February 26, 2018
EP. 101 — English Idyll
Ever heard of “granary bread?” Yeah? Then you’re probably British, like this week’s caller. If not, then get out your malted barley and listen to Gethard celebrate cultural differences with a mother and social media expert from England’s rural south. Opening up about difficulties in her past, she says: “you know, it was 14 years ago, but it’s still one of those things, when I open my heart to a stranger on the phone, can still make me cry.”
This episode is brought to you by Casper Mattresses (www.casper.com/beautiful), Talkspace (www.talkspace.com/beautiful), and Today, Explained.
101 — English Idyll
CHRIS [00:00:47] Hello to all my potty trained listeners. It’s Beautiful / Anonymous. One hour. One phone call. No names. No holds barred.
CHRIS [00:01:11] Hello, everybody. Welcome to another episode of Beautiful / Anonymous, the podcast where I, some guy, relatively low level comedian who has been doing a little better since I got started, talks to people on the phone. Talks to people on the telephone. And that’s the whole podcast. And people listen, because there’s a lot of people out there in the world who, it turns out, enjoy intimate human connections, empathetic conversations, and all that other good stuff. I’m recording this intro from backstage at the Bell House in Brooklyn, New York. About to record the podcast live in front of between 300 and 400 very good friends. This is the third of three at the Bell House, and I want to thank the Bell House for having us this month. Over the course of the past three shows, over 1,000 people have attended those shows. I want to say thanks to everybody came out.
CHRIS [00:02:01] It’s been so cool doing these shows, celebrating this thing. It’s all surrounded the 100th episode, which was such a nice thing. And just seeing all you guys face-to-face, being able to make eye contact with you, what a cool thing. And I’m hoping later in the year to get the show on the road to more places. Who knows? Who knows? You tell me where I should go. Go sign up for the Facebook group, Beautiful Anonymous: The Community. Tell me where I should go and I’ll go there. I don’t care. Come hang out. Maybe I’ll even go to Perth, Australia, I’ve been threatening that, the most remote metropolitan area in the world! Wanted to warn you guys about something. We’re going to talk more about this, just keep reminding you over the next few weeks. So you may have heard through the grapevine that all of the Earwolf shows, there’s a new policy being instituted where anything over six months old, any episodes over six months old, are actually gonna be put on Stitcher Premium, which is a pay service. I will say, I always like when things are free. I’ve been really happy with the system where things are free. But I also understand that business is business.
CHRIS [00:02:58] And I wanted to give you guys just a real heads up because you can go download the old episodes. If there’s any that you really love, go download them now. They’re gonna go behind that paywall I think sometime in late March is the rumor I’m hearing. And if you want to sign up for Stitcher Premium, I would love that. You can get all of the archives there and also, you know, archives for tons of great shows and a lot of other premium content. Our old touring shows that were only ever released on Stitcher Premium, a lot of great stuff. And we’re gonna have a promo code for Stitcher Premium sign ups in the coming weeks. So hang on if you want to sign up for that because I’ll be able to help you knock a few bucks off the price. All right. Our 100th episode was last week. I was so happy to have that celebratory moment. I was feeling very nostalgic over this podcast. It really has changed my life. You guy– the Beautiful Anonymous Facebook community really did embrace that episode.
CHRIS [00:03:51] I think a lot of people were happy to hear from people– you know, just in general, the diversity of some older callers was much appreciated, let alone to people who are each– each have experienced a century of life. I did love– you can never please everybody. It’s one thing I’ve learned with this podcast. Nobody is ever gonna like every episode. I wanna give a shout out to the person in the Facebook group who just put the simple– just a simple picture of a thumbs down. They didn’t even type out the words “thumbs down.” Just a picture of the thumbs down. My friend Kaitlyn—Kaitlyn, who’s a very big supporter of this podcast and the Chris Gethard Show, always appreciate it—that was the very first comment. And Kaitlyn said “cried.” About eight minutes in started crying, and then cried the whole time. And a lot of people echoed that, that that one was a tearjerker. And Kaitlyn was also the first one to bring up a very popular theory where a lot of people were saying, “I really hope that the dentist office that the lady from Poland mentioned was the dentist office that the first guy works at.”.
CHRIS [00:04:50] I’m really hoping that there’s some miracle where that was that office. And we can all just pretend it was. Or think it was. Maybe it was. Who knows? Anyway, we’ve got an episode coming up for you now. This was our first ever call where we put out an international number. This is a thing we’re gonna to start doing lately, or rather coming up. This one was the U.K. We had a number for the U.K. and we got a whole bunch of people from the U.K. calling in. We talked to a lady who lives on the southern coast of England in a tiny little village with thatched roof cottages. She told me about being a mom. She told me about getting in fights over ridiculous things. Tell me about what the current social and political thoughts are over there on the other side of the pond from me, although it doesn’t get too heavy with the political stuff. It was very cool to talk to her. I enjoyed our chat immensely. And we’re gonna keep doing this. Keep your eyes peeled, international listeners. We’re gonna keep dropping numbers that that work in different countries in the coming months. So, again, go to the Facebook group, tell us where you’re from and where we should– where we should be dropping those numbers. So enjoy the call. I know I did. Thank you guys for everything. Thanks to everybody who’s been coming out to these Bell House shows. And yeah, enjoy it.
OPERATOR [00:06:01] Thank you for calling Beautiful / Anonymous. A beeping noise will indicate when you are on the show with the host.
CALLER [00:06:10] Hello?
CHRIS [00:06:10] Hello?
CALLER [00:06:11] Hi, Chris.
GETHARD [00:06:13] Hi.
CALLER [00:06:15] How are you?
CHRIS [00:06:16] I’m okay.
CALLER [00:06:18] Yeah? Doing all right?
CHRIS [00:06:19] Yeah, I got– I tell you, I’m gonna just cop to this right now. I’ve been taking– I’ve been taking some martial arts classes and I got kicked in the head about an hour ago.
CALLER [00:06:33] [Laughs] Okay. I can give you everything right now then.
CHRIS [00:06:36] Yeah. If I’m a little out of it or a little– if you ever notice that I drift off, it’s because I’m almost certain I have a very mild concussion.
CALLER [00:06:44] Well, that’s okay. I was literally about three minutes from going to bed after drinking two very large glasses of red wine. So it’s quite possible that you and me might be on a bit of a par.
CHRIS [00:06:54] Oooh, I like that. That should lead to a very free conversation.
CALLER [00:07:02] [Laughs] Yeah, yeah, perhaps. Perhaps. But yeah, I’ve certainly woken up now from being, yeah, at the point of nodding off watching Narcos to– I’m now super awake.
CHRIS [00:07:15] I like that. Isn’t it good to know all over the world people are watching Netflix and getting slightly buzzed.
CALLER [00:07:23] It’s Friday night. You know, it’s been a long week. What can I say?
CHRIS [00:07:27] Yeah, and it’s about nine o’clock where you are, right?
CALLER [00:07:29] It is bang on 9 o’clock. Yep. Absolutely.
CHRIS [00:07:33] Here it’s bang on four o’clock. That’s not a– “bang on” isn’t a–
CALLER [00:07:37] Ah, well you can finish this and then go home and finish and enjoy your Friday evening. Work out your concussion.
CHRIS [00:07:43] Yes, yes. Well I’m very excited that you called. It’s the first time we’ve ever used an international number.
CALLER [00:07:51] I know! Isn’t that amazing? That is so good. Did it do any good? I’m glad you are opening up to the world.
CHRIS [00:07:57] Yes, we’re doing our best.
CALLER [00:07:59] That is good. I’m about to go off on world travel with myself. So–.
CHRIS [00:08:05] Oh?
CALLER [00:08:05] Yeah, I’m heading off to Australia next week.
CHRIS [00:08:07] Oh, we’ll talk to– we’re going to have an Australian number coming up soon. I’ve never been to Australia.
CALLER [00:08:12] Oh well, maybe I’ll call you again when I’m in Australia. [Laughs].
CHRIS [00:08:14] Yeah, that would be amazing. If you got through twice, it’d be everyone from Aus– every fan from Australia would want to kill you.
CALLER [00:08:20] I know. I won’t do that. I won’t– I promise I won’t do that. That would be far too mean, wouldn’t it? It really would.
CHRIS [00:08:27] And now when you travel, how long do you go for? Because I feel like people in other parts of the world travel for much longer than Americans.
CALLER [00:08:34] Well, this is an unusual trip because it so far. So we’re going for about two and a half weeks. I wish we had like double that, but work, life, you know, it’s a bit rare. Normally I’d go on holiday for a week at a time.
