RW178 - Free Floating Anxiety

This week, Dan and John talk about:

The show title refers to the current panic about the coronavirus where people are stockpiling bottled water which doesn’t really make much sense because their anxieties are free-floating around, going to different targets.

Raw notes
The segments below are raw notes that have not been edited for language, structure, references, or readability. Please do not quote these texts directly without applying your own editing first! These notes were not planned to be released in this form, but time constraints have caused a shift in priorities and have delayed editing draft-quality versions to a later point.

John going on the JoCo Cruise (RW178)

John is getting sorted because he is leaving tomorrow morning for the Jonathan Coulton cruise. He is is taking Ken Jennings this year and they are going to do the Omnibus, it is his first time, they don’t even have ever been on a cruise. John is also learning a Rush song which is proving very difficult to learn, Limelight. It is not hard except that John is not that kind of guitar player and now he is trying to learn how to be an Alex Lifeson, and it is not that John’s head doesn't know where everything goes, he just doesn’t have the dexterity to get from part to part.

John getting new glasses made (RW178)

John got some glasses made yesterday because his old glasses weren't working. He has an astigmatism and it has increased quite a bit, so the new glasses, which were made cheaply by a cheap mass market glasses making company, the focal point at the very center of the lens is correctly John’s prescription, but as soon he looks at all to the periphery of the lens by moving his eyes, it is no longer in focus. Dan deals with that all the time and that is why he has to go with high index lenses. You look a little bit to the right or the left with your eyeball as opposed to turning your head like a Tim Burton Batman it distorts completely and is especially distracting when driving.

John’s old glasses the prescription was no longer accurate at all, it was all a soft blur, everything was a little bit out of focus, but now he has this hyper focus in the middle and gets seasick looking around. It is not fun to buy a new thing, put them on, think it is going to be great, and then it is just one more thing that is not great. The technology of making glasses has all improved with computers and they can make them in an hour and don't have to send them off to somebody with a green visor who is grinding the lenses on a wheel anymore, but the computer at the cheapo place has just one set of coordinates.

John can get fancy glasses that have 1000 points of light. That is the kind Dan has to get or else he can't see anything at all. His astigmatism is on an axis. Most people are just near-sighted, far-sighted or have a mild astigmatism and can wear contact lenses and have no problem. The lens is curved and it is curved. But if Dan’s is rotated just a little bit it is completely blurry. John has the exact same problem.

John’s astigmatism has gone from 0.75 to 2.75 in just a handful of years. Both eyes have it identically and it is almost perfectly vertical up and down, like a cat eye astigmatism. It is not rotated, but straight up and down. For whatever reason John’s eyes are squeezing in from the sides or something. He has a flat eyeball as well. All of this is fascinating if you are an ophthalmologist or an optometrist, but not apparently very interesting to an optician, unless the optician is a killer one who got a machine that makes them according to 1000 points of light.

Going on the JoCo Cruise (cont), Coronavirus now in Seattle (RW178)

John is headed out tomorrow morning and like all travel it is just stressful as it gets closer. John is 19 out of 21 in the line for an upgrade to first class, so he is probably not going to get it, but because of the recent viral epidemic that has now taken a great toehold in Seattle, Washington, who knows!

Ken and John could be patient zero and patient one of taking the Corona virus from Seattle to Florida onto a cruise and infect 3500 nerds, but none of them will tweet about it, so it is going to be fine. They are just going to be quarantined off of Fort Lauderdale for two months. Hopefully that is not the case, but maybe the other 19 people ahead of John on the list to get upgraded to first class opt not to fly. Maybe the plane will be totally empty and John will be the man.

John went to the mall to get his glasses and it was pretty empty. People are scared of the pandemic, although they say not to use the word pandemic anymore. They have a long list of words not to use and apparently pandemic is on there now. Apparently pandemic is an antiquated term and there really wasn't a definition for pandemic that the WHO thought was acceptable and it is a scary word so they stopped using it.

