RL219 - It’s an Off Day

This week, Merlin and John talk about:

The problem: The ump wasn’t having it, referring to a baseball umpire who will not call strikes because he wants to see a real baseball game.

The show title refers to John’s daydream of being a Nascar driver and coming to a Nascar-track on an off-day.

Draft version
The segments below are drafts that will be incorporated into the rest of the Wiki as time permits.

Playing games on his phone (RL219)

Last night John went to bed early at 10pm with the covers up under his nose and he started to play his little gem game on his phone that he had for a long time. He was at an airplane one time flying a great distance and he looked over at some passenger sitting on the isle seat one or two rows up who was lining up gems, which seemed like a fun diversion. (see story in RW50, also mentioned in RW83) After that flight he acquired the gem game and has been lining up gems for some time now.

There are several other gameplay options when you log upon the game: You can play the Standard game, Octopus Party, Gem Delight or The Gnomes in the Mine. Since John is a traditionalist, he never chose Octopus Party, but a few days ago he tried Gnome Mine and it is very appealing. It is set to a timer instead of some other kind of achievement and now John has a renewed interest. He went to bed at 10pm playing Gnome Mine and at 1:30am his Fitbit, which he has programed to let him know to go to bed at 2am, said ”Time to get ready to go to bed”, but John was already in bed and the Fitbit is not his Nanny! When he finally had lined up enough gems it was 5:30am. From 10pm until 5:30am he lined up gems fruitlessly for no betterment of himself or mankind. That is 7,5 hours! He could have flown to Dubai in that time! John is embarrassed and also exhausted from lack of sleep and he has things to do today.

Merlin assumes that something was pleasing or satisfying about this game and everything seemed copacetic for a while. Merlin shares John’s shame and he does this kind of bullshit all the time. He has an awareness of when it begins and he is covered with shame when it ends, but he is sometimes very sketchy about what happens in between, apart from the fact that his phone is now at 3% and he is exhausted. Merlin can feel that he is getting better at Threes after two years, but his score is not getting any higher. He is on the plateau!

Here is John’s tragedy: He has introduced his daughter to Threes, which is one of the few video games she has ever seen and he is really fascinated by and really proud of her accomplishments. It is not clear yet whether she 100% understands the difference between scoring 2500 or 600 because she seems equally proud of both outcomes. A child’s strategies for playing Threes is very difficult for Merlin to watch. His daughter seems to think it is all about how quickly she can move. Merlin is not really sure and yet her scores are almost as good as his. She is probably not overthinking it. They continue to talk about Threes.

Not following the news (RL219)

Merlin doesn’t want to talk about the election (which is about 1 month after this episode is recorded). He is no Max Temkin, but he is a nervous wreck about this and has been reloading webpages to ill effect. Merlin was the guy who invented not caring about the news and who removed his tab with the news bookmarks, but now he is sitting there with the 538 and the polls-only (?) and how many paths to victory and he fucking hates himself.

Merlin did not read up about Hurricane Mathew. John learned from Merlin a long time ago that following the news is a fool’s errant and any news worth knowing can wait until the weekly digest. Merlin is very proud that John has learned this from him and he thinks of John like Milton Berle. ”I’ll take out just enough to beat you” (same reference in RL255, Podcasting) John was on the news cycle for many years, making the classic error of thinking that being up to the minute was his responsibility as a citizen, but now he has more of a Pony Express feeling about the news. It doesn’t need to get to you faster than if it came by a stage coach.

Watching Twitter while the debate is going on is a sport because it feels like you have to. Merlin made his poor daughter watch a 90 minute flaming shitshow about pussy-grabbing last night, because he found it important. John has gone on record saying that the last debate of any kind he watched was Lloyd Bentsen vs Dan Quayle (in 1988), which was during the sport debate years when you would sit with your friends and throw beer on each other as you jump up an go ”Woooowwww!”

It is almost like watching basketball with white people. John was there when Lloyd Bentsen said ”You are no Jack Kennedy!” and watching that in real time felt like he has seen the Berlin wall come down, because for the rest of his life he would be in situations where someone, usually John, would say ”You are no Jack Kennedy!” - ”Is this your first day!” (see previous episode) John should have said that to him, but no-one gets this reference anymore except for other olds.

