January 6, 2020
EP. 197 — Kinda Famous Secret Half Brother
This caller found out later in life that her dad isn’t her biological father. The story involves Gethard in a way you would never expect.
This episode is brought to you by You’re Not Listening, Talkspace (www.talkspace.com code: BEAUTIFUL), and Ritual (www.ritual.com/stories).
197 — Kinda Famous Secret Half Brother
[00:00:05] CHRIS: Hello to everybody who I know personally, it’s Beautiful Anonymous. One hour, one phone call. No names, no holds barred.
[00:00:18] 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.
[00:00:30] CHRIS: Hello, Chris Gethard here. Welcome to a very intense and unusual episode of Beautiful Anonymous. Before I explain more about that, I just want to remind – Hey, if you are in the Bay Area of California. We’re on our way with doing a live taping, part of San Fran sketch fest. That’s on January 25th. Also doing a tribute to the Chris Gethard show, January 24th. That should be fun. Me and a bunch of my friends showing clips and doing a Q and A and reminiscing about the old times. So I’d love to see you at one or both of those shows. In the live taping…San Francisco, Oakland… You’ve always been so kind to me. OK, I’ll stop. I’m dragging my feet because I’m nervous to talk about this one. Guys, I’ve been doing the show over 200 episodes deep. Just about 200 episodes in. And if you’ve been listening for a while, you’ve heard I’ve gotten better at it. I still get blown away by the calls. But back in the old days, sometimes I wouldn’t know what to say. You know, you do a thing long enough and I’ve learned how to roll with punches. The punch that gets thrown in this episode is unlike any other that I’ve dealt with in the course of the show. It’s intense. Makes me nervous. I have no idea what’s going to happen when we put this out or… or there will be a debate about the ethics surrounding this. The whole thing’s wild. You can hear in my voice I don’t even know what to say about it. It’s a fascinating call, no matter how you slice it. And then there’s a moment we’ll start ramping up to where you will see exactly what I mean. And it blew my mind. Enjoy the conversation.
[00:02:05] PHONE ROBOT: Thank you for calling Beautiful Anonymous. A beeping noise will indicate when you are on the show with the host.
[00:02:13] CHRIS: Hello.
[00:02:14] CALLER: Hello.
[00:02:18] CHRIS: Hi.
[00:02:18] CALLER: Hey, what’s happenin?
[00:02:20] CHRIS: What’s happenin? Not much. Threw out my back. That’s been the bulk of the week. Yeah, it sucks.
[00:02:26] CALLER: Oh, that’s the worst. That happened to me last summer.
[00:02:31] CHRIS: Bouncing back, though. What’s happening to you?
[00:02:35] CALLER: Because you’re doing those stretches?
[00:02:36] CHRIS: I’m trying. I’m trying.
[00:02:38] CALLER: Yay! We got it. Makes a big difference. This is what you wanted people to call for, right? Some physical therapy advice.
[00:02:45] CHRIS: Yeah, definitely goes a long way. Goes a long way. I’ve been here. I’ve been in bed for two days, but I’m up and about now.
[00:02:53] CALLER: I’m glad you’re feeling better.
[00:02:57] CHRIS: Thanks so much.
[00:03:00] CALLER: Oh, yeah.
[00:03:00] CHRIS: Now what’s happening with you?
[00:03:02] CALLER: Not too much. I’m, uh, I am technically at the bar at 4:30 on a Thursday, which I guess isn’t a good look, but we got done with work a little early, so…
[00:03:14] CHRIS: I think that’s fine. A little post work happy hour, right?
[00:03:18] CALLER: Yeah, right. Yeah. I’m not a big drinker, it’s just a place. There’s like one place, like gathering place near where I work. That’s where we often end up.
[00:03:27] CHRIS: That’s cool. You out with coworkers?
[00:03:28] CALLER: Yep. Yep.
[00:03:31] CHRIS: Nice.
[00:03:31] CALLER: Bunch of teachers. Yeah. Well, college. We’re adjuncts. I don’t know if that counts.
[00:03:37] CHRIS: Oh, adjuncts. Adjuncts. That’s nice.
[00:03:40] CALLER: Yeah. Yeah, nice.
[00:03:43] CHRIS: What’s an adjunct exactly? I mean do you, like, teach a couple courses a semester, but you’re not a full time professor at the institute yet?
[00:03:50] CALLER: Yeah. It means that they get to pay us like a tenth of what tenured faculty get to do the same work or more. Which, you know, I sound bitter. But, uh, but I like teaching, so it’s fine. And I don’t have to have a PHD to do it, so…
[00:04:05] CHRIS: That’s cool. Yeah, my brother has started teaching some adjunct classes. Smart guy.
[00:04:11] CALLER: Oh, really?
[00:04:12] CHRIS: Yeah.
[00:04:13] CALLER: What’s he teaching?
[00:04:15] CHRIS: He teaches – He works in like PR and stuff like that. So he’s teaching some stuff that’s related to that field. Loosely…
[00:04:24] CALLER: I would – I was at – I’m sorry to interrupt; that was rude. I was at one of your – I guess this will narrow down what show I was at, but where he came out and yelled at us for a little while, it was great.
[00:04:35] CHRIS: Oh, good. Okay. So I know the general area where you live.
[00:04:39] CALLER: Yeah.
[00:04:40] CHRIS: Yeah, yeah. A lot of colleges around there.
[00:04:43] CALLER: Yeah, I teach at – I teach at a couple actually, but I teach at one that I think you probably have some feelings about.
[00:04:51] CHRIS: Fascinating. Is it across a bridge? Is it on the other side of a bridge?
[00:04:56] CALLER: No it’s on the other side of the state. One of the satellite campuses.
[00:05:03] CHRIS: I think I know what you could possibly – OK. OK.
[00:05:14] CALLER: So, I have – I was – I have a story for you, but I want to preface with something so that you can decide if it’s a story you want to talk about or not, if that makes sense. So. So I have like a pretty crazy family. I know everybody does. But I found some information out a few years ago about my biological father and his family. And I won’t say who these people are. And I won’t give any revealing information away. But one of his kids is somebody who I think you – And like who runs in similar kind of like comedy circles and stuff. And I haven’t contacted him or anything because – I can explain why. But it’s possible that by telling the story, you’ll have an idea who this person is. So I don’t know if you want to talk about something else or…
[00:06:11] CHRIS: I say, I mean, it sounds pretty interesting. And, let’s just give it a shot and then, you know what? If it starts to tread upon something that feels like there’s some ethical concerns, I’ll just express that and we’ll either pivot or edit or come up with a game plan on our feet.
[00:06:27] CALLER: Okay. That sounds, that sounds good to me. So, yeah. So I was raised by the guy that I call my dad. And when I was like, God, I was like maybe like late 20s. I’m 34 now. So, a few years ago, I was on the phone with my dad and he was talking about how his father, so my grandfather, had diabetes. And I said something about like, “Oh, I should be tested for that.” And he was like, “Well, you don’t have to worry about that.” I said, “Why?” And then he got real quiet and he was like, “Oh, no, I thought you knew.” So I said, “Know what?” And my dad said, “Well, I’m your… ” This was sweet. Listen to this. He goes, “I am your dad, but I’m not your biological father.” And so he told me that he and my mom had split up for like a year. And over the summer, my mom went down the shore and came back pregnant. And my dad had already adopted her son, who’s my older brother, who he has a different father than either of my dads. Think about it. But. So when they got back together and when I was born, my dad just put his name on the birth certificate. So there was no reason to suspect that he wasn’t my dad. So he told me that. And I had like a weird… he and I… my folks were divorced when I was like two. So my dad and I were close, but he didn’t have that kind of you know, he didn’t really raise me. We were just kind of, I don’t know. The older I got the like, the closer we got. But just, he was just like an older, like, steady presence in my life, but not somebody – I didn’t feel like really betrayed or anything. Does that make sense?