Dan tweeted an interesting article in Slate by Jeremy Samuel Faust, an epidemiologist who knows what he is talking about, and he breaks it down and talks about what is really going on and why the numbers that have been floating around so much in the news… People are now familiar with a term that nobody really should be familiar with, the CFR (Case Fatality Rate), the number that says: This percentage of people could die from a thing. He uses the term pandemic a lot. He explains why this isn't universally deadly and why if you are a healthy person under age 70 it is not this super-fearful, deadly thing for most people. They even talk about how many people are asymptomatic or very mild symptoms and how that actually can lead to people saying: ”I don't feel that bad!”, but they actually then communicate the disease by not quarantine themselves.

Misdirected panic, free-floating anxiety because of Coronavirus (RW178)

One of the things that he says in the article that really resonated with Dan is: He says healthy people who are hoarding food, masks, and hand sanitizer may feel like they are doing the right thing, but all good intentions aside, these actions probably represent misdirected anxieties. Dan was in a grocery store the other day, getting regular crap, and people are hoarding water and that is the one thing… Dan tweeted about this too because Twitter is the only way Dan can really talk to the common folk. He was legitimately asking: What is the thinking behind hoarding or stockpiling or even stocking up on bottled water? What about COVID-19 is going to make the water stop?

People said they don't want to be quarantined at home and not have water, but why wouldn't you have water? The last pandemic was the H1N1, a.k.a. swine flu in 2009, and that was a bad one in terms of its fatality and at no time did the water supply go off. John actually had the swine flu and it was bad and killed a large proportion relative to other flus, but it didn't affect the water supply and why would this affect the water supply?

One of the people who answered Dan said: If people are made to be quarantined, then no workers would come, saying that if there is a quarantine on people in Austin, the people who maintain the most important parts of our infrastructure, power, water, would be affected by the same quarantine and they are not going to be allowed to work? No, they are going to have an all-hands meeting, they are going to issue some of the N-95 respirators, go ahead and put those on, see you at work. That is what is going to happen. The water must flow just like the spice in Dune. The power must flow and will stay on, even if there are sick people in the power plant or the water facility.

Besides that, if you want to stockpile water, why are they buying bottled water in bulk? Why not just get a five gallon jug from the grocery store and fill it from your frigging tap now? If you are going to stockpile water, you need to have a better system than bottled water because bottled water is bad. It is bad for your young daughters, it got all the chlorofluorocarbon in it, fluoridation, the government’s plot to brainwash us, all the chem trails.

People carrying fishing line in their EDC

People don't know how to panic, that is part of the problem! Because our society is governed by free floating anxiety and that free floating anxiety floats around and hears little things, like: ”I should carry fishing wire among my everyday carry components in case everything goes haywire while I am at work and I can't get home and through a cascading series of events I will one day need to fish in order to survive and be unable to find wire.” There are Every Day Carry devotees who are carrying fishing equipment in their pockets because they have conjured as a series of events, a disaster that compounds and forms a wave of disaster, that eliminates everything, including scrap wire that you might find.

If you came all the way down where all the food in all the grocery stores is gone, you cannot forage in people's homes after they have all been raptured, all the food is gone, millions are starving, and there are zombies clawing, there is this famished mass, and you are there with your pocket full of fishing wire, able to survive up on some healthy stream, pulling silvers out and cooking them by a fire with the little container of garlic that you kept in your fanny pack. It is a beautiful vision for people that have it who feel that they can not be caught off-guard. The problem is that after the disaster has befallen us and the millions are zombieing and they got their super-rig and the fishing line and their sniper scope and all this stuff, and then a seagull drops a rock on them or whatever. You can't prepare for everything!