Through this election cycle (of the 2016 US Presidential Election) John knows that nothing is going to turn on a dime and he doesn’t need to know the ins and outs and the ups and downs. It wouldn’t change anything even if he knew. John did not even watch or listen to the pussy-grabbing video incident, because he knew exactly what it sounded like.

The worst part of watching the news right now is the war in Syria. Nobody worldwide is doing anything because nobody knows what to do, except the Russians who feel like what they should do is kill people, because they have all these bombs and guns and they are not using them enough. If you are following the war in Syria it doesn’t take long until you are staring at pictures of dead babies and that is not stuff that you get out of your mind. The question is if John is bearing witness to this in a way that is useful to humanity. Is it his obligation to see a certain number of dead children every day or two in order to perform his duties as a world citizen or not?

It is psychically damaging! Of course it is much more damaging to live in Syria and have your children killed by a bomb, but what is he contributing? John is mostly off the news treadmill, but he leans in periodically like a black lab who leans his head out the window, sticks his tongue out, tastes the microscopic urine particulate of 400 raccoons with his sensitive tongue, and knows about the forest and the world at large. Then he pulls his dumb dog head back in the car and uses his tongue to feel the particulate of the air conditioning and he weighs those two universes. John is in the car for the most part and he is on his cellphone for 7 hours.

John's great-uncle Al smuggling Whiskey (RL219)

During prohibition, John’s great-uncle Al, Alfred Ruffner Rodchester (!!!! different uncle) took John’s dad to Canada as a little boy and filled his knickers with Whiskey bottles. With a knicker you got a tall sock and the knicker is a big baggy pant that starts underneath the knee. Uncle Al filled dad’s knickers with Whiskey bottles, wrapped in rags so they didn’t clink and he walked him back over the border. Dad told that story his whole life. He was a bootlegger even before he could play the harmonica.

John’s Nascar daydream (RL219)

John had a daydream yesterday about ”You give me a shitty Nascar car and if you can beat me in 3 laps, I’ll give you $10.000” It proceeds from The Natural daydream, which John has all the time: He walks out on the Baseball field and asks to have their best pitcher throw 10 baseballs at him and if he doesn’t knock every one of them out of the park, then he will walk out here with his tail between his legs, but if he does, they will make him designated hitter for the Mariners.

Maybe John needs to work on his sleep hygiene, as people keep telling him, but he reacts to the word ”hygiene” as some people react to the word ”moist”: He doesn’t want to hear it because it is something a Junior High gym trainer says to you in order to get you in the shower when you don’t want to.

In his daydream John was in central middle age and he will know if he will be in late middle age because he will start peeing like a chronic alcoholic or stand at an urinal in an airport for 40 minutes. Merlin is older now than Carol O’Connor was when he started All In The Family. It is the same distance between now and the first Beatles album and the distance between the first Beatles album and the birth of Ragtime. It is a difference now between the Burr Hamilton duel and since Synchronicity came out and this is the kid from Nevermind.

John doesn’t know anything about Nascar, but he was dreaming that he was standing at a Nascar track on an off-day. He made it through the fence of the race track because his carriage makes 60% of young people in security capacity figure that he belongs there, which is called privilege. There are surely some characters within Nascar that will give you a mouthful of fingers when you ask them for some ID. You know who I am? I’m Lee Unser Junior (actually Al Unser Jr.)! I’m Max Nascar and the sport is named after me! I’m the last bootlegger, I’m still running shine and I was running shine when you were still waxing your toe nails!

John talked to the manager of a very successful Nascar team, telling him that although he seems a little bit old, he is the world’s greatest race car driver, like the Roy Hobbs from the movie The Natural of driving Nascar cars. The manager replied that they get guys like John in here all the time, guys driving a Ford Taurus on a back-road of West Virginia who think they are a hot race car driver and they want to come in here and BS, so get out of here, kid!

