August 6, 2018
EP. 124 — Goose, Not Maverick
Herding fighter pilots like cats, taking “go pills” to stay focused for long flights, imposter syndrome, “don’t ask, don’t tell.” These are just some of the unique things this active-duty service member has experienced while serving her country and she tells Geth all about them.
This episode is brought to you by Talkspace (www.talkspace.com/beautiful), Brooklinen (www.brooklinen.com code: BEAUTIFUL), ZipRecruiter (www.ziprecruiter.com/beautiful), and Caffe Monster.
124 — Goose, Not Maverick
[00:01:33] CHRIS: Hello to everybody figuring out how to get a horse to San Diego. It’s Beautiful Anonymous one hour. One phone call. No names, no holds barred.
THEME MUSIC: I’d rather go one on one, I think it’ll be more fun. And I’ll get to know you, and you’ll get to know me…
[00:01:57] CHRIS: Hello, everybody. Chris Gethard here. Welcome to another episode of Beautiful Anonymous. The show where I get to talk one on one with human beings somewhere on planet Earth and we hear about their lives and stories and we all collectively come together to actually listen. One person shares. Everybody else listens. It’s like preschool in a way. Man do I feel good doing it. Empathy. Empathy is dying. Empathy. I feel so lucky that I get to do this podcast where everybody who listens to it gets to say ’empathy still matters, we still want it in our lives!’ Thank God, thank God for your listeners. I mean that, I mean that so much. Thank you to everybody who came to the Vermont Comedy Club in Burlington, Vermont. What a great club. What a great town. I was there for something called the, part of something called the Festival of Fools. I got to see this guy named Zip Code Man, where you yell a Zip code and he tells you where it’s from. It was amazing. More importantly, I got to meet so many of you guys. I tell you, what a great, I mean, people drove down from Maine. I met a mother and daughter who drove all the way from Long Island. And they listen to the show. And then they told me that the daughter goes to Kenyon College and that’s where my wife went. And they’re like, ‘oh my God, we have stuff in common.’ It’s just so nice people wearing Beautiful Anonymous t shirts. I’ve got other shows coming up. If you’re listening to this when you download it, it’s Tuesday, August 7th is when this drops. Wednesday, August 8th, if you’re in New York City, I’m telling you. Go to Chrisgeth.com. I got a show coming up. Jackson Heights, New York, Queens, my neighborhood. Best food in the city. You come out early. That’s what you do. You come out early. You go to little India, maybe get some Colombian food or some Tibetan food. Thai food. We have world class food all over this neighborhood. You come out. You eat. You see this neighborhood. You always hear me talking, talking about. And then you you come to the show out on Northern Boulevard. I’ve gathered some very great comedians. I’m gonna be their host, gonna be doing my own comedy as well. It’s all in service of Catalina Cruz, who’s running for state assembly, who I’m a fan of and a supporter of. And I’m really hoping, the tickets have been selling really well. So there’s probably some left. Go grab them right now. Come on out, hang out in Queens with your buddy Chris Gethard. As far as the weekends go, August 16th, 17th, 18th. Minneapolis, Minnesota. I am on my way. Acme Comedy Company. One of the great clubs in this world and hates all our London listeners that a live taping, live Beautiful Anonymous Day, that’s almost sold out. You have been going great. Thank you for that. Everybody’s showing up. I actually have a couple standup shows I’m going to be doing the night before now to try to meet even more of you guys. So ticket info. Chrisgeth.com. Thank you guys for coming out and supporting me when I’m on the road. And on that note of you guys supporting me. Just want to put something out here for posterity. Some of you may have noticed I announced this yesterday on the Internet. The Chris Gethard Show is no more. We’ve pulled the plug. The network, I think, was in a position where they may have had to cancel it or rebuild it. And they asked me if I was still into it. And I told them, you know, I don’t want to rebuild it. I think it’s time to end it. And that’s sad. I’m sure there are some listeners right now going, oh, great, I don’t have to listen to him plug that thing every every week for a stretch next year, which I get. But I do want to say I know that not all the Beautiful Anonymous fans were Gethard Show fans, and visa versa. But I just want to give a really heartfelt thank you to everybody who checked out my TV show and who gave it a chance, and even more so, even for everybody who didn’t. I have an easy life. I’m an entertainer. When entertainers complain, it’s like, ‘boo hoo, man. I know a lot of people with harder lives. That being said at the end of the day, you’re still a freelancer. When one gigs goes away, you don’t know if another thing’s ever gonna come. And people claw and fight to get TV shows, let alone a TV show with their name on it. And it should be scarier for me that it’s going away. And I can tell you the primary reason that it’s not scary is because of this podcast and because of the community surrounding it. That’s you guys. And the fact that you all call in, the fact that you spread word on this thing, the fact that you buy tickets when I’m on the road. Just in a very non melodramatic way, it’s an amazing safety net that makes me know that I’m gonna be okay. I’m gonna be able to pay my mortgage. My wife’s gonna be okay. And those are just real world concerns you have when a gig ends. And I tell you, I should be more shaken up and rattled and bruised up about the ending of The Chris Gethard Show. And I’m not. And I would say the motivating factor of that is that you guys listening to this podcast have my back. Thank you for that. Okay. Last week’s episode, I got to say, I was so nervous every time we changed the format, everybody on Facebook freaks out. They want it pure. Just the phone calls. Everybody kind of liked it. The conversation in the park, people liked hearing the found audio of all the street noise. Lot of people told me they were driving while listening to the call and the constant New York City sound of sirens, the endless New York City sirens, a lot of people kept freaking out and checking their rearview mirrors, thinking they were being pulled over. Sorry about that. Too many people like the part where trash flew into me, lets me know where I stand in everybody’s minds that they like when the trash flies into me, that that’s a fun moment. A lot of people saying they’d like us to do more of those live out there in the world ones. I was saying in the Facebook group Beautiful Anonymous, The Community on Facebook, join today. We’re coming up on 30000 members, join today. I would say maybe I can convince old Jared and Harry that we should rent a van and the three of us just travel this world like hobos, setting up our sad little microphones on little tables and parks all over this goddamn globe. Maybe we’ll do it. Maybe we’ll do it. But most of all, people love that caller. And I did, too. I tell you, I hold that one very near and dear to my heart, sitting there talking to her. Other listeners of a Cuban background saying ‘this was awesome to hear someone talk not just about the politics of Cuba, but also just life in general and not just the sensationalized politics.’ Thank you again for coming out to the park. It was so cool. So cool to meet you. A lot of people saying I missed an opportunity by not salsa dancing in the park. You’re right. I dropped the ball. This week’s call is, I got to tell you, one of the coolest people I’ve ever talked to. As soon as we got off the phone we were ‘wow, that is a badass.’ And as you’ll hear, I’ve actually met them already. She mentions this was right before I performed in Washington, D.C. and we met a few days after this call happened. And I got to tell her to her face. You’re gonna hear this is someone who has lived some dreams, has gone big. We’re talking jets. We’re talking technology. We’re talking badass. And she fills us in on what it’s like being in the Navy, being in the Navy in a very specific role. Unique life. Serving the country and everything that comes along with that. Some cultural shifts that she was right there for, some cultural attitudes that she’s on the other side of my personal politics from, as far as her life experience. But she’s able to tell me on the inside of military what it’s like to this liberal northeastern artist. It’s a cool call, with a badass caller. I don’t want to say too much because I think you’re going to love it. It gets really nerdy and technical, but in all the right ways. Enjoy it.
