February 3, 2020
EP. 201 — Dry Eyes But 2020 Vision
A Gen Z-er (or zoomer!) unpacks the complexities of being mixed race, her mom’s secret pill business, why bird spit is a delicacy, and what it’s like growing up in the age of climate change.
This episode is brought to you by Truly Grass Fed (www.trulygrassfed.com), Talkspace (www.talkspace.com code: BEAUTIFUL), and Joybird (www.joybirdcom/beautiful25).
201 — Dry Eyes But 2020 Vision
[00:00:06] CHRIS: Hello to all my pill-sorting bird spitters. Beautiful/Anonymous. One hour. One phone call. No names. No holds barred.
[00:00:17] THEME MUSIC: I’d rather go one-on-one. I think it’ll be more fun, and I’ll get toknow you and you’ll get to know me.
[00:00:28] CHRIS: Don’t push fast-forward on the intro. Guess what, the Beautiful/CONonymous is official. Tickets going on sale, I think today, I think the Tuesday this is dropping. If not, in the next day or so, but we are working hard to get those tickets up right now. Thursday, May 14 through Sunday, May 17. We got nine shows over four days. We are going big with this bad boy. I’m talking live tapings. We’re talking the best comedy bills you’re gonna see in New York this year. It’s no joke. You go, you look at the lineups for these shows, it’s the heaviest hitters you can find in New York City. We’re talking music, Shellshag’s playing, the 18,000 songs guy is playing. We’re talking a screening of Contact, and so much more, including a really ambitious crazy day Saturday where you get to meet a ton of past callers. Those tickets, go get them. You can go to BeautifulCononymous.com, you go to the Bell House website, I’ll be plugging it in the Facebook group all over the place. It’s gonna be so fun. I want to see you in May. Let’s bring all the introverted, socially awkward fans of this podcast together in the same place, the first time ever, let’s party. Let’s party in Brooklyn for four days in May. It’s gonna be so fun. I’ll see you there. Okay. This week’s episode, I found it so interesting. You know, this is a younger caller. And first thing I’ll say is sometimes younger callers on the show have gotten knocked a little bit. People say, “Oh, they say the word ‘like’ too much,” or, you know, “Their world view, it feels so young.” I feel like this caller speaks so genuinely and so intelligently, and I hope everybody really listens to them and takes it seriously, because a couple things I’ll put out there: One, first of all, it’s funny, when you hear about the activities that this person’s doing, including a discussion of bird spit that I never thought I’d have. You know, I talk about so many things on this show that I never saw coming, and bird spit absolutely is one of them. We also talk…something I think is totally valid, that the young generations that are alive right now, they are inheriting problems that are being created by generations older than them and that aren’t being corrected at a rate that gives them much confidence, gives them a lot of fear. Caller speaks to all of that. It goes in a whole bunch of different directions, funny and serious. I loved it. I hope you do too.
[00:02:57] PHONE ROBOT: Thank you for calling Beautiful/Anonymous. A beeping noise will indicate when you are on the show with the host.
[00:03:05] CALLER: Hello?
[00:03:06] CHRIS: Hi.
[00:03:07] CALLER: Hey.
[00:03:09] CHRIS: Hi.
[00:03:10] CALLER: How’s it going?
[00:03:12] CHRIS: It’s going all right. Feeling pretty good. My stomach’s been a little tricky, but that happens from time to time with me.
[00:03:19] CALLER: Oh, you know, might just pop a few Pepto-Bismol there.
[00:03:22] CHRIS: I had a little this morning. I tell you what it was, I did a standup set last night, and then when I was walking home, I passed a 7-Eleven, and late at night, I decided it was a good idea to eat a microwaved 7-Eleven bean and cheese burrito. That’ll do it.
[00:03:38] CALLER: Well, you were wrong. That was probably not the right decision.
[00:03:43] CHRIS: I deserve to pay for that. I deserve to have a bad day the next day. Eating a 7-Eleven burrito at 10:30 at night? Yeah, I deserve this. That’s OK. How are you?
[00:03:54] CALLER: I am good. My heart is beating really fast. I actually just woke up.
[00:04:02] CHRIS: Nice.
[00:04:04] CALLER: I am in the West Coast, so it is not that bad, but yeah, I’m home from…
[00:04:09] CHRIS: Right. You’re still waking up late. You’re not waking up at 3pm.
[00:04:14] CALLER: I am.
[00:04:15] CHRIS: Okay. You’re saying you’re home for…
[00:04:18] CALLER: Yeah, I’m home from college for the first time. I am a, I’m a baby. I just turned 18 a couple months ago.
[00:04:25] CHRIS: Oh, wow, happy birthday.
[00:04:28] CALLER: Well, it was in October, when I say I just turned 18.
[00:04:33] CHRIS: Okay.
[00:04:34] CALLER: But thank you. I appreciate it.
[00:04:35] CHRIS: Fair. Fair.
[00:04:38] CALLER: So I have been listening to the podcast for a couple of years now, and I have recently, like, I’ve been at home with nothing to do, so I’ve been listening to it a lot more, and these are the two activities that I’ve been doing while listening to the podcast and I thought that you might enjoy: sifting through bird spit…
[00:05:01] CHRIS: Excuse me?
[00:05:03] CALLER: Like, bird spit. I don’t really know what it is, but apparently it’s like one of the most expensive substances to exist or something.
[00:05:18] CHRIS: Bird spit? S-P-I-T?
[00:05:20] CALLER: Yeah, like…I’m pretty sure. So I’m half Cambodian, and so I, like, I don’t know, my grandma’s just like, “Here is this…” like, I don’t know, it’s like clear, kind of like the consistency of jelly, but basically, I wear, like, rubber gloves and, like, pick through it.
[00:05:42] CHRIS: What are you, what are you even talking about?
[00:05:45] CALLER: And it has, like, some good medicinal quality or something. It sounds pretty ridiculous, and I’m pretty sure it’s like, very, very expensive, so I always wondered what it tasted like, but yeah, it’s just too expensive to even try.
[00:05:59] CHRIS: Now, wait. Here’s a, wait, I have…here’s a question I never thought I’d ask. Now, when you put on the gloves and you’re sorting through the bird spit, what are you hoping to find in there?
[00:06:09] CALLER: Oh, oh, I’m like…there’s like little tiny feathers and like dirt and shit in it, because it’s like, birds, you know? So I’m just like picking the feathers out.
[00:06:21] CHRIS: You’re sifting those out so it’s a more pure version of the bird spit.
[00:06:25] CALLER: Yeah, yeah, and I can’t really do much or watch anything, so I just listen to your sweet, sweet voice.
[00:06:32] CHRIS: And is your grandma distributing the bird spit, or she has purchased the bird spit for her personal use and you’re cleaning it up for her?
[00:06:40] CALLER: She….yeah, the latter.
[00:06:41] CHRIS: OK, OK.
[00:06:44] CALLER: All right, and the second one…I would, you know, maybe I should have started with the second one, because the first one was more ridiculous. But the second one sounds a lot more like an operation in which I repackage medication that…like, I think, you know, honestly, this might be against the law, but it’s OK. It’s for a good cause. My mom works at a pharmacy, and so she…I don’t know if she steals it or buys it or whatever, but I don’t really know the circumstance, but at a certain point they like throw out a lot of medication that isn’t expired, so she takes it, or steals, I don’t know. But then I, like, pop them out, pop them out and then like count them out, like, again, wearing the rubber gloves and like weigh it out in tiny ziplock bags, and then my mom takes it back to Cambodia and gives it to monks and poor people who can’t afford medication, but…
[00:07:44] CHRIS: OK, so this is not like OxyContin. This is not, your mom’s not…
[00:07:48] CALLER: No, no, it’s…
[00:07:49] CHRIS: OK, good.