John knew the manager would say that and he pulled out two stacks of $20.000 each. The manager was not in a boiler-suit with his name over the pocket, but he was not in a three-piece suit either. He came correct, maybe there was a little flash of a Steve McQueen Rolex. You would need to be making $6-13 million a year to turn down that kind of money, but he didn't know yet what it was for.

John offered a wager: He asked the manager to get his youngest, hottest maverick driver out here, and coincidentally a young maverick driver with a hateful sneer came along. He was a cocky, thin little guy full of piss and vinegar. John said that the driver can take his own car and John wanted to loan whatever other car they had lying around, whatever you got! If that kid can beat John in one lap, John will quit and give the manager and the driver $10.000 each, but if John will be in the lead, he will give the kid a second lap to catch him. If he beats John at the second lap, John will give the manager and the driver $20.000 each. If John is still ahead, he will give the kid a third lap to catch him, but if John is still ahead, neither of them get anything and the manager will let John drive for him in the next major Nascar race. He has nothing to lose, except maybe that John might wreck this $200.000 car, he will admire John’s moxy and he is probably going to fire the cocky kid!

If the kid is playing the game right, he will let John lead at the first lap, because John promised him more money at the second lap and the manager might even collude with him. As John came home, he realized that this dream took up one whole hour of his day. He got 7 hours invested in lining up gems and he got an hour becoming a great Nascar driver, but he really had to work out those rules.

Of course the manager took the bet. The team was a bit of an underdog team who had this cocky driver, but they just couldn't get it dialed in and so this guy was willing to take a risk. John was not going up to the Skoal Bandit car or even the one that was sponsored by Castroil, but it was going to be a lesser brand, sponsored by wet wipes. "You want to go to the show? You have been in this game a long time, too! You are Kevin Costner here and you are trying to get the meat to throw a heater. The kid is Tim Robins, John is the Costner of this story, there is a Susan Surandon with some heart-shaped sunglasses in the outfield, trying to score the game. How many left-turns did they make? A lot!"

This guy had some skin in the game because this might be his last year because if he doesn’t win a race he is going to lose the team and they are counting on him losing. They are looking for this thing to crash and burn and the only way to make their money back is if the wet wipes team goes tits up. They got the wet wipes sponsorship as a form of public shaming of this old down-trodden brown-shoe wearing cigar-chomping manager. Presumably this callow young driver was forced upon him somehow. There is a shadow over him and John is the Cinderella story who is going to come and redeem all of the past failures, his and John’s.

It ended up that John beat the kid in 3 laps, he pocketed the $40.000 again with a swagger and in some way those $40.000 are still in John’s pocket. When the carburetor would break during the race for this scrappy little wet-wipes team, John would pull the $40.000 out, throw it on the table and say ”Get a new carburetor!”, but John didn’t play the story out that far. He got as far as climbing out of the Nascar and the whiny kid was going ”Well, it is not fair, because he *blank*” and he threw his helmet on the ground.

Now John is going to take this underdog team to the championship ring in one year and then he is going to disappear again. He is going to twirl his fedora or take his tie stick pin and toss it to Susan Surandon who will be calling after him. Maybe he will take a sawed-off shotgun out of his knickers and fire it into the ceiling? There are a lot of possibilities to end this film.

Living in the real world or imagination (RL219)

The other day on Twitter John asked the question if people live primarily in the real world or in their imagination. John thought he knew how people would answer, but initially a surprising number of people said ”The real world. There is a reason it is the real world!" Then there were some who said they tried to live in the real world, because living in their imagination has not benefitted them and they work to stay in the world.

People who were living in their imagination only answered with the one word ”Imagination”, because they assumed that John is going to use his imagination to know what they are doing in their imaginative life or they don’t want it revealed. He was happy about getting so many real world people, which he hadn't expected, but the imagination people started to wake up later in the day and it ended up that the imagination people won.

Cupcakes at a cocktail party (RL219)

The other day, somebody came up to John at a cocktail party and said he had heard John’s program, and John asked back ”Does that mean you have only listened to one episode?” and they were abashed and said that they had just discovered it and started listening. Then his spouse came over who had not listened to it and she wanted to hear about it. John explained that you have to be very smart to appreciate and follow what his co-host says, whereas with John you don’t, but you just have to keep an open mind. It was an interesting description of a relationship.