[00:09:32] PHONE ROBOT: Thank you for calling Beautiful Anonymous, a beeping noise will indicate when you are on the show with the host. [beep]
[00:09:41] CALLER: Hello.
[00:09:42] CHRIS: Hello.
[00:09:43] CALLER: Yes.
[00:09:45] CHRIS: What was that? That was a crazy sound there. It sounded like an animal was attacking you or something.
[00:09:52] CALLER: I was blowing my nose.
[00:09:53] CHRIS: You were blowing your nose. We caught you blowing your nose to start the call.
[00:09:59] CALLER: Sorry about that, I was trying to get it done before you begin.
[00:10:03] CHRIS: No, that’s OK. That happens. But from my end it sounded like a cougar attack. A bobcat.
[00:10:12] CALLER: I was not being attacked by cougar.
[00:10:13] CHRIS: That’s good. Good to know. Blowing your nose. OK. Do you need to take a moment and finish up?
[00:10:20] CALLER: No, no, no, I’m good. Great.
[00:10:29] CHRIS: Yeah, I’m just chuckling to myself because I’m like, man, we’ve done like one hundred twenty of these and we keep finding new ways to surprise ourselves.
[00:10:37] CALLER: It’s not really the best way to start a call, it’s kind of embarrassing.
[00:10:42] CHRIS: It’s not that, I mean, it’s you know, there’s worse ways, but no, not many. But that’s OK. Who cares? 58 minutes and 50 seconds to recover. I’m confident we can.
[00:10:54] CALLER: OK, well, let’s do it then.
[00:10:56] CHRIS: Yeah. What’s up?
[00:10:58] CALLER: How are you?
[00:11:00] CHRIS: How am I? OK. First, I’m psyched because here the Earwolf office, they get those little mini Biscoff cookies, and these Biscoff cookies. There was a time in my life where I could only get them on Delta airplanes. I don’t know if anybody listening remembers. Like I’d go on Delta airplanes ‘they better have those weird cookies.’ Now they got them here at the Earwolf office. I’m happy about it. How am I doing otherwise? It’s a beautiful day. Absolutely gorgeous day in New York City. But I’m I’m feeling a little down. And then sometimes that happens when I’m like ‘man, everything’s so beautiful. My life is really great. I feel down.’ And then I feel like an ingrate. And that makes me feel more down. So I have to I have to stay on top of that. That’s OK. That happens with me.
[00:11:44] CALLER: I totally get that. Wow.
[00:11:47] CHRIS: Yeah.
[00:11:48] CALLER: Well, like, ‘wow, I have everything in the world and I still kind of just want to sit on my couch and watch really bad t.v.’
[00:11:57] CHRIS: I just want to play on my phone and then be mad at myself for playing on my phone.
[00:12:02] CALLER: Yes. You’re such a waste. Hey, guess what?
[00:12:07] CHRIS: What?
[00:12:08] CALLER: I’m going to see you on Friday in D.C.
[00:12:10] CHRIS: Whoa, look at this! Yeah, I’ve met callers after I’ve talked to them. I’ve never had someone tell me I will meet you. And we should know it’s Thursday. We’ll meet in about twenty eight hours. Sounds like. Yeah.
[00:12:24] CALLER: That’s so funny that I got through this time. Wow.
[00:12:29] CHRIS: Well, thank you for buying a ticket. And I hope you enjoy the experience.
[00:12:33] CALLER: I’m super stoked. I got connected with like that Facebook group and trying to, like, meet up with people who listen to the show and stuff. Kind of a whole neat little chain of events.
[00:12:46] CHRIS: That’s cool. The Kennedy Center, performing at the Kennedy Center. Very fancy. Yeah, that’s very fancy. I don’t have to wear a suit or anything. That’s a good feather in the cap.
[00:13:00] CALLER: Have you ever performed there before?
[00:13:01] CHRIS: One other time. And it was really great. The Kennedy Center, so much great stuff, so much like historic stuff is happening there. My wife came down. My wife came down for the show. She said ‘I’m so proud of you performing at the Kennedy Center.’
[00:13:13] CALLER: Oh, I just saw Hamilton there a couple of weeks ago.
[00:13:18] CHRIS: Yes. How’d you like it?
[00:13:20] CALLER: It was amazing!
[00:13:22] CHRIS: Had you already been listening to the soundtrack and everything? Are we going in–
[00:13:26] CALLER: No, that was the thing. I was a complete Hamilton virgin before. I didn’t know any of the songs. I didn’t know what to expect at all. All I heard is like raves about it on other podcasts and people losing their minds. I was like, ‘it couldn’t be that good.’ And afterwards I was like, jaw on the floor. I did not know what to do with myself. It was so good.
[00:13:45] CHRIS: Yeah, I liked it. I saw it. I’m lucky enough that I saw the original cast with Lin-Manuel Miranda. And my wife always makes fun of me, sometimes I’ll sing along to the soundtrack, the king, he has those high notes and I really belt them out. And she thinks it’s real cute. You want to hear what I have to do to? Here’s how high I go to belt the notes. I have to step away from the microphone, I’m going backwards because I don’t want to be too loud. It’s because you have to just scream these high notes. I go, [sings] “oceans rise, empires fall!” You gotta hit those high notes. Yeah. Oh wait it should be a little higher. [sings] “oceans rise, empires falllllllll!” There you go.
[00:14:35] CALLER: Oh my god that’s so awesome.
[00:14:39] CHRIS: That’s the king. Anyway, that’s a pretty good deal. So you’re just hanging out at the Kennedy Center all week.
[00:14:44] CALLER: No, no, no, I live in D.C. And so I just picked up a ticket to run down and see you because I was super excited that you’re going to be in the area. But, yeah.
[00:14:59] CHRIS: That’s awesome.
[00:15:01] CALLER: So anyway, when I called in, I mentioned being in the Navy for 14 years, a girl in aviation and that kind of being a strange and different kind of situation that most people probably aren’t aware of. Also mentioned talking about relationships and depression and imposter syndrome. So I figured I would just throw that out there.
[00:15:27] CHRIS: Wow. OK. Just threw it all against the wall. Let’s see what we’re working with. So you say you’re in the Navy. So you were in the Navy for 14 years or are you in the Navy right now?
[00:15:39] CALLER: I am in the Navy right now.
[00:15:40] CHRIS: You’re in the Navy and you work in aviation.
[00:15:44] CALLER: Yes, yeah. I used to fly planes for the Navy off of aircraft carriers.
[00:15:49] CHRIS: Woahh.
[00:15:51] CALLER: Yeah. And technically, I will say for anyone who’s listening, who is in the Navy. I will compare myself. I’m goose, not maverick. So I was a backseater, not an actual pilot. So I was like navigating, and like, weapon systems, comms, that kind of thing.
[00:16:10] CHRIS: That’s… your goose, not a maverick. I think we already know the title to this is episode. A goose, not a maverick. So funny you bring this up. It must have been now, what, six months ago or so, I went out to California–
[00:16:28] CALLER: The 147, the Argos.
[00:16:30] CHRIS: The Argos. Yeah! You know this! I mentioned this on the show.
[00:16:33] CALLER: I cruise with them. Every time you mentioned going out to talk to them, I think of the guys I used to hang out with.
[00:16:39] CHRIS: You know the Argos!
[00:16:41] CALLER: Well I mean I know the guys who were in the squadron at the time, which was, you know, like, what, eight years ago now. So it would be a completely different people. But yeah, the Argos were on my on my boat.