[00:07:50] CALLER: No, it’s like acetaminophen, which is like Tylenol, I think. Yeah.
[00:07:53] CHRIS: Yeah, yeah. Hello? Oh, OK.
[00:07:57] CALLER: But it is a little strange, like, in the midst of it and I’m just
surrounded by thousands and thousands of pills.
[00:08:09] CHRIS: Yeah, this is a weird way to spend…. You’re home from, are you still on winter break right now?
[00:08:15] CALLER: I—can you believe it?—I am still on winter break. I’m leaving in two days, and I’m really itching to go back.
[00:08:23] CHRIS: So you’ve spent your whole winter break putting on rubber gloves and sorting through…it sounds like you’re spanning both Eastern and Western medicine.
[00:08:32] CALLER: Yeah, I guess so, yeah.
[00:08:35] CHRIS: [laughs] Strange way to spend your first winter break.
[00:08:38] CALLER: A little bit, yeah. Yes. I also still cannot believe that I’m speaking to you on the phone right now, because this is actually the first time I’ve tried calling through. Didn’t think it would work, but here we are.
[00:08:50] CHRIS: Meant to be, yeah, meant to be.
[00:08:53] CALLER: Yeah.
[00:08:54] CHRIS: I know my first winter break when I was home, my dad had me work at the warehouse of his company at the time, and I fell asleep while standing on an assembly line, and when I woke up, I…my whole job was to stick a stick into a section of the machine if Visine bottles tipped over in it, and I had fallen asleep while standing up and it was being overrun, and I woke up and instead of using my stick in my right hand, I reached into the machine with my left hand. I have a big giant scar on my pinkie. And it was, everyone who worked that particular assembly line was an older woman. They would transfer older women onto this line when they were towards the end of their working years, so it was called the women’s line, and I was the first work stoppage injury on the women’s line in decades.
[00:09:47] CALLER: Well, you really made a name for yourself then, huh?
[00:09:50] CHRIS: I did, and my father was mocked mercilessly after that for his son.
[00:09:56] CALLER: I see.
[00:09:57] CHRIS: Injured on an assembly line.
[00:10:00] CALLER: I was once told a story by one of my RAs who worked at like a hay baling company, and he…well, long story short, someone’s entire body got inside of the hay baling machine and they were sliced and diced up.
[00:10:20] CHRIS: That ain’t cool. I don’t like that. Don’t like that imagery.
[00:10:25] CALLER: It’s a bit of a, yeah, but your factory setting reminded me of that.
[00:10:30] CHRIS: Yeah. Do you feel, as I did, I…my first winter break, I took it as a message from my father for him to say, “You better get your own job for the summer or you’ll be working in this factory all summer.” I took it as almost a “Here’s what I can offer you kids, so winter break, you do this, and it will motivate you to find something more in your wheelhouse for the summer.” Do you feel like your time spent sorting bird spit is a similar effort to get you motivated for the summer?
[00:11:02] CALLER: No, I don’t think so. I think it’s just like, they need to…like, someone needs to do it and I have hands to do this.
[00:11:11] CHRIS: Does no one else have hands?
[00:11:14] CALLER: So yeah. Wouldn’t that be tragic? No, everyone else does have hands, but I have, you know, youthful…
[00:11:20] CHRIS: Yes.
[00:11:21] CALLER: More diligent, whatever.
[00:11:23] CHRIS: Yes, your youthful, diligent hands are primed and ready for sorting feathers out of bird spit, yes.
[00:11:30] CALLER: Yeah, yeah, exactly. That’s what they, yep.
[00:11:35] CHRIS: I mean, I don’t understand, but I understand.
[00:11:41] CALLER: I wish that you could really like imagine and like actually see it happening.
[00:11:48] CHRIS: Really?
[00:11:49] CALLER: It is actually kind of the worst. Sometimes I’m doing it, I’m like, this is a little, a touch of hellish.
[00:11:55] CHRIS: Yeah. It sounds like it.
[00:12:01] CALLER: But yeah. Anyways, another thing that I’ve been thinking about that I thought that we could maybe talk about, because you just have, you just had a child, right?
[00:12:11] CHRIS: Yeah, I did. He turns nine months old today.
[00:12:14] CALLER: That’s quite a few months. I was listening to the episodes out of order, so I didn’t really get to gauge how old he was, because sometimes I’d be listening to them, like, you know, I feel like you get what I’m trying to say even though the sentence structure is poor.
[00:12:31] CHRIS: That’s OK. You’re allowed to have poor sentence structure around here. That’s fine. We don’t, we’re not grammar sticklers here on Beautiful/Anonymous, no way.
[00:12:44] CALLER: Great. That’s good news.
[00:12:45] CHRIS: Yeah.
[00:12:47] CALLER: Yeah, so I, you know, have never really liked children, to be honest, but I always intended on having my own kids, just because I kind of wanted to be in on it.
[00:12:58] CHRIS: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:12:59] CALLER: Like the whole, it changes your whole, like, I just wanted to be in on it, but…you know, the climate crisis is happening and it’s probably not ethical for me to have kids.
[00:13:11] CHRIS: It’s terrifying.
[00:13:13] CALLER: Or even possible.
[00:13:14] CHRIS: It’s really a lot, I think about it a lot. My wife is very much an environmentalist and really cares and goes to protests and it’s really scary. It’s brought a lot of information into the house where I realize that I’ve been a little willfully ignorant. But this climate change stuff is terrifying.
[00:13:35] CALLER: Yeah, it’s sort of like… It’s sort of hard to wrap my head around, because it is, like, impending doom and sort of an unprecedented type of events that are happening. But yeah, it’s a little weird to think that I probably won’t get old or like retire or get a senior citizen discount or anything like that. But yeah, so that’s been kind of strange, especially with…
[00:14:05] CHRIS: Wait, you mean you believe that, ’cause we’re talking about 50 years from now, effectively, 47 years, if you’re 18, that would be retirement age. You’re saying you don’t think you’ll make it, you think the world will descend into a hellish fire pit before that.
[00:14:21] CALLER: Well, I suppose that’s being a bit pessimistic, but I mean…yeah, effectively, yeah.
[00:14:30] CHRIS: Wow. And I know you can’t speak for everybody, but do you get the sense this is sort of a shared opinion amongst people your age right now? ‘Cause we are actively, people older than me are actively screwing over people of your age, actively.
[00:14:48] CALLER: Yeah, it’s a bit weird, just because of the…how big it is. I don’t know, I was talking to one of my friends yesterday about where I would want to eventually study abroad, and I was thinking Australia for a long time. But then just casually we were like, “Well, Australia probably won’t be habitable by then anyways, so I guess we’ll move on from that idea.” But it’s all very…I don’t know, maybe we just don’t know the whole premise of it, but it’s all rather casual and something that we all have come to understand pretty universally.
[00:15:23] CHRIS: So there’s almost a resigned existential acceptance of “the world’s dying, nobody’s fixing it, so let’s just assume that one continent will be a place we can go.” You guys are just kind of gritting your teeth and bearing it. That’s sad.