Merlin cares fuck-all about the topic of almost anything and he is much more interested in the people who are doing it. Step 1: Go get interested in other people who are kind of hard to like. Now go listen to 219 episodes, but you really got to start at the beginning. It should only take you like a year or two to decide if you like it and there are some episodes that you are going to hate. John always recommends people to listen to at least 2 episodes picked at random. You may come off snake-eyes, you may pick two episodes that both drive you bananas, but there is really something in it for everyone. Most people at cocktail parties are polite.

The cupcakes were phenomenal! Do not let Dan hear this, but the hostess of the party had made the frosting with Marshmallow fluff and John was immediately repulsed, because he now has a psychological block about marshmallow fluff (because Dan really wants him to try a Fluffernutter, but John refuses). It felt as if somebody had said they had made it with blood plasma. Do you like black pudding? They were small cupcakes and John wanted to eat just this one out of politeness.

The problem of most cakes is the quality of the frosting. Most cakes are the same, but it is the frosting that is good or bad and if you buy a cake at the grocery store, the frosting is made out of a 5-pound bag of government sugar and palm oil. This marshmallow fluff frosting was the best frosting you could have asked for! There was none of that ”This one is made of sour cream, or yoghurt” John doesn’t want sour butter or sage in it, stop being clever with food!

John ate 4 of these cupcakes. Because it was the birthday party for a 4-year old child, he restrained himself from stealing more than 4 cupcakes, wrapping them in a towel and taking them out to the car, but he had to show quite a measure of restraint, because they were great and they somewhat mitigated the shame he felt about standing at a child’s birthday party and talking about his own podcast to people he had never met before. Merlin really doesn’t like doing that. But they had started it!

Talking inside baseball with a baseball scoring person (RL219)

Recently John met a guy at a cocktail party who’s professional job was to score baseball games. He is sitting up in the booth while the ump is making decisions about how certain things are going to get scored. Those scores go into the historical record and people who are viewing for the batting championship have to deal with the results as they see them. Baseball is a game of numbers! John was thrilled to meet someone to have an inside baseball conversation with. Merlin loves to meet people who do odd things and he has so many questions. It turned out being a scoring person it is a pretty politically charged job.

John watched a baseball game the other day from behind home plate because he has a fancy friend who had fancy tickets. You are not only watching the baseball game, but you can have baby back ribs and chocolate cake brought to you. His friends are true baseball aficionados with an unique view and they said ”The ump’s not having it!” The pitcher was pitching inside and the ump wasn’t calling it strikes because the ump was sending the message to the pitcher that he wants to see a baseball game. Sometimes throwing inside, trying to brush the batter back, is part of a baseball game, but you can’t just sit there and do it all day. The ump is going to start not calling them strikes, because he wants to see that pitcher put it over the plate.

John was astonished that the ump was that involved into the game. At a certain point, the opposing pitcher beaned their guy and John’s friends chuckled and told him to watch, because in the next inning they would bean their guy. Quid pro quo! You got to bean their guy and then you got to empty the benches. It is considered a strategical thing to do, not just an emotional/irrational thing. That guy knows he is going to get beaned. Then something went awry, he was in the warmup-box, the on-deck circle, swinging his bat with a heavy donut on it and then the guy right in front of him, the one who wasn’t going to get beaned, clocked the ball somewhere. Now the Mariners had to revise their plan and by the end of the game they hadn’t beaned anybody and it felt like that was something on the to-do list.

There might be no quibbling and no Quiddich in baseball, but John doesn’t remember ever reading that there are no grudges in baseball. It is probably half-made of grudges. The Blue-Jays have some hot-rod hitter who is a little bit long in the tooth, but is putting the balls over the fence, and there was some thing when the guy from the Texas Rangers came and punched him in the nose about something that happened the year before.

