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What should I do with all these plastic forks? At what age do you grow out of regret? Do ants sleep? And more! Email us:

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Hank: Hello and welcome to Dear Hank and John.

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

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

John: I mean, wonderful. Do you know what I did over the weekend, Hank?

Hank: No.

John: I built a treehouse.

Hank: I did hear that you were building a tree house because at one point I called you on the phone and
you said, "I am building a treehouse right now".

John: Yeah. I built a treehouse with my bud- actually my buddy Alex built the treehouse, but I did a lot of sawing and a fair amount of drilling and even a little bit of measuring. 

Hank: Oh, wow. My assumption is that you may have moved a lot of wood around. 

John: I moved a lot of wood around, and then I drilled a lot of wood into place. But it was amazing because I have a tremendous fear of heights, but I was reminded of that first line I first heard from Raj Panjabi of Last Mile Health, that no condition is permanent, and even though I have a tremendous fear of heights, it turns out that I am slightly more scared of social embarrasment. And so working with my fear of social embarrasment, I was able-

Hank: Oh, man.

John: To, to do it; to stand on top of that treehouse- even when it didn't have decking.

Hank: I-I was once in a situation in the Grand Canyon where a, uh, our tour guild was like, you should go out here and walk along this, this like six inch wide path that on one side has this cliff face and on the other side has nothing. Uh, and at the end of it you will find a lovely view and you can go and sit and contemplate your thoughts and um I was I mean here's the situation: I knew there was like not a great chance that I would die, but like a much higher than usual chance-

John: Right.

Hank: And so I'm all walking out on this thing and I'm like, 'you know what this is making me feel

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is that like there is in no way a situation in which I should be doing this-

John: Right.

Hank: But I'm not doing it because I'm enjoying it, I'm only doing it because this man who I do not know asked me to and I did not want to embarrass myself in front of a stranger, and so I am walking along- and then I sat down and I did the thing that he said and I sat there and just the whole time I was just like, 'I have to go back on that path again'. And that's all I thought about. 

John: They were like 'and now you will feel at one with the universe' and you were like, 'I only feel fear'.

Hank: I fe- I feel- I feel that that path is the only thing in my life; I have forgotten about everything else.

John: My friend, Chris, is incredibly good about not giving in to social pressure, so recently we were on a camping trip and we were all like- it was the middle of the night- and we were all like 'we're gonna hike down to that lake, Chris, it's gonna be so much fun. It's so dark and we're gonna hike all the way down to the lake and then we're gonna hike up' and Chris was like, 'no'. And I was like, 'but we gotta go man, it's gonna be amazing and it's gonna be so beautiful,' and he was like, 'no abosolutely not I'm gonna stay here by the fire.'

Hank: Yeah, where it's nice. Well the thing is, John, the problem is that I have had many experiences in which I was like, 'I am not going to do that because who I am and the fact that like I know me,' and then finally somebody convinces me and I'm like, ' you were right this was great', and so I like maybe this guy's right, maybe I'm gonna walk down this path and at the end I'll be like, ah, this is beautiful and I'm all alone in the universe and what is what is me. Anyway and uh, discard all of the useless things in my life and only have the things that are great. It turned out that that was not what happened.

John: Yeah, no. We all want to glimpse the interconnectedness of all things, but not at the expense of standing on the edge of a cliff.

Hank: Nope, nope-

John: Alright, Hank-

Hank: I made it back though, John. I'm alive to tell the tale.

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John: Yeah, this time. Can I uh, can we move on to questions from our listeners?

Hank: You don't have a- come, on. You have one job, John. 

John: I actually have several jobs, and I have news from AFC Wimbledon and I've gone through the questions, I just don't have a poem. 

Hank: It's true. You have one more job than I have. 

John: Also, I wrote an episode of The Anthropocene Reviewed over the last four days and I built a treehouse, so here is a question from Maya

 Question 1


who writes:

'Dear John and Hank, 
Everyday at school during lunch I go to the cafeteria to get a plastic fork as an excuse to see my crush. My family likes to wash and save plastic forks, so adding one to the collection everyday means that we have a lot of plastic forks at home.