[00:15:41] CALLER: Yeah, it’s…I…well, OK. So I did some student government things in high school, and it crushed my heart and soul. But I’ve got roped into it again in college, which is better because I get paid for it, which is awesome. But it’s like, I’ll be doing stuff with sustainability, and the whole sort of like…I feel like there’s two sides of it, where it’s, “Oh yeah, we’re going to die in like ten years from now or whatever the projection is, so there’s a lot of work to be done” or “We’re going to die in ten years from now and no one is gonna do anything about it, so might as well not do anything anyway.” So I’m sort of kind of balancing those two out, trying to figure out where I land.
[00:16:29] CHRIS: It’s really, really scary. And you know what I think about, too? First of all, it’s terrifying just because of the basics. You see Australia on fire. You see California on fire. You see flooding in parts of the Midwest that have not experienced anything like this before. You hear Pete Buttigieg talking about, as a mayor, he experienced flooding that was supposed to be a once-in-a-millennium occurrence and it happened twice within a couple years. Just that’s scary, but the thing I think about a lot that I don’t think is maybe at the forefront of everybody’s minds is there’s so many other systemic problems that are actually either rooted in or exacerbated by climate change. And that’s a really…it’s like a whole system that we’re not fixing. For example, like, there’s so much unrest now about refugees and people, you know, especially, I think, in Europe right now. And I don’t have an in-depth understanding, but there’s tons of situations where people are getting in, you know, small boats and rafts and vessels in northern Africa and trying desperately to make it over to Europe. But a lot of that is rooted in the fact that if there are sections of the world that are uninhabitable, where there’s not enough water anymore, where there’s not enough food anymore, where you can’t live because of the climate, yeah, humans are going to go en masse to other areas. So it’s almost…it’s almost strange to me that some of the people who are very conservative, who don’t love taking in migrants, are also people fighting actively against enacting climate change laws, because a lot of these things go hand in hand. They go hand in hand, and we’re not doing anything!
[00:18:18] CALLER: Yeah, exactly, and sort of on a smaller scale, I have been thinking a lot about activism, and I know you’ve talked about it before on the show, and just…well, OK, so the college I go to is rather small and rich and white, which is not…a lot of the kids there went to private high schools and things like that, which is not my experience. But yeah, it’s sort of weird. I’ve sort of come to think about it as like laptop sticker activism, in which it’s sort of just…you’re doing it for social capital because being politically aware has become really trendy and things like that, and how it doesn’t do anything for the cause if you’re screaming about how you’re using metal straws and how no one else is and that kind of thing. So yeah, I totally agree.
[00:19:08] CHRIS: Yeah, it’s good to use metal and glass straws, although I’ll say, my wife brings glass straws with her everywhere, ’cause she’s a very thoughtful person who puts her money where my mouth is, and consistently she has let me use the glass straws—in fact, has at times insisted that I do—and I lose them every time. I will use them at the movie theater and I will not remove them from the cup, and she is heartbroken every time and I get so sad. I get so sad.
[00:19:34] CALLER: Yeah, I…you know, I have, I have my own, like, metal utensils and things like that. But it’s…it’s good to do those things. Also, I’ve never heard of glass straws before. I’ve always just heard of metal straws.
[00:19:48] CHRIS: Welcome to a whole new world.
[00:19:50] CALLER: Yeah… Thank you, thank you. Yeah, it’s not like those things are bad, it’s just if you’re yelling at other people for not doing it, maybe they can’t afford to buy those straws or can’t go on a vegan diet, and things like that, so it just makes the environmental movement pretty privileged and segregated and stuff.
[00:20:12] CHRIS: I’m with you. I’m with you.
[00:20:13] CALLER: That’s what I think about, yeah.
[00:20:14] CHRIS: Yeah, well it’s I think you’re right and I think it’s so…I think it is rather simple and easy to just go, “I’m gonna go out here and put my opinion out into the world and because of that, I’ve done my part.” I think a lot about…you know, I think where people, starting around my generation, I’ve been dropping the ball, you know, you see actual footage of generations older than mine, people took to the streets, like…Martin Luther King wasn’t on Twitter tweeting about his opinions, he was in Washington, D.C., and there were 100,000 people there with him. That’s…I may have just terribly misquoted that number, but you know what I mean, we’ve seen the footage, seen people marching, you see people marching over bridges for civil rights, you see people, you know, Stonewall, there was riots in the streets for gay rights. And I’m not encouraging violence, and I’m not wishing that, but I do think there’s something to be said for, activism needs to be active, right? It’s in the name, and…
[00:21:07] CALLER: Yeah,
[00:21:08] CHRIS: I think that, I actually feel like, if I was someone in power who didn’t want my power to be disrupted, I would be thanking God that there’s so many platforms right now that let people think they’ve done more than they have. I mean that. And I’m not a hater. Social media’s done a lot for activism. I’ve gotten…I have gotten, people have pointed out my ignorance on this as well. Black Lives Matter, the #MeToo movement, a lot of activism that fomented because of social media, because it’s a positive connector, but…I don’t know. You ever seen, you ever see, you would like…I just rewatched it, this documentary called Harlan County, USA? This thing…
[00:21:50] CALLER: I have not. I think I’ve heard the name, but no.
[00:21:53] CHRIS: It really, it gets my blood going. It’s about a miners’ strike in the ’70s where all these coal miners in Harlan County, West Virginia, they had tough lives, and the company in the corporate side of things was exploiting them, and they were all dying of black lung, and they weren’t getting any raises even as profits went up, and they barely got any vacation days, and their job was to descend into the bowels of the earth and deal with coal. Hard life. And they took to the streets, and when scabs tried to show up, they blocked their cars, and people showed up and pointed guns at them, so then they showed up and they pointed guns back, and again, the last thing I’m trying to encourage is gun violence, but at a certain point, I am with you that just saying “I use a metal straw and you don’t” and getting mad at each other about that is not…not gonna save the earth from melting. What’s gonna save the earth from melting is all the people who care about it figuring out a way to get out and be visible and force people to make it stop.
[00:22:59] CALLER: Yeah, definitely.
[00:23:00] CHRIS: Anyway… But what do I know?
[00:23:02] CALLER: I mean, we’ll see. I maybe am naively…yeah, me too. I was gonna say at the top of the call, I am so young. So I hope that I don’t come off as “I’m young and I know everything and everyone else is dumb.” I don’t mean that at all. Yeah.
[00:23:20] CHRIS: I’m gonna go ahead and tell you this, and I’ve expressed some version of this on the show. I think the fact that you have been made self-conscious enough about being young to have to say that, to have to offer that caveat, is a shame. And I think it’s very popular for people my age to be like, “Oh, these entitled millennials.” No. Millennials have a point. Social Security is not gonna last until they’re old enough. We got this gig economy that they’re being forced into progressively more where there are, sure, there are many more jobs, but people are working three or four of them. You’re seeing all of it work with climate change. We’re killing the world and not stopping it, even though scientists are telling us we have to, and you guys are gonna be left the one holding the buck…this idea that millennials complain too much: bullshit, they have a lot to complain about. And whenever I hear people say, “Oh, millennials,” I’m like, first of all, you sound…you sound ignorant. Like, you do. People shaking their fingers about millennials. Second of all: when you have young people been wrong in the history of America? When have social movements driven by young people proven incorrect? I can’t really think of one. I can’t really think of something where young people mobilized and disrupted the status quo and it proved to be wrong in the long run. I can’t think of one. So we need to listen to the millennials, and I don’t like that you have been made to feel like, “Oh, I’m a…I’m young, so I better apologize for having opinions. I don’t like that. Also, you’re 18. Are you even a millennial? What’s the one after millennial? Are you of that?