CHRIS [00:08:51] Oh, so that is that standard American. I feel like there’s a certain– the Australians in particular, I feel like they go on vacations that last for like three months at a time.
CALLER [00:09:05] [Laughs] You either have the freedom of youth or the freedom of wealth, I think, to be able to do that. And I have neither on my side. So yeah, two and a half weeks. That’s my lot.
CHRIS [00:09:14] And when you say “we are going,” who’s “we”?
CALLER [00:09:17] me, my husband, and my 4-year-old son.
CHRIS [00:09:21] Oh, a 4-year-old son?
CALLER [00:09:21] So we are– yeah, we are taking him back to the place of his first existence because we’re leaving on the bang on fifth anniversary of when we went last time. And it was this epic situation where we decided to go to Australia to begin a life, I guess you would call it, that wasn’t what we had planned. And halfway through the trip, I realized that I was pregnant. So it was a bit of shock, really. Because the whole point in doing the trip was, like, we can’t have children, so let’s go live a life where we travel instead.
CHRIS [00:10:03] Oh, wow.
CALLER [00:10:04] And the more you know!
CHRIS [00:10:06] And now– wait so, okay, I’m just gonna be blunt. That’s okay?
CALLER [00:10:10] Yeah.
CHRIS [00:10:10] Are you bringing your child back to the place where he was conceived?
CALLER [00:10:16] Based on dates, I think he was conceived in England. But we going back to stay with the same friends that we were staying with last time. And I don’t want to wig them out too much by saying, “hey, do you know what we did the last time we stayed with you?” [Both laugh] So, I mean, I think he was literally conceived in England.
CHRIS [00:10:37] Okay.
CALLER [00:10:38] But the first knowledge we ever had about him was in Australia.
CHRIS [00:10:41] Got it. Well, that’s an awful nice surprise if you’re a–.
CALLER [00:10:45] Do you know what it really was?
CHRIS [00:10:47] Yeah.
CALLER [00:10:47] It was– it was a shock. It was an ongoing situation of heartache and hardness, I think really. Of– I don’t know. I think you put all your hopes into one scenario for your life, and it doesn’t go the way you hoped it was going to go. And then, yeah, life has a way of kind of surprising you, really. So, yeah. Came back with some excess baggage.
CHRIS [00:11:20] Wow, that’s good. Were you– so was it like– had doctors told you, “you will not be able to conceive,” or was it just you guys had been trying and it was just an uphill battle?
CALLER [00:11:28] Yeah, we’d been trying for a long time and we’d had three rounds of fertility treatment and it was just taking a really, really big toll. And, you know, it’s– I think all the doctors were saying, “Never say never. We can’t point out anything specifically wrong. But you’re really old, and all of this kind of stuff. So, I think my husband was– when we first met, he told me pretty upfront that he didn’t want kids. He wasn’t interested in kids. And I was just like, “this is something really, really, really important to me.” So we did– we did, you know, a lot of negotiating and a lot of bargaining and stuff like that, and agreed that one– we’d have one. [Laughs] And then when it didn’t happen, it was hard. It was really, really hard. And, you know, I mean, he would have been fine either way. But for me, it was a really, really tough thing to try and come to terms with.
CHRIS [00:12:28] Yeah.
CALLER [00:12:30] Because I– I’d lost a son previously. My first son was stillborn.
CHRIS [00:12:34] Oh, I’m so sorry.
CALLER [00:12:37] Do you know what? It was 14 years ago, and it’s still, still one of those things that, after a couple of glasses of red wine and you open your heart to a stranger on the phone, could still make me cry.
CHRIS [00:12:50] Yeah, that’s a–.
CALLER [00:12:51] Could definitely still make me cry.
CHRIS [00:12:53] I have some friends who went through that, and that’s just about– that’s just about as bad as it gets. I’m sorry you had to go through that.
CALLER [00:12:59] Yeah. Yeah but, you know, like I said, it’s like, you pin– you can pin so many hopes and dreams on something.
CHRIS [00:13:07] Yeah.
CALLER [00:13:09] And it worked out. It worked out in the end.
CHRIS [00:13:12] That’s great. So–.
CALLER [00:13:13] When your– when your husband had been saying he didn’t want to have kids and then it turned out that you were fighting so hard for it, did you ever have, like, fights where you’d look him in the eye and be like, “You cursed us, you son of a bitch”? [Caller laughs] Like did you ever have that moment of weakness where you just gave it to him? “This is what you wa– this is– I know this is what you really want anyway! You asshole.”
CHRIS [00:13:34] Do you know what? The level– the level of my bitterness was I was convinced that him sitting there with a laptop on his lap every evening fried his sperm. [Laughs].
CALLER [00:13:48] Oh yeah, you’ve gotta think, “Why do you keep your phone in your front pocket? Put the– put the phone somewhere else.” “You’re deliberately making yourself infertile!” And then we went to the fertility clinic and they ran all the tests. And the smug look on his face when they’re like, “yeah, you ain’t the problem.” You know, swimmers are fine.
CHRIS [00:14:07] Swimmers are strong.
CALLER [00:14:07] They’re strong. They’re plentiful. [Laughs] And it was just like, “shit, I can’t even blame him.” You know? [Laughs]
CHRIS [00:14:16] Well that’s so cool that it worked out. I would have to imagine, too, like, if you were older, that you must– and it’s kind of like this miracle conception, you must be– that pregnancy must be, like, stressing the whole time and nervous the whole time. So that’s so beautiful that it worked out.
CALLER [00:14:32] I hated every second of it. [Gethard laughs] You know, I do– I don’t know what it’s like in America, but parenthood, and particularly motherhood, has become like some kind of cult in this country where there is, like, this kind of perception that motherhood is this ultimate ideal of perfection that everybody should be able to achieve. And if you’re not doing it right, there’s something wrong with you. So there are like a million, like, mommy bloggers and marketing campaigns. And, like, I work in social media and so I can see straight through all the paid for social media influencer type bollocks.
CHRIS [00:15:20] Yeah, that stuff’s big business here, too.
CALLER [00:15:24] Oh yeah. Yeah, I’m sure it is. And it’s so damaging to people, you know, that this ideal life is painted. And if you don’t fit into it, then there’s something seriously wrong with you. So I had this whole thing where, you know, I’m surrounded by people spewing out babies left, right, and center. And you’re given this whole image that you’ve gotta love every second and you should be so grateful and being pregnant is wonderful and you should be glowing and doing your, like, pregnancy Pilates and yoga and all of this bullshit. And I spent nine months basically in a state of terror that something really bad was going to happen.
CHRIS [00:16:07] Yeah.
CALLER [00:16:08] From– from my previous experiences. And also just, I hated it. It was horrible. I just felt so uncomfortable and I had so many bad side effects. It was like, “just get this thing out of me.” And I just, yeah, I really– I don’t know, maybe I should start writing a blog saying “being pregnant’s a bit shit” and let people know that, you know, it’s not all rosy and lovely and– I don’t know what ever possesses anybody to do it a second time. You know that I’ve really– [laughs] A friend of mine, they’ve just had their second baby. And you know, all the Instagram photos are there of everybody looking wonderful and happy. And [sighs] yeah.
CHRIS [00:16:58] Good for them. Good for them.
CALLER [00:17:00] Yeah, yeah. I mean, it’s fantastic for them. But you know, again, it’s perpetuating this whole, “life is perfect.”
CHRIS [00:17:07] “Keep it out of my face.” That’s what you’re saying.
CALLER [00:17:12] [Laughs] Don’t get me wrong. If you look at my Facebook or my Instagram, you’d think, “Oh yeah, she’s living this great life!” And nobody sees what’s behind it. Or do they really? I think actually– like I said, I work in social media and I think it’s one of the most damaging things out there for people’s self-worth.
CHRIS [00:17:31] I’m starting to agree. I’m starting to feel like historians will look back at this era and point directly to social media as a divisive cultural influence that we didn’t realize the traps of in time.
CALLER [00:17:45] I know! And the abuse that people get, as well. I mean, I hope to God that as a public– public figure yourself now, you don’t get any of that. Do you?
CHRIS [00:17:55] Oh well, thank you for the well wishes, but you have no– oh, you have no idea the things people say to me on the Internet. You have no idea.
CALLER [00:18:03] Seriously?
CHRIS [00:18:03] I once acted in a show and a guy on a message board said that he hopes my agent kills herself. He said, “your agent should hang herself.” I had– here’s some of the best ones. I once did a show in North Carolina, and right after the show someone on Twitter said, “At Chris Gethard is like Abraham Lincoln. He’s heroically ugly. He’s so ugly I don’t know how he keeps going.” I wrote back, I was like–.