People hoarding water

They are not belittling the fact that Coronavirus can kill people. That is a real thing. It just comes from a desire that there is this thing out there that I could get without even knowing that I am getting it or if I do something as innocuous as touch my face and it could kill me. Based on the numbers that we keep hearing, which as explained in this article are not right, but there is a percentage chance that it could kill me, and what can I do to protect myself against this invisible invader that could kill me and my family? Well, I could get water! I could get hand sanitizer! Because washing my hands, that means getting up from the desk, that is stupid. I need hand sanitizer. Soap is stupid, that is not a really a chemical. I want a chemical to kill it!

It does make sense and Dan would rather have people who take precautions than not take precautions, but it is more the mentality around it. Dan grew up in Florida where they have hurricanes every 15 or 20 minutes and he was there for Hurricane Andrew in 1992. There are different categories of hurricanes. It starts out as a tropical depression, it becomes a tropical storm and it becomes a hurricane. These are all based on the speed of the wind although there are other factors such as barometric pressure, or cohesion. Dan is an amateur meteorologist.

The main thing when they are talking about categories is sustained wind strength. Like you have the Fujita scale of tornadoes, an F-1, F-2, that kind of thing, you have categories of hurricanes. Category 1 is the weakest, Category 5 is the strongest, and Andrew is a Category 5 and those are very rare to even see. The conditions line up perfectly and this hurricane grew to become a Category 5 and hit a major metropolitan area Miami and destroyed a huge portion of Miami and Miami Beach and surrounding areas. There were people Dan knew that had lived there and the shopping mall that they had gone to their whole life was completely gone. The speeds of the wind in a Category 5 hurricane are 157 miles per hour or higher. You are talking about metal buildings collapsing, all the windows in a high rise being blown out, mobile homes are completely destroyed, and regular homes are mostly destroyed, trees uprooted, power outages that last weeks to months. Then you get water shortages.

Hurricane Andrew in Austin 1992

Seeing Andrew go through really woke Dan up to the fact that these things, even if they don't kill you, are going to inconvenience you for months. After they had hurricanes go through, even weak 2-3 category hurricanes there would be people with tarps on their roofs for months because there are only so many roofers and they can only fit in so many jobs. If you were unlucky enough to have 20% of your shingles ripped off your house, you are putting tarps up. Every time there would be any kind of tropical storm going on that looked like it could be even weeks away from potentially hitting, when there was still a chance that it just spins off to sea or goes to another state entirely, South Carolina, whatever, people would panic.

They would top off their gas tanks and stock up on all the water they could. There would be a run on generators, everyone needed generators, and then they needed the gas to fill them up, but inevitably the hurricane would spin off to see or dissipate or strike 200 miles north or south as a tropical depression and dump some rain and nothing would happen. Sometimes they had an Andrew, but it was the uncertainty that made people nervous. Is this going to be an Andrew or is this going to be a tropical depression that does nothing?

A year or two ago there was a hurricane affecting Houston and they were having a flooding, and Houston had run out of gas. For whatever reason, people in Austin, even though they were completely unaffected in every way by this issue, started get worried that they were going to run out of gas, too, that all their gas stations were going to run out of gas. So everybody went to the gas station, not because they were out of gas in their truck or their car, but to top it off. Then people started going and bringing their gasoline containers and filling those up, so in addition to the regular traffic of people getting gas now you had people topping off their tanks and people bringing their gas containers and filling those up and they started to run out of gas in Austin because people were doing this.

Dan was the only person he knew saying on Twitter: ”Please don't go fill up your gas tank! You don't need it!” Dan had friends, people who are intelligent, people who have been to college, people who are professionals in careers that are doing great work, people Dan admires, tweeting: ”You better go get gas! I just filled up my tank and my wife's tank! Better hurry up and get it now!” and people were listening to them and doing it and then guess what? Dan couldn't fill up his tank because it happened to be a Wednesday and Wednesday is when he gets gas and he wasn't reacting to the perceived disaster, he just couldn't get gas because everyone else had gotten it. Turns out they were right! Dan should have gotten it! He waited a couple days and then all of the gas station had gas again.

