and then he tripped over his sleep sack and fell and whacked his head on the crib, and so he's just like, screaming. And I was like - we have a camera in there and we can rewind it and watch this all happen, which is just great. He does it three times, he hits his head on the crib. And I'm like, "ehuhuhuhuh." And Katherine's like, - 'cause I take care of Orin in the mornings - and Katherine's like, "okay, well, why are you still laying there?" And I'm like, [pleading voice] "can you do it?" 

John: Yeah.

Hank: And so she did it and that was very nice. 

John: I mean, every time I'm sick, I think to myself, God bless single parents. 

Hank: Yeah. Yeah. Oh my god. 

John: They are doing incredible work. 

Hank: Do not understand. 

John: If you have a single parent, give them a hug. If you are a single parent, here is a hug from us. It's non-physical. My favorite kind of hug. 

Hank: [laughs] Yeah, especially when you're not feeling very well. Here! Come in for a big old virusy hug! I've got so many different microorganisms on my hands and face! [coughs] 

John: [laughs] Oh man, dark times. 

Hank: So this will be interesting. This'll be interesting to pull out, I hope that we do it well. Did you happen to come across a short poem this week, John? 

John: A short poem was suggested to us actually, by Annie, who was suggesting a poem by professor emeritus Ken Michalowski of her alma mater, the University of Michigan. Mystery Number 2 it's called. "Mystery number two. Ten in the dining room, one falls in the soup. Poisoned. You are the host. What do you do?" It's good! [laughing] It's good. It's a comedy about death. We don't get enough of those around here. So that was a welcome change of pace. Thank you, Annie. 

Hank: Alright. Thank you John for your lovely reading. 

 Question 1 (2:42)

Hank: And our first question is going to come to you from Kat, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, space is a vacuum, which means that sound doesn't travel, which is where we get the classic line, 'in space, no one can hear you scream.' By that logic, if aliens exist, I'm assuming they would spend most of their time in space and wouldn't be able to hear anything, so would they communicate using sign language? What - is that why the record we launched into space has gone unanswered?" [both laugh] Like, first they have to have a record player. "Dubious answers greatly appreciated, Kit, Kat." 

John: Oh, that's good. 

Hank: I think that mostly we don't expect to find the aliens living in space. We expect to find them maybe living in spaceships in space, but also potentially on other planets. There was a really wonderful - so there's this Twitter that's called - shoot. I forgot what it's called. 

John: Great. This is already a high quality podcasting entertainment for the people. [coughing] I can't get the feeling out of my throat no matter what I do. 

Hank: This is a very good comic, there's a twitter account called "A small fiction" and just basically tries to tell a story inside of a tweet. And the tweet is, "Oracle, are we alone in the universe?" And then the oracle says, "yes." And then the little girl says "so there's other life out "- and then the little girl says, "so there's no other life out there?" And then the oracle says, "There is. They're alone too." 

John: [laughs] Which is probably the truth, right? I mean, there is probably life out there.

Hank: Yeah. 

John: And we will probably never have any kind of contact with it. 

Hank: And they will probably have - like, not only will we never have any contact with any of the life out there, all of the life out there will probably have never have any contact with each other, either. There are weird reasons why this might be, because in areas where there are lots of stars that are close together, it's actually less likely for life to form in those places because there's so much high energy radiation, because it might be closer to the center of the galaxy where there's a lot of stars. We're quite far out, and in the center of the galaxy there's a lot more high energy stuff happening. But also in stellar formation areas there's a lot more energy that might be contrary to the formation of complicated molecules. So, you know, it's a big universe, so there are probably is life out there that knows about other life, which is really cool, and that's a nice thing to think about, but for the most part probably the default is that other life in the universe is also alone. 

John: And will be alone forever. It's - I love it. I love it. That - 

Hank: But also that life probably exists inside of a soup of gases or liquids that can transfer sound waves, so they probably do have some kind of way to talk. Though I would not expect they have a way to play a record. But maybe! You never know.

John: You never know. 

 Question 2 (5:52)

John: This next question comes from Jess, who writes, "Dear John and Hank, I'm a middle school teacher." First off, Jess, I just want to pause from your question and say thank you. Thank you for being a middle school teacher. I was so terrible to my middle school teachers but they were so kind to me. So irrationally kind. So thank you on behalf of all of your terrible annoying students. "One of my students gave me a gift card to the local movie theater with the note, 'To see Star Wars' on it. I have often shared my love of Star Wars with my students and have even gone so far as to dress up in Star Wars costumes and work Star Wars into my lesson plans." God, I mean, that is a cool teacher. "The issue - I have already seen Star Wars: The Last Jedi four times and I plan to see it again with my friends from college later this month for a total of five times. Do I go see Star Wars again for a total of six times, or can I go see a different movie with the gift card that was designated for Star Wars? Han shot first, Jess." 

Hank: I mean, you have way too much respect for your students. 

John: Way too much! 

Hank: I would just stand out front of the movie theater and be like, "free Star Wars tickets!" 

John: Well no, it's not even that, Hank.

Hank: Free gift card! 

John: No, Jess can see whatever movie she wants! It's not like she's going to go up to the counter and be like "I'd like to use this gift card to see, I don't know, I Tonya or Ladybird," and they're going to be like, "oh, I'm sorry, that gift card is only good for Star Wars." No, the movie theater doesn't care what movie you see. Go see Ladybird. It's great! 

Hank: Also, it seems to me that you're about to go see Star Wars again. Why don't you use it for going out with your friends? 

John: I think she probably already bought the ticket -

Hank: She might have already bought the ticket, yeah.

John: Like, reserved a ticket online already -

Hank: Yeah, yeah yeah.

John: - for a specific spot. I think 100% this is a great opportunity to go see Ladybird, which I loved, by the way. Hank, I don't usually like to brag about this, although I think I do bring it up on the podcast every year. 

Hank: Mmhmm.

John: But we get most of the Oscar contenders mailed to our house because -

Hank: Right.

John: - many years ago I was made to join a union, and at the time I was very resentful, but it turns out to have been a really great investment. And yeah, so we got to see- I've gotten to see a bunch of the award candidate movies this year and I honestly think Ladybird is my favorite. 