[00:16:53] CHRIS: That is incredible. So for anybody who doesn’t know the reference, it was very meaningful to me. I’ve said like, you know, I did this special called Career Suicide, where I talked about depression stuff. And one of the most meaningful things that came out of it was a staff sergeant named, I don’t know if I should say his name, a staff sergeant from the Argos reached out to me and said part of his duties as a staff sergeant was he has to interview all the people who work in his unit. What are we talking here? Unit?
[00:17:30] CALLER: Squadron.
[00:17:31] CHRIS: The whole squadron. And he said there was a distressing number of these anonymous surveys that came back with people who said they were having depression issues or suicidal thoughts. And he said he kind of didn’t know what to do. And he randomly caught my special on HBO one night. And he said, ‘you know, I think that people are going to respond to it because it’s funny. Is there any way you’d come out and perform the show?’ And I said, ‘well, I forgot how the show goes as soon as I taped it.’ But we came out and screened it and then I talked to them. And it was amazing, it was amazing to meet all those people. It’s really incredible what you do. Thank you for doing it.
[00:18:14] CALLER: The best answer that I’ve ever heard anyone say to being in the military and being thanked for our service is just to tell anyone who’s listening that you guys are worth it. Because it’s kind of awkward to be like, ‘hey, you’re welcome.’ But, you know, I think that that’s an important thing to say is like ‘you’re worth it.’ As a United States citizen, you’re worth it.
[00:18:38] CHRIS: That’s so nice. That’s so nice.
[00:18:41] CALLER: That’s such a cool thing because like, I don’t know how much you guys got into mental health in the military and all the stigma attached. But I will say from the aviation standpoint, it’s even more insidious just because, you know, we have to pass special like elevated medical screenings in order to be eligible to fly. And you, it’s called getting your [**can’t understand the term**]. That’s what it’s called getting cleared to fly. And so when you have your [**can’t understand the term**], you hold onto it for dear life, because if anything happens, like even if you have like a cold or a head cold or whatever, then you get put down until that clears. But mental health is one of those things where they don’t want, quote/unquote, crazy people flying multimillion dollar aircraft in combat and putting other people’s lives in danger if they have opportunity. So it can be really, really dicey. So it’s almost impossible to get mental health help, as an aviator, I will say.
[00:19:47] CHRIS: Right, your career. Your career. You might. You might. Your career might slip. And meanwhile, and I hope I’m not airing any dirty laundry, but I think this is something people know, when I was out hanging with the Argos, one of their pilots had told me, he’s saying he’s flown solo, because they fly solo missions. At least the pilot I talked to. He didn’t have a goose back there.
[00:20:07] CALLER: Yes, they don’t, they’re a single seat.
[00:20:09] CHRIS: And he was saying that they’ll fly somehow. He said he I think he said the longest mission he flew was 14 hours.
[00:20:14] CALLER: I said I think as long as I ever flew with twelve and I had three other people on a jet with me.
[00:20:20] CHRIS: But I said to him, I was like, ‘how do you even stay awake the whole time?’ And he said, ‘well, there’s medicine for that.’ And then I said, ‘are you all tweaked out and you get off the plane?’ And he’s like, ‘Yeah. But then you got the downers,’ you get the uppers to help you through the mission, you the downers. So you’re mental– I mean, to be in total isolation for 14 hours, taking pills to keep you up and then new pills to keep you down and to keep your mental health on your shoulders. All, all of that’s just, you know, speaking of the physiology, let alone from the fact that you’re on these missions where it’s high pressure stuff. You might have people trying to kill you. You might be charged with taking other people’s lives. Just the– I can’t imagine mental health being an easy thing to maintain when you’re a flier.
[00:21:04] CALLER: No. And and you’re away from your family. And being on a boat for that long is really tough. And, you know, one of the, one of the things I don’t know if everyone necessarily realizes like, you know, intellectually, you don’t necessarily put it together. But after all of that time, while he’s flying and possibly dropping bombs and working with guys on the ground, you might be in distress and all these crazy things that could possibly happen. And by the way, he’s tanking every two hours. So aerial refueling, you have to basically, you know, have a large aircraft land on top of you and give you fuel while you’re flying. Then you have to turn around and land on an aircraft, probably at night. It’s insane that these pilots are who they are. They are amazing.
[00:21:50] CHRIS: I was out at that base in California where they had the airstrip. And when I was out there, all the jets were practicing. I think they set it up to emulate the conditions of landing on an aircraft carrier, maybe.
[00:21:59] CALLER: Yes. We call it bouncing their FCLP, flight carrier landing pattern procedures. Someone’s going to hear this and be like ‘I can’t believe you don’t remember that acronym.’ But, yes, they’re called FCLPs and it’s basically like you simulate the pattern around the boat.
[00:22:14] CHRIS: They had a little shack on the side of the runway where that was happening and they let me sit in it. I was watching. I think it was– are the Argo’s flying F-14s, if I remember right?
[00:22:29] CALLER: F-18. F14s are the ones that were in Top Gun and they’re retired.
[00:22:34] CHRIS: So they’re flying the F18s. I was watching them when these F-18s from, I must have been about 15 yards away. It was insane. It was insane.
[00:22:42] CALLER: Have you ever watched aircraft aircraft carrier landing videos? They’re awesome. You should definitely look them up. They’re so much fun.
[00:22:49] CHRIS: Now, you said you used to fly, but I think you did say you’re still in the military, so you’re not flying anymore.
[00:22:54] CALLER: Correct.
[00:22:56] CHRIS: What are you up to now? Are you not allowed to say? classified?
[00:23:00] CALLER: No no, I can totally I can totally say. I have thought about this multiple times– I’m literally the only person in the entire world that has the job that I have. But not many people know it, so it wouldn’t really necessarily give me away. So I got into the Navy, I did the whole flying thing, I did that for, what, eight years and then I decided I didn’t want to be a commanding officer. And so I kind of went off what we call the ‘golden path’, which is, you know, stay in the cockpit, just keep flying, keep flying, keep flying. I wanted to come back to D.C. I came back to work for Navy Woman’s Policy. And that was really cool. Completely different situation. And then I decided I want to get out. I was engaged at the time and I wanted to get out of the Navy, do the reserve thing and try and see what would happen as a civilian. And as I was getting out, the relationship was falling apart and I was like, holy shit, I hate being a civilian. This is fucking terrible, sorry Sally. I then went in search of kind of long term orders through the reserve. So technically, I’m a reservist on active duty orders and I design the cockpit for the Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35 Lightning 2. So I basically run a working group that brings all the pilots that fly the F-35, which is our [****can’t make out****] fighter, the most premier fighter jet in the world. I run a working group that brings all those guys together and we make decisions about how the cockpit is going to evolve.
[00:24:47] CHRIS: That’s nuts! That’s nuts. I don’t know, I’m I hope I’m not getting anybody in trouble saying this. They let me sit in the cockpit on one of them jets.
[00:25:02] CALLER: Of course you’re not going to get anyone in trouble for that.
[00:25:05] CHRIS: That’s complex stuff. You’re designing the newest, most high tech one?