John: I have a lot of questions about your question, Maya.

Maya: 'What should we do with these plastic forks?'

John: This does not seem to me to be the central question about your question. 

Hank: No.

Maya: 'Should I host a party celebrating Hank's book, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, availale for pre-order now and coming out September 25th, where people might use forks? Alternatively, what should I do as an excuse to see my crush, instead of getting a plastic fork everyday?

John: You finally got there, Maya. That is the question. Hank if you don't mind, could you do the sign off? You're more of a singer.

Hank: Says Maya-he, Maya-who, Maya-ha, Maya-ha-ha.

John: That's pretty good. That's a pretty-if you liked 2007 YouTube, you will love that name specific sign off.

Hank: Alright, so. I have, I mean, there is really only one thing to do with these forks, John, but before we get to that, do we wanna talk about the situation in which there is a fork vendor?

John: No, I think there is a cafeteria where there is plastic forks, plastic spoons, plastic knives. My question is why does Maya get a platic fork everyday when Maya could be getting a plastic spoon or a plastic knife so that once every three days, Maya has a full set of silverware. Because what you really want to do, Maya, is get like eight or twelve full sets of silverware that you will

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eventually use as your family cutlery when you marry your crush, and it will be such a cute story. 

Hank: It'll be- that, that's very cute, you'll have to get them like silverplated so they'll be more durable.

John: Of course, Hank, that goes without saying. You spend thousands of dollars to silverplate your plastic. I was going to say silverware, but, of course, it isn't silverware until after you cover your plastic forks in silver. 

Hank: Um, so I, okay. Here's what you do with the forks, Maya, obviously. You gotta take each individual fork and paint it in a beautiful way as if each one is a flower and then you wrap them in a ribbon and then you present them as if they are a bouquet of flowers to your crush and you say, 'I have not needed any one of these forks. I just wanted to have you in my life--

John: Awwww

Hank: 'and now, I'm giving you the forks back.

John: Aw that's so sweet

Hank: 'Do you wanna- do you wanna hang out sometime?'

John: Aw, it's so sweet, but then there's a pretty good chance that the crush is going to be like, 'yeaahh. No.'

Hank: Yeah, that's life, man. That's how it works. That's- that's what having a crush is all about is that- that part when they say no.

John: Maya, you gotta take the risk here. You gotta do it. You gotta paint each of those forks individually, turn them into a fork bouquet, hand the fork bouquet to your crush and say exactly what Hank just said. It's adorable and I like it and if it doesn't work, you have a great story in the future so that when you next fall in love, you can tell your next partner, 'you won't believe how great I was to the last person.'

Hank: Just in general, I think there's a lot to be said for doing, uh, dumb things that may be uncomfortable in the moment, but will at least lead to a story that you can tell in the future.

John: Yeah, although, I would put, I would put a slight asterisk after that comment. One of the things I really loved 

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about the movie Love, Simon- I don't know if you've seen it yet, Hank, it's a really, I thought it was really good. One of the things I loved about Love, Simon is there's one of these moments where, you know, the person does something big to try to confront their crush or whatever but instead it's just so cringy and uncomfortable, so it can definitely go all all wrong and you've gotta be concious of that. Like, you don't always want to be John Cusack holding up the boom box especially if uh you know how the person feels about you and you're doing this to try to like, win their affection. But it doesn't sound like Maya knows that, it seems like Maya is in that that true inbetween space where the cat could either be alive or dead uh but the box has not yet been opened.

Hank: It doesn't necessarily seem like Maya knows that much about fork person um

John: That is a good name for them

Hank: The only information we've gotten about Fork Person is is that they have some authority over forks.

John: Oh, I didn't even think that they had authority over forks. I thought that like Maya had a different lunch period or something or- that's a great question, Hank. Wh-what is going on?

Hank: *laughing maniacally about his ability to arrive to this pivitol moment first* That was my first question and you though that it wasn't interesting.

John: I take it back. What is hap- why? Why?

Hank: *Continues his maniacal laugh* It appears that Maya has very intentionally not given us this information.