[00:08:18] CHRIS: Yeah. Yeah, it does.
[00:08:21] CALLER: Yeah. So I went to my mom and I asked her about, you know, what the story was for a variety of reasons. Like my brother and I don’t really get along. And I was just getting certain that we had the same father. I kind of held onto the fact that he was my half brother, which is shitty. Sorry Sally, but it was not, you know, something that I – So my first question to her was like, “Is my brothers dad also my dad?” The answer was no. She told me this guy’s name and where – She mentioned the work that he did. And so I found him on Facebook and I, I shot him a message. And I was just like, “Hey, like I’m an adult. I am well adjusted. I’m not looking for anything. But I think if I were in your shoes, I’d want to know you’ve got a kid.” And so he didn’t message me back, which is totally understandable, especially as I was kind of like snooping around to see what his deal was. I figured out that he’s got three kids, so he’s got two daughters who were younger than me and a son who’s older than me. So that positions me in a kind of, like, precarious spot in terms of… Yeah, yeah, exactly.
[00:09:35] CHRIS: Yeah, the math on that is interesting.
[00:09:38] CALLER: Exactly. So the son is… He’s a few years older than me and I think the daughters are quite a bit younger. So again, I don’t know anything about their family life. Like I said, I didn’t reach out to anybody else because I figured if he didn’t, you know, if he wasn’t into it, I wasn’t going to upset his family life. But the thing that I would think about is my, my brother, who I do have contact with: my other half brother. He sucks. He sucks real bad. And this other person seems from his presence on the Internet, just like a cool dude. He works on a lot of stuff that I’m already into. And so it’s like, what’s that movie? I haven’t seen it. Sliding Doors? Where it’s like… That’s the movie… where it’s like, had things been different. Right. That might be the person I’d be hanging out with at family reunions. Not the, you know, incarcerated heroin addict, for example.
[00:10:40] CHRIS: Just so we’re on the same page, and you might not know. If there’s, if there’s these half siblings that are kind of like out in the world. One’s older, two are younger – Do you think your biological dad had the older one? It’s one woman and the younger ones with another? Or is the implication that he may have had an affair with your mom at some point?
[00:11:01] CALLER: Yes. So I don’t, I don’t know. And that’s why I, you know, he’s the only one I reached out to. It’s hard to tell – From what I can gather, and I don’t spend a lot of time, like, I’ve probably checked his Facebook maybe twice, like, just to, you know, whatever. But it doesn’t look like he’s married now or anything. So I don’t know what that, what that means, right?
[00:11:27] CHRIS: Yeah. Have you thought about contacting your half siblings?
[00:11:31] CALLER: No, no. I think that, again, the other two – The only one that I even like, the only reason I know much about the other one is because he has a pretty, I mean, not like super wide, like reaching Internet presence, really, unless you like – I know, I pay attention, like to comedy and that kind of thing. So, for me, he’s somebody that I would have probably been aware of anyway. But, but all that’s to say, like, if I were him, I would probably not be thrilled about some random person, right? Contacting me in the middle of nowhere. You know, I don’t know where to – “Hey, I’m your sister!” I can imagine that that could fuck up some family dynamics.
[00:12:18] CHRIS: Yeah, that’s such a tough call, right?
[00:12:23] CALLER: Yeah.
[00:12:23] CHRIS: Because on the one hand, you’re not looking to rock the boat for all these people who, it’s none of their decisions that led to this, but at the same time, I wonder if you thought too, there’s a part of me, that’s like, well, if I had a sibling out in the world, I’d want to know them. That’s –
[00:12:37] CALLER: Do you think so?
[00:12:39] CHRIS: Man, that’s such a tough call, right?
[00:12:41] CALLER: I’m not looking for you to give me the go-ahead. I’ll just shoot him a message and be like “I don’t know, Gethard said I should reach out to you.”
[00:12:47] CHRIS: Yeah, this ain’t exactly like me telling you to buy a record store. Say-
[00:12:52] CALLER: Yeah, exactly.
[00:12:53] CHRIS: It’s a little different. We’re talking about issues, you know. We’re talking about drama. True drama. Well I don’t know, though. I don’t know. Might – might be – I wonder if, I wonder if someday you’ll connect with them and they’ll go “You knew for years and we could’ve had a relationship.” Who knows?
[00:13:15] CALLER: Yeah, it’s imaginary guilt now. God.
[00:13:17] CHRIS: Oh, no. Well, that’s the last thing I’m trying to do is make you feel guilty about having a secret family you didn’t know about.
[00:13:26] CALLER: My poor dad, man, he let it slip. He just, I just I felt him shrivel up, like…
[00:13:32] CHRIS: Yeah, how does – I got to ask. That was one of my initial questions. How does that just slip your mind? How was that something he didn’t know?
[00:13:41] CALLER: Yeah, I think, so – I’m trying to – my – so, my dad, that’s who – like when I, when I say my dad, that’s who I mean. He and my mom had a really not great relationship at all. And my mom is difficult. She is trouble in a lot of ways. And I think – my guess – and she would never tell me this, but my guess is that she told him that she told me and that, like, I didn’t want to talk about it or something like that. Because she, yeah, she was not happy when she found out that I knew and she had it in her head that he did it to be spiteful, which, my dad was a great guy, I don’t think he had a spiteful bone in his body, but, you know.
[00:14:28] CHRIS: Now, your dad and your mom separated when you were two.
[00:14:36] CALLER: Mhmm, yeah.
[00:14:37] CHRIS: And your dad did stay involved in your life.
[00:14:40] CALLER: Yeah. Yeah, he did.
[00:14:40] CHRIS: Even though he had the knowledge that you were not biologically related to him.
[00:14:45] CALLER: Yeah. He was the best. I think about that a lot.
[00:14:48] CHRIS: That’s a good guy. Just based on that, that’s a good guy.
[00:14:52] CALLER: Yeah, he was, uh, he was just like a stand-up dude, you know, he just is. Just like, I don’t know, always concerned about doing what was right, I think, or what he thought was right anyway.
[00:15:08] CHRIS: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:15:12] CALLER: Good dude.
[00:15:12] CHRIS: Wow.
[00:15:13] CALLER: Yeah, he actually, he just passed away in July.
[00:15:20] CHRIS: I’m sorry.
[00:15:22] CALLER: Aw, thanks. That’s also a crazy story. I don’t have – all my stories are either nothing or crazy, there’s no in between. But, uh… he was – he remarried, right? When I was young. So my folks divorced when I was 2. He remarried right before I turned like five, uh, to a woman who, short story long, had like – oh god, what do they call it? Like alcohol induced dementia. And so she stopped being able to work or take care of herself like a couple of decades ago. And he just was her full time caretaker up until he passed away. That’s what I mean. He just, once he takes responsibility for something, you know? Like, took responsibility, I guess, but yeah.
[00:16:12] CHRIS: Excuse me. I just swallowed wrong. These things happen.
[00:16:17] CALLER: I was worried you were sick.
[00:16:20] CHRIS: Oh, no, no, no. It’s just these little real life moments that show up on the show. A guy swallows wrong; he needs to cough.
[00:16:26] CALLER: I love it. I mean, I don’t love that you’re choking.
[00:16:27] CHRIS: No, it’s okay. Now, did your dad in that subsequent marriage, did he have any more children?
[00:16:32] CALLER: No. No.
[00:16:34] CHRIS: OK.