It is that kind of panicking that Dan cannot abide and has zero tolerance for. He understands the idea, but all these people are not going to use that water because the water from their taps is going to keep running, whether they have corona virus or not.

General preparedness in Alaska

People get crushed in crowds racing into concerts. People don't know how to shelter in place or wait out a bad scene. In contrast to Dan’s Florida experience, growing up in Alaska, they don't up there have very many… there are storms, but there is no storm like a hurricane or a tornado, nothing like that. Every February there is a giant windstorm almost on cue. What you have up there are earthquakes, which you cannot predict and there is no way you can start a panic about an earthquake, really. You have Tsunamis, which you only have six hours at the most if there was a giant earthquake in Japan.

But Alaska is at least used to all winter long there being a constant threat to you and your person in the form of just nature essentially trying to batter down all of your human-built defenses and come in and kill you. Alaskans always have an emergency blanket in their car, one of those space blankets, because if you are out and your car slips off the road in the dark and gets buried in the snow and you can't get out, you need to have a blanket so that you can survive the night and you need to have whatever else you need to survive the night, a candy bar or something.

Putting a bunch of water in your trunk is a bad idea because the water is going to freeze and then it is going to explode. There are some basic things that you know about what you need to do. You don't leave a six pack of coke in your car overnight because it is going to be a terrible mess when you wake up in the morning because it is going to freeze and explode. In Seattle or in California or in Texas, you would never think: Oh, I can't leave a bottle of water or a can of pop in my car overnight, because it is not going to explode, because it doesn't get to be zero degrees in those places.

A basic level of preparedness used to exist in Alaska, but there wasn't panic because none of the things that could kill you were sudden, but there was preparedness because all of the things that could kill you were always trying to kill you all the time, even in the summer. All you have to do is drive off the road and in Alaska it is possible that you would just die there. There are just too many dangers. Now probably the culture has changed in Alaska as a result of a few things: Costco and big-box stores have given us this thinking that you should stock up.

Alaskans have a reason to stock up, because if there was a devastating earthquake and especially if it happened in the winter, you would lose water and power and all those things. If you lost water, power, and electricity all at the same time, and your house was really damaged and the roads were all broken and nobody could get to you, you had better be able to put some kind of plan together, you better have some wood to make a fire and you better have supplies. In the past we always assumed there would at least be snow for water, but these days in the dead of winter it sometimes doesn't snow in Alaska anymore. It is cold, dark, and no snow. Snow acts as an insulator, too.

You do have to be ready up there for cataclysm, but the big box stores have given us this idea that we need 50 steaks and 500 rolls of toilet paper. Then there is this general level of an epidemic of panic that didn't used to exist. Part of it was that sanguine feeling that if your time was up, if your number got called, there wasn't enough toilet paper in the world to protect you.

Humans being incredibly resilient and incredibly fragile at the same time

Humans always had to struggle with the dichotomy of the fact that we are both incredibly resilient and incredibly fragile at the same time. Human beings can survive so much, can survive not just in so many environments, but so much injury, so much disease, people can cling to life when they have been brutally injured, and yet also you can catch the flu and die or drink some bad water and get dysentery and die before there is even a chance to get you medicine. You can slip on the ice and fall and crack your head and die.

Those two truths, which are that somewhere right now there is someone in a hospital who is still alive despite not having any brain function, not having any ability to feed oneself or move even, and yet also there will be somebody today that dies and no-one can even figure out why and they were in perfect health. Carrying those two ideas around in our heads all the time is complicated. When you are young you feel like nothing bad is going to happen, but when you get older you think: ”Wow, why did my friend Bill die? He was super in shape and had a lovely family, but my friend Paul who has been a drug addict for 40 years is still hanging on. What does that mean about me and when I get up in the morning and go out?” You have a kid and you are just thinking ”Please don't get hurt!”