[00:25:01] CALLER: You know, I believe it’s generation Z, but this is one of those things that I just will never fully comprehend in my lifetime. There’s a few things that I just know that I, like computer science, I don’t know, I just don’t know how it works. Animation, I will never understand how it works. And the whole, like, figuring out the generations thing—I believe it’s generation Z. And then it’s like, zoomers? Like boomers…
[00:25:29] CHRIS: Zoomers, you’re called the zoomers? Oh, I like that. I’m an Xennial. I’m in a very strange set of years where I’m straddling Generation X, where my younger years I had the Generation X experience and my older years I had the millennial experience. I was the beginning wave of the millennials, final gasp of Gen X. That’s me. So I grew up playing Oregon Trail on an Apple IIe. You probably don’t know what any of that means.
[00:25:58] CALLER: I do know Oregon Trail on my first phone, it was the only free game, so I played the first round of it, but that’s my extent.
[00:26:07] CHRIS: [laughs] “On my first phone.” Yes, I went on BBS systems. Do you know, have you ever heard of BBS systems? Before the internet. I grew up, the internet didn’t exist. How’s that make you feel?
[00:26:16] CALLER: I’m ashamed to say that I don’t know what that system is.
[00:26:18] CHRIS: No, you shouldn’t be ashamed. BBS systems were the precursor to the internet where you’d use a phone connected to your computer to dial into someone else’s computer and they’d leave a bulletin board up, so a bulletin board system. And that’s how you connected with other people, and it moved very slow. Anyway, I’m with you. I’m with you. Climate change is scary. You’re 18 right now. Australia’s on fire. Nobody’s doing anything about it. Yeah, you should be scared. Don’t apologize for having that opinion.
[00:26:50] CALLER: Well, thank you, thank you for…thank you for being nice. [laughs] Another thing that I wanted to talk about that I kind of forgot to mention earlier was that I’ve sort of been piecing together that my parents had an arranged green card marriage and no one told me.
[00:27:12] CHRIS: [music transition] And we’re gonna pause, ’cause that is what they call in the biz a cliffhanger. Check out the ads. We’ll be right back.
[00:27:34] CHRIS: Thanks to all of the advertisers who help bring this show to the world. Now let’s get back to the phone call.
[00:27:40] CALLER: Another thing that I wanted to talk about that I kind of forgot to mention earlier was that I’ve sort of been piecing together that my parents had an arranged green card marriage and no one told me.
[00:27:54] CHRIS: [laughs] How do you…OK, I don’t mean to laugh, but I will…can I also say this? You’re an 18-year-old.
[00:28:00] CALLER: Yeah.
[00:28:01] CHRIS: You have a sense of timing and a way to put your story out there with these little teases in a way that’s beyond your years. Very well done on that. How does one piece together that your parents’ marriage was an arranged green card marriage?
[00:28:16] CALLER: Well, OK, so I’ll tell you the story and…I had told this story to some of my new friends at college, and they were saying like, “[beep], this kind of sounds like a green card marriage.” And I was like, “You know what? You’ve made points. I think you’re right.” So basically, my dad, he lived in the United States, and then he knew my mom’s older brother and they were coworkers, and then my uncle was like, “Oh, you’re trying to get married? My sister’s trying to get married.” So then my dad flew to Cambodia, met my mom, and they got married the next day. And then they flew back to the United States and then started a family and whatever.
[00:28:55] CHRIS: They got married the day after they met.
[00:28:59] CALLER: Yeah, yeah. And I believe that that was like planned out ahead of time. And then on this break, talking to some of my cousins, they were talk…like, they’re kind of older than I am, so in their twenties, and they were saying how their dad was trying to set them up with people, and basically someone had just said like, “Oh, yeah, [beep] parents had an arranged marriage and that worked out pretty well, so…” And that’s the first time I have gotten confirmation that it was, in fact, an arranged marriage. And it definitely sounds like one. I don’t know why I didn’t put it together earlier, but yeah.
[00:29:35] CHRIS: Wow. And how’s that make you feel?
[00:29:38] CALLER: You know, it feels kind of, it feels kind of weird. I…it makes sense. It all makes sense in hindsight, putting everything together. It does make sense, and I feel like I should feel a certain feeling of, like, invalidity, but I don’t. I’m not really sure. Yeah.
[00:30:01] CHRIS: That’s good, I’m glad to hear it didn’t throw you for too much of a loop or feel inval… Do you plan on asking either of them about it?
[00:30:09] CALLER: Definitely not. Not on the not on the docket anytime soon, but maybe eventually.
[00:30:14] CHRIS: [laughs] Do you have any siblings?
[00:30:17] CALLER: I do, I have one older brother.
[00:30:19] CHRIS: Have you talked to your older brother about this?
[00:30:22] CALLER: I think he might…I haven’t, but I feel like he might just be like, “Yeah, obviously. How did you not put it together sooner?”
[00:30:33] CHRIS: [laughs] Wow, so not on the docket at all. You just think it would be too much of an uncomfortable conversation?
[00:30:39] CALLER: Yeah, I, you know, this may be opening another can of worms that we don’t need to get to, but I don’t really talk to them that often. Even though I am here in this house with them now, I don’t really…yeah.
[00:30:54] CHRIS: You don’t really interact with your folks.
[00:30:57] CALLER: Not too often, no.
[00:30:59] CHRIS: Yeah. Well, you know, you said you don’t want to get into it too deep and it’s a can of worms, so I won’t, I’m not gonna put any pressure on that. Do you, can I ask, do you get the…
[00:31:08] CALLER: Maybe eventually, the hour’s still young. Sorry, what were you gonna say?
[00:31:11] CHRIS: Do you…well, you know, green card marriages, you know, I think maybe the perception of them is that sometimes they don’t last. But it sounds like your parents are still together. Do you think they have…do you think they are happy together?
[00:31:31] CALLER: No, I don’t. I was gonna think about it a little bit, but you know, I’m not really sure. I think…you’ve mentioned it a bit before, also, that your dad was sort of working a lot, and that’s the case with my mom in that she works like 14-hour days or something. And so I just think they don’t really interact that often either, so there’s not really…I don’t know, I think the reason why I think it is for the purposes of like a green card marriage is that they’ve been like advocating for—I don’t really know the specific terminology, but like, have been advocating for bringing over some of my relatives from Cambodia since they have gotten married and continue to do so. So I think they’re content, maybe not overjoyed to be together, I don’t really know. But yeah, I would go to my friends houses and their parents would be talking about, like, TV shows that they watch together and stuff like that, and it was just kind of a little weird ’cause that wasn’t my experience.
[00:32:36] CHRIS: Yeah. And it sounds like when you were saying before, you know, I’m sure there were listeners who are concerned that you were being dragged into what sounds like some sort of illegal pill exporting scheme, but it does sound like, it does sound like your mom has a real dedication. It’s coming together, right? Wants to bring relatives over, is sending a lot of necessities back. Sounds like your mom has a little bit of a mission in life that’s maybe about trying to take care of some people back in Cambodia.