John doesn’t know much about baseball, he couldn’t tell you what the infield-fly rule was, he doesn’t even know what the outfield-fly rule is, but the guy John met at the party does! He is scoring the freaking game! It means that they sit with a pencil and a piece of paper and write down everything that happens on the baseball field. They adjudicate the game in the moment. Merlin used to do that for fun because it was the only way he could find baseball interesting.

John missed out on so much as an American kid, partly by living in Alaska, partly by not reading superhero comics, and partly by not understanding sports. It was a trifecta! Living in Alaska puts you in a certain kind of daylight, not reading superhero comics makes you feel not understand the full scope of human possibility including mutants, but John also didn’t have a lot of close friends, then and now. If you are 12 years old, reading Joseph Conrad doesn’t make you other friends very quickly. You should be reading superhero comics and be interested in sports. John wouldn’t watch the sports, but watch the kids watch the sports. Merlin loved baseball as a kid, but today he doesn’t get it and it is completely baffling to him how many of his friends are super into sports.

When John was at that party, he understood why you would love baseball. When he realized that the ump might call it a strike at a different time in the game, but ”Now I want to see some baseball, sir!” and the pitcher and the catcher are looking up at him ”Seriously?” and then they are looking at each other and ”Okay, let’s give him some baseball!” and put that next ball right over the middle. John had no idea that was going on and he doesn’t think that things like that are going on in soccer. Merlin has seen a documentary about basketball. Sports documentaries can be very good.

Having close friends (RL219)

(see similar story in RW93)

For the last several months, John’s life has been in an embroilment. Sometimes, albeit very rarely, his day is a rough go and the waters are tumultuous with swells out on the sea and 7-foot waves, but the boat is sound and the wind is in his sails. He rounded Neah Bay out of the straight of Juan de Fuca, the sea was there to kill him, and on several occasions during the last several months he just wanted someone to talk to.

John has literally thousands of people in his address book because he is a social person. He started scrolling, came to a name, thought he could probably talk to this person, but it will probably feel like they are busier than they let on in the beginning of the conversation. There was not a single person among all his good friends he could call to just unburden himself of his matters. John knows that other people, even some close to him, have no trouble sharing their whole kit and caboodle with not just one, but a whole handful of friends, things like ”I’ve got a really bad toothache” and ”I think a bug crawled inside my penis” John just needs to talk to somebody about it! If John had a bug in his penis, he would be reticent to bring that up, even to a good pal.

What that ultimately means is that John does not have a whole bunch of friends. The question is if it is the friends he doesn’t have, or if it is an incapacity within himself. For Merlin, college was peak friendship and there was a pretty steep drop-off in the number of good acquaintances to friends to close friends after that. For John it was High School. By the time he got to college he was already surprised at how his friends in college were pals, but he wasn’t cleave to them.

John and his High School friends were very competitive with each other, meaning that their closeness was also fraught with a lot of competition and a lot of dread, because your friends are the ones who know your darkest secrets and they were the ones who were also trying to kick you in the knee. That was High School for John: A tight-knit group who was trying to destroy itself and each other all the time. In college it was just like ”Hey, let’s get some beer and do some stuff” John didn’t realize that this experience wasn’t going to be reduplicated for the rest of his life.

John has the additional problem of wanting to talk about his feelings, because he is looking for patterns and he wants to solve for x and feelings are real, as his good friend Mike Squires used to say. John uses feelings as a way of sorting, but in talking about your feelings you are almost immediately talking about something embarrassing. John wants to talk about feelings about his relationships with other guys, like ”I was feeling a little bit left out of that the other day, I sort of expected a phone call and didn’t get it and now my nose is a little bit out of joint and I just thought I should tell you”

John likes it if people talk about things like that with him, but it happens so rarely because it is embarrassing and it requires that you are processing your own feelings in real-time in order to know that you have a problem. Most people immediately react with defensiveness: ”Hey, I wanted to talk to you about this, I feel bad” - ”That’s not my problem!” - ”I wasn’t saying it is your problem, it is my problem, but it involves you. The solution is probably me telling this to you and you telling me that it is reasonable or unreasonable and us talking it out”, but from people of all stripes the reaction in so many cases is ”Why are you coming to me with this? What do you want from me?”