Technology has made us feel even more like we should be able to survive anything and we should be able to live forever. Why are we still confined to these hundred year bodies when in our imaginations we can be superheroes, we can fly to Mars, we can fight with light sabers, we can do all kinds of magic in our imaginations, but still we just made it to 85 and: ”Good work!” What is 85? That is nothing! Compared not even to the geologic scope, but it seems like we haven't even had time to process. We are not even really sure what the novels that were written 85 years ago mean, let alone the epic scope of history or whatever.

As we get technologically distanced from a lot of the things that used to kill us, that we used to have to shrug and go: ”Well, I had 14 kids and only four of them survived and three of them we didn't even bother naming because until they are 5 years old we don't really bond with them!” to now where every sperm is sacred, but for a different reason. Not because of God. Many of John’s peers say they elected not to have kids, but their great grandmother had 14 kids.

Feeling helpless for a flu

That panic, especially when confronting a flu, which there is a growing awareness that it will be a flu. It won't be zombies, it won't be nuclear apocalypse, it won't be any of the things that you have prepped for. All the people that have guns stockpiled. It is going to be a flu and that is just incomprehensibly sucky because what? A flu? It is insulting! One of the school districts in Seattle up north canceled class for the next two weeks. Kids are out of school for two weeks because 9 people have died in an old folks home. People are not going to work, people are quarantining themselves, but how long do you think you and your kids can stay home?

John not being worried too much

John is not panicking right now. He is not even really that worried. Maybe that is crazy because he is scared of sickness and it is possible that the viruses have some long incubation period, that you can walk around with it and be infected by it and feel just fine and then two weeks later suddenly it seizes you. Maybe John already has it and should have been sequestered months ago. Maybe he got it from a gas station attendant?

The other thing that people need to think about is that there are a lot of people who will get it and who won't die. John is in the age group of people who don't seem to die from it, generally speaking. Most people don't die from it.

Tomorrow John is going to get on an airplane with a bunch of other people from Seattle who are flying to Atlanta, one of the major global hubs of transportation. He is going to get off the plane with all these other people from Seattle, all 19 of the people who are ahead of him in line for a first class upgrade, he is going to walk through the Atlanta airport to get on another plane to Florida, one of the most populous states, he is going to then get on a cruise ship with 3500 nerds and they are going to spend 7 days completely trapped with each other. If the disease is in John and incubating and he spreads it to all 3500 of them, when the boat docks again those 3500 people will go to the four corners of the earth because they have come from there.

People stocking up on unnecessary things

That is how an epidemic does its thing. John coughed at that point and Dan said he got to stockpile some water and be right back. John has definitely looked at people who were going to Europe on their freshman tour and ask them like what is in their suitcase and they have all this stuff… They sell toothpaste in France. They have pens in France. They are going to France, but they panicked a little bit that they are going to get to France and there are not going to be band-aids there. Unless you need a band-aid right now, in France you are going to have as much access to band-aids as you do here, so unless you are carrying band-aids with you all the time here you are not going to need to carry them with you all the time in France, you only need them when you get an auie.

That said, John always when traveling does carry toilet paper because you can not always find toilet paper when you need it and there is nothing worse than not being able to find toilet paper. You don't need to carry band-aids if you are going to France, but you should always carry a roll of toilet paper squashed into a Ziploc bag.

Hoarding toilet paper makes sense if you are stuck at home for a week or two, but if the water is not working, do regular people know how to handle disposal of human waste without a toilet in the house? They are not thinking about that problem, but they are thinking about the problem: ”I am going to be thirsty while I am watching the game!” There will be no game. If you are digging a hole in the backyard to bury your poop you won't care about the game, but you will want that hand sanitizer. Dan understands the hand sanitizer and toilet paper, but dependent on the water and the power you need to know how to bury your poop. It is not that hard. Watch a cat bury its poop.

This is not what is on the news: ”We are going to teach you tonight how to bury poop!” What is on the news is: ”95 mass are sold out and there is nothing at Costco!” Dan’s mom in Florida said that they are limiting how many cases of bottled water you can buy to 3 or 4 because people are just in Costco, the doors open and there are hundreds of people outside waiting to get bottled water.