[00:25:09] CALLER: Well, yeah, because the new one it’s mostly touchscreen, so it’s much more customizable after the fact. Whereas what you probably saw was a lot of like hard buttons, steam gages and that kind of thing. I mean their screens are more advanced than what I flew, to be sure. And they still have customizable options. But the F-35 has really cool, customizable stuff. It’s a program is the Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps for the U.S. services and then eight partner nations. Everything I’m saying is unclassified, so don’t worry. And then eight partner nations that are all part of the program. And so like I run this entire working group where I have to herd fighter pilots like cats. And it’s about that effective.
[00:25:56] CHRIS: Cats. Wow. So you’re sitting there going ‘I flew for eight years. Here’s all the drawbacks of the cockpits that I was in and we’re going to fix everything up, so this new plane is just badass and pilots can just do what they do without having to worry about this.
[00:26:12] CALLER: I try my hardest because I’m kind of in a weird situation where I’m a back-seater and I wasn’t in like a fighter jet. I was in electronic warfare jet. So like when it got the expertise–
[00:26:26] CHRIS: What the hell is that? Finish the thing with the teeth. But then tell me what electronic warfare jets are. God, we live in a terrifying world. So you’re a back-seater there’s maybe a little bit of a…
[00:26:43] CALLER: I’m not a pilot, so I don’t necessarily have that kind of like mindset just because I don’t control the aircraft, I do all the other things. And so when we’re talking about a single seat aircraft, these guys have to worry about, you know, flying aircraft, controlling aircraft, making sure they’re not breaking any rules and all of the things that are coming in and going out of the jet. They have to worry about all of that. And so it’s just a very different mindset. So when I took over this job, I tried really, really hard to kind of turn over all the decisions as much as possible to the pilots because they’re the ones flying it. And so I really try and put myself in more of the like, collect all of your information and put it together in a nice pretty package with a bow on top to present to the people who give us time and money to do it. That’s the role that I’ve kind of built for myself rather than being like ‘these are the changes we’re going to make’ because I don’t know. I’ve never flown this job. I’m never going to fly this jet.
[00:27:41] CHRIS: That’s still badass. Now, can I ask you about one other thing I learned during my day with the Argos. They were telling me, these pilots were telling me that when they’re stateside, there’s a thing where they’re told just take a jet and go fly wherever you feel like in the United States. Did you ever do those?
[00:28:03] CALLER: Oh yea, tons.
[00:28:04] CHRIS: We got to tell the world about these, these fighter jets. And it serves a purpose. But it’s basically you got to get used to flying for hours at a time. You got to get used to maybe having to figure out how to navigate to points that you didn’t necessarily expect to go to, have to coordinate a landing. So they tell these pilots, ‘hey, go take a military grade jet and fly wherever you feel like. Have fun. Call us when you get back.’ Pretty close to it, right?
[00:28:31] CALLER: Yea, I mean, in flight school in Pensacola, Florida, where the Navy does flight school, you needed to get a certain number of flights in order to pass whatever phase of training you were in. And so if you were short on time or you could do what we call an outman, you would sit down with the instructor and be like, ‘I feel like barbecue today, wanna go to Tennessee?’
[00:28:54] CHRIS: Really? Get the hell out. You can be like ‘I want to get the dry rub ribs. Skip Kansas City. We’re going to Tennessee.’ And when you’re in Pensacola, Florida, and the types of jets you’re flying, how long did it take you to get to, let’s say, Nashville?
[00:29:08] CALLER: Oh, God. Well, it depends on which phase of flight. So it could take anywhere from like, oh god, this was a really, really long time ago, so I might embarrass myself, so like two hours. Two hours, land, refuel, get lunch, brief again, get back in the jet, fly home. And you get two graded events out of that.
[00:29:34] CHRIS: So you could just be sitting around with some buddy, and this person will go ‘You know, I’ve never had a lobster roll’ and you’re like ‘you’ve never had a– all right. We’re going to Maine, get in the jet.’ And fly to Maine.
[00:29:45] CALLER: Some of my buddies who flew P-3 which are not carrier based, but they’re much longer distance aircraft than what I ever flew. Yeah, they would leave out of Jacksonville, Florida and be like, ‘let’s go get lobster’ and literally go to Maine.
[00:30:04] CHRIS: God damn, that’s cool.
[00:30:06] CALLER: It’s awesome. Not a bad life.
[00:30:10] CHRIS: That’s cool, that’s cool, man, that’s awesome. So you were– ok… I don’t want to just ask you about this, don’t let me forget, I want to talk about you said relationships and imposter syndrome. I want to getinto all that. So you fly in electronic warfare crafts?
[00:30:33] CHRIS [ad transition]: We got to go in and take a break. What’s an electronic warfare jet? I don’t know. I can’t imagine. I bet it’s filled with lots of gadgets, though, maybe they may be similar to the types of gadgets and services and products that we’re about to sell you through the ads here at Beautiful, Anonymous. There’s promo codes attached to these ads. Use the promo codes. It really makes the show look good when you do. Back right after this with more phone call.
[00:33:32] CHRIS [ad transition]: Thank you to all of our advertisers. Now let’s get back to the phone call.
[00:33:38] CHRIS: Electronic warfare crafts?
[00:33:43] CALLER: The EA-60 Growler. They don’t fly anymore. They got retired. I think this year was the last flight for the growler. They were replaced by the EA-18 Growler, which is a variant of the jets that you saw the Argos flying.
[00:34:02] CALLER: They’re the first Navy flight and switching to the F-35, the one that I’m working on right now.
[00:34:08] CHRIS: So what’s electronic warfare jets?
[00:34:16] CALLER: uhhh….well…. [long pause]
[00:34:18] CHRIS: Ooh, you’re figuring out what you’re allowed to say.
[00:34:22] CALLER: Yeah, I’m just trying to think the most easy way of saying is like we can send out signals that won’t interfere with things.
[00:34:30] CHRIS: Whoa. So like spies in the sky. can look it up.
[00:34:34] CALLER: You can look it up. It’s been a really, really long time since I’ve done it. So I don’t want to put anything out there and get myself in trouble or get anyone in trouble. So it’s something you can Google real quick, like EA60 Growler does this, you know? We didn’t we didn’t necessarily– We didn’t really go kinematic , so we didn’t drop bombs, but we would we would fly around and support the guys on the ground with whatever they need support on.
[00:35:01] CHRIS: And were you flying, you said eight years ago, so is that Afghanistan, Iraq, where you in missions in that area?
[00:35:08] CALLER: Yeah. Both.
[00:35:10] CHRIS: Just theoretically, and if by all means if you’re like it would cross a line–
[00:35:18] CALLER: Don’t worry, I won’t answer if I can’t.
[00:35:19] CHRIS: So maybe there might be a situation where maybe there’s some guys on the ground and you need to make sure that nobody in that area can send an email for the next two hours. Maybe we have some devices up there that can make sure that that doesn’t happen.
[00:35:34] CALLER: That’s an idea. That’s definitely an idea.
[00:35:38] CHRIS: Maybe cell phones aren’t going to function for the next chunk of time until some things get done that need to get done. Maybe your texts ain’t going through.
[00:35:51] CALLER: I think you get the idea.
[00:35:56] CHRIS: Maybe the Argo’s need to fly in there, so maybe your radar systems need to not know about the old Argo’s coming on in.
[00:36:07] CALLER: Yeah. You’re picking up on exactly exactly what we did. It wasn’t necessarily as exciting as everyone else who get these giant explosions when they do their job. But I think we’ve helped a lot of people.
