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Get your pizzamas floor rug (?!?!?!) and so much else only during pizzamas:

In which John celebrates bit commitment, and explores how the quality of the bit can sometimes matter less than the quality of the commitment to that bit.

Jonathan Mann's Song-a-Day has now past 5,000 days.

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Good morning Hank, it's Thursday. Unfortunately, I have to deliver some bad news to an old friend today. Good morning, bust of Edgar Allan Poe, you look great.

I mean, fourteen years after I won you for my novel Paper Towns, I think you look better than ever. There's just one problem, bust of Edgar Allan Poe: you are now my second-favorite mustachioed bust. That's right Edgar, there's a new bust in town and boy is he phenomenal!

Anyway Hank, as your pointed out in your video yesterday, simple solutions to complex problems are almost always inadequate. We all want to be like one flipped switch away from a better life, or a better world, but life doesn't work that way. Except... I think there is one thing in this broken world that is truly and unambiguously good and holy, a guiding light that never goes out. And that is committing to the bit.

Bit commitment, Hank, is so beautiful. And I know it can't solve all of our problems, but it can bring us joy. When I refer to bit commitment I'm thinking, for instance, of the YouTuber Jonathan Mann, who has written, recorded, and released a song every day for the last 5019 days. I just find it so lovely because the quality of bit commitment is astonishing.

I feel the same way, albeit on a much smaller scale, about our ridiculous decision to use every word from the lyrics of All Star as video titles. It was so stupid, literally the only good thing about that idea was that it required us to really commit to the bit, which in the end, I think made it kind of beautiful!

Here's another example: once when I was in college I was eating dinner at a diner with a friend in Mount Vernon, Ohio, and I was talking about how I'd always wanted to see Elvis' home of Graceland, and she was like, we should go! And I said, yeah, and she was like, no, we should go right now. And then we paid the bill and drove 11 hours directly to Graceland. Which, you know, was ok, it turns out Elvis and I have somewhat different taste in interior design.

But I remember the trip fondly, not because of Graceland, but because we committed to the bit. Like, if we'd gone back to the dorms and gotten our toothbrushes and changes of clothes, it would have totally ruined it, but because we went straight from the diner to Graceland, it's a treasured memory.

When I think of bit commitment I think of Dolly Smith, who for 70 years didn't miss a single match of her beloved Derby County Football Club. I think of Marina Abramović and her partner Ulay agreeing to meet in the middle of the Great Wall of China and then each walking over 2000 kilometers to reach each other. And I think of the Reddit user who in 2012 wrote, "Your mama's so lazy," and then returned in 2021 to write, "she took nine years to finish this joke."

Anyway, I mention all this for two reasons, Hank. First, to point how utterly, completely, profoundly committed to the bit you must be in order to purchase this Pizza John floor rug. I mean look at it, it's incredible, no one will ever question your level of bit commitment if this is on your floor! I don't know how other people are going to use their Pizza John floor rugs, but I'll tell you how I use mine: I keep putting it in different rooms of the house and then I wait for Sarah to come in and be like, "augh!"

Right but that's not the point of the video; the point of the video, Hank, is that secondly, I think you and I need to have a hard look in the mirror and ask ourselves: are we doing everything we can to commit to existing bits, and to discover new bits which we might commit to?

When I think of bit commitment I often think of a listener to Dear Hank and John who wrote a few years back to say that they were going to secretly learn how to play the fiddle and then surprise their family with a fiddle concert. Now, I don't know if they ever actually did this, but enough time has passed between when the question was asked and now that they could have, provided they adequately committed to the bit. And that's a reminder to me, Hank, that as the ancient proverb puts it, the best time to commit to a bit was twenty years ago. The second best time is today.

Hank, I'll see you tomorrow.