[00:16:35] CALLER: She was a little bit older than him, too, so I don’t know. You know, I’m not a doctor, but biologically and stuff, I think that those days were probably behind her at that point.
[00:16:47] CHRIS: Got it. Got it. Now, when did you send this biological dad this message?
[00:16:57] CALLER: Um, so it would have been, like twenty fifteen? Probably about, yeah, 2014, 2015, right around there.
[00:17:10] CHRIS: And are you sure that he saw it because it could have just gone to that weird Facebook message requests folder. Are you aware of this?
[00:17:17] CALLER: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I guess. I guess it’s possible he didn’t. I don’t know.
[00:17:26] CHRIS: What if it’s just sitting there four years later? What if he would have responded so positively and it’s sitting in a message request folder. You should send a follow up message through another platform.
[00:17:41] CALLER: Ha, find him on, uh, I don’t know, Instagram. I almost said Tinder. That’s not the place –
[00:17:44] CHRIS: Tinder, yeah, go find your biological dad on Tinder. That sounds like the real way to settle this.
[00:17:49] CALLER: That shit happens, though, you know it does. That’s horrifying.
[00:17:53] CHRIS: Somebody doesn’t know they’ve got a secret half sibling out there and they wind up out on a date. It’s happened, I’m sure.
[00:18:00] CALLER: Right? I had a friend – Yeah, no go ahead.
[00:18:03] CHRIS: No, you go ahead. You had a friend who what?
[00:18:06] CALLER: Years ago, when that stuff first started, it was like, like actual websites, before apps. I had a friend, he met some dude on like – I don’t even remember what the website was called, but it was like a Plenty of Fish or something like that. And they figured out that they were half siblings before – so they say, before anything happened. But yeah. Can you imagine?
[00:18:29] CHRIS: No. No.
[00:18:31] CALLER: Aren’t you glad that you’re married and don’t have to worry about that shit?
[00:18:33] CHRIS: Indeed I am. Indeed I am.
[00:18:36] CALLER: Congrats on the kid, by the way.
[00:18:39] CHRIS: Thanks.
[00:18:40] CALLER: He seems awesome.
[00:18:41] CHRIS: Aw, he’s the best. He’s fun to hang out with. He’s like a legitimately cool person. And he’s only six and a half months old.
[00:18:50] CALLER: That’s it? Seems like, wow. From my side, it seems like it’s been longer. That’s crazy.
[00:18:56] CHRIS: Yeah, just rolling with the punches. Figuring it out. Figuring it out.
[00:19:02] CALLER: Yeah, so I don’t know what I’m going to – I mean, nothing. I’m not going to do anything about it, I don’t think.
[00:19:09] CHRIS: Really? You reached out once, because I bet that a lot of people listening are sitting here going “It went to that message requests folder!” Why does Facebook have that message requests folder? Do you know about this folder?
[00:19:25] CALLER: Yeah. Yeah. No. No, I do.
[00:19:27] CHRIS: Where sometimes you get these messages that just go to that folder and you don’t even really know it exists. Then when you do, it’s really hard to access.
[00:19:37] CALLER: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:19:39] CHRIS: I don’t know how to get to that thing.
[00:19:41] CALLER: God, when my, uh – Yeah, you know what? Maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe I’ll send one more.
[00:19:49] CHRIS: Or send a letter. Do you know an address or anything?
[00:19:52] CALLER: No. No, I haven’t – that, getting like that. I feel like Facebook, if it’s public, like I find a profile, that’s whatever. But digging down and finding an address and stuff feels a little invasive. I don’t know.
[00:20:04] CHRIS: Gotta try to friend request them first. So then the message goes to his inbox.
[00:20:10] CALLER: God, I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe, maybe, maybe. I don’t know. My, um – The other thing, too, and not to, whatever, because he’s probably a very nice guy… But we don’t seem to align politically in a lot of ways. And that’s important to me. Doesn’t seem to be the case with the half brother. He, he seems very cool.
[00:20:30] CHRIS: Now, that’s…the half brother. Let’s talk about that, because that’s so – so you’ve got a half brother who it sounds like on some level is living sort of publicly, like public figure of some sort.
[00:20:42] CALLER: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So much so that I follow him on Twitter and he wouldn’t notice. You know what I mean?
[00:20:48] CHRIS: Wow, he’s got some followers.
[00:20:49] CALLER: Like, I would notice. Yeah, I would notice if a stranger were following me on Twitter, you know?
[00:20:54] CHRIS: Damn. So you got this half brother who doesn’t know that he’s being watched from afar.
[00:21:00] CALLER: Ha, don’t put it that way. He’s being watched from afar by a few thousand people, you know?
[00:21:04] CHRIS: For sure. For sure. But he has no idea that one of them is his sister.
[00:21:09] CALLER: Yeah, well, half.
[00:21:11] CHRIS: Is this some – Is this someone who, like, performs? Is this someone who goes on stage?
[00:21:19] CALLER: Um, I think has, is what I’ll say, like, I don’t think that’s – I don’t know why I’m saying I don’t think – That’s not, like, his main gig. But I know he’s been like an extra in a few shows and like, I stumbled upon him once, like I was watching some, some show and I was like, fuck, I think that’s so and so. And it was. So that’s weird. Yeah, yeah.
[00:21:47] CHRIS: But this is not someone who, like – because you had mentioned, like, similar circles to me, but this is not like a touring comedian where there is a chance they could come to your town and you buy a ticket and be there.
[00:22:00] CALLER: No, I don’t think so.
[00:22:02] CHRIS: OK, OK.
[00:22:03] CALLER: I don’t, I don’t -Yeah, I don’t think so. But, uh, similar circles in that, like, other, hmm, other podcasts that have comics talking about their comics, his name has come up more than once. Where they’ll be like – Yeah, like recounting a story of something and this person’s name will come up and I’ll be like, motherfucker, there he is again.
[00:22:26] CHRIS: Okay. What?
[00:22:28] CALLER: Are you going to try to guess?
[00:22:29] CHRIS: No, I’m not going to try to guess, but what are the odds, what would you say the odds are that I know this person?
[00:22:36] CALLER: Honestly – You want the honest odds, right? I would – My – Well, I guess there’s always room for error, but I would feel like 98 percent.
[00:22:45] CHRIS: 98 percent. And when you say no – Like, and that would be, that’s like, oh, yeah, I know their work. Or you’re saying 98 percent chance that I have personally met your half brother who you’ve never met.
[00:22:55] CALLER: I think – I might – uhh, I think the second one. OK, so here’s what I’ll say. Ninety eight and a half percent you know this person’s work. Eighty five – I don’t teach math, but like slightly less, that – But I – fuck, I think – there’s – I would be very surprised if you haven’t interacted with this person.
[00:23:14] CHRIS: OK. Here. And this is up to you. It’s not up to me. And I don’t want you to feel any pressure for the entertainment value of this show. If you’re like that, that’s way too much, I respect the answer, we’ll move on. You can tell I’m very sincere in that, in my voice. If you want to say the name, we’ll bleep it. And I can tell you if I know your half brother personally.
[00:23:37] CALLER: OK, yeah. No, that’s OK with me, you can know. OK. Yes.
[00:23:41] CHRIS: All right.
[00:23:41] CALLER: But you’ll, you’ll – OK.
[00:23:43] CHRIS: What if it’s someone who I like, have his cell phone number in my cell phone?
[00:23:47] CALLER: Stop, stop. No. No, no, no.
[00:23:50] CHRIS: There’s a chance that could happen, though, it sounds like.
[00:23:53] CALLER: I mean, maybe. I really – so that’s – I mean, maybe I don’t know. I guess I don’t know.