Hank: I have not seen it. I have not seen any movies except for Star Wars and I believe that I watched Meet Me in St. Louis and Guardians of the Galaxy II so far this year. 

John: Wow, well that's an interesting list. You might be the only person who's hit that particular trifecta. 

Hank: [laughs] I mean, certainly I am the only person who's watched only those three movies. 

John: [laughing] Right. Yeah, definitely. 

Hank: So, yeah. Going outside of the house is hard and John doesn't send me his screeners! 

John: Uh, because I can't. Just in case the writers' guild is listening. I would never share my screeners. 

Hank: [laughing] The biggest segment of our audience. The writers' guild of America. 

John: [laughs] Oh god, I think I had, like, a slight fever this morning and I took Advil, and I think it's wearing off. I just want to give you a personal update. Can we answer another question? 

 Question 3 (9:07)

Hank: Yeah, John. Let's do that. This next question comes from Maria, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, I'm a sixteen year old Italian girl and my father works abroad. Because of this I often have to take planes and travel when I go visit him. However, when I do so, I often receive a lot of unwanted attention from adult men."

John: [groaning] Ugghhhhh. 

Hank: "Not ever from my peers or kind ladies. Just old men. They often try to talk to me asking me why such a young lady is travelling by herself, where I'm going, and so on. I try not to be rude to these people, but these situations make me uncomfortable and they keep happening. How should I deal with this?" My goodness.

John: I actually have good advice.

Hank: Well that's good news.

John: Well, I don't know if it's great advice, but I have advice. 

Hank: All I've got is headphones. Never take your headphones out. 

John: Oh, that is my advice. 

Hank: [laughing] Okay.

John: So, Maria, before you get on the plane, put earbuds in your ear. You don't have to listen to anything. I don't usually listen to anything, but this is what - I'll tell you what I do. Before I get on the plane I put earbuds in my ears. Actually, I do this the moment I arrive at the airport, to be perfectly honest with you. I arrive at the airport, I put earbuds in my ear, I go through all the usual processes, and I find that people talk much less to me when I have earbuds in my ear. Even though I'm not listening to anything and I can hear everything they say and I can answer them in a normal voice so I don't, like, respond to them by shouting, so hopefully I'm not being overly rude.

Hank: You're not even listening to your podcast. I will say, John, you cannot have earbuds in your ears if you're going to speak to a service employee. That's, like, I'm out. I'm out if that's your strategy, because if I'm going to talk to the TSA guy and he's going to give me - I have to say, I'm a normal person and I'm having an interaction with a normal person. Like, we are required to interact and so I'm taking my headphones out. And then they go right back in afterward. 

John: Okay. You do it your way. Maria, you can do it whichever way you want. But that is my sincerest recommendation. I did - Hank, have I told this story on the podcast before about the worst thing that ever happened to me in my whole life?

Hank: Uhhhhh I mean, I don't - I don't know! I don't know!

John: Alright, so -

Hank: You do tend to exaggerate, so I'm not sure which worst thing this is.

John: This isn't the worst thing that ever happened to me in my entire life, but it was really, really bad. So one time I was on a three hour and ten minute flight, and I had the usual strategy. I put my earbuds in before boarding the flight. I handed over my boarding pass. I boarded the plane. I sat down in my seat. I put my backpack underneath the seat. And I actually then started to actually listen to music because the person next to me kept looking at me and I was like, maybe they need to hear sound coming out of my earbuds for me to effectively communicate that I'm not an airplane talker, because I'm a very nervous person. I was going to say nervous flyer but that actually would be understating the matter pretty significantly. And this person who was sitting next to me, just as the plane began to taxi, reached over and touched my ear and pulled the earbud out of my ear. 

Hank: Oh my god. I can't, like - the feeling of an earbud being removed, even if it's like because it got caught on something -

John: Oh it's always a bad feeling.

Hank: - is one of the worst feelings that I experience regularly. 

John: Well, you can imagine -

Hank: And to have it done to me by another person - 

John: Who you don't know. Who you've never spoken to, actually. 

Hank: And I assume that this person had an emergency to convey to you. 

John: Uh, yeah.

Hank: Like, "I am about to poo in my pants -"

John: No.

Hank: Or there's a fire -

John: No.

Hank: - on the plane. 

John: No, it wasn't that. 

Hank: Or the lady in front of us just - her head exploded. 

John: Yeah. No. 

Hank: Something that you need to know. 

John: No, it wasn't any of those things. It was that they were a very nervous flyer, and would I talk to them? 

Hank: Oh, that's kind of sad. 

John: And I was like, aahhhhh, yeah. Yes. Of course. So Maria, you may find yourself in a situation where a stranger pulls the earbud out of your ear, but in that case they're either going to say, "I am a nervous flyer", "the person in front of you's head has exploded," or third option, they're going to say anything else, in which case you're going to just put the earbud right back in.

Hank: Yeah, I mean, in situations like this, there are going to be guys that don't understand - they're like, "but I'm not here to harass you," but what they don't understand is, for you, there's no way to tell. And once you're listening to the harassment, it's very difficult to go back to your life, and not be like, I need to be reassigned a different - so like, you want to cut that off at the beginning, which is absolutely fine and you are an autonomous person who has been sat in a chair next to another person and that does not mean that you have to talk to them. You have been assigned this place next to a stranger and that comes with no rights and responsibilities to interact with them. And so it is - definitely if you are wearing headphones it is absolutely rude for someone to interrupt that, and if they don't get that, it is not rude for you to, in reply, not interact with them. 

John: Yeah, no, you - yeah. I strongly agree with you, Hank. And now I'm getting nervous just remembering the feeling of having that earbud removed from my ear. Let's move on to another question. 

 Question 4 (14:35)

John: Alright Hank, this next question comes from Jackie and it's a matter of great importance. "Dear John and Hank, for Christmas I received several Lush bath bombs." Congratulations, Jackie. "This seems like a wonderful present except that I don't have a bathtub. I would give them to my friends, except none of them have bathtubs. What should I do with all these bath bombs?"

Hank: Wow!

John: "Hand them out on the street? Mail them to random addresses? Attempt a bath bomb shower? Please help. I don't want these beautiful sparkly spheres to go to waste. Sine balneas, Jackie." 