CALLER [00:18:30] Oh, I love your little mush.
CHRIS [00:18:32] Aw thanks. I wrote back, I was like, “Ouch. Ouch, man.” And he’s like, “I didn’t think you’d ever see this.” And I’m like, “You tagged me. You picked a platform where you could tag me.”.
CALLER [00:18:42] Well it’s like– I don’t understand, the logic aside, I literally don’t understand how people think that they can say these awful, awful things to people—and is like directly saying it to somebody’s face if you tag them in the post or if you’re in a one-to-one conversation or stuff like that—how do you think that people aren’t going to react badly to that? How do you think they’re not going to get hurt by that?
CHRIS [00:19:07] Yeah. It’s– and the thing I don’t understand is, I don’t get what it gets them. That’s what I don’t get.
CALLER [00:19:15] No!
CHRIS [00:19:16] It’s just such a weird thing. And you probably have a good perspective working in that world. It’s like, when it bubbles to the surface and I see these people who’ve– like, even with my TV show, like my TV show’s a small TV show, my TV show’s not a huge deal, but I’ll see people, like, tweet at me and at the network and they’ll say, you know, “This show’s terrible. Cancel it. Get it off the air.” And it’s, like, what is– like I get weirded out because I’m like– I see that and I’m like, there’s like, in America, a hundred and fifty other channels.
CALLER [00:19:51] Yeah.
CHRIS [00:19:51] And I had–.
CALLER [00:19:53] If you don’t like it, don’t watch it.
CHRIS [00:19:53] I know. And they don’t– well, they don’t have the perspective that I have, which is like, there’s 70 people employed here. Like, I got the show on the air–.
CALLER [00:20:02] It’s people’s jobs. It’s people’s livelihood. Things like that, yep.
CHRIS [00:20:03] Yeah, people’s lives, people’s jobs. People’s health insurance. We don’t have the free health insurance. You know, like, this is a real thing. And they don’t realize, that stuff counts. That stuff counts.
CALLER [00:20:14] Yeah.
CHRIS [00:20:14] What’s it get you?
CALLER [00:20:15] Totally. And it’s–.
CHRIS [00:20:17] Go watch sports an hour. Leave me alone.
CALLER [00:20:21] [Laughs] Go turn the telly off and go for a walk or something. You know, go and talk to your neighbor maybe. Have a nice conversation and tell them that you don’t like them to their faces. See how that goes.
CHRIS [00:20:31] That being said, I assume you saw the number I posted today on social media. So fuck both of us.
CALLER [00:20:36] Yes, I did. [Laughs]
CHRIS [00:20:37] Yeah.
CALLER [00:20:40] I could claim that, you know, it’s my responsibility for my career to keep up with these things. But the truth of the matter is, it’s the most horrifically addictive stuff. And I so often, after a day of like eight hours solidly looking at Twitter feeds and Facebook pages and groups and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, I then come home and then supposedly do it for pleasure in my spare time. And you’re just scrolling through rubbish, absolute rubbish. And I catch myself sometimes thinking, “What are you doing? Why are you doing this?” And I think it has just become so addictive and so all pervasive within our society that, you know, I really hope it’s over by the time my son gets older. I would really hate to be a teenager right about now.
CHRIS [00:21:32] Yeah.
CALLER [00:21:32] I just think those kids are mean, really mean. Really, really mean.
CHRIS [00:21:38] Yeah, I’ve read a lot about it because, you know, when I’m– I do read a lot about the mental health stuff still. I don’t talk about it as much, tried to put that to bed, did my part. But I read about the bullying and this whole idea that, like, bullying follows kids home now is really scary. It used to be–
CALLER [00:21:56] Yeah, they can’t escape from it.
CHRIS [00:21:58] Yeah. When we were kids, we’d get– I would get horrifically mocked all day at school, but then I got to go home. That was okay.
CALLER [00:22:06] And it was like a little sanctuary, isn’t it?
CHRIS [00:22:07] A little oasis, yeah.
CALLER [00:22:08] You’ve got your family there being nice to you. But, you know, when you’ve got your phone on 24 hours a day and it’s constantly pinging at you and nasty messages are coming up, that’s gonna be really damaging for people, especially people who are of vulnerable ages.
CHRIS [00:22:23] Yeah, it’s gotta be scary for you, too, with your son because I feel like everything that’s Internet-driven, kids figure it out before adults. Like, they have apps and they have things that they understand before we can even figure out how to keep an eye on them.
CALLER [00:22:41] I remember when he was a baby, he got swiping through pictures on the iPad screen. It was like instinctual to him, “oh, this is how it works.” And I remember my parents there, in their early 70s, and they would see both my son and my brother’s kids just on a phone, absolutely fine, and they’d just be, “Oh my God. This is– this is the end of the world as we know it.” [Gethard laughs] Because they really struggle with technology like that. It’s not instinctual to them at all. But yeah, for people of a certain age and younger, it’s all they know. It’s all they know.
CHRIS [00:23:21] I agree.
CALLER [00:23:21] Yeah. I don’t know where it’s gonna go. Like I said, I hope it will implode within the next couple of years. [Laughs] I’ll be out the job, but hopefully my son will be all right.
CHRIS [00:23:29] You’re praying for the downfall of your own career for the sake of your son and humanity at large.
CALLER [00:23:34] I am. I am. I am. I really am. [Laughs]
CHRIS 00:23:38] Now I want to make sure– because you and I have gotten off to a lovely start. I feel like we have a real rapport. But we’re about 20 minutes in and I want to make sure– we’ve just kind of allowed this conversation to tumble where it will, which I’m all for, but if there’s anything specific you did call about, I also wanted to say, feel free to bring it up.
CHRIS [00:23:58] Let’s go ahead, hit the pause button right there, because you know what we got? We got adverts. That’s what they call them in England. It’s adverts. Here we call them ads. There’s promo codes on there if you’re if you’re enticed. Use those promo codes. It really helps Beautiful / Anonymous when you do. We’ll be back with more phone call after this.
CHRIS Now let’s get back to the phone call. We’ve just kind of allowed this conversation to tumble where it will, which I’m all for. But if there’s anything specific you did call about, I also wanted to say, feel free to bring it up.
CALLER [00:27:37] Do you know what? It was that whole thing about family and children and surprises in life, and I probably just garbled that whole story out to you because I was in such a state of shock talking to you. [Laughs].
CHRIS [00:27:47] No, no.
CALLER [00:27:50] And I don’t– I don’t know. I think it’s a weird one. I have a very–.
CHRIS [00:27:54] No it’s–.
CALLER [00:27:54] Sorry?
CHRIS [00:27:57] Just keep going then. Cause me– I have this– I’m getting the sense me and you could talk for 40 minutes, no problem. That’s the sense I’m getting.
CALLER [00:28:04] [Laughs] We could just solve the world’s problems, couldn’t we? You know, things like that.
CHRIS [00:28:07] I think you’ve got the gift of gab. That’s what we call it here in the States. The gift of gab.
CALLER [00:28:13] Give me two glasses of red wine and yeah, pretty much. Pretty much [laughs]
CHRIS [00:28:18] Now what did you do before social media? Because you said you’re a little bit older.
CALLER [00:28:21] Marketing.
CHRIS [00:28:22] Marketing. So those things translate?
CALLER [00:28:24] Well, you go way, way, way, way, way back, I did a degree in American literature–.
CHRIS [00:28:31] What?
CALLER [00:28:31] And studied at the wonderful University of Texas in Austin, pray you hear.
CHRIS [00:28:37] What?
CALLER [00:28:38] Yeah!
CHRIS [00:28:39] Why’d you major in American literature? I thought you guys got all the better older–.
CALLER [00:28:44] All of English literature [laughs].
CHRIS [00:28:46] You’ve got Dickens and stuff. Oscar Wilde.
CALLER [00:28:48] Yeah, boring. Really boring. Too historic for me.
CHRIS [00:28:50] So you went to UT Austin? That’s a party school.
CALLER [00:28:54] Yep. Oh yeah, yeah. Only for a year. So I did a study abroad year. You know, it was a part of my degree that they had all these exchange programs set up with American universities. And I remember, you could put in a bid if there was a particular university that did particular courses that you wanted to specialize in. And so a friend of mine really wanted to do some film courses, so put in a bid for Santa Barbara and got it, and things like this. And I was just like, “I don’t care. You know, I’m just going to take potluck. I don’t care.” And when I got the letter saying, “Texas”— oh my God. I– I thought of all the places, I thought, “Yeah, I’m going to be in New York for a year, aren’t I? I’m going to be somewhere really cultured and really wonderful. I’m going to learn so much. And I’m going to live this wonderful life.” And I didn’t know what to think at all. And it’s hot. And I don’t really do hot because I am a classic northern European very, very, very fair-skinned person. And actually, it was incredible. It was absolutely amazing. I made some of the best friends who, 20 years later, you know, I’m still friends with. That’s one good thing about social media, is you can keep in touch with people who you may physically never see again. [Laughs] You can keep in touch with them.