[00:24:03] CHRIS: Alright, it’s up to you. I’ll let you ponder it for a second.
[00:24:05] CALLER: I mean, as long as it’s – it’s more that, like, I wouldn’t want – I mean, I’m fine – Yes, I would tell you. I mean, I guess I will. You can tell me. But, but the bleeping is important to me.
[00:24:15] CHRIS: We’ll bleep the hell out of this one, I promise. I won’t let ol’ Harry Nelson play his games.
[00:24:22] CALLER: What if I said, like – What if, what if I said like fucking Al Pacino or something? And then you realize I’m just totally, like, shouting crackers, don’t know, like, I really think that –
[00:24:31] CHRIS: I would love that.
[00:24:35] CHRIS: Wow. We’re going to pause. And I know sometimes they say, “Oh, pause now because that’s a cliffhanger.” But, guys – Biggest cliffhanger in the history of the show. I don’t know.
[00:25:00] CHRIS: Thanks to all our advertisers. Now let’s get back into this conversation because this is getting intense.
[00:25:08] CALLER: What if I said like fucking Al Pacino or something? And then you realize I’m just totally, like, shouting crackers, don’t know, like, I really think that –
[00:24:31] CHRIS: I would love that.
[00:24:35] CHRIS: Wow.
[00:25:20] CALLER: Is that, uh? Yeah?
[00:25:22] CHRIS: That’s someone I’ve known for many years.
[00:25:25] CALLER: Yeah, yeah.
[00:25:26] CHRIS: I had a feeling that – Wow. OK, yeah. I had – based on – well, no
just based on your description of, uh, the lay of the land with them, I – I had a feel – that, that was the one friend I had who I was like, oh, this sounds like, this sounds like it could vaguely be this person and it was.
[00:25:45] CALLER: Really? Holy shit. Can you? What about –
[00:25:53] CHRIS: Um, if I – Harry, let’s go ahead and flag this part too – this episode is going to be weird because there’s a lot of bleeped parts. Because, okay, I’ll explain it to you in one succinct sentence that we’ll bleep. Because the nature by which I, I had a hunch would allow other people to sort of have some inroads.
[00:26:15] CALLER: Gotcha. Gotcha.
[00:26:22] CALLER: Mhmm. Right. I guess that narrows it down some.
[00:26:24] CHRIS: That’s the one person who comes, really –
[00:26:28] CALLER: That makes sense.
[00:26:31] CHRIS: Who… fits that. So, Harry, if we can make sure we bleep that, uh, that thing that allowed me – Wow.
[00:26:38] CALLER: Yeah.
[00:26:41] CHRIS: Wow.
[00:26:43] CALLER: Yes. Hahaha.
[00:26:43] CHRIS: This is a weird one for me and you and everyone listening.
[00:26:49] CALLER: Yeah, yeah, I’ve been thinking about it for, I’ve gotten, in like, the holding pen once or twice before, and not in a long, long time, but just like, maybe the first or second you’ve been doing this. But uh, I’d go back and forth, like if I would even talk to you about that, for that reason. OK, so now, so this changes things for you, right? So now that you know who this person is –
[00:27:15] CHRIS: Wow. Yeah.
[00:27:17] CALLER: Right?
[00:27:19] CHRIS: Here, OK. I mean, this is someone – This is someone who’s uh, I don’t have that person’s number in my phone.
[00:27:28] CALLER: Hmm, okay.
[00:27:31] CHRIS: We used to be much closer and then, you know, people’s careers go in different directions. You lose touch.
[00:27:36] CALLER: Yeah, of course.
[00:27:38] CHRIS: This is an odd one. It’s a strange conflict of interest. I mean, totally up to you and I, I’m not trying to put myself in the middle of it, but obviously I should just state that because this is someone in my vague circles, if you ever do want to reach out, you’re welcome to let me know. I’m not suggesting that that’s something that needs to happen, and by all means, the show is entertainment, and I’m not trying to put that out there. But this is an odd, even for this show, which has had so, so, many calls that have gone different directions no one expects. The idea that we get one from you, “Hey , I have a secret half brother. He doesn’t know about me, but you know him personally and have for decades.” This is a weird one for even me. And this wasn’t a voicemail. Let’s let everybody know this was not a voicemail. You randomly got through. This is, like, a one in a million. This is weird.
[00:28:39] CALLER: Yeah. I mean, to be perfectly honest, there was a 50/50 shot I’d even say it. I think that if you guys, if I hadn’t talked to somebody beforehand and it was just you and I hadn’t had a chance to like – Because I told them, and I was like, “They’re going to hang up on me, there’s no way they’re even going to let me float this.” But yeah, I would’ve been talking about, I don’t know, like, how fucking silly it is teaching college freshman or something, which it is, but yeah,
[00:29:07] CHRIS: God damn, the world is a small place.
[00:29:09] CALLER: I know. I know.
[00:29:12] CHRIS: Isn’t that so strange how the world works? That’s one of my main takeaways. Outside of your drama and the fact that I am now ensnared in it, by the way, I am now caught in this spider’s web. I’m looking at the computer screen. Six thousand six hundred twenty five caller tips today. Now, I don’t know if that means six thousand callers. There’s probably some people out there trying to dial a hundred times in a row because I know some –
[00:29:39] CALLER: Yeah, the first five were me.
[00:29:41] CHRIS: Yeah, there you go. That being said, thousands of people try to call. And then you call. And then I know a person you’re referring to. The world is so small.
[00:29:54] CALLER: It’s so tiny. And I often like, I’ll miss, it’s a joke, so I was sitting at the bar with two of my coworkers and my roommate and my roommate knows that I’m like, a fan of yours and the podcast, whatever. And I always, always, always miss your tweet by like 30 seconds. And it’s always too much, like, just long enough that I never get through, which happened today. And I was like, I gotta figure out how I can get through faster. Like there’s gonna be a way on my phone, such as panic. And as I was saying that, it started to ring. And I was like “Oh shit!” So, crazy, right?
[00:30:31] CHRIS: Yeah, this is – wow. I mean, you can hear my – anyone who’s, anyone who’s been listening to this show for a while, can tell – I think I’m, I gotta tell ya, I think I’m pretty good at rolling with a punch at this point. I think I’ve learned how to just stay in it. But you can tell I am, I am a little shell-shocked.
[00:30:51] CALLER: Oh, no, I’m sorry.
[00:30:53] CHRIS: No, it’s wild!
[00:30:53] CALLER: I didn’t want to do that to you.
[00:30:55] CHRIS: Just for the listeners, just to be clear, this is, uh, yeah, I think you described it accurately. This is someone – we run in the same circles. We have had numerous one on one conversations.
[00:31:10] CALLER: Shit.
[00:31:13] CHRIS: Yeah. Haven’t seen each other in a bunch of years, but yeah. This is a wild one. It’s weird. I wonder what the –
[00:31:19] CALLER: But again, somebody that – go ahead.
[00:31:22] CHRIS: What are the ethics of this? I don’t even know.
[00:31:24] CALLER: I know. I honestly, yeah, and I don’t want you to do or say anything that you know, but –
[00:31:29] CHRIS: That’s your call.
[00:31:29] CALLER: But I also think – But I do think it’s somebody who like you know, wouldn’t be – I think you’d already have to know who this person was to be able to get it from anything we’ve said, right?
[00:31:40] CHRIS: I think so. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:31:45] CALLER: So, yeah. That’s – I mean, that’s, that’s uh, that’s the whole story though. There’s nothing beyond that. But, I’m excited about the convention.