Hank: John! We just made a million dollars. 

John: What? Oh great. 

Hank: Let me tell you why. Is this something? It is a bath bomb compartment that you clip on to the area between where your shower connects to the wall, your shower head connects to the wall and where the shower head is -

John: Uh-huh. 

Hank: - where you can slip a bath bomb in there -

John: Uh-huh.

Hank: - then, you are bath bomb showering.

John: So you're just basically showering -

Hank: I think this is something. 

John: - in like, green, sparkly water? 

Hank: Yeah. Yeah, I think this is something!

John: No, this is not something. You know how -

Hank: I mean like, I need to talk to an engineer -

John: Ugh.

Hank: - about how to develop a compartment that you would put a bath bomb into. Hot water rushes over it, comes out of the shower and you become the incredible, glamorous Hulk. 

John: You know, Hank, over the years you've presented me with million dollar ideas on, I would guess, conservatively, 4,000 occasions. By your math, I should be a billionaire. Now admittedly, a few times, you have had a properly good idea. Although I would just like to say, for the record, that I would argue our best idea ever was mine. You've had a few properly good ideas. This is not one of them. So remember all those times when you would feel exactly as excited as you feel about this idea, and it turned out that those were terrible ideas? This is like those times, not like the few times when you were right. 

Hank: John.

John: Yep.

Hank: I am going to be the bigger man -

John: Uh-huh.

Hank: And release this idea into the world. I'm saying, this is not patented, public domain. It is your responsibility, listener, to decide if you are the person who is going to make this a million dollar product. And you're going to be on QVC and you're going to be like that crazy pillow guy being like, "pillows are awful! And I've got a better pillow!" And also who's a huge fan of Donald Trump for some reason -

John: I have no idea who you're talking about, but it's fascinating. I mean, just what I know about this person makes me really want to hang out with them at a cocktail party. Can I tell you a bath bomb story? 

Hank: Uh, yes, but first I want to complete the process of releasing the idea into the world. 

John: Oh, okay.

Hank: Your job, listener -

John: Yeah.

Hank: Is to create the bath bompartment. The bath bombardment. 

John: Ahhh.

Hank: The bath - the shower bombard-something. 

John: The shower bombardment. 

Hank: Yes. And then -

John: It's close.

Hank: Yeah. 

John: It's - I mean, it's not a million dollar name, I'll tell you that. But it's close. It's something. So the other day, um [laughing] Alice opened up the compartment - I have a four year old daughter - she opened up the compartment underneath my sink, and she said, "Daddy, what are these?" And I said, "those are bath bombs, Alice." And she's seen bath bombs before. 

Hank: Mmhmm.

John: Like, we've even used a couple of them in her baths and she always likes them a lot. And she says - "well why haven't - " and she knows that I love them, and she said some version of "why haven't you used these?" And I said, "oh, well all of these, they have glitter in them, so when you let them into the bath, they spread glitter all through the bath," and she looked up at me and she just said, "sparkles?" And I was like, "yeah, sparkles!" And she was like, "I want the sparkles." So -

Hank: Now you've -

John: - we found a good home for the sparkly bath bombs. Man, Alice is suddenly all in on bath bombs. It's nice. It's nice whenever I have something where I can really connect with Alice about, and our shared interest in really high quality bath experiences has become that place. Jackie, we do not have an answer for your question. 

Hank: Um, I don't know what you're talking about, John. I had an amazing answer for Jackie's question. [laughs]

John: Oh. Okay, right, I had literally already forgotten about the shower bomb compartment. 

Hank: I mean, I just Googled it, John, and there doesn't appear to be a way to convert a shower into a bath bomb experience. I think that there is a huge -

John: You don't say. What a shock.

Hank: - there is a huge open market here for bringing the bath bomb experience into the huge section of the world that does not have the ability to use bath bombs. We could sell - like, they're on sale at Lush next Tuesday! I swear to god it's going to happen. 

John: Yeah. Okay. Godspeed. And whoever takes this on as a project, I wish them all of the luck in the world, and they will need it. 

 Question 5 (19:40)

Hank: I've got another question for you. It comes from Abby, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, there's this guy I'm friends with, and I like him, and he seems to like me, and everything is beautiful and nothing hurts. Right? Wrong! About a month ago he lent me a box of ball bearings, -" I'm just going to leave out why. I'm going to leave that part of the question out because it's - it's not even very long, but I would rather it just be that you just got lent a box of ball bearings. 

John: Sure. 

Hank: "He's a very nice guy, and he's very caring, so he gave me the ball bearings."

John: Right. 

Hank: "But! I have lost the ball bearings."

John: Mmhmm.

Hank: "Now I'm desperate. What do I do? Do I come clean? Do I order some ball bearings to his house and never speak about it again? Do I change my identity? Thanks in advance, this is Abby." 

John: Uh, I mean, uh - listen, Abby. You're going to have some challenges in this relationship. There's going to be good times and there's going to be bad times, especially if it becomes a kind of serious foundational romantic relationship in your life. 

Hank: Mmhmm.

John: And the ball bearings thing - you're not going to look back on it as the biggest problem you ever faced with this person. 

Hank: But you don't want to build the relationship on a foundation of lies.

John: No! You can just say like, "listen, I lost the ball bearings. If you're going to hang out with me, something you need to know about me is that I lose stuff all the time." I feel like I had to have that conversation with Sarah very early on. By the way, today I said to Sarah, "hey, Sarah, I think we need more diapers for the dog. Also, can you call my phone? I don't know where it is. And also, I can't find my keys." And Sarah's response were, "the dog diapers arrived this morning, your phone is in Henry's bed, and your keys are on the kitchen counter." And I was like, "oh my god. What is it like to walk through the universe knowing where things are?" 

Hank: [laughs] Yesterday I was in my - I went to the office in part because I didn't know where my computer was so I figured I had left it at the office -

John: Yeah. 

Hank: I got there, it wasn't there, and I was like, "I don't know where my computer is!" And my assistant said to me, "you didn't bring it in." And I said to her, "no, I did!" And she said, "I don't know, but I watched you walk in and you weren't holding your computer." And like Marie Ann, how could you possibly have a picture in your mind of what I was carrying when I walked into the office? But she was like, "I think - " And I was like, "Well I definitely brought it." And she was like, "is it possible it's in the car?" And I was like, "No! No, I looked!" And then it was in the car. 