You are only forced to talk about your feelings in your very intimate relationships and even that is super-difficult. John has so many guy friends from long times and when he will start to talk about his feelings they will listen politely, but then there is always that moment where you want them to reciprocate and they go ”Everything is probably going to turn out okay! Hey, did you ever notice that some girl’s mothers are bigger than other girl’s mothers?” John gave them all this interesting grist, but they don’t run a mill. This is almost universal among his friends.

Not that John's friends are insufficient, but it makes him feel like he is asking too much or he wants something unreasonable, which also piles back on him: Not only does he have these feelings and not only does he want to express them to his people, but he also wants them to reciprocate, which is an unreasonable desire, which again puts him in dutch with the world and makes him asking himself what else there is to do than suck your thumb. John could write a novel, because people do write novels for that reason.

There is also something gender-encoded in it. Men of the 1970s who were talking about their feelings were doing it as a form of warfare. Hippie-dads who wanted to talk about their feelings in reality wanted to get laid for it. All of John’s closest friends have traditionally been women, even back before gender-normative was a term and when times were more primitive. John used to say that he had a female mind. His best friends were all women and he was more comfortable in what he would have called a womanly way, in contrast to all his male friends who all become just glassy-eyed when he tries to talk to them about this stuff.

The problem is that John's women-friends who he can sit and talk about all kinds of things with are not as receptive to talking about his relationship issues now, for whatever reason. They are all older, everyone is partnered off, and they are in a different world. John doesn’t have that same kind of access to a group of women who accept him as one of their own and who talk with him free-wheeling. There is always energy and chemistry in these relationships where they both feel that they are really good friends and talk so well together, but eventually they are going to fall into a romantic relationship with one another. In the meantime, let’s enjoy this closeness that we feel! That is much less a part of John’s daily world than it was 15 years ago.

There is something tribal about it, too, because John is one of the males that got pushed out of the herd a little bit as the herd matured. He is an old deer and the social pressures of the deer herd tells him little by little to find his own turf. John is a 24-point deer now and there is just no room for his antlers there. He is in the crosshairs of every hunter in the county! That is probably why he is doing all the daydreaming.

Winning awards (RL219)

John follows many people who are writing sitcoms and after the Emmys this year he saw a picture of someone he knows taking a knee with about 30 other dopes all holding Emmys. John couldn’t believe that the person he knows has won an Emmy for that show, because he knows what she does on it and if you can just win an Emmy like all of these clowns, John made a terrible choice in life to not be sitting in one of these rooms sharpening pencils. Why is John not throwing cards into a hat in that room when somebody waltzes in and says that everybody in this room has won an Emmy because it is not one person specifically, but it is the room that won an Emmy? John is not going to be in a room that wins an Emmy!

Maybe John’s career is not going to start before he is 60? After his current career he will be sitting in a soda shop having a malted and somebody is going to waltz in looking for the new Lebowski or somebody to play the old trapper. Silicon Valley types will have aged 15 years from now and instead of the trope being a 20-something callow-striving Stanford-grad, the new trope will be that all those Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are thrashed from all those years drinking Soylent and never seeing the sun. Now they look 60 when they are actually 40 and because John has vitality and stamina, when he is 60 he is going to read as a thrashed 40-year old.

The other day John was trying to imagine being cast in a film as the wise but stoned and sage friend of the protagonist. Being slightly stoned contextualizes the sageness, because you can’t just have the friend of the protagonist be flat-out sage and there has got to be some chink in his armor that makes him relatable. In this case he is a burnout. John was practicing his burnout eyes, but they have to not be as burned out as the white guy who plays the stoner in all the Dave Chappelle skids.

You have to have eyes that communicate that you have smoked a lot of weed, but maybe you don’t smoke it anymore, or you are just taking it in pill-form and it is not hindering your ability to be smart and present, but it has given you insight into the sea. John understood that stoner eyes were supposed to be heavy-lidded, but with the eyebrows up. You are in the game, you are not just asleep and you are talking softly, but not in a stoner-voice. You speak elliptically, sometimes accidentally something brilliant slides out and everybody in the room will be floored. It is the whole reason why you are part of the plot. It is not exactly Shaggy, Lebowski or Morgan Freeman.