[00:31:58] CHRIS: I like the pivot. I like that you realize I’m – My head is spinning so hard that I’m not going to be able to find my way out of this. So, yeah, let’s talk convention. That’s right, baby. May 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th. Beautiful Con-Nonymous. We’ll see how it goes. I’ve been joking about it for a solid year on the show.
[00:32:19] CALLER: Yeah. Yeah, I’m ready. I’m wondering how you’re going to, like, like, is there a couple of like – I would – Hmm, I’m trying to think of what, what I want to – There are like a few episodes that I think – Listen to me, now I’m on the planning committee. I hope you’re okay with that.
[00:32:40] CHRIS: Absolutely. Pitch some ideas.
[00:32:44] CALLER: But I think having the Motor City Mayhem Boys, who I mean, what , uh – OK. This, uh, our conversation isn’t more wild than what happened there, right?
[00:32:55] CHRIS: Yeah. I mean this. You’ve given anybody a run for their money, I’m telling ya. Not trying to make you feel insecure, but this…
[00:33:04] CALLER: You know what, though? Knowing that, like, knowing you and your whole, like, I’m almost honored. Like, I like feel bad that I’ve kind of like pulled the rug out from under you a little bit, but at the same time –
[00:33:14] CHRIS: Oh, yeah. Pat yourself on the back because I don’t get thrown easily at this point with these calls, and this – I’ve got a half brother who doesn’t know about me and he’s your friend. That’s, uh… that’ll throw you for a – Okay. So what’s your pitch? What’s your pitch for the convention?
[00:33:35] CALLER: So, pickling demo from the boys.
[00:33:38] CHRIS: Already on the docket. Harry can vouch for me, I’m not just saying that to steal your idea. The Motor City Mayhem Boys have agreed to come out and hand out pickle samples as part of the convention.
[00:33:47] CALLER: That was like – I was like driving, laughing and crying. I couldn’t – They were just…
[00:33:53] CHRIS: I’m so glad you enjoyed it. And I guess we’ll have – Maybe we’ll hold this one until we’ve announced some of these events, Harry, but we also got – We’re going to have Whirlpool Galaxy giving a presentation on the most exciting developments in modern astrophysics.
[00:34:08] CALLER: Yes. Yes.
[00:34:09] CHRIS: We’re going to have – The guy who bought a record store is gonna be there selling records and merchandise.
[00:34:14] CALLER: Oh, my God. That’s so good. That’s so funny. I love that. I love the practicality of it.
[00:34:19] CHRIS: We’re gonna have a Thomas’s English muffin station where you can make your own Thomas’s English muffin.
[00:34:25] CALLER: Get in the nooks and crannies.
[00:34:26] CHRIS: Really get in them nooks and crannies like that. Smooth butter, you don’t want to use a knife.
[00:34:32] CALLER: Are you getting paid for this one?
[00:34:32] CHRIS: No. And I’m so mad because they didn’t have a promo code. So I don’t think they understand how popular those ads were on our show. I’ve had many people tell me that they regularly eat Thomas’s English muffins because of that ad campaign. Maybe one of the most successful in the history of the show. And I’m trying to get, I’m trying to get Thomas’s back on board, man. Let’s get some more of those, let’s get some more of those softcore pornographic Thomas’s English muffin ads going.
[00:34:58] CALLER: Yeah. Yeah. Now, what you gotta do is they’ve got the half bagel thing now. Do you know about this?
[00:35:04] CHRIS: The half bagel?
[00:35:05] CALLER: It’s like a, it’s like a, it’s a English muffin bagel thing. So it’s like a big fluffy ass bagel. It’s real good. I’m getting paid for this one. That’s the real – That’s the secret. The rest of that shit was a lie to get me in. It’s like guerrilla marketing.
[00:35:18] CHRIS: Now, can I pitch – Can I pitch you an idea for the convention?
[00:35:23] CALLER: Yeah, absolutely.
[00:35:25] CHRIS: You meet your secret half brother face to face onstage at the Bell House, baby. I march you out there. I march this guy out there and we sit you down, we listen to you talk.
[00:35:41] CALLER: I don’t know if I would be in love with that idea.
[00:35:45] CHRIS: I would never put you in that situation in ten million years. I would have to be a sociopath. I’d have to be a sociopath. This is not a healthy way to do this. That would be the least healthy way.
[00:35:57] CALLER: No, I’m – Absolutely. I mean, but, yeah. I’m not the one who – I mean, what could happen, like my life is already, you know, my dad’s dead, my mom’s a lunatic and I’m, you know, contingent faculty at a tiny state college. So, like, I don’t stand to lose too much. Not that he could stand to – You know what I mean. I just can imagine that it would be a little more complicated for him than for me.
[00:36:23] CHRIS: Well, it would certainly blindside him if I reached out, I was like “Hey, come be a part of this thing! I have a bit for ya!” And then, uh, march him out in front of you, and be like, “Here’s a secret memory of your family! Cool bit, right?” No, I would never do that to you or him.
[00:36:41] CALLER: So, here’s the deal. I just assumed that this would be something that he’d agree upon. And you’re talking about just dragging this boy out?
[00:36:51] CHRIS: No, no. I’m joking. Joking. I would never – Believe it or not, I do have some sense of responsibility for these calls.
[00:37:00] CALLER: You would let somebody else do that to you, though, is the thing.
[00:37:03] CHRIS: Oh, yeah. That’s like my dream comedy experience. “Oh,you want to, uh, completely rearrange the very foundation of how I thought my life worked on stage? Yeah, that sounds cool.” I would say five or six years ago I would have done that in a heartbeat. I would have been like “Yeah. Anything weird on stage.” And now I’m like, maybe this is part of why I’m so mentally mixed up a lot of the time, is because I allow my whole life to become a performance art experiment.
[00:37:28] CALLER: Yeah, I feel that. I think if I were less – I think it’s a good thing for me that I have a lot of social anxiety, because I think that, like, I lean toward chaos in that way too, in much smaller doses.
[00:37:42] CHRIS: How so? What’s that mean?
[00:37:44] CALLER: But I get that. I just, you know, I’m, I kind of just like, like you said, I just kind of roll with it. And I will move toward the crazier option of, to just, I don’t know. I don’t know. Not in, like, uh – Now I sound like I think I’m like 500 Days of Summer or some shit. But it’s like, you know, I don’t know. What else are we doing?
[00:38:05] CHRIS: I like that. I don’t, like – If I’m ever in a situation where there’s like a fight happening in public, like there’s a fight across the way, I’ll always instinctively start heading towards it. And my wife is like, my wife is like, “What are you doing? Stop! Stop!” And I’m like, no, I got to pick who’s on the side of right and join in on their team. That’s how I was raised.
[00:38:31] CALLER: Right… And then this is my thing now.
[00:38:34] CHRIS: Let me have a gut instinct moment of deciding who the hero is and who the villain is and see if I can help the hero.
[00:38:41] CALLER: Yeah, of course. That’s – I mean, that’s exactly it. What else? It’s not an ethical consideration of both sides of an argument. Why would we do that?
[00:38:52] CHRIS: And then my wife’s like, “Maybe you shouldn’t just sniff, sniff out trouble at all times and try to be on the fringe of it.” I think that’s one of my problems in life is I always want to be on the fringe of something. And that’s trouble. So that’s how you are?
[00:39:07] CALLER: I feel that. Yeah. Oh, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, and I just, I don’t know. I find myself in situations where I’m like, why not this also, you know? But, uh, I mean, I think you can probably gather I come from a tumultuous background to begin with, so I think it should – I think I’ve gotten – I’ve calmed down a little in my, in my older age, but…
[00:39:33] CHRIS: Yeah. I have no excuse. I have –
[00:39:38] CALLER: Well, has the kid-
[00:39:40] CHRIS: Yeah.