[00:33:08] CALLER: Yeah, yeah. My mom is definitely, like, a very good, selfless person and has dedicated a lot of her life to, yeah, like what you just said. But that does mean less of her life is dedicated to our immediate family, which has been kind of interesting to think about and how it’s affected me and things like that, but yeah.
[00:33:29] CHRIS: Yeah, I hear you. I had a little bit of a falling-out with my parents when I was 18. I don’t think I’ve ever spoken about this publicly. But I had a little bit of a falling-out right at the same age.
[00:33:41] CALLER: Hmm, yeah, it’s…I know that it’s sort of the age to do so, but I don’t know if it’s an age thing or like a circumstantial thing, but yeah.
[00:33:51] CHRIS: Well, I mean, it does, it does sound like you’ve got a lot to sort out. It sounds like there’s an environment you’ve been raised in that maybe you’re just kind of coming to the realizations now of why things have kind of had the tone that they’ve had, and that’s a lot to sort out, so I get how you maybe need to keep some distance to kind of find some firm footing to deal with that.
[00:34:14] CALLER: Yeah, it’s a bit of an interesting position to be in, especially ’cause, just going to college, I’ve been exposed to the label of “mixed race,” which I always knew I was, but never…I don’t know, I never really fully identified with being a person of color, just because I’m…I mean, if you were to see me, I’ve been told that I’m rather racially ambiguous.
[00:34:40] CHRIS: Mm-hmm.
[00:34:41] CALLER: So a lot of people, like some people think I’m Hawaiian ’cause I used to live in Hawaii, but when I go to Cambodia, people think I’m half French, half Indian or like…yeah, I get the weirdest guesses, but yeah, that’s been interesting to think about as well.
[00:34:58] CHRIS: So…and then you wind up at a college that you say is very wealthy and white. So do you feel more like a person of color than you used to?
[00:35:09] CALLER: Yes, yeah. Just ’cause the high school that I went to, I mean, it wasn’t like flying colors for diversity, but in comparison to the college I currently attend, it was better. And I think here, my, like, if I would ask my friends, like, “Do you think I’m white-passing?” they would probably say yeah, but then at, back at school, like at college, I mean, I am definitely not. So it’s sort of interesting to think about, like, am I white-passing? Depending on who I’m with or what I’m wearing or what I’m doing and how, like, that affects people’s perception of me as a person.
[00:35:50] CHRIS: It’s…it’s not easy, being 18. People think it is. People look back with rose-colored glasses and they go, “Oh, it’s so easy to be young.” It’s not. It’s not. And you know what? We don’t have shared experiences in the specifics, but I remember when I left my house for the first time and left my hometown for the first time. And I went to college in the same state, I went to a state school. It wasn’t very small and insular. But you start to realize, oh, there’s aspects to how I grew up that weren’t standard and I didn’t know that ’cause I was in them. And I just…like for me, I…I started to realize, oh, there was an immense level of bullying in the school system I went with, and like, violence, and, you know, not, I shouldn’t say an immense amount of violence, but enough, and it got swept under the rug, and you had to watch your own back, and it conditioned us to be…really have our guards up and to kind of feel aggre…like, I found that I was this, like, tiny little late-bloomer kid my freshman year, but I was like weirdly aggressive. And you start to realize, oh, that’s because of that. And then I’m falling into depression. My parents sold my childhood home, and they didn’t really understand that I was already falling into some depression stuff. Realizing that maybe there’s some stuff I viewed as unfair, I was very angry. Sold my house, I didn’t talk to ’em for a few months, and it was hard. But then eventually had my back. Sounds like a similar thing. You’re like, “Oh, I was raised in a environment where I didn’t have to live a full experience in terms of feeling like a person of color, now I’m in this lily-white environment where I am.” That’s…to all of a sudden get hit with that when you’re 18, that’s tough. To all of a sudden realize, “Oh, now that I’m getting some distance from my house, people are asking me, wait, is this an arranged marriage you’re describing, a green card marriage”—that’s a lot to sort out. It’s not easy being 18. It’s not.
[00:37:47] CALLER: Yeah, sometimes I think…I feel like it…I don’t know, I feel like it is. And sometimes I’m like, well, this seems hard, but it’s probably not that bad. But what if it is actually hard and…so I’m not giving myself credit, but I don’t know if that’s even important to think about.
[00:38:06] CHRIS: Yeah, well, it is. It’s hard to enter the world on your own terms for the first time and realize that…the world defines you as much as you get to define your world, if that makes sense. Like, these are revelations that are hitting you, where you’re going, “Oh, shit, this has always been true, and I’m just coming to fully realize that now.” It’s head-spinning. At the same time, being 18, man, I wish I could go back and realize that I should have been less in love with my own angst. I wish I could go back and realize, man, I was also living on my own for the first time. I was eating in a dining hall, I didn’t have to worry about that. I was meeting new people. I was able to be young and make mistakes, and I should have been—I always think back—I should have been out there dating more and not being so, like, sad and scared, I should have been enjoying it more than I was. So I hope you have that too, but those things can coexist. The joy of being young can coexist with the difficulty of coming to terms with who you are in the world, not under the umbrella of any other…not under your parents, not under a school that’s protecting you, just you are in the world now and you gotta figure out who you are in that world. That’s jarring. That’s jarring, and it’s fair to feel it.
[00:39:32] CALLER: Yeah, I think that since it’s pretty much my only responsibility—I mean, you know, other than actual academics and school. But other than that, that’s pretty much what I have to focus on, so I would say that’s a pretty good to-do list in comparison to some others.
[00:39:49] CHRIS: Just live the life of an 18-year-old while also coming to terms with who you are? That’s pretty good to-do list.
[00:39:56] CALLER: I think so too, yeah. [laughs]
[00:39:59] CHRIS: What’s the most fun about being 18 right now? What’s the best part of it?
[00:40:05] CALLER: Well, the first thing that came to mind, I don’t know if it’s necessarily the most fun thing, but the first thing that came to mind when you asked was that I will be able to vote in the next presidential election, which will be sort of interesting. I think…the most fun about being 18, I don’t really know. The school that I go to is, frankly, in the ass crack of nowhere.
[00:40:26] CHRIS: OK, OK.
[00:40:27] CALLER: Pardon me, Sally. But, so there’s not really…
[00:40:32] CHRIS: That’s the first ever “Pardon me, Sally.” “Sorry, Sally” has been a catchphrase for years. You’re the first person to update it to a more polite and genteel “Pardon me, Sally.” I’ll have to let her know. Maybe we’ll have a new T-shirt someday. Okay, you were saying, I interrupted. So it’s in the ass crack of nowhere.
[00:40:48] CALLER: No, no, you’re good. Yeah, so there’s no like stereotypical sort of what you would think college kids get up to as far as, like, clubs or, like, big…I live in the suburbs of a big city and have a lot of friends who go to a school in a big city, so I kind of get to see and hear what they’re doing and not do that, which is totally fine. I love the school that I go to. So in short, I don’t really know what is fun at 18.
[00:41:23] CHRIS: Wow. So, scariest part: climate change. The death of the Earth. Best part? I don’t even know. That’s a tough set of circumstances, right there. Can’t name, can’t even name a thing. Best part, literally can’t think of a thing. Worst part, we’re killing the world. That’s a broad range.