[00:36:20] CHRIS: It’s like James Bond in the sky stuff. Now, I do have to say, because I can sit here and be a nerd about the technology, I will say– I wonder how you feel being outside of combat missions. It’s funny, like when I went and spoke to the Navy, to the squadron, I know there were some people in my life that were like, ‘I don’t know, man, like like, you know, just in general, war is bad’. I’m a liberal. And like people say that, but I’m like but when you talk to the human beings on the ground in the military, they are just people who want to help. Very often kids who want to help, like actual kids, like actual kids–
[00:37:04] CALLER: Very often actual kids.
[00:37:05] CHRIS: Actual 21 year old people.
[00:37:09] CALLER: Yeah. Like I gave you my résumé and I’m 36.
[00:37:12] CHRIS: Damn! You’ve done all that cool-ass shit and you’re younger than I am?! I performed a comedy club in a mall in Syracuse a couple weeks ago. So I’m feeling pretty good about myself, too.
[00:37:26] CALLER: And you’re going to be at the Kennedy Center tomorrow! That’s badass!
[00:37:28] CHRIS: That’s true. That’s true. That’s true. How do you reconcile it all? How do you reconcile it all that you’re a part of something with nothing but good intentions, on a personal level, but that the very people you’re protecting, many of them question the, would you say, the morality of it. Must be a lot to wrap your head around when you’re on the inside.
[00:37:56] CALLER: I think you nailed part of it, it’s that all the stuff that I did and what most, you know, the age that most of my friends were doing, that kind of thing. We’re young and we don’t necessarily think the same way. I’m starting to notice that as I pass my mid-thirties we think about things a lot differently at this point than I did when I was twenty five when I wanted to fly upside down and go real fast all the time. I mean, I’m sure lots of people think about it. I really didn’t think about it a lot. I also didn’t necessarily have to worry about dropping bombs on people. So I feel like that never pushed me over the edge of really, really worrying about it. But I’ve, I’ve seen I’ve seen some of my friends come back from pretty rough missions and see it on their face that it’s. It’s going to take a toll on them.
[00:38:54] CHRIS: Do you think if you had been in a– you said before ‘I wasn’t actually dropping bombs’– Would that have drastically changed your entire experience in the military?
[00:39:05] CALLER: I don’t think so. For no other reason I wanted to be in the military for a really long time, I wanted to fly for a really long time and I knew what it entailed from the very beginning. So you go in with your eyes open. I think there would have been a little bit more self-reflection had I been in a position where I’m like, OK, so like there’s actual explosions happening from what I’m doing and there’s probably people under those explosions. So like I said, I just don’t think I was ever pushed to that point to really, really think about it, too, too closely. And I don’t know, maybe that’s not healthy. Maybe it is just what it was at the time. But I know our intelligence does the absolute best they can do and they are amazing at making sure that we are fighting the bad people and we’re making bad things happen to bad people. And I guess, even if you don’t agree with the overall war or war as a whole, from a morality standpoint, up close and personal like that, you’re like, you know what? That was a bad person and then they’re not around anymore. So you know what? I can get on board with that.
[00:40:19] CHRIS: Yeah. Now, I would never, especially since you’re still active, would never, would never ask you to comment directly on anything you’re not comfortable with. I will say, having been in for 14 years, a lot has changed. Just in a general culture way, does the culture of the military change when the commander in chief changes? Because you’ve now served under two very drastically different people. Does that–
[00:40:43] CALLER: I have not noticed that. I have not noticed a change.
[00:40:50] CHRIS: Business as usual? Wow.
[00:40:51] CALLER: The things that we’re working on. I mean, some of the timelines that I’m looking at are like 2035, you know, we do a lot of long term stuff, and the stuff that we build lasts for a really long time. So. I mean, I live in D.C. and I’m here in the midst of it, and I tried my best to ignore all of it, but the military is the military. You still get up and put on a uniform every day. You go do your job. Whether that takes you overseas and away from your family or walk next door and go to go to work like I do and come home at the end of every day. It just keeps going.
[00:41:34] CHRIS: Yeah. It does, the military just keeps going. How’d you decide to get into it? How does one decide?
[00:41:49] CALLER: Apparently, I told my mom I wanted to fly when I was like, seven years old. And yeah, I grew up in. We didn’t have a lot of money, it was like a family of teachers. And my mom was like, ‘well, you are going to college. That’s not an option. And I don’t have any money to send you there. So figure it out.’ And this whole flying idea was in my head and I started researching scholarship and I got an ROTC scholarship and that paid for school, at the time, the richest or the most expensive school in the country, so…
[00:42:31] CHRIS: Ok, Alright.
[00:42:39] CALLER: That kinda leads to the whole imposter syndrome topic, funny enough
[00:42:42] CHRIS: What a nice transition. Look at that. And I’m not kidding when I say we just hit the exact 30-minute mark as you did that, which can only be… you transitioned into the second half of the episode with what can only be called military precision.
[00:43:00] CALLER: So not intentional. Yea. So the imposter syndrome thing is, it’s just been something that I think a couple of people have mentioned on the podcast and every time I listen, I’m like, ‘that would be such an interesting thing to talk about,’ because like I said, objectively, I feel like you could look at my life and go, ‘holy shit, she’s got herself together and she’s doing pretty well,’ and I kinda feel like a giant failure in many many ways. And that has kind of been on my mind for a while. And the reason I bring up the ROTC scholarship is because I went to GW, George Washington University here in D.C. and it was like my third or fourth choice school because I really wanted to go to Georgetown and I didn’t get into Georgetown. And when I didn’t get into Georgetown I was like ‘I’m a failure. I am a complete failure.’ Meanwhile, I’m going to a GW, which is not any kind of sludge of a school. But after that, I wanted to be a pilot and I didn’t get a pilot spot. I got a NFO, naval flight officer backseater spot. So there was another failure. And then I was like, ‘OK, if I’m going to be a backseater, then I want to I want to be in the coolest jets out there. I want to be in F-18’s.’ And so I worked my butt off to be as competitive as possible in flight school, where you select the aircraft you’re going go through. And it just so happened that my class was like at a certain time and there were literally no F-18’s spot available to NFO’s. And so every single person in my class went to the prowler. So that was another failure. And I didn’t want to go to the prowler, and all these things. So it was just like, from the outside perspective, it’s all this amazing cool stuff and I’m kind of proud of myself looking back. But at the time, and and so many things… I felt like such a failure, like I couldn’t get anything that I wanted.
[00:45:12] CHRIS: So from our perspective, we all look at you and we’re like, ‘oh my God, you went to the Olympics!’ and you’re like, ‘yeah, but I keep winning the silver medal.’ That’s how you feel. So walk me through, is is imposter syndrome something that’s a diagnosed thing? What exactly does that mean?
[00:45:32] CALLER: I don’t think so. OK. Research and reading that I’ve done about it, it seems to be very typical to women in, probably in high power positions. But it’s the feeling that you’re just waiting until someone finds out because you’re a total fraud.
[00:45:53] CHRIS: Oh. Oh, I. OK.
[00:45:56] CALLER: Like ‘I’m an imposter’.
[00:45:58] CHRIS: Oh, yeah. I have, I probably have that. I probably have that too. I don’t deserve…
[00:46:03] CALLER: You’ve mentioned that before on the podcast!
[00:46:04] CHRIS: I don’t deserve any of the good things that have happened to me. I don’t deserve any of them. I’m not…. Yeah. Okay. So you feel you feel like historically you’ve come up short over and over again. Meanwhile, you’ve done all this stuff that is like super impressive and highly specialized that would blow anybody’s mind.