It will be a serious film, not a stoner-comedy and the wise stoned friend is actually the caddy or the limo driver. There are real stakes here and the person is somewhat mystical. Is he really there? Did he come through the cloud or not? At the same time it is like a Good Will Hunting situation. Maybe there is an Oscar in it for John? John would be Robin Williams because it is too late for him to be Matt Damon. He had a window where he could have been Matt Damon, but he was doing other things. Merlin says he would enjoy that movie.

Helping friends with alcohol and drug problems (RL219)

There are three people in John's life who are all struggling with drugs and alcohol, but in very different ways. They have all reached out to him from their various quadrants of the world, some of them do not live in Seattle, but are here in Seattle now, and all three of them don’t know how to proceed in their situation. John’s traditional method of handling this situation is ”Do you really want to do something about it or are you just bullshitting me?”, because John doesn’t need more bullshit in his life.

John was talking to a fourth friend, a woman with much experience in life and she said out of the blue ”À propos: I feel that I need to be giving back all the time and I need to be practicing the humility or giving back without ranking my contribution or ranking the receiver of my contribution, but just like: Here I am, a person in the world, what can I do? You don’t have to be somebody I want something from or somebody important for me to help you and I’m not putting this in a bank anywhere.”

John took her advice as a message from the great spirit and he realized that he was not doing his job for these three people. They all came at once and John needed to be more selfless and not say ”Are you serious about this? I have jewels to stack!”, but say ”What can I do?” and now John has orchestrated that he is going to meet one of the people and they are then together going to visit the second person.

By that, the first person is also going to be part of the operation to help the second person, which will help the first person and help John. That is his plan for this afternoon, but he only had 3,5 hours of sleep, he feels a little cookie-wuaua, and he is not sure if that makes him more helpful or less helpful. Maybe he is the one who is going to get helped the most? John really wants to take a nap, but can he fit a nap into all of this?

Taking naps, putting your phone away (RL219)

Merlin thinks that an 1,5 hour nap is the perfect nap because it matches up with your rhythms. You can get down, get funky, and get up. The rhythm is going to get you! John could also put his phone in the other room in airplane mode, plugging it in so he has phone power for the rest of the day, and also to not be lining up jewels. Is that a realistic expectation anymore? We fought or phones for a long time and it wasn’t even much of a valiant fight. Not many of us really put up a fight, but we fought, we put it over there, we shut it off, we went out for the day without it, but is it a game anymore that we keep playing?

Merlin has turned a corner during the last year: He needs to know if something happened in his little world and he could have a flip phone for that, but he also wants to pay for things with Apple Pay and look things up. For better or for worse it has gone from being something he makes fun of everybody about to the new normal.

Imagine if Google had put out a phone that wasn’t trying to be every phone for everybody, all things to all people, but if it was a phone that phoned and googled only and there was no other app and it did perform no other function! John spends most of his time on the phone using Google to get around and he doesn’t need other stuff. He can interact with the world mostly through Google because he is mostly trying to figure out when this building was built, what the infield-fly rule is, and how the Laconia sank. Somebody actually asked John the other day who he thought sunk the Maine. The Spanish did and it precipitated the Spanish-American war, but the conspiracy theorist say that we did it. John is of the opinion that it was an accident, but he couldn’t believe that he was intreated into a conversation who sank the Maine.

John doesn’t need Google to answer that question, but in the course of a day there are just enough things that he needs to resort to Google that not carrying his phone just doesn’t feel smart. He used to sit and think ”Well, I don’t know how many angels can dance on the head of a pin” and he would let that go, because there was no way to find out. Now if somebody asks that question, John surely likes to know that, he googles it and the Internet is never going to lie to him. What about an Wikipedia phone?

Google is just going to end up redirecting him to a Yelp review. There are surely a lot of people who would just carry a Yelp phone and those would be people John would exclude from his life. If John had just a Wikipedia that did nothing else, he might just carry that! It would also need a camera, but then the wheels come off already, because if the Wiki-phone has a camera, it might as well be an iPhone.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License