[00:41:49] CALLER: Not to say that I, you know, I live a great life, I have wonderful friends. Probably the best part of my life, not necessarily of being 18, but my life generally speaking, is that I have great friends back home and also at school, so…
[00:42:06] CHRIS: That’s good.
00:42:08] CALLER: There’s my final answer.
[00:42:09] CHRIS: Final answer, like Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Is that a show you are aware of?
[00:42:16] CALLER: It is a show that I am, in fact, aware of.
[00:42:19] CHRIS: Now, I don’t want to keep harping on how young you are, ’cause who cares? It’s reductive. That being said, when you listen to this show, do I strike you as an old man?
[00:42:29] CALLER: Not particularly. No.
[00:42:32] CHRIS: Nice.
[00:42:35] CALLER: I think…I think when I had mentioned earlier apologizing for being so young, I think that may have come from—and this may sound mean, and I’m sorry, but some of the other episodes that include younger callers, I maybe have just found it too, found myself in it too much and, like, had to turn it off because…I don’t know why, but…
[00:43:02] CHRIS: So you’re on guard?
[00:43:03] CALLER: Yeah.
[00:43:02] CHRIS: You’re on guard. You feel like the youth have represented themselves in a way that, at points, you have had to step away from or cringed at, and you want to make sure that you represent yourself and your generation in a more straightforward and thoughtful way.
[00:43:19] CALLER: I hope so. Yeah.
[00:43:20] CHRIS: You’re killing it. You’re doing great.
[00:43:23] CALLER: Thank you, thank you. Here’s another little one-liner that I have: I have clinically dry eyes due to a lack of oil glands in my eyelids.
[00:43:34] CHRIS: What are you talking…what? What are you talking about?
[00:43:38] CALLER: So, you know, like the feeling if you’ve been looking at a computer screen for too long and then you look away and you close your eyes and it kind of like hurts a little bit? That’s what my eyes feel like all the time.
[00:43:49] CHRIS: So you constantly have to put eye drops in?
[00:43:53] CALLER: You know, that was the plan, and then for some reason, we kind of just stopped going to the eye doctor. I don’t really know. Hopefully I’m not set up for vision loss in the future, but yeah, I had like multiple prescription eye drops and had to put like…like, I don’t know, it’s like the consistency of Vaseline, but I had to put it in my eyes before I went to sleep, because apparently when I blink, I don’t shut my eyes all the way or something?
[00:44:22] CHRIS: So you’re sitting there, you’re just sitting here slugging it out in the world, figuring out who you are, reconciling your parents’ relationship, embracing your identity in a way you never have had to before, sorting out bird spit with gloves on, and you gotta rub Vaseline in your eyes. This is not easy.
[00:44:40] CALLER: Well, I…yeah.
[00:44:42] CHRIS: You used to, you abandoned the Vaseline eyes. I can see why. Although I hope you’re not doing permanent damage, like you said.
[00:44:46] CALLER: I did, yes.
[00:44:47] CHRIS: So you can never wear contacts, huh?
[00:44:49] CALLER: You know, I can’t, but I also have good vision, so it’s not something I need to worry about anyway.
[00:44:56] CHRIS: Dry eyes but 20/20 vision.
[00:44:58] CALLER: I didn’t mean to flex on you there, sorry.
[00:45:00] CHRIS: I would trade it in a heartbeat. If I could have 20/20 vision but it meant I had to rub Vaseline in my eyes every night, I would make that trade. I would like that.
[00:45:08] CALLER: Yes, you know, it’s a great feeling waking up, opening my eyes and being able to see everything crystal clear. Great feeling.
[00:45:15] CHRIS: Damn, harsh. Not me. I clamor around on the dresser like a fool looking for my spectacles. I’m thinking about getting Lasik, though, although I think my glasses, people have said that’s like my whole brand. But I also am like, who gives a shit about brand? I’m giving up. I don’t need a career anymore.
[00:45:33] CALLER: You know, the world is going to explode soon anyways. Who cares about brand?
[00:45:38] CHRIS: Now, what do we have to do? This is something that’s clearly depressing you. What would need to happen in terms of climate change for you to say, “Thank god we’re finally taking some action where I feel like I’m not gonna die before I’m at retirement age”? All jokes aside, you said that before, you were like, “I’m not even gonna be around for retirement money.” You think that the world is gonna end in the next 40 years and you’re gonna be the one who has to sit there and see it, and that sounds like an apocalypse. What needs to happen for you to go, “Oh, thank god, we’re righting the ship on this one”?
[00:46:10] CHRIS: [music transition] I think that’s a question all of us are asking ourselves all the time, progressively, more and more. Maybe our caller is the one who has the answer that’s going to fix everything. You’re gonna have to listen to the ads and then come back to find out.
[00:46:27] CHRIS: Thanks again to all our advertisers. Now we’re gonna finish off the phone call.
[00:46:35] CHRIS: What needs to happen for you to go, “Oh, thank god, we’re righting the ship on this one”?
[00:46:40] CALLER: I have no idea, which is also a super awesome part of that, is that there’s just so much… Well, OK. We’re gonna, I’m gonna go off on a little tangent here, and I feel like maybe I shouldn’t need to explain it, but I didn’t really understand it before I went to school and sort of put it together, but it’s the whole system, the whole system is sort of broken. Like, I didn’t realize that the reason why people were saying, like, “there’s no ethical consumption under capitalism” is because of the system of capitalism and how it is just sort of reaching for exponential growth, and we do not have an exponential planet, and so eventually there will be less planet to capitalize off of, and that’s what’s causing these fires and natural disasters and things like that, which are killing people, effectively. So it’s just sort of the whole system itself is broken, and there’s not really anything that can be done about it necessarily, because I think some people think that it’s…it can be the same system if we have electric cars, or it can be the same exact system with bamboo toothbrushes. And it’s just sort of a replacement, but it’s…it just doesn’t work that way, so yeah, I don’t know.
[00:47:57] CHRIS: Well, oil and petroleum relate to both of those, and people make a lot of money. I find myself thinking about that very often. I find myself thinking very often of like, when…when can we let money stop being the ultimate priority, in terms of like what you said, like right there. Electric cars, we have the technology right now. Undoubtedly, if we all had those, it would be a safer world in the next few decades. Undoubtedly, if the government would subsidize or give big tax breaks to people for getting electric cars—and maybe they do already, but if they made it easier and prioritized it, it would happen, but, I don’t know, we’re allies with some countries that got a lot of oil, and a lot of people are making money off of that, so that’s gonna be tough to change. It makes me very sad. Money is the priority.
[00:48:47] CALLER: I’m sort of thinking about it as, like…yeah, I agree. I’m thinking about it in the sense that money will always be the priority. So, I don’t know, I feel like I go back and forth between very optimistic and very pessimistic. But yeah, only time will tell, I suppose.
[00:49:06] CHRIS: Yeah. Yeah, this…like here’s another one that really bothers me. It’s documented that there are concentration camps in China right now. There are…there are people in China, and there’s really gruesome stories that people’s organs are being removed while they’re alive. It’s horrifying. It’s actual horrifying stuff that we as a society have sworn up and down for 70 years we would never let happen again, and we’re letting it happen again. Why? Because really, it seems to me like the only way to justify it is because China is such a big part of the world economy and nobody wants to mess with that balance. But that’s evil. And it has not even been a century since the last time that happened. And we…my whole life you’ve heard the phrase “never again, never again.” Well, it’s again, and it’s happening, and we’re working on trade deals instead of saying, “Hey, we have to free those people that you have in these camps. We have to, whatever these camps are about. Whatever it is, this needs to end.” Not doing it. Too much money on the line. It’s really sad, really scary.