The Costco mentality is part of the problem

Costco and its mentality is part of the problem. Costco is great if you are the cook on a crab boat, on a Noah icebreaker or Coast Guard icebreaker, and you are feeding between 18 and 90 sailors, thank goodness for Costco! But if you are a family of four or really anything less than a family of seven, Costco is not a place that you should go really or even be a member of.

John’s dad stockpiling Kleenex, inheriting his wallets and clothes (RW178)

John’s dad loved Costco and when he died part of his estate was 14 boxes of Kleenex that John inherited. It took him 10 years to get through those. He doesn’t use a lot of Kleenex, when he is looking for something it is not the Kleenex box he goes to. There were times when John was like: ”I could use a Kleenex!” and he remembered he had a roomful of Kleenex. Normally, in the rare occasion when John wished he had something that was softer than a paper towel, slightly bigger than a square of toilet paper, somewhere on a softness matrix equivalent to the kind of nice toilet paper John buys, but just slightly bigger, and in a box, that sometimes, but rarely. He doesn’t have a box of Kleenex right now, but he doesn't want it enough to go buy a box of Kleenex.

John’s dad gave him this wonderful inheritance. He never threw away a wallet, so John inherited between five and nine really thrashed wallets with old library cards and membership cards in gyms that don't exist anymore because when a wallet finally ran out for him and he bought a new wallet he didn't transfer all the cards to the new wallet because as he was going through the cards, he realized that card doesn't work anymore and rather than throw it away or the wallet away, he just left that card in the wallet.

John also assimilated his dad’s clothes into his closet, but he had done that a long time before. John’s dad was a very cool dresser until he met his girlfriend Karen in about 1982, and Karen was a modern woman, a psychologist, and she redecorated his house. She had very high standards, she wanted things to be a certain way, and she redecorated him. She took him down to the Nordstrom half yearly men's sale and she dressed him up in mid to late 1980s adult man's style, which John doesn't gravitate to, it is not the style that he likes.

It was a great boon to John because he got to go into his closet at that point and take the 1950s-1970s clothes that he still had and take the ones that weren't nailed down before they got thrown away. They probably dated for 10 years and after that John’s dad never regained any kind of valid personal style. He bounced around a little bit, a little bit of this, a little bit of that, but he never got back on his feet. John’s brother David hated his dad for 50 years, they never forgave one another, his dad tried and tried and tried, but his way of trying is he never gave David what David needed because David was a bottomless pit of need.

But David in his dad's final days, because he was a registered nurse for some period of his life before he lost his accreditation, David came to the hospital and was nursing his dad and nobody could believe it. He didn't have a kind word to say to him, but he was washing his feet, all this crazy stuff. When his dad died, David of all people, took his dad's old clothes, his University of Washington Huskies jacket, that crazy stuff, and that became David's wardrobe. It was the strangest thing! John is a sentimentalist, but all those all After-Karen (A.K.) clothes can just go right to the thrift store. David was like: ”I'll take them!” and sure enough, the next three or four times John saw him, he was dressed head to toe in his dad's clothes. ”However forgiveness works in you, weirdo!”

John’s brother David died recently (RW178)

David died a couple of weeks ago. It is been really interesting because John didn't like David, David didn't like John, he was not a good older brother to John, he got him drunk for the first time when he was eight. He was just a jerk. As liberals we are very susceptible to the argument that he had a hard childhood or that he was in pain and that we should have sympathy for him because of his pain, one of those arguments that liberals make that conservatives and libertarians aren't convinced by. ”This person did a bad thing, but it is not their fault because they were hurt or because they are suffering!”, that is not law and order, it is the compassionate side.

John’s family is very like that, but John could not have any compassion for his brother. He doesn’t care that he was hurt, they are all hurt, they all had the same freaking family! He was a person that was hurt and then decided that he was going to spread that hurt around to everybody else, which makes him not one of the good ones, but your brother only dies once in a while in this life and it was weird because John’s whole life they all expected David was going to die at any moment. When he was 35, it didn't look like he had much longer to live and he lived to be 70, what are the chances?