CHRIS [00:30:19] Yeah, but the other side of that coin is then you have to keep in touch with people you were hoping to never see again. [Caller laughs] I have to read one more goddamn thing from an ex college roommate about his grumpy opinions on Star Wars at the age of 38.
CALLER [00:30:34] Block them! Just– you don’t have to unfriend them. You just have to unfollow them. They don’t know you’ve done it. And they’re out of your life!
CHRIS [00:30:41] But then how am I going to bitch and moan about it to my other college roommates that I do stay in touch with.
CALLER [00:30:49] [Laughs] You just have to rely on them and you just have to be the bigger person. Talk about your life as it is now, rather than regressing back.
CHRIS [00:30:56] Being the bigger person has always been a struggle for me, but I’ll do my best.
CALLER [00:31:00] Me too, me too. I hold grudges.
CHRIS [00:31:03] Oh yeah, oh yeah.
CALLER [00:31:07] [Laughs] I hold big grudges.
CHRIS [00:31:09] Do you now?
CALLER [00:31:09] Big, big grudges. Oh yeah, I can– yeah, ask my husband. I’ll hold a grudge for a long time. A long time.
CHRIS [00:31:19] Yeah.
CALLER [00:31:19] Just don’t ever mention the argument about bread.
CHRIS [00:31:24] Well, I got to know. I have to know the specifics about the argument about bread. I have to know.
CALLER [00:31:27] It is a complete tangent. We don’t do big arguments. In—how long have we been together?—seven, eight years, we’ve had, I think, two mega arguments. And one was about a loaf of bread that resulted in me basically taking the baby and running away and my husband thinking that I’d done something so completely irrational that he was, you know, ringing my parents saying, “she was–” you know, putting them in a panic. It was at that point that, you know, I think the realization that postnatal depression had gotten pretty badly.
CHRIS [00:32:02] Oh, okay.
CALLER [00:32:03] And that I possibly needed some help. [Laughs]
CHRIS [00:32:05] So before I laugh too hard at this, there was a medical issue attached to it. [Caller laughs] So that’s good to–. I do have to ask, on behalf of all our listeners, what was it about bread that set this–?
CALLER [00:32:18] I bought the wrong bread.
CHRIS [00:32:20] You bought the wrong– you got–
CALLER [00:32:21] I bought the wrong bread. He’s very specific about a certain brand of bread.
CHRIS [00:32:27] Brand? Not even type?
CALLER [00:32:30] Yeah, brand. Brands, yeah. Granary bread. But a certain brand of granary bread.
CHRIS [00:32:35] What is granary bread? We don’t– Jared, do we have granary bread? I don’t think we–.
CALLER [00:32:40] Google granary bread.
CHRIS [00:32:41] We’ve got to Google granary bread.
CALLER [00:32:42] It’s brown bread with kind of, like, bits in it.
CHRIS [00:32:44] Oh, brown bread with bits in it. Okay. [Laughs].
CALLER [00:32:49] You don’t have granary bread?
CHRIS [00:32:51] We don’t have granary bread! Look at you and me celebrating our cultural differences! [Laughs] A classic English brown bread–.
CALLER [00:32:59] Oh, all you need in life is a decent cup of tea and a bit of toast and Marmite.
CHRIS [00:33:04] Toast and Marmite? I’ve had toast– my friend Daniel Kitson is a comedian in England and he introduced me to Marmite. And I’ve had brown bread when I’ve gone overseas. Ireland– I was in Ireland for a long time. And Scotland. They gave me–
CALLER [00:33:15] They like bread in Ireland.
CHRIS [00:33:16] So they just called it brown bread where I was, though. At, like, the pubs.
CALLER [00:33:19] Oh okay. Yeah, brown– just normal brown bread here doesn’t have any like seeds or nuts in it or anything like that. Whereas granary bread has, you know, it’s a grain in it, I guess you would call it. I’m now looking at the packet to see what the description is to see if– [laughs]
CHRIS [00:33:36] It says– we’re looking online. It says, “Since malted barley grains are nearly impossible to find in the US, it’s not around in America as much.”
CALLER [00:33:47] There you go. That’s the reasoning. You guys are missing out. You need some malted barley grains in your life. [Gethard laughs]
CHRIS [00:33:55] So wait, you go out–
CALLER [00:33:56] You put them all into beer rather than bread.
CHRIS [00:33:58] Oh yeah, probably. Yeah. We– so you go out. You’re doing the grocery shopping–.
CALLER [00:34:05] Yep, bought the wrong bread.
CHRIS [00:34:06] You’re like, “this one’s a reasonable price.” Throw the granary bread in. You come home. You take the groceries out of the boot! Not the trunk!
CALLER [00:34:16] Yep.
CHRIS [00:34:16] The boot of the car!
CALLER [00:34:17] That’s right. Well done.
CHRIS [00:34:19] Look at me, showing respect.
CALLER [00:34:19] On my little dinky little car, yep.
CHRIS [00:34:21] Your smaller– your smaller, more adorable car because you’re in England and not America where we like everything larger. [Caller laughs] You bring it in–
CALLER [00:34:27] I know everybody has a massive great big four-by-fours.
CHRIS [00:34:32] Yes.
CALLER [00:34:31] Except for me.
CHRIS [00:34:33] And then you bring it in and unpack the groceries and he sees the bread, and he’s like–
CALLER [00:34:37] “All I ask is you buy a particular brand of bread.” And I lost my shit. That was the tipping point.
CHRIS [00:34:44] You’re like, “Really? Really? Do you remember when I squeezed a miracle child out of myself [caller laughs] after nine months of discomfort and then I still was the one who had to go to the goddamn store in the first place!”
CALLER [00:34:57] [Continues laughing] You got it! That’s exactly the situation.
CHRIS [00:35:00] Right? I could see– I could see it going down that way. Like, “Oh really? Why don’t you go to the store then? And why don’t I lay down–”.
CALLER [00:35:06] Absolutely. “You want that bread? You go buy yourself.”.
CHRIS [00:35:07] “Yeah, go buy yourself. Oh, I’m sorry. I might have been a little– I might still be recovering from the fact that I recently brought your son into the world!”
CALLER [00:35:18] [Laughs] Absolutely. I think I’d got past stitches by then. But, you know, it was still– the trauma was very deep set inside me.
CHRIS [00:35:26] Yeah, yeah. Granary bread. Buy your own granary bread!
CALLER [00:35:31] Exactly. Exactly.
CHRIS [00:35:33] But this was serious, though. The depre– you grabbed the baby, you disappeared.
CALLER [00:35:38] Yes. Yeah. And do you know what? I am now celebrating 3 weeks of being off of medication? Oh wow! I’m celebrating–. Jesus.
CHRIS [00:35:53] –eleven years of being on.
CALLER [00:35:54] Oh, I have like twenty years on and off.
CHRIS [00:35:59] If we’re– oh, if we’re going on and off, I’ve got sixteen.
CALLER [00:36:02] Oh yeah, count them all up. Count them all up, yeah.
CHRIS [00:36:05] Sixteen on and off.
CALLER [00:36:06] Jesus, yeah. No my first, I would describe it as a breakdown, was on coming back from Texas and the harsh reality of coming back to grim, filthy, cold England and leaving behind what I thought was the person I was gonna marry.
CHRIS [00:36:26] Wow. Was this a Texan?
CALLER [00:36:27] That was when I first hit the real, real low. Yeah, a Texan.
CHRIS [00:36:32] You fell in love with some Texan, some frontiersmen, some American frontiersman.
CALLER [00:36:38] I didn’t see that one coming. But yeah, it didn’t work out because long distance relationships don’t. I was 21. It’s a ridiculous age to even think about getting married. Got a bit messed up. Managed to scrape through the final year of my degree. Sorted myself out. Happy days.
CHRIS [00:36:54] Now let me ask you about this because, first of all, I’m glad for happy days. Let’s not blow past that. That’s awesome. I’m psyched. Well done.
CALLER [00:37:03] It wasn’t all happy days since then.
CHRIS [00:37:03] Let me ask you this. Now I did a thing called Career Suicide. And–
CALLER [00:37:07] I so want to see it. And I don’t know where I can see it in this country.
CHRIS [00:37:12] It’s on HBO. If you have HBO?