[00:50:16] CALLER: Yeah, there is…I think it…not to make this entire call extremely sad, but…
[00:50:22] CHRIS: Have you listened to the show before?
[00:50:26] CALLER: [laughs] There’s just so many bad things going on that…it’s just, what can we focus on? And there’s nothing that will draw the attention of…I guess there’s nothing that would draw the attention of everyone so that something gets done about one particular issue, but there’s just so much that the attention is sort of spread across… [cuts out, unclear voices] Hello?
[00:50:54] CHRIS: Hello? Yeah, what’s that… Is someone there now and you can’t speak as freely in front of them?
[00:51:00] CALLER: [laughs] No, my grandma is asking me if I want egg rolls.
[00:51:05] CHRIS: Do you?
[00:51:07] CALLER: Of course I do. What kind of question is that, Chris?
[00:51:10] CHRIS: Yeah, that’s what I’m saying. You’re talking about how you’re, like, feeling this sense of hopelessness right now, but I bet egg rolls will make you feel a little better.
[00:51:17] CALLER: Egg rolls sound pretty good, not gonna lie.
[00:51:19] CHRIS: I wish I had some egg rolls. Are these homemade egg rolls?
[00:51:24] CALLER: They are homemade egg rolls. And I mean, I know that there are a lot of grandmas out there making egg rolls left and right: I do believe that my grandma makes the best egg roll.
[00:51:37] CHRIS: I want to try your grandma’s egg rolls. That sounded weird.
[00:51:40] CALLER: Well…no, it’s all right, I got what you meant.
[00:51:46] CHRIS: I literally want to try her egg rolls. No innuendo.
[00:51:47] CALLER: [laughs] I have family who live on the East Coast who have been asking us to send egg rolls to them, and I’ve looked into how to mail frozen goods, and it is very expensive and very complicated. But I will try my best.
[00:52:07] CHRIS: Gotta get it done. Gotta get it done. People want to live the family tradition. I was…I was scared you were gonna say, “My grandma came into the room and said, why are you on the phone this long? This bird spit is not gonna remove feathers from itself.”
[00:52:20] CALLER: [laughs] She probably…that was probably the next sentence she was gonna say.
[00:52:30] CHRIS: Ain’t that the dichotomy of life? Sitting here and talking about how there’s so many problems with the world that you feel jammed up and hopeless about, where do you even begin to fix them? But then you get a egg roll, and maybe it’s a reminder that the small, simple, happy family moments still go a long way.
[00:52:47] CALLER: Yeah, yeah. I think, you know, it may be in part of listening to this show for most of my, like, teenage years, but I think I’ve become sort of more…more of a people person, I guess? Like, I always ask people how their day is going. And that’s not to like praise myself for that, but it’s just, I used to be very, very shy and introverted and have been displaying some extroverted tendencies recently, which has been sort of weird, but yeah, I think it’s, you know, all due to you, Chris, my whole character development.
[00:53:20] CHRIS: Well, happy to be so…I’ll tell you, ’cause I’ve walked a similar path where I very much identify as an introvert, but I think because of the nature of my career and being a standup and this show, I’m around people and I have to be more extroverted. And I really try, and it’s nice, it’s a nice change in my life that makes me feel better, and I can tell it makes other people feel good to feel like someone’s reaching out. The only problem is that when my introversion still kicks in, it really can let people down sometimes. Sometimes people come up to me, “Oh, I listen to your show, man.” I’ll be like, “Oh, thank you so much.” And then, and then I just scurry away like a little rat man, and then people feel like they did something wrong ’cause I’m the guy who’s supposed to talk to everybody. Sometimes I’m just scared of the world in my own right.
[00:54:08] CALLER: Yeah, I think I can agree to that, in which I sort of just operate with the understanding that it will be awkward, and then just moving on from that and sort of not taking it as heavily as I used to.
[00:54:24] CHRIS: Every now and then it’s gonna happen. I thought you were going to say, “I can agree with that. You are a rat man.” I thought that’s what you were gonna…agree with, my assessment.
[00:54:32] CALLER: You know, I, that was the plan, but I decided to change gears at the last second, didn’t want to offend or anything.
[00:54:39] CHRIS: That’s fair. Hey, I’m hungry. What’s in the egg rolls?
[00:54:42] CALLER: Although you did self-identify.
[00:54:43] CHRIS: I did self-identify as a rat man.
[00:54:47] CALLER: I just remembered there is pork in them, and you do not eat that.
[00:54:52] CHRIS: Yeah, but it sounds delicious. Pork’s delicious.
[00:54:55] CALLER: It is like a secret recipe that she’s never written down, so I’ve tried following her around while she’s making it, and it’s just sort of like mysterious brown powder and like one sprinkle of mysterious white powder. Not to insinuate that it is cocaine, but I’m sure it’s just some sort of like cornstarch or something, but…
[00:55:19] CHRIS: So your grandma makes secret egg rolls. Now, can I ask…
[00:55:25] CALLER: Effectively, yes.
[00:55:27] CHRIS: Have you ever wondered if you’re eating some of that bird spit in those egg rolls?
[00:55:33] CALLER: Definitely not. It is far too expensive. When I say it’s expensive, it’s like, up there with precious metals expensive.
[00:55:41] CHRIS: And what is it used for? What is…what is this precious-metal-expensive spit? What is it used for?
[00:55:47] CALLER: I’m not sure.
[00:55:49] CHRIS: I gotta Google this.
[00:55:50] CALLER: You can probably look it up. Yeah, you just have to look up, like, bird spit. Because she just sort of drinks it, like puts it in a drink and drinks it, and then it, I don’t know what specifically it does, but it’s supposed to be beneficial for your health in some way.
[00:56:12] CHRIS: So I just found the article, “Bird Saliva: The Premium Delicacy in Southeast Asia.”
[00:56:18] CALLER: Yeah, yep. I have a feeling it is just a very, very strong placebo effect.
[00:56:24] CHRIS: “Edible bird’s nests are a huge market in Asia and are becoming more popular in the US.” Bird’s nest soup. Saliva…it’s a renowned delicacy in Southeast Asia. Bird saliva. Who knew? Oh, yeah, there’s a picture of it. It looks like weird, clear tapioca.
[00:56:45] CALLER: Yeah, yep, exactly. That is what I’ll be picking through at the end of this call.
[00:56:55] CHRIS: [laughs] I gotta try some of this stuff. Now I gotta look up where I can get bird’s nest soup in New York City. Although is that vegetarian? I don’t know. I gotta think long and hard about this.
[00:57:05] CALLER: Well…like, because it’s so expensive, it’s so expensive to purchase at the amount that my grandma buys it that my uncle who lives in Cambodia has constructed his own, like…I mean, it’s not a factory, it’s just…he turned his house into like a bird house, where, like, the birds are spitting, basically, so that we don’t have to buy it anymore, that we can just get it from my uncle.
[00:57:39] CHRIS: So your uncle is harvesting bird spit.
[00:57:44] CALLER: The last I heard, yeah.