John: Of course it was in the car. It's always - yeah! I know, it's very frustrating. I feel the same way. I lose my glasses all the time, and then I'm like, "well, now I'm doubly screwed." Because -

Hank: I don't know how to lose my glasses, because they're always on me. 

John: Well, but like, I don't know. I'll put them down, I'll be cleaning them or something and then I'll get distracted and I'll walk away for three seconds and then I'll turn back around and then I'll be like, "oh no! I can't see anything to find my glasses with!"

Hank: [laughs] There is always that moment where you're like, especially if it's nighttime and so it's dark and it's - "I can't see! How can I possibly find my glasses in order to see when I can't see?" It's the struggle, John, but I can't get Lasik because this is my brand now. 

John: [laughing] That's the best reason not to get Lasik I've ever heard of. I think we've adequately answered that question. You've got to tell about the ball bearings issue. Just come clean.

Hank: Or, alternatively, get some ball bearings on Amazon and they'll be there in two days. 

John: Uh, yeah. But also come clean. Do both. I don't think that you should just fake like you didn't - well, I don't know. It's not going to matter that much actually. [laughing]

Hank: [laughing] It's not. 

 Question 6 (23:23)

John: This next question comes from Kate, who writes, "Dear John and Hank, my fiance's mother recently gave me a dress that no longer fits her. Unfortunately, it's the dress that she wore to her late husband's funeral, my fiance's father."

Hank: I - ooh, I - Mm.

John: Well, that was weird.

Hank: Yeah. Well, I mean, I can't even imagine getting a dress for another person at all, because I feel like that's a very personal decision. Like, I watch women shop for dresses and they look at a lot of dresses that they do not buy! And so I feel like selecting one and being like, "you will enjoy this dress" is just extremely presumptuous, because according to my view of the world, 99.9% of dresses are unacceptable. 

John: Yeah, not only that, Hank, I would actually extend this outside the world of dresses and say that if Sarah's family gave me a suit or even a shirt or a pair of socks and was like, "these are the special funeral socks," I would feel the weight of them very intensely. 

Hank: Yes.

John: Anyway. "My fiance was surprisingly accepting of this, but I'm a little uncomfortable wearing it around him and his family. It's a lot of pressure." Yeah, I agree! "Plus, it doesn't fit very well." [laughs]

Hank: Oh, well, I mean this - not super shocking! Yeah.

John: "So I worry about the formality of even wearing it to funerals." [both laugh] Oh god, this is dark. I'm sorry to be laughing, Kate, but things are out of control here. "Sometimes we just have to do what people we love need us to do, so maybe I should get it tailored to use it? Is it acceptable to just keep it in my closet forever? As you are a podcast about death I figured you were certified to attack the etiquette of this situation. Hopefully nobody will die in the interim. Kate." Yeah, I don't think that you need to wear this dress to funerals. 

Hank: Right.

John: Hard stop. 

Hank: Yeah, Kate, and also everyone who's listening who is transitioning from like, their 20s to their 30s, here's what's about to happen to you. Your parents -

John: Yep.

Hank: And / or your parents of your spouse or partner are going to start to send you things that you do not care about. 

John: Oh - nope.

Hank: Because they are aware that they are going to die -

John: Nope. 

Hank: - and they are trying to get rid of the things that they have a sentimental attachment to and put it somewhere that is not the trash. 

John: Right, I mean, I've got to stop -

Hank: And what they're saying is, please hold on - okay, you -

John: I have to stop you. I have to stop you. I have to stop you.

Hank: Okay.

John: You said that your parents are going to send you things that you don't care about. And I just want to say, as someone who recognizes that our parents listen to this podcast, I care. I care, Mom. It's Hank that doesn't care. I care a lot. So I just want to say that right now. 

Hank: [laughing] Let's -

John: Hank doesn't care about the stuff that you send him. He doesn't care. I care. I do. Especially about the cash.

Hank: [laughing] I'm not saying that I don't care. I'm saying that this is what's going to happen to other people who are not me and who very deeply appreciate all of the things that I have received from my mother that I have no context for. 

John: Mmhmm. I care, Mom! I love everything. 

Hank: [laughing] And what they are asking of you is "please hold on to this until I am dead and then throw it away." 

John: Uh, no. That is not what they are asking of you. They are asking - [frustrated sigh]. Alright, we have to move on to the next question, because I fear that we are in more dangerous territory than we have ever entered before with arguably our most important listeners, since I don't think our spouses listen. 

Hank: [laughs] Katherine totally listens. 

John: Oh, Sarah doesn't. [laughing] I'm not sure Sarah's ever heard a full episode of Dear Hank and John

Hank: [laughing] Yeah. Oh, Katherine's an avid listener. She loves it.

John: Oh, that's funny. Yeah, no -

Hank: She listens to This Week in Ryans! She supports us on Patreon! 

John: [laughs] Sarah listened to like the first 15 minutes of an episode with me in the car one day and she turned to me and she said, "I just, I guess maybe I don't get it?"

Hank: [laughs] Whereas I, this week, walked in to my home and Katherine was like, "John was giving you a really hard time about Ryan this week." And I was like, "Right?! Right?!" 

John: [laughs] That's very funny! 

Hank: It's different strokes. 

John: Yeah, yeah no, I mean-

Hank: This next question - 

John: Sarah was like, "it just seems like being at dinner with the two of you." And I was like, "I think that's what people like about it." 

Hank: Yeah, I think that's kind of the thing. 

 Question 7 (27:59)

Hank: This next question comes from Morgan, who asks, "Dear Hank and John, how do fish get into lakes? Veni, vidi, vici, Morgan."

John: Oh, I know the answer to this. 

Hank: Well, there's lots of different answers, but go. 

John: They get into lakes - this is my understanding at least from what I was told by our parents when I was a kid - because bird feet get fish eggs stuck to them and then the birds go from lake to lake populating new lakes with fishes.

Hank: Yeah, that definitely happens. That is one of the ways in which it happens, for sure. Additionally, I don't know if you're aware of this, but certain storm systems can actually suck fish up into them and then drop them other places. That happens, like, every third Sunday or so. 