CALLER [00:37:15] We don’t have HBO here. Netflix?
CHRIS [00:37:17] No, it’s not on Netflix.
CALLER [00:37:19] Amazon Prime?
CHRIS [00:37:23] [Sighs] Maybe on a plane someday you’ll see it. A lot of people have watched it on planes.
CALLER [00:37:26] Maybe on the plane to Australia.
CHRIS [00:37:27] The Australian airlines! I get tons of tweets from Australians who watch it on planes. It is carried by certain Australian airlines.
CALLER [00:37:33] Well we’re flying British Airways, though, so I’m not sure if they’ll–.
CHRIS [00:37:36] Son of a– How am I going to get you to see this goddamn thing?
CALLER [00:37:39] I dunno.
CHRIS [00:37:40] But when I was– when I was working on the show, you know– so when you tape a comedy special, a lot of times comedians will, like, go to a city that they aren’t, you know, that’s not their home city because you want a fresh crowd. And I really wanted to tape it in New York, but I’ve been performing in New York for many months. So I was like, “let me go far away, get off the grid, so that people will be excited again when I tape it.” Took it to London, took it to your very own London.
CALLER [00:38:08] Yep.
CHRIS [00:38:09] They did not like the conversation about mental health.
CALLER [00:38:13] Really?
CHRIS [00:38:14] I was met–
CALLER [00:38:15] See, I’m so– I’m so open about it. It’s one of those things that I will bore people to tears about, different types of medications, different types of therapy, and, you know, what happened at this miserable point in my life. Because I would much rather it helps other people open up.
CHRIS [00:38:32] You and me both. We share philosophy.
CALLER [00:38:35] Yes.
CHRIS [00:38:35] I found that the London audience would stare at me– when I tried to make jokes about medications and mental health and medication side effects, I found that they met me with stereotypical, bristly, British stares that indicated opinions that they weren’t willing to share outright. [Caller laughs] Is that a fair– is that a fair stereotype?
CALLER [00:38:57] Not in my experience, but I’ve never been to a comedy club. [Gethard laughs] I’ve never been to, like, a standup show. So I don’t know if the type of audience who would have gone to a standup show like that would be expecting just all-out belly laughs. And it might have just been a bit like, “Well, this isn’t what I signed up for tonight.”.
CHRIS [00:39:20] Right.
CALLER [00:39:20] “That’s ruined my Friday night joy.” [Laughs]
CHRIS [00:39:22] So you might just be saying that they found me unfunny.
CALLER [00:39:26] No, no. [Laughs] I think you’re funny.
CHRIS [00:39:30] But I also– I talked to someone else who said the NHS doesn’t make it easy for mental health stuff.
CALLER [00:39:36] No, because they have no money. Because our government has completely screwed the whole system because the conservatives suck. So there we go. No, I’m a pretty left-wing, liberal lifelong Labor-voting person. And it’s one of the things that makes me so sad, is seeing how the government is destroying the NHS and people who are desperate. Really, really, really desperate. Not just the mental healthcare, but for any healthcare, aren’t getting it or the services are so stretched that, you know, people are really getting into trouble. And yeah, it’s awful. It’s really awful. But there is– there just isn’t the culture of paying here.
CHRIS [00:40:25] Yeah.
CALLER [00:40:25] And I think– I don’t know whether that’ll change. I don’t want it to change. I want the money to go back into the NHS and for the NHS to be the thing that we’re all proud of. I don’t know if you ever watched– like today I watched the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Seoul. And I remember, in 2012, watching the opening ceremony at the London Olympics. And they did this whole feature on the NHS in the opening ceremony as this thing that we should be so proud of. And now here we are, six years later, and it’s on its knees. It’s absolutely on its knees. And I think people really underestimate what’s going to happen in the next few years. And I don’t want to see it all privatized. I don’t think that’s the right thing to do.
CHRIS [00:41:12] Hasn’t worked out great here. I can tell you that.
CALLER [00:41:15] No.
CHRIS [00:41:15] Talk about– does the NHS cover fertility stuff? You mentioned fertility stuff. Because that here is–.
CALLER [00:41:21] Yes.
CHRIS [00:41:21] They cover that?!
CALLER [00:41:22] To a certain extent.
CHRIS [00:41:23] Oh my God.
CALLER [00:41:23] To a certain extent, yes.
CHRIS [00:41:25] I’ll tell you, out here that is tens of thousands of dollars.
CALLER [00:41:28] Oh, it is here. If it doesn’t work, I think– I can’t remember what it is. I think if you’re under the age of 40, you get maybe two cycles for free, or something like that, of full blown IVF treatment. But everything that we went through, we didn’t– luckily, we didn’t have to go as far as going through– down the IVF route. But, you know, with minimal intervention we got covered, which is really good. But friends of mine have spent tens of thousands of pounds on IVF and no children to show.
CHRIS [00:42:01] Whew. That’s brutal.
CALLER [00:42:04] Yeah, it is.
CHRIS [00:42:05] I did my show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and someone came up to me–.
CALLER [00:42:09] Yep, how did that one go?
CHRIS [00:42:10] That was great. The Scots loved it because they like to party. And they get drunk and they’ll listen to anything.
CALLER [00:42:15] They like to party and they’re fucking depressed as well. You have no daylight for half the year. [Laughs]
CHRIS [00:42:19] Hey, I have found that a lot of Americans find my comedy funny. But the Irish and the Scots? They get it, man.
CALLER [00:42:29] They have massive substance abuse problems because they have seasonal affective disorder.
CHRIS [00:42:35] Turns out that a defeated man with a large four head mumbling about his low self-esteem really clicks in Ireland. [Caller laughs].
CALLER [00:42:44] Well they just knew it was your roots. You know, it’s your homecoming, isn’t it? So they welcomed you home like a long lost son.
CHRIS [00:42:51] They did. But this guy– I met this couple in Edinburgh and they told me that in– they told me that they– what was it? It was a guy and a girl, and she needed therapy. And the waiting list through the NHS was so long that she was really scared she was in danger. But he had become addicted to gambling. And may realized–.
CALLER [00:43:11] Yeah, that he’d get seen straightaway.
CHRIS [00:43:12] Yes. Because they realized that part of owning a casino in England, apparently, is that the casinos have to fund gambling addiction mental health services. And that–
CALLER [00:43:24] Yeah, I think so.
CHRIS [00:43:25] I think he wasn’t even that addicted, but he said he was. And then there’s a program that’s couples therapy for couples and families who are addicted– who are affected by gambling addiction. And then also the spouse can then have private therapy because of that. And they basically used his participation in gambling to backdoor their way into her getting to see a shrink.
CALLER [00:43:48] Mm hmm. Well, literally one of my best oldest friends, her daughter has been under mental health services since she was about seven or eight. And they’re not getting the support that they need. And they saw a new assessor for a reassessment a couple of weeks ago. And this assessor said, “you have to basically lie on all the paperwork and really exaggerate the situation.” So apparently the answers to the questions were “yes”, “no,” or “sometimes.” And my friend previously had always written sometimes because her daughter displays some behaviors sometimes, but not all the time. And this assessor was just, “you say ‘yes’ to everything. You massively, massively exaggerate. Otherwise, she will never get seen. You’ll never get any help.”
CHRIS [00:44:45] You get kicked down the toi–.
CALLER [00:44:47] And that’s dreadful. And that’s– yeah, that’s an underfunded system.
CHRIS [00:44:50] I mean, an underfunded system is still better than a system where we got no funding. Okay.
CALLER [00:44:57] Yeah.
CHRIS [00:44:57] Anyway, I’ll tell you, London, they didn’t like me. You know where they liked me? Manchester. I did one show up in Manchester. They liked me up in Manchester.
CALLER [00:45:07] Well, Manchester is like the cultural heart of the country, I think.
CHRIS [00:45:12] Really?
CALLER [00:45:13] Being a child of the 90s, it’s where all the good music comes from.
CHRIS [00:45:18] Oh, it’s where all the– Right, the factory, all the ecstasy, whoever was taking ecstasy then. Where are you? Where– can I ask where you are in the UK?
CALLER [00:45:26] I am in very rural Devon. So Devon is, you know, the sticky-out bit down in the southwest.
CHRIS [00:45:33] Okay. Okay. Vaguely.
CALLER [00:45:36] Vaguely. So you know the shape of the UK?
CHRIS [00:45:40] Uh-huh.
CALLER [00:45:40] Yeah?
CHRIS [00:45:41] Uh-huh.
CALLER [00:45:41] And there’s a bit that sticks out in the southwest. The peninsula.
CHRIS [00:45:45] Okay. Yeah, yeah.