[00:39:41] CALLER: Has he slowed you down some?
[00:39:42] CHRIS: No. I mean, I had already slowed down a bunch.
[00:39:45] CALLER: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:39:47] CHRIS: You know, really worked hard to get my head together and, you know, also got older and even my comedy, even like The Gethard Show by the end – One of the things, you know, when it was, when it was clearly approaching its end – One of the things I was really aware of, I’m like, “Well, I’ve really evolved as a person and this show is reflective of me when I was a maniac six or seven years ago. This came out of my head when I was unhinged and now I’m hinged. So, that’s, uh –
[00:40:13] CALLER:I mean, yeah, I get that.
[00:40:16] CHRIS: Yeah. And I love – Don’t get me wrong, I loved doing it up until the end. And when it was fun, it was still the most fun thing in my life. But then, you know, when you’re getting network notes and they’re not fun, it’s just kind of like…
[00:40:30] CALLER: Right, and when you’re playing like a character of yourself, especially, I mean, maybe I don’t want to tell you about who you are, but like, you seem like somebody who’s very interested in being yourself. You know? Like… authentically. And so I can imagine you’re like, yeah, I don’t know.
[00:40:45] CHRIS: It’s just, yeah, and then it’s funny. I don’t know. Because it sounds like you enjoyed the Gethard show, which I appreciate. And I know not all the Beautiful Anonymous listeners do. But you know one thing I –
[00:40:55] CALLER: Well, they should…
[00:40:57] CHRIS: Yeah, I mean that’s fine. Not everybody likes everything. And I’m the – I’m the weirdo who has to have all my projects be completely different from each other in a way. I have like four fan bases. And if they – if I could just get them all in one place, I’d be, I’d be very well-known. But it’s OK. Yeah, I’m not for – But it’s – I don’t want to talk too much about this. But one thing I’ve been thing about lately is like, a lot of the Gethard Show fans are like, oh, you weren’t into it anymore by the end or you were – you know, you sold it out or whatever. But what people don’t know is I was actually going through perhaps the hardest stretch of my personal life during that same time, unrelated to the show. But you can’t really go out there and say that because of the circumstances of what it was and it’s just a tough time and I had to grow up fast. We had to grow up fast. Yeah.
[00:41:50] CALLER: Yeah, I think we should be able to, though. I think that that’s – that it’s kind of bullshit that – that we can’t be – like, I think that that maybe as somebody who does, I think, you know, the 4 different fan bases or whatever, I think they probably were – I don’t know. I’m kind of into most all the stuff you do. But, like –
[00:42:12] CHRIS: You’re the one. Thank you.
[00:42:15] CALLER: There’s more. There’s more than, there’s more than just me, I’m sure. But I think that we should be able to have every side of like – So. So I’m an instructor, right? And a lot of what we do in classes, like is taking on this kind of teacher role. And I have a really hard time with that, so like, my students know immediately that I’m queer and that I have ADHD and that, you know what I mean, like not immediately, I don’t walk in and go like “Hey, I’m queer and I have ADHD,” but like, I don’t keep those things separate because I think that’s why – Like, how much better would it have been for you to be able to look at it like it worked out for me right now for these other reasons? And you need to know that like, it’s not about, it’s not about this thing.
[00:42:57] CHRIS: Well, it’s one of the things that made me really value the past iterations of the show where it could do that. And then you’re on cable, where like, uh Comedy Network bought this, so it always has to be funny. And I gotta just – I just gotta get locked and loaded and go to the job. You know, it’s like I’m very lucky and I’m in a cushy industry, but it’s like at the end of the day, sometimes, you know, I’m still a guy from North Jersey where it’s like, nope, you punch in and you do your job, you know? Yeah, I did it. But it’s okay. Anyway, what subjects do you teach? What subjects are you teaching?
[00:43:33] CHRIS: Let’s pause there. Yes, we gotta – We gotta talk about – This is one of those ones where you got to come up for air once in a while. So just come up for air, talk about some other stuff. We’ll get back to it. In the meantime, check out our ads. We’ll be right back.
[00:43:54] CHRIS: Thank you to everybody who advertises on Beautiful Anonymous. Now let’s get back to this conversation.
[00:44:00] CHRIS: Anyway, what subjects do you teach, what subjects are you teaching?
[00:44:04] CALLER: I teach all kinds of shi – Well, so I’m kind of lucky. I teach freshman comp., which is, which is fine. It’s whatever. I like it enough. But that’s usually all you get. Somebody was, uh, so I have a master’s degree, I don’t have my PHD. But I’m really lucky. And I’m at another university where I teach upper level – So I teach children’s lit. and I teach a class that’s like a critical theory class. So I get to do a bunch of different stuff. It just depends on what they need.
[00:44:37] CHRIS: Wow. That comp freshman class. That’s – I had to do that at Rutgers, it was called expository writing. Is – Is it that where you just make sure these people know how to put two sentences together in a way that professors want?
[00:44:49] CALLER: Yeah. So they pretend like it’s something more than that. Like there’s a lot of like, I could tell comp. theory… I won’t do that to you. I know your feeling for higher ed, but I know my feelings on higher ed too. They like to pretend it’s more than that. But no. At the end of the day, if they come out, you know, double spacing, they’re even down to that. Like getting the font right on an assignment, they’re happy. So.
[00:45:12] CHRIS: So it’s your job to like pull a kid aside at the end of a semester and be like, “Hey, you’re not an English major.”
[00:45:19] CALLER: I don’t – Here’s, well here’s what’s, what kind of – Well, that is like, I don’t, in the comp classes, I’ve been doing it for three – teaching comp. for like three years now, and I think I’ve had two or three English majors. There are no English majors.
[00:45:36] CHRIS: They don’t exist anymore?
[00:45:38] CALLER: Yeah no. People got hip to it.
[00:45:41] CHRIS: Hip to what?
[00:45:42] CALLER: To the lack of, uh – It’s really fucking hard. It is hard to make a career in higher ed because I mean, you know, people get tenure and they hang on forever. My department is full of a bunch of old white dudes who refuse to retire. And so there’s there’s less for the rest of us, and then the rest of us, just, you know, if you love teaching, like, it – What I make is like a joke. I can’t imagine that, like, if I wanted to start a family or something, what I would do. It’s just me that I take care of. So it’s fine. But. But you can’t. It’s just like it’s just not sustainable. Especially when you could go work in I.T. or whatever and make a killing, so –
[00:46:29] CHRIS: Why do you think it is that we – and I think everybody is in agreement. I don’t think there’s anybody out there that’s like “These teachers need to stop complaining. They get paid more than enough.” I don’t think there’s one person on Earth who’s, who doesn’t agree. Why did we do that? It seems like a bad idea.
[00:46:47] CALLER: That the old white dudes get all the money, you mean?
[00:46:51] CHRIS: No, just the, just the idea of like teachers, you know, you put children in rooms with teachers and tell the children, “Hey, this education affects the entire course of your life. And then from preschool teachers up through college professors, the people in charge of that stewardship are criminally underpaid.
[00:47:11] CALLER: Yeah, it’s crazy. I don’t, I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know why we do it. And I think it’s, it’s pretty gross. I mean, I hate money anyway. So, like, it’s like the whole thing is frustrating to me, but it’s, it’s crazy to think about and especially when – So I don’t know. This is something I didn’t know until I started at this school in particular. But state colleges, you can find out everybody’s salary. And I would sit in a classroom with an instructor and just look up how much money they were making when they’re tenured. It’s disgusting,
[00:47:44] CHRIS: Right, because technically, they’re technically state employees. That’s taxpayer money you’re allowed to know about, right?