John: What? 

Hank: There's a - no, I'm just making that up. 

John: Oh, god. I mean, I was completely convinced. 

Hank: It does happen though. I don't know if that's one of the ways that actually helps to distribute fish -

John: Oh, yeah! 

Hank: But occasionally you hear about it -

John: I saw a documentary about it - 

Hank: - like a rain of frogs.

John: - it's called Sharknado.

Hank: Yeah, it's like that. That's how sharks get into lakes. 

John: [laughs] Don't - man, my kids are so afraid of river sharks. They're obsessed -

Hank: Yeah? Who told them about river sharks? 

John: Well, they are obsessed with this idea that there are river sharks and that there are sharks in the White River in Indianapolis. And I'm like, "well, guys, there are no river sharks." And then immediately Henry's like, "Dad, I think we both know that's an oversimplification." 

Hank: [laughs loudly]

John: "So don't try to condescend to me, mister, because I have looked at the information and there are sometimes sharks in some areas of river - ocean interaction that are considered river." 

Hank: I mean, well, also no one's ever seen a river shark, which just makes it very clear that these river sharks are made of glass. 

John: Right, that makes them scarier! 

Hank: Glass river sharks. It's much scarier. 

John: Oh man. 

Hank: That's a shout out to MBMBAM for all of you big My Brother My Brother and Me fans. 

John: It's - yeah, it's good.

Hank: Once the idea is planted in your brain that there may be a shark, there's a shark. 

John: Well, and there are sharks in some rivers. It's just that -

Hank: It's true.

John: - the White River in Indianapolis is not one of those rivers -

Hank: Right.

John: But then immediately - it's almost like trying to convince your brain of something when your brain is really, really convinced that it wants to worry about it, because immediately they'll both be like, "well if there are sharks in some rivers, how do we know there aren't sharks in the White River?" And I'm like, "guys, it doesn't matter. We don't even get in the water! It's filthy! Like, you want to know the real risk of getting in the White River, it's the microorganisms that will definitely, definitely make you severely ill."

Hank: Well I do want to say, John, that there are some species of shark that live entirely in fresh water.

John: Yes. 

Hank: Or in both fresh and brackish water -

John: Yes.

Hank: There are not very many of them, and they are only in places that are not North America, but they do exist, river sharks.

John: Yes. 

Hank: And then the other thing I want to say is that most lakes are connected to each other by rivers and streams and stuff. 

John: Is that true? 

Hank: Yeah. Yeah! Yep. Almost every lake eventually ends up in the ocean. The exceptions are the ones that are salty. Like the Great Salt Lake does not drain to an ocean, which is why it is salty, because the salt can't get out to the ocean. It builds up at the Great Salt Lake. 

John: Weird.

Hank: So the Dead Sea also - you know, any salt lake is a lake that doesn't drain to the ocean, but almost every lake eventually ends up in the ocean. But sometimes there are barriers, like it filters through - like, it might go underground, and a fish could not make that route, or the streams might be too small for certain species of fish to go up, and there are a number of ways that fish move around. Sometimes they are accidentally introduced by people. Both releasing pets, or they get in the bilge compartments of boats that move from place to place, and they will move around that way. But yeah. There's a bunch of different ways, but it does happen, and over- they basically, there's a long period of time during which this can have happened, and so it ends up happening, because, you know, geology is on a very long timescale and once a fish gets introduced some place, especially if there's more than one, then they're just there forever. 

John: Mm. Mm! Well. Now we know. 

Hank: Now we know.

John: Are they there forever, or do they eventually die? 

Hank: They eventually die, John.

John: Okay, I'm sorry, I was just reading about river sharks. 

Hank: [laughs] Well, good. The good news is, John, that some day there will be no river sharks left to even remember that river sharts existed. 

John: That's such a good point, Hank. 

Hank: Did I just say river sharts? 

John: It's such a good point. The oceans will boil, and all record of us will be forgotten. 

Hank: Yep. And all the river sharks will never ever eat a single four year old ever again. 

 Question 8 (33:02)

John: Okay, alright, Hank, let's move on to another question. This one comes from Katie, who writes, "Dear John and Hank, every once in a while I upload a new profile picture to Facebook, and every time I do, people comment on my picture things like heart emojis and "lookin' great!" or stuff like that, and I never know what to say. Am I supposed to say, "thank you"? If so, what is the proper way to thank a person who left you three heart emojis? Am I allowed to respond with a heart emoji back, or must I have a message in plain English? Please help. I have no idea what the etiquette is, and I just posted a profile picture yesterday. Perpetually confused, Katie." 

Hank: Katie, I have recently come across the best possible solution to this problem, which is that you're going to need to call your mom or dad or loved one, and have them go on and respond to these comments -

John: What?

Hank: "Thank you." So you have your mom go on and say, when someone says, "lookin' great!", your mom then goes on and says, "thank you," because your mom is what made you, one, two, you will also be reminding these people that your mom is watching, and so to behave correctly -

John: Oh, that's a good point. 

Hank: - and three, that you will not have to do anything because your mom will be basking in the glory of people thinking highly of her progeny. And that will become the more important story. 

John: Okay, I mean, that's not a bad idea, but I have a better idea, which is something that I've done in my own life, Katie, and I highly recommend to you, but first you have to become old. So that's the first key. But the good thing about - one of the great things about being old is that you are not expected to use emojis, so whenever somebody sends me an emoji and I really feel compelled to reply, I reply with a little less than key and then the number 3, which is how we communicated heart emojis pre emoji. And that's just my way of reminding people like, A, I'm old, and B, this is my preferred method of communication. I don't like this visual language, this pictographic language. I still like it to be as text based as possible. So that's what I would do. I would reply with a less than 3. 

Hank: Mmhmm. I do less than 3s a lot myself. I probably would not reply with a less than 3 'cause I don't want to give off too much of, like, I don't want to think people are flirting with, like I'm flirting with them about my cute new profile pic. I want people to be aware that I'm a married man and that this is not about escalating any friendship that we have to a new level, and so I reply instead with just a picture of a can of Diet Dr Pepper. 

John: [laughs] It's a bold choice. It's a bold choice. I was recently texting with a friend of mine - you know how now predictive texting when you type a word, it will show you the emoji for that word? 