CALLER [00:45:46] Yeah? Visualizing? Google the map?
CHRIS [00:45:49] I mean, we’re looking up a map right now. Yeah.
CALLER [00:45:53] [Laughs] So I’m in a county called Devon.
CHRIS [00:45:56] Uh-huh.
CALLER [00:45:56] And I live in a little village with thatched cottages and farmyards.
CHRIS 00:46:02] Oh that sounds lovely. The South.
CALLER [00:46:05] Yeah, it’s like a rural idyll.
CHRIS [00:46:06] Across the Bristol Channel from Swansea.
CALLER [00:46:11] Yeah, I’m down the other coast. So south coast.
CHRIS [00:46:14] Oh yeah. The South coast. Oh so you’re, you’re way down there. And Manchester’s the north. I feel like I have– I’ve heard the stereotypes about northerners and I feel like I’m more of a northerner.
CALLER [00:46:26] I think you are. I think I think your soul is a northerner.
CHRIS [00:46:29] Yeah. Like they’re not fancy people. They’re working class people, have a big fuckin’ chip on their shoulder. [Caller laughs] Right?
CALLER [00:46:37] And some great accents.
CHRIS [00:46:39] And you get bossed around by the strong women in their lives.
CALLER [00:46:43] Mm hmm.
CHRIS [00:46:43] Northern–.
CALLER [00:46:44] Did you watch Coronation Street?
CHRIS [00:46:45] No, but I’ve heard about it because of my Morrissey obsession. He was obsessed with Coronation Street.
CALLER [00:46:49] I had to wean myself off Coronation Street because I realized that soap operas were just ruining my life.
CHRIS [00:46:56] Explain Coronation Street to any Americans listening. It’s a soap opera that’s run for like decades, right?
CALLER [00:47:02] Oh, God. Yeah, like 50, 60 years. Something like that. I can’t quite remember. And it’s set on a street in Manchester where everybody lived in tiny little terraced houses. So like two up, two downs terraced houses. So they have two rooms downstairs and two rooms upstairs, sort of thing. There’s a pub. There’s a shop. Everybody knows everybody. Everybody’s sleeping with each other. And the murder rate is disproportionately high.
CHRIS [00:47:31] Perfect show.
CALLER [00:47:33] Yeah.
CHRIS [00:47:35] Everybody’s hooking up and killing each other?
CALLER [00:47:36] I haven’t watched it for years now, so I have no idea what plotlines are going on. But yeah, it’s you know, it’s all life encapsulated on one little street, basically.
CHRIS [00:47:45] And my understanding is that it’s not uncommon for people to become severely addicted to Coronation Street?
CALLER [00:47:52] Yeah, that and EastEnders, which is the London version.
CHRIS [00:47:55] EastEnders, Dr. Who, right? Doctor Who?
CALLER [00:47:58] Yeah, I’m not a Dr. Who person. Not a sci-fi person.
CHRIS [00:48:02] I’m demonstrating basic level of pop culture knowledge of your land.
CALLER [00:48:06] Yeah, yeah. Well done. That’s good.
CHRIS [00:48:09] Thanks so much.
CALLER [00:48:10] What other iconic things do we have? Well, you know, Manchester music, Liverpool a bit music way back when, London is just a bit of a waste of space, really.
CHRIS [00:48:20] Really? Talk me through this because I’m not gon– I’ll say this. I have to bite my tongue. Because I’ve learned as a comedian, you never shit-talk a city because you have to sell tickets in cities. [Caller laughs] But I’m very interested to know why you think London’s a waste of space. I would love to know your opinion that I don’t necessarily share, which is that London might be a bit of a waste of sp– not the kindest people. Not the warmest people.
CALLER [00:48:45] No.
CHRIS [00:48:47] And that’s a good time to take a breath and a great time for me to remind you that the opinions of this caller in relation to the City of London reflect only the opinions of the caller and not the opinions of the host or the show or Earwolf or Midroll or– anyway, I love London. London’s a good, fascinating place. A good, fascinating place. We’ve got some ads. Check them out. Use the promo codes. Helps the show when you do. We’ll be right back.
CHRIS Thanks again to all of our advertisers. Again, London, great city. That’s my opinion. Let’s finish off the phone call. I would love to know your opinion that I don’t necessarily share, which is that London might be a bit of a waste of sp– not the kindest people. Not the warmest people.
CALLER [00:50:29] No, no. London has some amazing things. The museums, because so many of them are free. You know, if you go for culture, it’s incredible.
CHRIS [00:50:37] Oh, the Tate Modern? Of course.
CALLER [00:50:40] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, absolutely.
CHRIS [00:50:43] The Tate Modern’s amazing.
CALLER [00:50:43] And, you know, there are places like the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum, absolutely incredible. But, you know, I’ve never lived in London. But a lot of my friends have and my brother did for many, many years. And it’s just a bum lake all the time. [Laughs] You know, you’re trying to get to work and being packed– I mean, maybe New York’s the same. I don’t know. It’s just being packed on stinking, horrible, filthy underground trains. And yeah, a lot of disparity between rich and poor, obviously. I think it’s the same in any big city, isn’t it?
CHRIS [00:51:19] Yeah. I mean, you’re just describing New York. I can’t– I can’t shit-talk London based on this. I– I find that– I don’t think people– I mean, people don’t love Americans. Right? People don’t love Americans right now. Not for a few years.
CALLER [00:51:33] I love some Americans.
CHRIS [00:51:35] Yeah.
CALLER [00:51:35] Just not the right-wing, bigoted nasty ones.
CHRIS [00:51:40] And I think–.
CALLER [00:51:40] Not the gun ones. The gun ones! What is it about the bloody guns?
CHRIS [00:51:45] Oof, believe me. Believe me. I mean, I’ve gotten in trouble ranting about the guns on this podcast.
CALLER [00:51:51] I know! I’m really sorry, Americans, but you really need to have a long, hard look at yourself and your obsession with guns. It’s not healthy. It’s not doing anybody any good.
CHRIS [00:52:02] There are so many people that are ma–.
CALLER [00:52:03] Sorry if I’ve lost you lots of listeners.
CHRIS [00:52:05] Because here’s the thing. That is a little bit of a chip– we get a little chip on our shoulder about a British person going, “Oh Americans,” and shaking their finger at us. We don’t love that.
CALLER [00:52:14] Oh no, it’s just an external perspective, isn’t it? You know, I mean, I don’t have a massive knowledge. I did live there for a while.
CHRIS [00:52:21] I mean, you lived in Texas, too. [Laughs]
CALLER [00:52:23] Yes. But this is– this is back in the mid-90s. And I remember, as clear as day going to get my Social Security number. And it was like literally the second day after I arrived. I had really bad jet lag and a really massive culture shock. And I was sitting in a waiting room in whatever government building it was. And this guy walked past me with a massive gun on his waistband. And I had never seen a real gun in my life before. And it scared the shit out of me. And it was so real right in front of my face. And it’s just like–
CHRIS [00:52:59] USA. USA. [Laughs]
CALLER [00:53:04] [Laughs] I love my naïveté about guns.
CHRIS [00:53:06] That was in Austin? Austin’s like a little liberal hub in Texas.
CALLER [00:53:10] They still have guns everywhere! Half of police don’t even have guns unless you’re in London.
CHRIS [00:53:16] Yeah.
CALLER [00:53:17] Where I live, we don’t even police. What am I talking about?
CHRIS [00:53:20] Really? So if any thieves or bandits are listening to this, descend upon Devon in England.
CALLER [00:53:26] [Laughs] I’m exaggerating. Apparently we have this little Parish magazine that comes around once a month and it tells you what’s going on in all the churches locally and what jumble sales are happening.
CHRIS [00:53:39] Jumble sales.
CALLER [00:53:39] And then there’s always a line about your local police officer and his phone number if you want to ring him. And I believe his area covers several hundred square miles.
CHRIS [00:53:49] One guy?
CALLER [00:53:50] No, maybe not that much. But one guy covers a very big rural area.
CHRIS [00:53:55] If I was a criminal, I would target your area.
CALLER [00:54:01] Yeah, yeah. Well, people just can’t be bothered to drive out here though. You know, you’ve got to drive along these little windy lanes. And especially in the dark, it’s quite hard.
CHRIS [00:54:09] It is? Now, can I tell you, the first time I went to your country, I went to London. It’s probably 2006, 2007 maybe. The point being, George W. Bush was still president. Not cool to be an American in England then.
CALLER [00:54:24] Yes.
CHRIS [00:54:25] I took a taxi in London. London taxi drivers–.
CALLER [00:54:31] A black taxi? The old classic one?