[00:47:50] CALLER: Yeah. Yeah. So if you want to get angry, Google your, uh, your old Rutgers instructors, it’ll be – it’ll fuck your day up.
[00:47:58] CHRIS: For anybody out there… You want to get really angry – You want to really get angry. Google the salary of your state university’s football coach. If you really want to go there. There was a while there where the old Rutgers football coach was the highest paid state employee in the state of New Jersey. Highest paid; more than the governor!
[00:48:20] CALLER: That’s insane. And I’m sure that’s work. Like, I’m not saying it’s not. Like, fine, but like. I know, I know the foot – You know what I mean? I know what a football coach is, like – Come on. What are you doing?
[00:48:32] CHRIS: Yeah. Football coaches, by all means, it’s long days and a lot of work. And I’m not saying you don’t deserve some money, but if you’re at a – Isn’t that just reflective of this, like, if anything is reflective of the strange state of education and education in the United States being a commercial venture and the NCAA and the way it affects the colleges and the exploitation of athletes and these young kids who are putting their bodies on the line and they don’t make a dollar. If there’s anything that kind of puts a magnifying glass on that, I would argue: look at a football coach’s salary and then look at a professor, even a tenured professor’s salary. And, think about how much money is getting thrown around and how maybe education has been commodified. But hey, that’s just me.
[00:49:27] CALLER: No, I mean, it’s just you and a lot of other people and including myself. It’s hard – not to, whatever, we’re, uh, we’re alright on time. I don’t know why that’s my –
[00:49:40] CHRIS: 13 minutes left.
[00:49:42] CALLER: How many?
[00:49:43] CHRIS: 13.
[00:49:44] CALLER: Holy shit. Man. Yeah, I talk too much, but uh –
[00:49:48] CHRIS: Well, no, time really flies when we’re finding out that I’ve had actual sit down meals with your secret family. Time really flies. Well, I’ve 100 percent broken bread with that person. I have, I have sat and – I remember specific places where I’ve sat and eaten food and consumed drinks with the exact person who is your secret family member.
[00:50:12] CALLER: So, to be – Yeah, I was not expecting you to have that close of a, or that, uh, I don’t know, whatever, of a relationship with this particular person. I don’t know that I would have, uh. Yeah, that’s not –
[00:50:25] CHRIS: Yeah. More that more than a tangential crossover in the Venn diagram for sure.
[00:50:31] CALLER: That’s what I thought it was gonna be.
[00:50:33] CHRIS: I would tell you more details but it would legitimately out this person.
[00:50:43] CALLER: Yeah, no, don’t, don’t do that, maybe next time at a show, I’ll, uh-
[00:50:49] CHRIS: Yeah, we’ll sit down, we’ll have a little chat. Well, you let me know.
[00:50:54] CALLER: Yeah. No, that would be, I’d be interested in that. It’s just crazy to think about, I don’t know.
[00:50:59] CHRIS: Yeah, it is. Yeah, it is. Anyway, we were slamming the state of money in education.
[00:51:05] CALLER: Yeah, it sucks. And I’m somebody who’s in the middle of it. And like I say it all the time, it’s bullshit. The money I make, and I think if they offered me tenure, I’d say like hell yes. And I’d feel guilty about it forever. But like, because those are your kind of your two options. I mean, you can be a full time faculty who isn’t on tenure track, but like, it’s so precarious. So, I don’t know.
[00:51:28] CHRIS: I’ve been thinking a lot lately. You said you hate money and you’re talking about money and how you’d still have to lock in the tenure track even though you’ve, you know, come to resent it as the system. And I’ve really – And, look. I grew up where money – I’m, actually I’ll say this. I was pretty proud. I’ve never – there’ve been very few choices I’ve made in my life that were driven by money. And I’m proud of that. I was always driven by my instincts, creativity, integrity. Happy about that. And, you know, I had a TV show and I’ve done some stuff. And at a certain point I started making more money than I used to. And I just try to live like I always have so that I have a safety net. But, I will say, you look at the state of the world right now and it’s hard not to believe that so much of the tension and so much of the heartbreaking stuff you see in the news – at the end of the day, comes down to money.
[00:52:28] CALLER: Yeah, yeah, it’s – Well, I mean, it’s, it’s hard not to believe it because it’s 100 percent true, right? Like – And it’s crazy what is, I don’t know.
[00:52:37] CHRIS: So much of it. Like you see, you see like protesters in Hong Kong getting killed in the streets and you see that there’s, you know, more and more reports that it seems like there are actual concentration camps in China for a specific ethnic group. And you see some of the images that people are sneaking out of these camps and they are, I mean, beyond disturbing. But you know, China – China manufactures our T-shirts. So we’re not going to go in there. Like, it’s hard not to feel completely dismayed.
[00:53:12] CALLER: Yeah, I talk to my students about that all the time. I was just talking about that with them and I was like – And like, and, you know, giving an example almost exactly like that. And then I’m like, and do I know who made my sweatshirt? Like, I have no idea. I’m probably, you know, we’re all complicit in it. But what are we supp – I hate ‘What are we supposed to do?’ because that’s lazy and throwaway, but like, but at the same time, what are we supposed to do? It sucks.
[00:53:38] CHRIS: Yeah. And now there is a whole brand, and I’ll – Let me say this. There are activists in this world who are out on the streets and on the front lines of stuff, and I am massively respectful of them. But there’s also a whole system in place where it’s becoming clearer and clearer in my opinion. There’s a whole lot of ways that you can feel like you’re participating in activism online and the powers that be have realized that it has no lasting effect on them. So they can just ignore it and they can –
[00:54:13] CALLER: Well, and in fact – Go.
[00:54:15] CHRIS: No, you go for it. In fact, what?
[00:54:18] CALLER: In fact, that’s part of it is letting that happen. So people feel like, well, we’re doing something, you know?
[00:54:25] CHRIS: That’s exactly what I was just going to say. Oh, cool. We got this platform where you can express your opinion, get a bunch of likes and feel like, yeah, I’ve done my part and then, uh, the next the next issue comes along and you all forget about that one and we get to keep doing what we do.
[00:54:43] CALLER: That’s exactly right.
[00:54:47] CHRIS: So discouraging.
[00:54:48] CALLER: Yeah. Yeah. No, it certainly sucks. And I know, I don’t even know. I don’t know. That’s my, that’s my takeaway there. I think it’s one of the reasons that teaching is important to me because I know there’s not – It’s defeatist to say there’s not a whole lot that I can do. But I really, I like – I almost said I like looking at kids, but that’s not what I meant. But like, they come in and they haven’t, they haven’t thought about this stuff and it’s not their fault. Like, you know, I didn’t think about that stuff until, until I really had to just sit down and pay attention or whatever. But, you know, helping people sit down to pay attention, I think is important. I don’t know.
[00:55:28] CHRIS: I always feel guilty. I go on these little rants, and I’m like, yeah, I’m just, I’m a guy with a podcast, but I still got an iPhone in my pocket and probably every piece of clothing I’m wearing was made by somebody who is economically exploited and it’s easy – That’s the other thing. It’s easy for me to sit here and spout off, but I’m not trying to feel self-righteous because I know I’m not doing enough. I’m aware of it.
[00:56:02] CALLER: But, I don’t know. And I think, I don’t know, now I’m going to sound dismissive, but like, what would be enough? What’s enough that you could do?
[00:56:07] CHRIS: Well, you know, that’s the whole problem, right? It’s like, what am I gonna do? What am I -? It’s, it’s me. What am I going to do to get through to Jeff Bezos? He owns literal islands. He owns half of New Zealand. Like, what am I going to do?
[00:56:24] CALLER: Yeah, he could like flick you off the planet if he wanted to.