Hank: Yeah, yeah yeah. Like, hey, you want to say "bread" instead? You want to show a picture of bread? That would be way better, right?

John: Why write "bread" when we've got bread right here? Anyway, I don't like it at all, but I'm regularly stunned by what is available -

Hank: Uh-huh.

John: - in terms of emojis, and the other day I was texting with my friend Shannon, and she said, "do you want to go curling at this bar downtown?"

Hank: Curling!

John: And I replied, "I think I'm going to pass on curling, holy crap, there's a curling emoji." Which there is. 

Hank: [laughing] That was like part of the text that you sent? 

John: Yeah, that's the - I was just reading you the actual text. 

Hank: Oh, okay. [laughs] That's - yeah. 

 Sponsors (36:41)

John: There's a curling emoji. So there you go. I mean, just when you think that winter sucks, out comes the curling emoji to cheer you right up. Which reminds me that today's podcast is brought to you by the Emoji movie. The Emoji movie -

Hank: [shuddering] Oh, god no. 

John: - I have seen it. 

Hank: [laughs] This podcast is also brought to you by The Writers' Guild of America. The Writers' Guild of America! It's doing something, but also making it so that John can't send me his movie screeners. 

John: I just want to say for the record that the Writers' Guild of America is doing a great job, genuinely, of making sure that its members have lots of things that we would not have if it were not for collective bargaining. Okay, moving on past the political though, today's podcast is also brought to you by airplane earbuds. Airplane earbuds! It's a great life hack. 

Hank: And of course this podcast is brought to you by the bath bombardment compartment! 

John: Oh my god. 

Hank: Is that better? Was that a good one?

John: I mean, it's an improvement, but -

Hank: Available for you to create and sell to Lush cosmetics to open up the world of bath bombs to the rest of us. 

John: Yeah, I'm still not convinced, Hank, but I appreciate your excitement. We also have a real sponsor today. It's our friends at Audible. 

Hank: John, right now I am listening to a Michael Connelly book on Audible. I actually found a three pack -

John: Oh, wow.

Hank: So with just one credit I got three Michael Connelly books, which include two of them that I actually really wanted to read, or listen to, and I've been enjoying it greatly, maybe a little bit too much. They're pretty suspenseful and I end up getting sucked in and maybe laying in bed a little longer than I should before I fall asleep. So that is not the greatest endorsement but I guess it is good content anyway. 

John: I've been listening to The Dawn Watch, this amazing biography of Joseph Conrad -

Hank: Ah!

John: - on Audible, and it's really, really good. I highly recommend it. You can also, just for the record, get my books on Audible. My new book Turtles All the Way Down is narrated by the brilliant Kate Rudd, as is my book The Fault in Our Stars. Today, by the way, Hank, is the six year anniversary of the publication of my book The Fault in Our Stars, so yeah! You can get lots and lots of different books on Audible. It's a really great service. And you can also get your first month free with a free audi0book. You get a 30 day trial and one free audiobook if you go to or 

Hank: And you can also, if you want to, get that deal by texting dearhank or dearjohn to 500500. So that'll -

John: What? 

Hank: Yeah! You can send a text message and that will get you going with Audible. 

John: Wow!

Hank: I had not heard about that thing yet, but yeah. There it is.

John: That is really cool! That is great!

Hank: Yeah.

John: So yeah, you can text 500500 dearhank or dearjohn and get that same deal. Audible really is, in my opinion, an amazing value. I haven't found in my life that audiobooks have replaced print books -

Hank: Oh no, yeah.

John: - but they have been a great addition to print books in my life. 

Hank: Mmhmm. 

John: And yeah. It's great! Also there's really great Audible - only podcasts. So check it out, or to a much lesser extent, 

Hank: Or text dearhank to 500500 or to a much lesser extent dearjohn. And I just want to thank Audible for being a great supporter of podcasts as well. 

John: Yeah! 

Hank: So thanks for supporting a lot of the podcasts that I like and also for supporting this podcast. 

 Question 9 (40:06)

John: Alright Hank, this question comes from Sarah, who writes, "Dear John and Hank, how do I stay aware of what's happening in the YouTube community without contributing views and publicity to the terrible things that happen and that I don't want to support? I usually have either already clicked or I hear about it from someone and to understand it I go and watch, and that feels like casting a vote in favor before I even know what I'm voting on."

Hank: Mm. 

John: "Help! Trying not to increase world-suck. Sarah." 

Hank: That is a tension that we have both in the YouTube community and also just sort of the larger world, like sometimes I feel like, well, I have to stay informed of terrible things, and so am I required to kind of hate-watch stuff? Am I required to be subscribed to people who have views that I dislike and who are actively, intentionally having a negative impact on the world just so I can keep up and help when things go extra wrong. And I actually traced how the Logan Paul - like, Logan Paul's video was on YouTube for a full 24 hours before anybody started saying negative things about it. And I found the person who I heard it from and I was like, "who did you hear this from?", and traced it all the way back to somebody who, yes, watches Logan Paul because they hate him and recognizes that that is an unproductive and bad thing to do with their time. And -

John: Wow. 

Hank: But like, then texted the video to a friend and was like, "well this is really - " and then that person texted it to another person who then put sort of a note on Twitter, and then somebody asked that person about that and that person had, you know, 4 million followers. So that's how it got out. 

John: Wow.

Hank: And it's sort of amazing that because there are so many different silos to content experience on the internet that something like that can be out there for a long time and have 6 million views on it before anybody who is going to be even vaguely critical starts to see, it -

John: Right.

Hank: Which is shocking. 

John: Yeah, I mean, that's an interesting observation, and I don't really know what to do about this problem. It's one of many problems of the social internet that I don't really know what to do about right now, and I feel - even though I know I have, like,  tremendous power and  a huge platform, I still feel very powerless in the face of it. 

Hank: Mmhmm.