CHRIS [00:54:34] Yeah, a black taxi. Those drivers just want to start fights, huh?
CALLER [00:54:39] Oh yeah, yeah.
CHRIS [00:54:40] That guy heard my accent. He’s like, “you guys are ruining the world.” I was like, “I– look, I didn’t vote for him. I’d like to think I’m not ruining the world.” And it happened to be St. Patrick’s Day and we drove past the St. Patrick’s Day celebration. And he was like, “These– they should get these trash to go home.” And I was like, “My grandfather’s from Ireland.” I was like, I took it on the chin as an American and as an Irish American all in 10 minutes with one taxi driver. You, answer for that!
CALLER [00:55:06] Don’t get me wrong, [Laughs] I can trash talk about Americans. This country has got a lot of problems. An awful lot of problems with views about immigration, views about just different races in general. And, you know, I was moaning about the conservative government and the NHS earlier, that that is a big part of the problem in this country, is you get certain news media, like The Daily Mail. Have you heard about that paper?
CHRIS [00:55:35] Yes. Because Morrissey references it in The Queen is Dead.
CALLER [00:55:41] [Sighs] They’re just evil. They just spout the most awful, awful right-wing propaganda. And there are a lot of people who read the shit and just take it and just go, “Yep. Well, that’s my opinion formed then, isn’t it?” And, you know, you just have to look at the whole Brexit thing, you know, about us leaving Europe?
CHRIS [00:56:01] I’ve heard. Yeah, no, that’s massive international news. Of course I’ve heard of Brexit. You’re tearing apart the European Union. Yeah. We’re all very concerned.
CALLER [00:56:11] It’s a mess! It’s awful. I cried when that result came through. It’s just like, what the hell are we thinking? It’s just like, talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face. And now here we are, over 18 months later, and nobody knows what the bloody hell is going on. It’s like a piss up in a brewery. All the politicians do not have a clue. And that all came about because of stupid, bloody, narrow-minded right-wing media going, “We’ve got to get rid of all the Muslims! We’ve got to get rid of all the immigrants! They’re taking over the country! They’re taking our jobs!” When, you know, there’s a lot of really hardworking, really good immigrants in this country who are doing the jobs that British people are too bloody lazy to do. You know, where I live, it’s a lot of farming and there’s a lot of crop picking and stuff like that. You don’t see any English people getting down in the fields, picking all the crops, and yet they’re complaining that there’s no jobs and unemployment rates are really high.
CALLER [00:57:12] And I don’t know. I don’t know. I– I told you earlier, I’m a very left-wing liberal and I’m sure an awful lot of people would absolutely slaughter me for some of the things I’m saying. But I just think being so narrow-minded and so closed off to other cultures and what they can actually bring in benefits to a country, and having open borders with Europe so that we can trade with them, we can go on holiday there, things like that. I think the culture of this country is just going to be so much worse off as a result of leaving Europe. And I don’t think there– I can’t see any benefits to doing it. But, you know, that’s me. That’s me. I’m sure other people would come on and rant and rave about how stupid or naive I am. But that’s only my opinion.
CHRIS [00:58:09] Well, you could have been talking about America for a lot of the immigration parts, too. It’s the same thing.
CALLER [00:58:13] Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, I know. I know it’s not unique and I know an awful lot of countries have the same conversations and the same arguments and things like that. But I just think, you know, as a general rule, being so horrible to other people is not a healthy way to move forward.
CHRIS [00:58:32] I’m with you.
CALLER [00:58:32] To build nice societies, you know.
CHRIS [00:58:34] I’m with you. Now, I think you’ve given us a crash course in the person-on-the-street-level opinions on British politics, policies. I want to get back to something. Thought you weren’t going to be able to have kids. Found out you had a kid without even really planning.
CALLER [00:58:57] Yeah.
CHRIS [00:58:57] You have the kid. The kid’s four.
CALLER [00:59:00] Yep.
CHRIS [00:59:00] Is it everything you wanted it to be?
CALLER [00:59:03] Well, on days like today, when I took him to his swimming lesson and he shit himself in the swimming pool, [Gethard laughs] no. No.
CHRIS [00:59:17] [Continues laughing]
CALLER [00:59:24] His last swimming lesson, it’s half term, and I had to drag him out of that pool. And I didn’t tell anybody because then they’d have to drain–
CHRIS [00:59:31] I’m sure a lot of people were dragging their kids out of that pool.
CALLER [00:59:35] –the whole bloody pool, wouldn’t they? [Laughs]
CHRIS [00:59:37] What a good answer to that question. [Caller laughs] Shit in the pool?
CALLER [00:59:42] I mean, it all comes– [Laughs] I swear to God, every parenting story, well, from my experience, always comes down to the bloody shit. It really is. My husband’s favorite one is when our son was really small and he did the triple on him. Pissed all over him, shat up his arm, and vomited on him at the same time.
CHRIS [01:00:04] Wow.
CALLER [01:00:04] And, you know– [sighs].
CHRIS [01:00:06] I hope right after he did all that, you looked him in the eye and said, “Get your own granary bread.”
CALLER [01:00:15] [Laughs] Yeah, he was only about two months old at the time, but he was thinking it. He was definitely thinking it.
CHRIS [01:00:19] Yeah, he was on your side. So he took a shit– no wait, he’s 4. He’s potty-trained, no?
CALLER [01:00:24] In theory, yeah. In theory, he has been for about 18 months [Gethard laughs], but you know, he keeps having these little regressions. And he’s starting school in September, and the number of times I say to him, “You can’t keep doing this! Yeah? You are starting school in September! You’ve got to sort this–” He’s lazy. He’s a boy, just lazy.
CHRIS [01:00:45] So it’s just, he doesn’t feel like– he’s having too much fun in the pool, he doesn’t want to get out, just take a shit in the pool.
CALLER [01:00:52] [Sighs] Yeah. Yeah, pretty much.
CHRIS [01:00:56] Did you have to–.
CALLER [01:00:56] He is really good. I mean, he’d– I’m lucky. He was night-trained instantly. As soon as we got rid of nappies, he– I think in 18 months, he’s wet the bed like three times or something. And that’s normally after a swimming lesson when he’s drunk half the swimming pool. Whereas, you know, I have friends whose kids still aren’t dry at night at like six or something ridiculous. But yeah, he just, yeah, has little lapses in concentration and still shits himself. But then you know all about that. [Laughs]
CHRIS [01:01:32] Yeah. I mean, I’m 37 and still struggle, still struggling.
CALLER [01:01:38] Still happening on a frequent basis? Or you’ve got a little bit under control?
CHRIS [01:01:41] Yeah. I mean, every now and then– no, I mean, I tell you, I fixed my diet up. I went pescatarian, that helps a lot.
CALLER [01:01:49] Well, that’s good.
CHRIS [01:01:49] But I still have my days.
CALLER [01:01:52] [Laughs] I’m sorry. I shouldn’t take the piss out of your intestinal problems. My son doesn’t have that excuse. He’s just a lazy little bugger.
CHRIS [01:02:01] Look at that, look at that. Now when he’s not shitting in public places, is it everything you ever dreamed of?
CALLER [01:02:08] Yes and no. It is really hard. It’s really hard work. It’s– the amount of guilt that I feel on a daily basis because I work. I only work three days a week and I still feel so guilty about leaving him. And I think a lot of it ties back to what I said earlier about this myth of this perfect life of parenthood that I am way too susceptible to and because of having slightly dodgy mental health self-confidence issues, I doubt myself all the time. I doubt what I’m doing is the right thing all the time. I don’t have the luxury of not being able to work, but– and it’s good for him because he’s an only child. He needs to be with other kids.
CALLER [01:03:01] So going to nursery, going to daycare and stuff like that, it’s really good for him. It’s socializing him. It’s teaching skills, it’s teaching him how– his favorite line, “Sharing is caring, mommy.” Yeah, okay. [Both laugh] You know, it’s good for him to be away from me, but I still– I get eaten up with guilt about it. But like I said, he’s going to be starting school. Neither of us are going to have any choice in it. And I had to go back to work when he was a year old. And I think that’s one thing that we do have quite a luxury in this country that you don’t possibly have there so much, is– sorry, that with my husband walking through, banging doors– is being able to take extended maternity leave?
CHRIS [01:03:48] Yeah, I think we’re getting better about it.
CALLER [01:03:50] Mm hmm. Yeah.
CHRIS [01:03:51] But I think a lot of it depends on the employer. But they’re trying to– I believe they’re trying to make that more of a mandated thing.