[00:46:22] CALLER: Yeah. And I mean, like the position that I’m in right now was kind of a fluke and I got this job and decided, ‘wow, I actually really like being in the Navy and I don’t want to get out like I thought I did. I want to get back on active duty permanently,’ and I worked my butt off. Like, seriously, in this job, for the past three years and I’m getting everything that I wanted to. But I had to fight a pretty steep uphill battle because in all that time, as I was flying, I was average. I was an average person in my squadron. And I wasn’t competitive for promotion. And I somehow fought to get it. And I got promoted and yeah. It’s just been crazy. And of all things, right before I got on the phone with you, I was on the phone with the detailer trying to decide what my next set of orders are going to be for the next three years, and I thought I would stay here in the D.C. area. And now it looks like I might be going somewhere else. And I don’t know where that’s going to be. And…Yeah, it’s just all kind of crazy. And I just bought a horse, so I need to go somewhere where I can have a horse.
[00:47:51] CHRIS: What do you mean you just bought a horse? Who are these people that just buy horses? What do you mean you just bought a horse? You live in a major metropolitan area. That’s astounding to me that you can just own a horse.
[00:48:05] CALLER: I really like riding.
[00:48:06] CHRIS: You’re going to hear a whole joke tomorrow about people who own horses. Spoiler alert! You own a hourse… wait, hold on, you work in a field where you’re not allowed to necessarily pick where you live all the time, and you go you buy a horse?
[00:48:24] CALLER: Mm-hm.
[00:48:25] CHRIS: Was it an impulse buy?
[00:48:29] CALLER: No, not at all. I was like, I waited and waited and waited until I found out that I’m gonna get back on active duty permanently. And the admiral who’s bringing me back on active duty, he’s like, ‘I’m keeping you at this command.’ So I thought I was going to be exactly where I am right now for at least another three years. And it looks like that might not happen.
[00:48:50] CHRIS: So what if you have to go work out of a base in Germany? You gonna get the horse on a cargo plane and fly the horse all over the world?
[00:48:58] CALLER: Luckily, the career field I’m in will like 99% of the time be stateside. So I will be in the states somewhere. Like I’m looking at Maryland, possibly a couple of jobs in the D.C. area. Maybe San Diego, maybe up near like Edwards Air Force Base in California. Those are kind of like the options and they’re all fine for horses.
[00:49:20] CHRIS: Why’d you get a horse? You like horses that much? People who like horses really love horses, huh? You grew up with horses?
[00:49:29] CALLER: Yeah. Yeah. Horses have become kind of my safety net, sanity kind of situation. Like I started riding every weekend and I think it’s very similar to flying in that you are completely engrossed both mentally and physically. So you don’t have any… there’s no space for your brain to go other places. Which for me is like a really nice break. Being fully engaged is a really nice break for my brain.
[00:50:04] CHRIS: That’s like me with my jujitsu. I rode a horse—
[00:50:10] CALLER: I tried jujitsu.
[00:50:12] CHRIS: Did you like it?
[00:50:13] CALLER: It’s so cool that you do it. I did. But it’s just hard to fit it in.
[00:50:19] CHRIS: Yeah. You got enough going on. What with, you know, being responsible upgrading some of the most high end military technology and caring for this recently purchased horse. That’s a lot on one person’s plate. Now, you had mentioned you wanted to talk about relationships. You mentioned this as well. So you had been engaged. Didn’t work out. When was that?
[00:52:36] CHRIS: Now, you had mentioned you want to talk about relationships. You’ve mentioned this as well. So you had been engaged, didn’t work out… when was that?
[00:52:47] CALLER: That would have been… so we met in 2013 and we broke up in 2015. That’s a that’s a fun little story that might be cool. So my my coming out experience to my mom was ‘hey mom, I’m dating a girl’ and she goes, ‘OK.’
[00:53:11] CHRIS: Wow, simple as that. Yeah, I like that. Well, that’s a good story.
[00:53:17] CALLER: Yeah. I’m bisexual. I was dating a girl. When the **** decision happened, so that was kinda cool.
[00:53:32] CHRIS: Remind me, fill me in on the exact details of that decision.
[00:53:35] CALLER: The defense of marriage was struck down, you couldn’t say that marriage was only between a man and a woman.
[00:53:45] CHRIS: Right. Right. Right. So this is when same sex marriage was… It was. Yes. So were you were you in the military during ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’?
[00:53:58] CALLER: Yeah.
[00:54:00] CHRIS: So so much has changed. What was that like?
[00:54:03] CALLER: And it was funny because like being bisexual, I never really identified it because it was never a thing, it was never an issue. And so like I dated guys and didn’t think about dating girls because ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ was in place and then when ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ was repealed, it was like, ‘oh, well, I guess I can date girls too!’ It was all very kind of casual.
[00:54:32] CHRIS: Wow. So you met a young lady.
[00:54:39] CALLER: That was at Georgetown, because I went back to Georgetown to get my master’s degree. So I got a masters degree from Georgetown because I decided I would never, you know, I would not die without getting a degree from Georgetown.
[00:54:53] CHRIS: I just learned a lot about you. Didn’t get into Georgetown, beat yourself up, went to a very high caliber school instead. But still, you were like ‘no fuck that, I’m getting my Georgetown.
[00:55:00] CALLER: Yeah, exactly.
[00:55:10] CHRIS: Starting to see how you roll. What happened, when you were nine did you say ‘I want to own a horse’ and someone was like, ‘you’re not allowed to have a horse’ and your whole life you were like ‘I’m gonna get a fucking horse, fuck you’?
[00:55:20] CALLER: I think it was more like when I was like five.
[00:55:27] CHRIS: Look at that. Look at that.
[00:55:33] CALLER: I always liked horses, we just didn’t have any money.
[00:55:38] CHRIS: So 2013 you get together, 2015 you said it’s over, but you get engaged. So this is a whirlwind romance.
[00:55:47] CALLER: Oh, yeah, we did, keep in mind first legs in, female relationship. And we were engaged at four months.
[00:55:59] CHRIS: You do hear some jokes.
[00:56:02] CALLER: You do hear some jokes.
[00:56:03] CHRIS: A friend of mine who I will say is a lesbian once once told me the joke, what do lesbians get each other for their second dates?
[00:56:13] CALLER: What?
[00:56:14] CHRIS: A U-Haul truck. So you moved quickly. I should say it made me chuckle. But I am sure that’s not the case with everybody. And I hope I didn’t just offend people, but it made me chuckle and since it applied to your story… So four months in you’re engaged.
[00:56:36] CALLER: We probably should have broken up around 2 months, so that was a bad idea.
[00:56:41] CHRIS: But was it one of those really fun… if you know you should be breaking up two months in and four months in you’re engaged, is it also one of those ones where you’re like ‘this is the most exciting, fucked up relationship of my life’? It’s one of those ones?
[00:56:53] CALLER: No, no, no. It was awful.
[00:56:56] CHRIS: It was awful. So why’d you get engaged?
[00:56:59] CALLER: Because lots of therapy and self-reflection later, I really feel like I was, I was like 32 or 33, I was like, ‘OK, I’m back in school. I met this person in school where I’m surrounded by very similar people and I haven’t been in a situation where I’m surrounded in this way by people who are like me in this way, and I should be further along, I should be engaged, I should be married. I should have kids or’ something like that. It was a whole bunch of ‘shoulds’ happening in my head. And so it was kind of a panic, like, this is my last chance. I’m never going to be in this situation again where I’m gonna have access to to a group of people doing similar things in my life. And I think that really fueled a lot of it.