John: I don't - I think some of these problems go all the way back, right? Like, there were channels devoted to YouTube drama when Hank and I first started making videos in January of 2007. You know, it's had its own sort of ecosystem that whole time. I don't think that - and I don't know, I mean, a lot of times the things that people are outraged about - in fact usually the things that people are outraged about are truly infuriating and they are outrageous and they are reprehensible. But then there is always some new equally reprehensible outrage of tomorrow and I don't know what my level of requirement is when it comes to knowing about those outrages, because I also know there are lots of outrages that I don't pay attention to. Admittedly the world of YouTube is close to me and it matters a lot to me and it feels like my world in a way that other worlds don't. But I also know that I ought to be paying better attention to outrages that are happening on a global scale -

Hank: Mmhmm.

John: - and where attention to those outrages really does move the needle and really does require people, you know, really can, I think, lead people to action. I think we see that when a famine is declared, for instance. Like, the moment a famine is declared, the world starts paying attention in a way that it doesn't when famine is merely a risk or when the UN is saying famine could be coming to Somalia. The world treats that very differently than the moment when it's announced, "well, famine has come." And I think, agh, I don't know what my - I don't know how much I need to swim in the river on a daily basis, like the huge river of information that we're all swimming in. I don't know how much of it I need to swim in in a daily basis in order to be like, a good citizen of the internet, and I wish I had a good answer for the question.

Hank: Yeah, I mean, in general I feel like maybe we err on the side of too much in general, or I do. And what sort of ends up happening is, because there's always the fresh outrage, it makes it very difficult for things that are persistent problems that need to be handled but aren't having a big newsworthy thing -

John: Right.

Hank: - that's part of them, it makes it difficult for those things to break into my consciousness and awareness -

John: Right.

Hank: - when I'm so caught up in whatever the fresh outrage is. 

John: And actually, YouTube is a pretty good example of that, because we all know that these problems existed before that particular Logan Paul video was uploaded. That one was particularly -

Hank: Yeah.

John: - particularly outrageous and particularly horrifying, but we all know that that wasn't the beginning of the problems on the social internet or the beginnings of the problems within certain YouTube communities. 

Hank: Yeah. And also I think that problems like a lot of Puerto Rico still not having power back -

John: Right.

Hank: Like, we knew that that was going to be a thing and it is playing out and it is happening and it can't break back into the news cycle because it didn't just happen -

John: Right.

Hank: - and because it's an incremental problem where it's like, we need to get power back for the next neighborhood and the next neighborhood, and there are certain problems that it feels like the internet is bad at, not at just addressing but even at the base level making people aware of, and I think the only way to sort of push back against that as a consumer of content is to say maybe the fresh outrage isn't as important as something else that's going on. Maybe I need to be stepping back a little bit and not completely desensitizing myself to, you know, sort of injustice. Yeah.

John: Right. To systemic long term injustice. This is something that Hank and I talk a lot about in private, especially trying to think about where we want the emphasis of our personal philanthropy to be. People are really good at responding to emergencies, and thank God they are, because we have to respond to a lot of emergencies. 

Hank: Mmhmm.

John: And I think people - I think the internet is actually quite good at responding to emergencies. I think where people struggle, and the internet maybe exaggerates this problem is we really struggle with long term solutions to long term problems. We really struggle with the idea that some interventions are going to take decades, not hours, and there are some problems that can be solved, that will be solved if we focus our attention on them for a long time that can't be solved quickly. I think sometimes we have successes on that front. I mean, we are about to experience the end of polio, which is only the second time that a disease has been eradicated from human beings by force of science and by force of people coming together and working incredibly hard to make that happen. And that required a really - or still requires - a really long term vision for making that happen. But I - yeah, we struggle with this as a species, I think, and we see it with climate change, and we also see it with things like making long term investments in healthcare systems in the developing world. 

 Responses (47:58)

Hank: John, before we get to the news from Mars and AFC Wimbledon, I have one response that's not a question from Kate, who says, "Hi, I'm Kate, and I am one of Nicole's emergency replacement pen pals, and I just want to say it's been amazing to have her as a pen pal, and would like to thank you guys for connecting us as well as Nicole for being a great pen pal." Thanks you guys! That's very nice.

John: That's great!

Hank: I'm glad that worked out.

John: Also, I want to say one other thing, Hank. 

Hank: Yeah. 

John: Rosianna emphasized this last week. I think it's amazing. This one comes from Hadley, who writes, "I was listening to the episode 'Every Plum has its Thorn,' and you guys read a comment about a girl named Sierra who lives in a dorm where a snake was on the loose. I also live in that dorm. I live on the fourth floor of Centennial Hall, and I've actually met the snake before he was lost. His name is Archie and he is a ball python about two feet long, and he's very nice." Then, also, also, we got a letter from Gwynn, and they wrote, "So I'm listening to your 121st episode literally right now and realized when you were talking about the snake loose in Sierra's dorm, that you guys were talking about my dorm!" [both laugh]. "I told my girlfriend about this because it was so surreal and she said she'd read about it on our university's subreddit. Yes, our university has a subreddit. Thankfully the snake was found, though hungry and lethargic and has recovered." Thank you for that update, Gwynn. And thanks to everybody in Centennial Hall and beyond enjoying Dear Hank and John. 

Hank: I just really hope that we can just become the official podcast of Centennial Hall. Maybe we will only -

John: By the way, Centennial Hall, if you're looking to sponsor us, you can contact us. 

Hank: Right, no -

John: We'd be happy to have you.

Hank: What if we do a Centennial Hall exclusive episode of Dear Hank and John where it's only questions from Centennial Hall? I'm into it.

John: I love that idea. 

Hank: I'm into it. 

John: It's brilliant. 

 News from Mars and AFC Wimbledon (49:44)

Hank: John! What is the news from AFC Wimbledon? 

John: Well, Hank, AFC Wimbledon played their big money FA Cup third round game against Tottenham Hotspur there at Wembley. You'll remember that AFC Wimbledon, completely undefeated at Wembley. Never lost a game at Wembley. Until January the 7th, 2018. It was an incredible first 62 minutes. AFC Wimbledon held Tottenham scoreless for 62 minutes -

Hank: Wow! Wow! 

John: - enduring something like 87 percent possession for Tottenham. And astonishingly, AFC Wimbledon hit the bar. 

Hank: Woah!