[00:56:26] CHRIS: I’m an idiot. Yeah. I’m like, I’m a, I got an American studies degree from Rutgers University and a podcast. Like, what am I? I’m not – Am I really the one who has to step up to the plate here and fix this? Cause there feels like there are so many – Well, that’s what’s daunting, right? There’s so many people trying and there’s so many people who seem qualified and they can’t get things to move. They can’t get these mountains to move.
[00:56:52] CALLER: Exactly.
[00:56:54] CHRIS: So how am I going to –
[00:56:56] CALLER: I know. Right. And I know you’re not saying that to, like, invite praise. But I think that what you are doing is, is the important thing, right? It’s that we do get to listen to something that connects us. And to, I know we don’t have time for me to do this, but Career Suicide is so, so, so important to me. I can’t tell you, and like, and I –
[00:57:19] CHRIS: Listen, we’ve been – And it sounds like at the very lea – I don’t know if we’ve met, but having seen me do stand up, we’ve been at – That’s a very intimate venue. You know, I’m just that’s super kind of you to say, but at the end of the day, I’m just some dude with a podcast selling you socks. At the end of the day, I’m just selling you socks over here, you know? They’re great socks, right?
[00:57:41] CALLER: I mean, that’s what sucks about some of this stuff. The socks are good. I have a monthly subscription. I’m a sucker for a lot of the stuff. But I trust you guys, like you, and there are a couple other podcasts that I like. I don’t know. Anyway, we’re talking about socks. I don’t know how we here.
[00:57:59] CHRIS: Yeah, I know. Of all the things to be talking about now. It’s socks.
[00:58:02] CALLER: But, but yeah, no, that, that special, in particular, I got to tell you and I send it to people who I know need to hear it. And so you do, I mean you’re doing real work.
[00:58:13] CHRIS: I tried. I tried in my day. And now the young bucks with the energy can try. But that’s super nice of you and I’m just very happy that I’ve done my part.
[00:58:22] CALLER: You were just around and you killed. It was – That was what, last month?
[00:58:27] CHRIS: I’m quitting. I’m quitting the comedy anytime. Listen, it’s four minutes left. We got four minutes left. I want to ask you.
[00:58:35] CALLER: Yes.
[00:58:35] CHRIS: Because I’m in the middle of this and I’m not trying to be more involved, but I just want to know if you – Well, no, a very, very honest question. If you go through life and you never connect with these family members that you know about and where you’re fairly certain they don’t know about you… Are you going to get to the end of your life and you’re going to regret that or are you going to be fine with that?
[00:59:00] CALLER: Um, I think. Hmm, what am I trying to say? I think if I had a different family life growing up, I’d be fine with that. I think that to me, it feels like there’s another – there’s like a way it could have maybe been different, which is kind of crazy. And that’s, that’s something I think about. Yeah, I don’t know. Is that an answer? That’s not an answer, is it?
[00:59:28] CHRIS: No, it is. Makes total sense. Makes total sense. I would imagine. Yeah, if you had a tumultuous childhood that left you without a foundation and you realize, oh, and then there’s this sort of like mirror image family, I wonder what it was actually like for them. I could see how that could linger in your guts.
[00:59:45] CALLER: Right. And I’m sure – You might know. I’m sure that you know, that things probably weren’t a hundred percent really over there either, they aren’t for anybody ever, so. So there’s also that. I have this kind of like preserved idea of what could have been very different and maybe it wouldn’t have been. Who knows?
[01:00:00] CHRIS: Yeah, but it’s – that’s a thought that’ll stay in.
[01:00:05] CALLER: Yeah, so I don’t know. So maybe I – You think I should send a – I almost said his name – The father person another message?
[01:00:18] CHRIS: Well, look, at the end of the day, who cares what I think? I mean, at the end of the day, I’m just a guy, but I would just – Just on the level that it was important to you once and that we all know that Facebook has a folder where if you don’t – if you’re not friends, that person, you know, high chance, they never know about it. I would just think just on that level, you owe it to yourself to try to figure out at least another way. Or do you – Just because, uh – Because that’s the other thing, right? What if this guy or, what if this guy finds out about this mess and again, no offense. I’m not trying to be ageist, but, you know, this is someone who is clearly older. Maybe technology is not their thing. Maybe they don’t know about this folder. I didn’t know about this folder for years. So, what if they open it up and see this message 4 years old and they go, “Oh, my God, I feel so guilty. It’s been four years”, you know, like there’s that that might be happening right now.
[01:01:10] CALLER: And I guess it’s not like he – If he has read it and ignored me, he can read it and ignore me again, right?
[01:01:15] CHRIS: There you go.
[01:01:17] CALLER: But you know what? You’re very wise, Chris.
[01:01:21] CHRIS: Not really. But I roll with the punches.
[01:01:25] CALLER: There you go. I love that.
[01:01:27] CHRIS: Well, we got one minute left. And I just want to say, I just want to say once again, the offer’s on the table. I know this is awkward and it’s very strange that I’ve been – You know, become a cog in this, but, human to human –
[1:01:43] CALLER: I didn’t mean to do that.
[01:01:43] CHRIS: No. I know you didn’t. I know you didn’t. But human to human, if it ever hits a point where, like, hey, I actually think I’d like to get in touch with that person, you know, do reach back out to us because I can make that happen. What a weird thing to hear after all these years. I could introduce you to your half brother like tomorrow.
[1:02:04] CALLER: Oh, my God.
[1:02:06] CHRIS: I can get that by like – Within a week, I could get this set up. So just let me know.
[01:02:10] CALLER: I don’t know. But I appreciate that offer so, so much. Maybe by May. Maybe when the, when the convention comes around, maybe we’ll be pulled from Jerry Springer shit, right? You don’t know.
[01:02:24] CHRIS: You know…we’re not – I joked about it before. We are not reuniting you with your family at the Beautiful Con… Okay. We’re all just eating english muffins and be cool. Do some karaoke.
[1:02:38] CALLER: That sounds good too, love that.
[1:02:41] CHRIS: Well, our hour’s up. This was a fascinating one. I don’t know how it all – Who knows what the listeners think. I can never predict. Wow, for me, this one got weird.
[01:02:52] CALLER: Well, thank you so, so, so much, just for everything, seriously.
[01:02:55] CHRIS: Please. Thank you. Keep teaching the youth of America and fighting the good fight. And if there’s anything you ever need from me as far as helping with this one, I’m happy to help.
[1:03:05] CALLER: Thank you so much.
[1:03:05] PHONE RINGS
[01:03:11] CHRIS: Caller, thank you. I’m gonna to say thank you for calling. I’m also gonna say, you’ve handed me a burden. You’ve handed me a burden that I don’t know how to handle. I’m just kidding. I’m just kidding. I’ll figure it out. And if you ever need my help, I’m here. Thank you for calling. That was wild. Thank you to Jared O’Connell, to Harry Nelson, to Shell Shag. You want to know about me – Chris Geth dot com. Like the show on Apple Podcasts. Rate, review, subscribe. See you next time.
[1:03:59] CHRIS: Next time on Beautiful Anonymous:
[1:04:03] CALLER: It’s quite funny, though, because I am not British myself and I’m here defending them, which is rather funny. No, no, I’m actually originally from Italy, but my parents are actually from Morocco. This might be a first in the show again. I don’t think you’ve ever had any callers from North Africa in general, have you?
[01:04:20] CHRIS: I don’t think so. So what, you’re, you’re of Moroccan descent, born in Italy, living in England.
[1:04:30] CALLER: Yes. Yes, indeed.
[1:04:34] CHRIS: That’s next time on Beautiful Anonymous.
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