[00:57:58] CHRIS: You get caught up in the should a lot, huh?
[00:58:02] CALLER: It’s really scary.
[00:58:03] CHRIS: ‘I should go to Georgetown. I should fly this type of jet, I should live this kind of life right now, and if not, it means that I’ve dropped the ball somehow.’
[00:58:12] CALLER: Big time.
[00:58:13] CHRIS: That’s tough, that’s tough to put that on yourself all the time. When are we going to learn how to roll with the punches, my friend?
[00:58:19] CALLER: The living in the now, I just don’t have a grasp yet, I haven’t figured it out.
[00:58:27] CHRIS: Every once in a while, I manage to slow down and just enjoy what I got. And I got to tell you, it’s really worth it. It’s really worth it.
[00:58:42] CALLER: I’m working on it.
[00:58:44] CHRIS: Yeah. So, this relationship eventually, eventually ends. You realize this is not right. Who proposed to whom?
[00:58:53] CALLER: She proposed to me. And then I proposed to her a couple of months later.
[00:59:01] CHRIS: So you said no initially.
[00:59:04] CALLER: No, no, I said yes. But I don’t know. Having never thought about it before, never having been in a relationship with a woman before, I was like, ‘well, it’s nice to be proposed to. And everyone thinks about how women get proposed to. So what happens when there’s two girls involved? Like she deserves a proposal to’. So I proposed back.
[00:59:33] CHRIS: That’s very thoughtful. And then it spirals downward until the point where you’re like, ‘we gotta get the fuck out of this’.
[00:59:45] CALLER: Oh yeah, crash and burn.
[00:59:46] CHRIS: Look at that. Look at that. And you don’t use that phrase lightly, not in your field. That’s not a phrase you just throw all around, casual style.
[00:59:58] CALLER: No, it was all around bad. Lots of learning. Lots of self discovery from that one. I think that’s the best you can hope for from a relationship that’s going to end.
[01:00:14] CHRIS: And how does it end ultimately? You don’t have to say.
[01:00:20] CALLER: With her? So we bought a house together, well I bought a house and we lived together and she moved out, and I had to stay in the house for a while because I was underwater on it. And this past March, I finally got to sell the house from hell and I moved into a nice little apartment just down the road right next to work. And it’s wonderful.
[01:00:49] CHRIS: So it’s really only about, really, if you consider the house as sort of the last albatross of that relationship, it’s really only been sort of four months since you kind of came up for air. So where are you at now? How does someone who’s always thinking about what’s next, things have to be perfect. I have to accomplish things.’ Somebody who is always setting the bar very high for yourself. How are you feeling about the romantic side of life now? Because those things don’t always match up.
[01:01:20] CALLER: Yeah, it’s so funny. So many things have happened in the past few days. It’s hilarious that I got through today. There is someone in my life that I care very, very deeply for. But he’s not available at the moment. And I’m very, very confused by this relationship and by my feelings, and I think a lot of it is on me, more so than I ever realized, like I think I can be very critical and very judgmental. I can be a perfectionist with other people and…So I picture my life with this person and it’s just fun and adventure and excitement and… I just don’t know if it will ever happen.
[01:02:22] CHRIS: Rough. It’s always rough. We’ve all been there. That’s rough.
[01:02:31] CALLER: Yeah, I hope it does. I can see great things, but he’s not fully available yet.
[01:02:38] CHRIS: He’s seeing somebody?
[01:02:40] CALLER: Yeah.
[01:02:43] CHRIS: And you’re just sitting here biding your time.
[01:02:48] CALLER: Trying to learn about myself and make sure that I can be a full half of a partnership. I will also say that dating right now is the worst thing in the entire world, and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Dating is horrible.
[01:03:09] CHRIS: You’ve got all the apps now. It’s easier than it’s ever been, right? Or are those just completely de-humanizing?
[01:03:14] CALLER: I feel like it’s just de-humanizing. Like if you read some of reports and stuff about what these apps do to your perception of your fellow human. It’s like, ‘oh, well, if this doesn’t work out, I got a line of however many after this that are waiting in queue.’ And so like you don’t take the time to actually say ‘could I value this person as a person?’
[01:03:39] CHRIS: Right. Life becomes gamified. It becomes more about the dopamine rush that comes from realizing that you’ve both swiped right more than it does by the long term rush of realizing maybe there’s some support and stability in this cold, lonely world at last!
[01:04:00] CALLER: Yes!
[01:04:02] CHRIS: Turned into a game return. We turned our dating lives into Fruit Ninja! Is Fruit Ninja thing? That’s a thing, right? I’m too old to know. I’m too old to know. You ever think about busting out any of the old gear from the plane and…
[01:04:28] CALLER: What do you mean?
[01:04:30] CHRIS: Did you say he or she?
[01:04:31] CALLER: Yeah. Yeah. It’s a guy. Yeah.
[01:04:32] CHRIS: This guy you’re pining for you, everything about. Bust out the old gear. Make sure that that is with. Can’t send ever think about ‘I’ll bust out the old gear, make sure that girl he’s with can’t send him no emojis. All the cute emojis, I’m going to bust into his phone, erase all the cute emojis with my electronic warfare background.’ He’ll be like ‘I wonder why she never sends me any cute emojis?’ And you’ll be like ‘mwah ha ha, I used my navy-trained…’
[01:05:00] CALLER: I would need a plane to do that, unfortunately.
[01:05:02] CHRIS: She’s like, ‘we keep getting in all these fights. It happens to coincide weirdly with the time that this military jet keeps circling my house. Ever since that military jet keeps circling me at work, at home, you’re not getting any my texts anymore.’
[01:05:22] CALLER: Yep.
[01:05:25] CHRIS: You’re an interesting person. Interesting person. Got nine minutes left.
[01:05:36] CALLER: Oh, God. People aren’t kidding, it really does go so fast.
[01:05:41] CHRIS: Things really move around here, especially when you get so much interesting stuff to say.
[01:05:46] CALLER: Yeah, but did I just like run out of steam with nine minutes left? Is that gonna be my legacy on the Beautiful/Anonymous podcast?
[01:05:52] CHRIS: Oh, believe me. Other people other people have run out– we’ve all heard episodes where people run out of steam with 40 minutes left. We’ve all heard those ones, OK?
[01:06:04] CALLER: Those are painful.
[01:06:07] CHRIS: Well, you said you’re not an actual pilot. Have you ever flown training missions or did you only train missions specifically in the function that you were in?
[01:06:24] CALLER: In the function. I think after, like a year or two after I went through flight school, they started putting back-seaters through a quick round of like private pilot license training. But I missed out, I didn’t get to do that. I’ll get my private pilot’s license eventually when I have a little bit more time.
[01:06:45] CHRIS: How much did that piss you off?
[01:06:49] CALLER: It was fine. I mean–
[01:06:50] CHRIS: In the class that only gets to fly electronic planes and I don’t get a private license. What’s the craziest shit you’ve ever done in a plane?
[01:07:09] CALLER: Ummmmmm, we used to play Madlibs with other jets. It was like a thing that we did, because if you if you’re taking off from an aircraft carrier and you’re going into Afghanistan, you have to transit for about two hours over Pakistan. And that’s boring. And so we would like get on the common radio frequency and like play madlibs with other jets.
[01:07:38] CHRIS: Hold on. Like you’d be on your jet and be like ‘give me a verb’.