John: They hit the post in a shot in the first half, and if that had gone in, who knows what would have happened? Tottenham, to be fair, also hit the post a few times, and then in the 63rd minute, Harry Kane, one of the best strikers in the world, scored a goal. He then scored another goal in the 65th minute, and Wimbledon ended up losing 3 - nil. But the guys at 9 Years podcast, the podcast about AFC Wimbledon summarized it - their three word summary of the match was "heads held high." And I think that was a good summary indeed. This Saturday, January 13th, which will be in the past as this is uploaded, AFC Wimbledon will be playing a game that is of significant import to their League One season, and also of significant import generally, because the will be playing the franchise currently plying its trade in Milton Keynes, which for those of you familiar with AFC Wimbledon's history is - you know, it's a big game. The franchise currently plying its trade in Milton Keynes is 19th in League One and Wimbledon are 21st. If Wimbledon were to win that game, Wimbledon would be out of the relegation zone and also possibly Milton Keynes would be in the relegation zone. Of course, the dream scenario, Hank, and obviously you can't - football isn't made out of dreams. But the dream scenario is that Wimbledon stays in League One but Milton Keynes does not so that that is a fixture that will hopefully never happen again, because it is one that never should happen, and yeah! We'll see how that goes down. 

Hank: Well, John, that is exciting, and I'm glad that you guys made a bunch of money, because that's what really matters. 

John: Well it will hopefully help us pick up at least one player in January, which will be especially useful since one of our strikers just had surgery on his hamstring. 

Hank: Aiee, well. 

John: Aiee. Just not fun. 

Hank: Pay for that surgery. Except they don't have to because it's free, 'cause it's England. In Mars news, John, you probably -

John: Yep.

Hank: You may have heard that around the turn of the year, a few days ago, the Curiosity rover spotted some weird structures on the surface of some sedimentary rocks that looked for all the world like what might happen if a worm or something crawled through some dirt or sand and left a tube behind and then that tube got filled up with a harder sediment over time. That would have been some kind of fossilized worm tube, basically. We see things like this on Earth, that you find these sort of holes left by invertebrates getting fossilized. And people were like, "wha - okay, stop everything." And so they did. They stopped everything and they got a much closer up picture of these weird fossilized worm tube looking things. And the news is in, John. They're not fossilized worm tubes. Probably. 

John: Awww, that's disappointing. I was hoping for huge Mars worms! 

Hank: They would be - they would've been very small Mars worms. But it took about 30 minutes for all the reputable places to be like, "wait now." So the sitch is that they look like they are some kind of pretty interesting crystalline structures that are again almost definitely, it did sort of happen this way, where the crystals grew, the sedimentary rock then formed around the crystals, then the crystals dissolved, and then more sedimentary rock came in. And so this is a process that would have required there to be multiple cycles of water, probably hot water, coming in and out -

John: Mmm.

Hank: - of this system. Which is, you know, pretty standard now, amazingly, for the lake bed where the Curiosity rover is hanging out, that we know that there was a lot of water in a lot of different ways at a lot of different times. But yeah. So, close up they look to be much more angular than they did when there was a more distant shot, and so they're thinking probably crystal molds - and molds not being microorganism molds but molds M-O-L-D-S. I don't know how you spell - wait, how do you spell mold - it's the same both ways. It's - the English language is confusing. You know what I mean.

John: I think it might be different in England. 

Hank: Right! Maybe that's what I'm thinking. But, like, it's worth noting that this was so interesting that they actually backed the rover up to go take the closer picture. So they had this picture and they were like, "what is that?" and they actually reversed Curiosity to go back and take that closer up picture. So that's really cool!

John: That is cool, but it turned out it was not a complex life form.

Hank: Turned out it's not a complex life form, but it was cool geochemistry happening. I don't want to -

John: Right. Right. No, that's - I mean, yeah! I'm excited about geochemistry. I'd be more excited if we had some Mars worms. 

Hank: Yeah. That would be cool. 

John: But I know we've got to be patient and etcetera. 

Hank: Yeah. I mean, Curiosity's mission is not to find Mars worms. It's to study the geology of Mars, which it is doing in wonderful, successful ways. 

John: Alright. I'll accept that. But we need to find those Mars worms soon. Because we need - well, I don't actually know if we need to find Mars worms. We need a lot of people on Mars setting up an alternate social order soon, hard stop. 

Hank: Alright, well, but not too soon because you want the podcast name to change, right? 

John: Yeah, I mean, at this point I might even be willing to sacrifice that? I don't know -

Hank: Wow! 

John: It's a pretty big deal to me though -

Hank: Wow, look at you!

John: - to have this podcast named Dear John and Hank in the future. 

 Outro and Credits (56:11)

John: Hank, what did we learn today? 

Hank: Oh, god, we learned that we are all bathed in a soup of gasses that transmits sound waves to you, and that is probably also true for all the space aliens. 

John: We learned that Ladybird is John's favorite movie of the year so far. I haven't seen all of them yet. 

Hank: We learned that earbuds are your best friend when you're in public and do not want to be bothered. 

John: We learned that you're alone in the universe. 

Hank: [laughs] I mean, I'm not alone in the universe! There's so many different humans I can hang out with. And also dogs.

[long pause] 

John: That's it? Why are you stopping there? Why not river sharks? 

Hank: [laughing] I don't want to hang out with river sharks? I mean, I don't know, do I? Are they nice? I'm not sure! I don't know. Maybe I want to hang out with a river shark. 

[outro music plays] 

John: I'm sure Henry could tell you. I think he knows everything about them. 

Hank: Alright John. Thank you for having a podcast with me, and thank you to everyone for listening. We're about to go record our patron only podcast This Week in Ryans. If you want to support us at, that would be much appreciated. We do cool stuff with that money, like make SciShow and Crash Course. And also we will probably put up - we tend to put up also like, sort of show notes kind of things, like if we have any pictures we want to share with you, we put those up, and those are not only for patrons so you can also use the Patreon even if you aren't a patron. So, thank you. Thank you to Audible for your sponsorship and for also making it easy for me to enjoy lots of different audiobooks. This podcast is produced by Rosianna Halse Rojas and Sheridan Gibson. It's edited by Nicholas Jenkins. Our head of community and communications is Victoria Bongiorno. The theme music that you hear at the beginning and right now is by the great Gunnarolla. He also does the intro music for This Week in Ryans. And as they say in our hometown -

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

[outro music ends]