For John himself, the idea that the lack of forgiveness that haunted his dad, because his dad never forgave his dad and then David never forgave his dad. John didn't have any trouble forgiving his dad, but trying to wrestle with the fact that he is not going to forgive his brother? Why would he carry that around? He doesn’t want to persist in this family curse of having some person that died that you never forgave. But he was also a dick and it is hard to figure out exactly what John’s responsibility to himself is in terms of… He still has a lot of work to do on that that he didn't figure he had to do, but then he died.

John wanted to write a mean-spirited eulogy with all of the things about David that were despicable. He didn't do that because who was he going to read it to? Nobody in his family… they were all trying to get on down the road, too. Nobody wants to sit with John and go… He and his sister talked about it quite a bit, but Susan was sheltered. John’s job in his family was to shelter Susan from all of the shitty people, and in a lot of cases he didn't choose that job, but he was just taller and standing in front of her. She also had her issues with him, she just has a little bit more sense of humor about it.

John is still trying to put those events together, these little mirrors that get held up to you sometimes. You are bouncing along and all of a sudden something is like: ”Oh, here is a thing you weren't thinking about!” - ”Wow! I don't need that right now!”, but apparently it comes in random order. John put it immediately into a box and he hasn't thought about his brother David for the last three weeks until he started talking about his dad's clothes and he just showed up, waving at him like: ”Great! How did you get in here?”

John doesn’t think of his family as a bad family. He doesn’t think of his childhood as bad. It wasn't easy, but nobody's childhood is easy! John can't admit he has ever met somebody whose childhood was easy. Maybe there are people all around him whose childhoods were easy and it is just one of those inner voice / outer voice things where we don't realize like: ”Wait a minute, we are surrounded by people whose childhoods were easy!” John doesn’t think easy childhood is the norm, but it might be.

Dan was just talking to a friend the other day and she was talking about how for better or for worse, whatever struggles and other issues she had, but she was describing that overall carefree feeling of childhood and she was saying: Before and even into college her High School was very hard and demanding, but before that and then again in college it was great, carefree, and fun. Dan never had any of that. He never felt like any aspect of his life was carefree ever, including now.

Another one of Dan’s friends was talking about what their therapist said. They were having issues with depression and anxiety and their therapist's advice at one point was something like: ”Think of a time when you think back on your life where you still felt like you were carefree and happy and even innocent.” For her that was 12 years old and she was trying to remember what it felt like to be 12 and capture that.

Dan never felt that way ever in his whole life. He never felt carefree or like he could just go and do what he wanted: Never, never, never, never! Some people do feel that way, and that is great, but Dan certainly wasn't one of them. John wasn’t, either.

Resilience to injury (cont)

The resilience to injury thing. It is amazing how different our experiences can be and yet we all share the same world. We line up outside of a public restroom and we all go in and use it in our turn. There is very little in a public restroom. There is a porcelain bowl with some water in it, there is a sink with some water in it, and there is either a paper towel dispenser or not, there's a door. And yet you can have 2000 people and each one goes in and finds something to do in there, which testifies to our remarkable similarity to one another. And yet, you can have such a different experience of life that really doesn't always show on you.

Maybe that is why people get facial tattoos: to communicate they had a different experience of life and they make it visible so that there is no mistaking that they just bounced along like a happy ball. There are an awful lot of us that didn't get facial tattoos that that is also true of, and some, who have had a really, really rough go, and yet they have a happy disposition and carefree demeanor, which is even more amazing! People who survived things that John can't imagine surviving are happier than he is and also more capable of just getting things done. John doesn't know what it is like when they close their eyes at night, but when they wake up in the morning they are nice to people and they wait patiently in line at the DMV. The variation within such a narrow range is unfathomable!


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