CALLER [01:03:57] Yeah, yeah. So I was fortunate enough to– I mean, the second half of my maternity leave, it was unpaid. But we’d saved up enough money that we were, you know, able to scrape through, sort of thing. But yeah, it’s really tough when there’s an awful lot of pressure to do the career thing and do the motherhood thing and just feeling like can never get it 100 percent right. But maybe that’s just life.
CHRIS [01:04:27] I think that might be a universal human thing. I think that might be one thing you and I are proving to everybody listening to this, is that everywhere you go, people are people. People are people. Like, worried about their families and their jobs, how to get by. Everywhere.
CALLER [01:04:43] Yeah, yeah. If you’re doing the right thing for your kids. If you did the right thing for your marriage. If you doing the right thing for your career. Yeah.
CHRIS [01:04:50] That’s it. That’s what it all comes down to. People like me and you. We just worry and worry and worry. And then someday we drop dead. [Caller laughs] Be released, released from the–.
CALLER [01:05:03] Yeah, how do you ever stop worrying about that stuff. That’s the– how do you let these things go? I don’t know. I really don’t know. I wish I did know the answer, but it’s a tricky one.
CHRIS [01:05:16] It is. It’s what I’ve been trying to figure out my whole life.
CALLER [01:05:18] Yeah.
CHRIS [01:05:18] I think you’ve just gotta learn how to coexist with it.
CALLER [01:05:21] So here’s a really personal question for you then.
CHRIS [01:05:23] Okay.
CALLER [01:05:24] Do you think you’d have kids?
CHRIS [01:05:26] People keep asking me that lately. It keeps coming up. Yeah, I would– I would like to.
CALLER [01:05:35] Yeah. See, it’s one of those questions that I know you should never ask people, but you know. Because I had previously lost my first son and every time a friend of mine told me they were pregnant, or every time my brother and sister-in-law churned out yet another kid, a bit of my heart broke and I would sob. And you’re there going, “Oh well, congratulations! I’m so pleased for you!” And you’re just dying inside.
CHRIS [01:06:03] And then you’re also beating yourself up going, “I don’t want to be the type of person that can’t be happy for other people.”.
CALLER [01:06:09] Yeah.
CHRIS [01:06:10] Yeah, that too.
CALLER [01:06:11] Yeah, totally.
CHRIS [01:06:12] And then that doubles down and makes you feel like you’re inherently a bad or petty person. But it’s just, you’re a person with emotions reacting to the punches thrown at you.
CALLER [01:06:25] Absolutely. And when you want something so badly and everybody else is churning out kids like it’s bloody no issue, it’s like it’s the easiest thing in the world, it is really hard. It is really, really hard. You know, and then, like I say, I have all this guilt that the thing I wanted most in the world, when I finally got it, it turned out to be the hardest, most hideous thing, the toughest thing I have ever put myself through. And it’s taken me four years to get over the whole situation. I couldn’t even let my husband describe the birth to me for six months because I was so traumatized by it.
CHRIS [01:07:08] Traumatized?
CALLER [01:07:08] Every time he– because they gave me so many drugs, I didn’t really remem– it’s all very hazy. And every time we would like vaguely discuss what happened in that twelve hours of darkness, yes, it took six months before I could actually hear what happened. And then I’m thinking, “But I’m supposed to be so grateful for this! This is supposed to be the best thing that ever happened to me!” And it was so traumatizing. And the minute he was born, partly age, but partly the experience, I was just like, “I am never, ever, ever doing this again.” And I’m sterilized after that. I went and got myself sterilized.
CHRIS [01:07:53] You were? You did? After all that fighting?
CALLER [01:07:55] Yep, yep, yep. I never, never wanted to go through that again. No way.
CHRIS [01:08:02] Wow. We have two minutes left, just so you know.
CALLER [01:08:05] Oh no! Are you joking?
CHRIS [01:08:06] No, I’m not joking. I never joke.
CALLER [01:08:08] Aw, Chris. This has been really good. [Gethard laughs] No, I know.
CHRIS [01:08:15] I try to joke all the time. Yeah, it’s tough. It’s also– it’s also a thing, you know, and it’s a cliché, but it’s true. It’s like, you know, the second people start sprouting hair on their bodies as kids, everyone in their life is like, “Don’t do– you’ll have an accident– it can just happen by accident!” And then you get to the point where you actually want to buckle down and do it, and people are like, “oh, actually, it’s the hardest thing in the world.”
CALLER [01:08:37] It is good. Don’t get me wrong. In a minute, I will be going upstairs to kiss my son and tuck him in and there’ll be lying there snoring his head off. And every night I look at his little face and my heart just explodes. You know, he is beautiful. He is amazing. And he’s really challenging. And that’s only going to get more so as he gets older. But bloody hell, I look at him and the love that you feel for your child is like– nothing can ever prepare you for that. That moment when you look at them and just go, “Bloody hell, that’s my child. I created that child.” It is amazing. It is amazing.
CHRIS [01:09:19] And then sometimes–.
CALLER [01:09:20] Even when he shits in the swimming pool.
CHRIS [01:09:22] Sometimes he shits in a pool and you go, “Bloody hell, that’s my child.”
CALLER [01:09:27] [Laughs] I’m so proud.
CHRIS [01:09:30] “Jesus, that’s– Bloody hell, that is my child. Oh.”.
CALLER [01:09:33] Yeah, that’s my boy! That’s my boy. Yep, totally.
CHRIS [01:09:38] That’s pretty cool! First time he says, “mommy.” That’s pretty cool, huh?
CALLER [01:09:42] My baby doesn’t say, “Mommy.” He says, “Mummy.”.
CHRIS [01:09:45] Mummy.
CALLER [01:09:46] Mummy.
CHRIS [01:09:47] Mommy, that’s a weird sound.
CALLER [01:09:49] Mummy, mummy. [Laughs]
CHRIS [01:09:51] Thank you for calling. Thank you for filling us in.
CALLER [01:09:54] Thank you, Chris.
CHRIS [01:09:55] Yeah, thank you for filling us in on your story, being so open and honest. I know it’s– that is not an easy story to be open about and–.
CALLER [01:10:02] No, it’s– you know, my belief in life is tell people, talk to people, might help them, might help me. Does help me, every time I feel shit, if I talk to somebody, I feel better.
CHRIS [01:10:18] Caller, thank you for calling. I found myself very comfortable talking to you. Quite charmed. And again, I want to reiterate, your opinions on London do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this host or this podcast. Thank you so much to Jared O’Connell, Harry Nelson in the booth. One hundred episodes and you guys hold it together. When I’m busy and running around working on my dumb TV show and I’m about to collapse, you guys continue to make this so fun. So thank you. It’s weird that you’re sitting right there. I’m trying to do like a 100th episode special thing. But it’s weird because you’re eight feet away, on the other side of a piece of glass. Thanks to Gretta Cohn and Reverend John DeLore. I always thank them for helping to build the show. Shellshag, I’ve played your music a hundred times to the world that I never get tired of it. You guys are the best. If you wanna know about me and times I’m going out on the road, chrisgeth.com is the Web site where you can find that info. Also, if you like this show, what you do is go to Apple Podcasts, you read it, you review it, you subscribe to it. It really does help so much. Thank you all, who have been listening. Means the world to me. I’ll see you next time.
CHRIS [01:12:15] Next time on Beautiful / Anonymous.
CALLER [01:12:19] Tonight, I want to talk about– let’s do a good old Life Story episode, how I went from dealing drugs to performing brain surgery.
CHRIS [01:12:30] Wow, nobody’s ever dropped a thesis like that. So you were a drug dealer at one point in your life. Now you’re a brain surgeon?
CALLER [01:12:37] Well, let’s start from the top, right?
CHRIS [01:12:38] Yeah. Let’s do it.
CALLER [01:12:39] Well, I am from a quiet suburb on the East Coast, and I was a pretty well-adjusted kid for a while. Keyword for a while. Then middle school came, and that’s a pivotal point in many of our lives. I was bullied mercilessly. And I should say, I don’t trust anybody who wasn’t bullied in middle school. Like my girlfriend right now–.
CHRIS [01:12:59] Next time on Beautiful / Anonymous.
Recent EpisodesSee All
March 23, 2023
Geth has a new book out called “The Lonely Dad Conversations,” and you’re about to hear a sneak peek!
March 20, 2023
EP. 363 — Jersey Italian Grandma
Kidnapping mobsters, a phone call from beyond the grave, and holy water in a vodka bottle. A Jersey Italian grandmother always has stories.
March 13, 2023
EP. 362 — Punk Rock Lawyer
She considered herself a hardcore anarchist, until she became a lawyer. A tattooed, body building, sometimes musician discusses her journey to becoming an attorney.