John: Well, but Maya does say, 'what should I do as an excuse to see my crush instead of getting a plastic fork everyday?' Like here's here's an idea: you could eat at the cafeteria.

Hank: *Laughs some more* Why is it a fork?

John: That's a great question. I mean that's going to be one of the questions for that we don't know the answer to and that just uh kind of we have to we have to live inside the mystery of, you know, like

Hank: Oh, absolutely yeah, I mean you could like, you could eventually develop a neural network thats like a thousand times more powerful than the human brain and all it's going to give you is probabilities

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of of what thing may have happened and it's gonna be split between a thousand different maybes.

John: So, your point, Hank, is that we should take the most powerful neural networks in the world and have them stop playing, go and trying to figure out autonomous driving *between gritted teeth*,which they don't seem to be doing a good job of, and orient them entirely towards figuring out why Maya thinks it is necessary to get a fork from the Cafeteria in order to see her crush every day.

Hank: I mean... at the moment it feels like we might be using those algorithims for less good things.

John: I don't totally disagree with you. Let's move on to the next question though.

Hank: This question comes from Holland who asks,

 Question 2


"Dear Hank and John, my car has naturally bright headlights which has its perks except that people often mistake my low lights for high lights"

I know your car and I do not like it.

John: Nope.

Hank: I'll just- I'm gonna come right out and say that.

"My main problem is how they respond. They'll wait 'til just before they've driven past me and then blast their own headlights the highest setting"

There's only one setting- there's only one other setting- it's the highest one. Yes. They'll flash flash you with their brights.

"What do I do? They don't exactly give me enough time to explain that my headlights are in fact on low. Should I just ignore it? I'm afraid that someday it may catch me off guard so that I accidentally serve or hurt somebody or myself. Any advice would suffice. I'm at a loss. Holland."

John: Here's the thing, Holland. You're gonna need to get a different car.

Hank: I mean, can you go into the shop and be like, 'my lights are too bright?' Uh, I think that naturally bright headlights is a little like saying I naturally sneeze like this *an obnoxious sneeze that sounds more like a lady screaming* aCHOO!

John: *Laughing*

Hank: Which I don't

John: Right, there's just no way for me to deal with the fact that my headlights are so much brighter than everyone elses.

There has to be a way to deal with it. It's such a nightmare to be faced with extremely bright lights when you are on a country road at night in a on a in a two lane road situation. It is

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blinding, so I'm completely sympathetic to the people who are flashing their brights at you because what they are trying to communicate is 'ow I'm scared'.

Hank: Yeah, I can't like turn your brights off. Please turn your brights- I mean you should not wait until you've just gotten upon them to do it. I don't know, like I tend to do that from a fair distance, but uh maybe they, I don't know. I don't know, but it seems like maybe go see uh maybe go see your dealer and be like, 'I think my headlights are too bright. Have you ever gotten this complaint before? Because it seems like I'm getting this complaint reguarly as I drive a lot on not great roads.' Which was also included in Holland's question and I just skipped it.

John: Alriight. This next question comes from James who writes

 Question 3


Dear John and Hank, It seems like a really crazy time in American politics these days, but it also seems like corruption and scandals and fear and questionable hair styles have been around for as long as people have been forming societies.

Hank: *Bursts out laughing*

John: That's a really great observation, James, and I would argue maybe even before that.

"So, why does it feel like it's especially significant now? I mean, we're not at war with our neighbors, so I feel kind of like this time pales in comparison to the Civil War, though I suppose that is a pretty high bar to get over."

Hank: Yeah. Is it the case that there was a long period of like forty years where things were pretty chill?

John: No.

Hank: Am I making that up?

John: Yes.

Hank: No, from like Watergate to to the end of Obama?

John: Ee- no. I mean

Hank: It was not pretty chill?

John: NO. Don't you remember being a kid and having to hide under your desk during drills for how you would respond to a nuclear holocaust?

Hank: That was a big deal, and then-

John: YES. That was a big deal. That was very stressful. The Cold War was weird and super intense right up until 1990 it was pretty, I mean I don't- look. Were things this weird? No. Things are very weird right now and I think there is a legitamate cause for concern. I genuinely think that. And I don't just mean in

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