[00:57:47] CHRIS: Wow.
[00:57:48] CALLER: So it’s just like, if you drive through the Cambodian countryside, there’s just these huge prison-like-looking buildings with a bunch of birds flying in and out of it, and that’s where they, you know, spit, I guess.
[00:58:04] CHRIS: There’s a New York Times article about how it’s a delicacy harvested from the mouths of swiftlets. I don’t even know what a swiftlet is. It’s supposed to improve your immune system, skin and sex drive.
[00:58:18] CALLER: Well…that is very strange to hear you say, considering that my grandma is consuming it.
[00:58:24] CHRIS: Have you noticed…no, I can’t. I have to. Have you noticed an increase in your grandma’s sex drive? I’m so sorry I asked. How can I not?
[00:58:33] CALLER: No, no. I, you know, personally, I haven’t. But, you know, how am I supposed to know what she gets up to when I’m away at school?
[00:58:45] CHRIS: Amazing answer. I just found another article that says, “The high cost of bird’s nest soup comes from the dangerous retrieval process and the painstaking cleaning they go through to become safe to eat.” You’re the one doing that painstaking cleaning.
[00:58:58] CALLER: I’m the painstaking cleaner.
[00:59:00] CHRIS: It’s one of the most expensive delicacies in the world! It’s called the caviar of the East. “The main ingredient, the nest of the swiftlet bird, costs anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000 per kilogram”? A single bowl of it will cost you between $30 and $100?
[00:59:19] CALLER: Yeah, pretty crazy, right? There’s like…well, I don’t want to like out myself, I mean, it is anonymous, but there’s a bunch of it in my house right now.
[00:59:27] CHRIS: People would burn down your house to get this stuff. In Malaysia they have to climb mountains to get into caves to get this stuff. Oh my god.
[00:59:38] CALLER: Yep.
[00:59:39] CHRIS: I’m taking this really seriously now, who knew? Who knew? Sorry, OK, I’m gonna stop looking up bird saliva so we can get back on track.
[00:59:50] CALLER: All right.
[00:59:53] CHRIS: We got about three and a half minutes left.
[00:59:55] CALLER: Jeepers creepers. Yeah, that makes sense, you know, it has been close to an hour.
[01:00:02] CHRIS: I really hope that the people my age and older start paying more attention to people your age. And I hope that they right the ship and that since we made it so scary for you, that you protect the earth for people my son’s age.
[01:00:16] CALLER: Hopefully, yeah. That’s what I’m…that’s what I’m hoping on, or counting on. Yeah.
[01:00:20] CHRIS: I hope you get the chance.
[01:00:24] CALLER: Hey, yeah, I guess, I guess we’ll see, but for now, I’m staying optimistic slash pessimistic when it comes to it. Not really sure, but I think we’ll be fine. And if we’re not? That is also fine.
[01:00:38] CHRIS: No, no, no, don’t give up, you can’t give up. We need your youthful energy to fix this. We can’t just go if nothing, if it’s not…no. We need you to go, “We gotta get these plastics out of the ocean, we got to stop burning down the Amazon, we gotta actually implement recycling programs that work, we gotta stop relying on fossil fuels. We have to do it.” We need you guys to go build more wind farms, build more solar, make it easy. We need you guys. I can’t hear you, the youth, saying, “And if nothing happens, it’s fine.” That’s so sad. We’ve broken you. The old people have broken you.
[01:01:09] CALLER: Maybe it’s just ’cause I woke up at noon. But yeah, don’t, don’t worry, we’ll get on it. We’re working on it.
[01:01:17] CHRIS: I need you guys to just keep shouting, “OK, boomer.” I need you to shout “OK, boomer” to the hills so that the boomers start listening and then my generation isn’t off the hook.
[01:01:29] CALLER: I will, I will never stop shouting it at the tippy-top of my lungs, don’t you worry.
[01:01:33] CHRIS: All right. I hope so. When do you, you head back to school in a couple of days, you said?
[01:01:41] CALLER: On Sunday, yes. I am beyond excited to be back, but…
[01:01:46] CHRIS: Are you gonna…are you gonna miss sorting pills and bird spit, or are you happy to get back to academic studies?
[01:01:56] CALLER: I think I’ll miss the opportunity that it gave to me to listen to great podcasts such as your own.
[01:02:02] CHRIS: Thank you.
[01:02:04] CALLER: Yeah, probably not. It was…when they say it’s painstaking, it is absolutely painstaking.
[01:02:16] CHRIS: [laughs] Yeah, you gotta go…yeah, you can’t be…can’t be doing that. Your grandma seems cool, though.
[01:02:24] CALLER: Yeah, she’s…she’s all right. She’s just hanging out. You know how grandmas are.
[01:02:29] CHRIS: Yeah, I miss my grandmas. My grandmas were cool ladies.
[01:02:34] CALLER: Yep. Well, I have a couple of fine egg rolls to enjoy.
[01:02:40] CHRIS: I’m jealous. Enjoy your egg rolls.
[01:02:43] CALLER: So I have no idea…yeah.
[01:02:45] CHRIS: Thank you for calling. Please save the earth.
[01:02:47] CALLER: Of course.
[01:02:48] CHRIS: My son needs you.
[01:02:49] CALLER: I will try my best. Don’t worry, I’ll work on it.
[01:02:53] CHRIS: Embrace all the positives about capitalism, and please stop the mad dash towards…towards profit over safety and health. Please, I’m begging you. And also, I think that you represented yourself and your generation well and you have nothing to worry about.
[01:03:10] CALLER: Thank you, thank you. I do have…listening back will be a cringy process, but it’s fine.
[01:03:16] CHRIS: Nah, you nailed it. I talk too much. You’re gonna listen and be like, “Gethard talked too much, I did fine.”
[01:03:23] CALLER: [laughs] Well, have a nice day. Thank you for the chat.
[01:03:25] CHRIS: You too. Please stop with the bird spit and let’s just move on. Okay. Thank you so much.
[01:03:33] CALLER: [laughs] All right, bye. [ring]
[01:03:40] CHRIS: Caller, thank you so much for calling in and letting us know about the bird spit and…most of all the bird spit. The bird spit really…now I gotta go try to find this weird soup. Who knew? Thank you for calling in. Thank you to Jared O’Connell, Anita Flores, Jordan Allyn in the booth. Thank you, Shellshag, for the music. ChrisGeth.com if you wanna know about me and when I’m out on the road. Hey, if you like the show, go to Apple Podcasts—when you rate, review and subscribe, it really helps. We’ll see you next time.
[NEXT EPISODE PREVIEW]
[01:04:28] CHRIS: [music transition] Next time on Beautiful/Anonymous, me and a charming caller talk all about Baltimore and the owner of the Knicks’ crazy band, and then we start talking about identity itself. It’s a fun one.
[01:04:44] CALLER: I have a lot of thoughts about, like, how people who are born with a dick are raised, in terms of, like, how to be in general. Toxic masculinity and everything with that is like a mess, but especially, like, how we’re raised to be sexually and, like, what we expect, how we should expect ourselves to be like, whether we expect ourselves to be hypersexual and dominant. For me, that’s like had a real negative impact, and I’ve had the, you know, recognizing that I am who I am and that isn’t this picture-perfect definition of, like, what a man is.
[01:05:18] CHRIS: That’s next time on Beautiful/Anonymous.
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