[01:07:43] CALLER: Yes. And then you read it out to everyone on the frequency.
[01:07:47] CHRIS: That’s what the squadron is doing. And then all of sudden somebody comes on ‘ok guys, cut this shit, let’s go ahead and jam all their cell phone towers. We believe that their movement indicates that there’s a Taliban sponsored unit in the cave at this location, but they may be on the move to this location.’ And then you guys are like, it’s go time. Everybody throws these jets into fucking afterburner mode. Everybody’s jamming. You’re up there jamming. Overseeing. The Argo’s come in. They’re flying. Boom, boom, boom. Everybody’s improvising on the fly. Shit’s going down and then it’s over. And then you turn around and somebody is just like. ‘K. Adverb, We need an adverb. Can I get an adverb. Can I get a name? A name of a street in the town where you grew up.’ That’s how it goes down.
[01:08:47] CALLER: Yeah you pretty much nailed it. You pretty much nailed it.
[01:08:53] CHRIS: I do get the sense, having met enough people from the military, the military has long stretches of boredom and then stretches of intense, intense adrenalin.
[01:09:04] CALLER: It’s a lot of hurry up and wait.
[01:09:09] CHRIS: mm-hm mm-hm.
[01:09:11] CALLER: It was always funny because like, if I was the one on the radio for a mission, like I was one of two girls in my squadron, and then I think there were five girls in the entire air wing. So like an air wing is all of the squadron embarked on an aircraft carrier. So I think it was like 2000 people in an air wing. Five thousand people on an aircraft carrier. And so I was one of two girls in my squadron, I think five female officers in the air wing. And any time a girl gets on the radio, it’s like the ears go up for the guys. So funny just to hear that because like we’ve been out to sea for however many months and these guys are all guys.
[01:10:06] CHRIS: Typical.
[01:10:06] CALLER: There was one time when, like, one of the guys in the plane was trying to get in touch with some of the ground forces and they wouldn’t respond and they wouldn’t respond. And like I got on the radio and they responded right away.
[01:10:24] CHRIS: These horn balls. These horn balls. Listen. I want to let you know you’ve expressed that you feel like you’ve come up short between George Washington and Georgetown, between the types of planes you flew, all the stuff you feel you’ve always had hanging over you, relationships and whatnot. But I just want to say very genuinely, you sound like someone of great accomplishment who sacrificed a lot for the rest of us. And I want to say that it’s easy for me to say from the outside, but I look at you and I’m blown away by all the things you’ve done. And I very do genuinely thank you for it. And I know you say that that’s kind of an uncomfortable thing, but I do. And I don’t think anybody listening to this would say you’ve come up short in any way. You’ve done a lot of cool stuff, you’ve done it on behalf of the rest of us. And I think that’s pretty amazing.
[01:11:17] CALLER: Hey, you’re doing just as much to help people. This podcast is incredible.
[01:11:21] CHRIS: [chuckles] No, I am not.
[01:11:24] CALLER: Yea you are, it’s amazing.
[01:11:28] CHRIS: I’m not doing just as much. [yells] You’re putting your life on the line to try to uphold the morals and values of a crumbling society in the face of people who are embracing genuine evil and hate! I talk to people who are sitting on a SEPTA train bored. I met that guy, recently met that guy at the show in Philly on Tuesday. I met that guy, nice guy. I talked to people who are shitting–
[01:11:58] CALLER: I will say I feel accomplished right now because one of the things I love that you do on the podcast is when you start to yell and pull yourself away from the mic because you’re yelling, and you just did it! I win!
[01:12:07] CHRIS: You came very close to me throwing my glasses down on the table, very close. I’m proud of what this podcast is, but it’s not– I haven’t done as much as members of the military. Let’s not pretend, OK? I’m sitting safe in a booth. I’m sitting safe in a booth right now. And that’s very nice of you to say, but I have to politely say that that’s not true, but I thank you for it.
[01:12:36] CALLER: Well, I appreciate that. And I will reiterate that everyone is worth it and you’re worth the sacrifice. This country is. I wish we knew that more.
[01:12:46] CHRIS: Yeah. I mean, it’s not always easy to remember, right? So much fighting, so much stuff to get tangled up in.
[01:12:55] CALLER: There’s a lot of sad things happening.
[01:13:00] CHRIS: You must have to separate your personal opinions a lot to do the job you do. [cat meows] What the hell was that thing?
[01:13:06] CALLER: My cat saying hi.
[01:13:08] CHRIS: That was a cat? That was real? That was actually real? In what was perhaps the most poignant moment of the whole hour, a little cat comes out and makes a cute little cat noise.
[01:13:18] CALLER: Yep, yeah, [more meows] he’s yelling at me right now.
[01:13:20] CHRIS: People are going to love that. How’s your cat like your horse?
[01:13:23] CALLER: The cat has never have never met the horse.
[01:13:26] CHRIS: Maybe someday. Not a fair question with just a minute left, but we haven’t gotten into your political opinions. I don’t know what they are, we don’t have time for that. But is it hard to separate them– when you’re like, ‘I want to protect this place that I love’ and there there’s so much fighting, so much strife, so many sad things as you say, so many bad things as you say. Is it hard to separate your personal opinions from the job you have to do?
[01:13:52] CALLER: I don’t think so because I’m really proud of what I do and I’m really proud of all the accomplishments that we’ve made just as a country in general, despite the bad stuff and I think we can always get through the bad stuff no matter what. I think it is possible, and like I said, I’m proud of this country.
[01:14:14] CHRIS: Simple as that. I thought it was gonna be all complex and layered. Nope, pretty simple.
[01:14:21] CALLER: It’s really not. It’s pretty simple when it comes down to it.
[01:14:28] CHRIS: All right.
[01:14:29] CALLER: And this, too, shall pass.
[01:14:31] CHRIS: We got 10 seconds left, my friend. Any last words for the world?
[01:14:37] CALLER: I don’t know, I just really appreciate what you do and this was really cool. Thank you.
[01:14:41] CHRIS: Back at you. Thank you for everything you’ve done. [ring]
[01:14:50] CHRIS: Caller, thank you for calling. Thank you for serving. Thanks for filling me in on your life. And good luck with the horse. Hope the horse winds up getting where it needs to go. Last thing you want is a horse without a home. Boy, what am I even talking about? By the time this airs, I will have met you in person at the Kennedy Center. Thank you for coming out and supporting my work, for beeing a part of this. Thanks to Jerry O’Connell, Harry Nelson in the booth. Thank you to Justin Lynville, who was the secret backbone that allowed my life to function. The Shellshag for the intro music. Chrisgeth.com is where I’m going on the road. Our caller’s me in D.C. Maybe I’m coming to your town. Check and find out at Chrisgeth.com. If you like Beautiful/Anonymous, go to Apple podcast. Rate, review, subscribe. It really does help so much. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next time.
[01:16:57] CHRIS: Next time on Beautiful/Anonymous, a very energetic postal worker, gives us all the nitty gritty details of that life.
[01:17:05] CALLER: With a beat step I’m making like a $5 step, I’m like dude, I am making bank. I have shuffled, and I have shimmied, and I have twerked. Making that money, you know? And I have to keep my clothes on. When I say i’m bringing in that money, I am bringing in that money, like ‘heyyy’.
[01:17:30] CHRIS: Making that twerk money. Twerk-level money.
[01:17:32] CHRIS: That’s next time on Beautiful Anonymous.
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