July 1, 2019
Planning a posh goth Halloween wedding, taking care of a 3 legged cat and processing grief after the death of a family member who had been hiding big secrets, this British caller prompts Geth to try bring the words crikey & blimey across the pond.
170 — No Guide Book to Grief
[00:01:13] CHRIS: [music transition] Hello to everybody who enjoys getting to know your siblings. It’s Beautiful Anonymous. One hour, one phone call, no names, no holds barred.
[00:01:25] 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.
[00:01:36] CHRIS: Hello, everybody. Chris Gethard here. Welcome to another episode of Beautiful Anonymous. Last week’s episode, caller detailing in really vivid language, a raccoon attack. This episode got a lot of response in the Beautiful Anonymous Facebook group. I saw a lot of tweets about it. I will say at one point I spoke of an encounter I had with a possum that freaked me out and I expressed this. A lot – when I say a lot, I will say a surprising number of people came to the defense of possums online telling me that possums are actually cute. Some people admitting they are freaky, but explaining that they eat a lot of ticks and that they are a friend, that they are an ally to humans. And a lot of people actually saying that possums are often demonized and that I should not spread the demonization of possums. So apologies to the possum community at large and to the possum enthusiasts – never meant to insult. Thanks to everybody who has been checking out the CGP podcast. I know it’s not everybody’s cup of tea, but we’ve been having a really fun time putting out episodes with me and other New York comedians just kind of messing around. It’s companion podcast to my new TV project and it means a lot that some of you guys are listening to it. So thanks for that. And what else? This week’s episode I think about, I’ve thought about this one. It’s been a while since we’ve recorded it and I roll it over in my head a lot. This caller’s dealing with grief. This caller’s dealing with loss, but loss related to an extraordinarily complicated relationship. And I found it so fascinating because she’s in a position that I think many of us are, which is that, you know, you listen to the caller – admittedly, by her own account, she has a really cool life, great life. But there was one open wound. There was this one open wound. And now a situation has happened where unfortunately that wound is not going to have a chance to heal, not fully. And I think a lot of us have our own version of that story. This caller’s is particularly eye opening and there’s some very dramatic twists and turns to this story. But it’s a story about grief and loss and how parents affect their kids and how we deal with the curveballs that life throws us. Also, we talk a lot about a cute little animal. And I know references to cute animals go a long way with the fanbase of this show. Enjoy the call.
[00:04:10] PHONE ROBOT: Thank you for calling Beautiful Anonymous. A beeping noise will indicate when you are on the show with the host. [Beep]
[00:04:17] CHRIS: Hello?
[00:04:18] CALLER: Hello.
[00:04:20] CHRIS: Hi.
[00:04:21] CALLER: How’s it going?
[00:04:23] CHRIS: It’s good. It’s good. Feeling really good. Yeah. How about you?
[00:04:29] CALLER: Yeah. Pretty, pretty tough to make it through to be honest. This is bananas, but I love it. Hello? Yeah.
[00:04:37] CHRIS: I’m glad you made it through. Glad you made it through.
[00:04:41] CALLER: It’s well, to start it, I’m in England. And just to paint a picture, it’s Friday afternoon, I’m at work for 20 minutes. Yeah, it’s pretty chill and yes, it’s been a nice sunny day here in London, so yeah, the mood is high.
[00:05:04] CHRIS: A nice sunny day in London. That’s awesome. That’s always a nice thing.
[00:05:08] CALLER: Yeah.
[00:05:11] CHRIS: I’ve really grown to love London. There was a stretch where I felt like London didn’t like me. But then I’ve realized that was just all my own ego and insecurity. And I’ve been back and I really dig it.
[00:05:24] CALLER: Yeah, I liked – let’s see. I listened to the – you went to the Rose Garden and had a chat?
[00:05:35] CHRIS: Yeah. With that guy who grew up on a sheep farm. That was a nice guy. I think we’re coming back in September hopefully, to the podcast festival.
[00:05:45] CALLER: Oh, that’s awesome news! Yeah, I’ll be there. You bet.
[00:05:49] CHRIS: That’s cool. So did you grow up in London?
[00:05:52] CALLER: No. So I lived in Campwell, you might know it as Essex. It’s become famous because of that. The only way is Essex Shire, which is a bit like Jersey Shore. So I live an hour outside of London, but I come in everyday for my job which I love. And it is an easy commute. Yeah, it’s a pleasure. London is pretty cool.
[00:06:20] CHRIS: That’s cool. Now, can I – all right. Let me ask you something. I’m going to ask – this is just a dumb question before we get into whatever we’re gonna talk to. Talk about rather. I feel, OK – one of the things I feel particularly ignorant about as an American is that I feel like in the UK, there are a number of different accents that when you hear them people know immediately, “oh, that person’s from here.” Whereas we hear them in America and we just go, “that person is British” and that’s kind of where we leave it. Whereas I feel like when other people hear American accents, you pretty quickly know that person’s from the South or the Southwest or whatever. What kind of accent do you have? What category would your accent fall into?
[00:07:06] CALLER: That’s a good question. So I don’t really have an Essex dialect unless I’m actually around with people from Essex. That being said, whenever I say my hometown, the accent comes out. I’m trying to speak – I mean, yeah, I’m trying to speak the same it is possible now – do you want me to put on like a thick Essex accent so you can hear the difference?
[00:07:37] CHRIS: OK, yeah. So when you’re around other people from Essex, let’s say you’re in the pub, you’ve had a couple drinks. Everybody’s from Essex. What does that sound like?
[00:07:45] CALLER: [laughing and with different accent] Yeah. Oh, my God. Did you even see Game of Thrones last night? It was mental.
[00:07:53] CHRIS: So that – so when other people from the UK area, the European listeners, when they hear that accent, they right away – now they’re going like, “OK, OK. I know who we’re dealing with now.”
[00:08:05] CALLER: Probably. Or, actually, that might have sounded a bit too London actually. I reckon you could say that was – now I’m going to be really embarrassed if anyone else is English and knows this.
[00:08:19] CHRIS: Wow. Yeah. Well, I don’t mean for you to take on the responsibility of impressing an entire nation/empire. It’s the last thing I want. Last thing I want is for you to feel that pressure.
[00:08:32] CALLER: I am only learning the difference between an American dialect. Like, people say this stuff and I think it’s TV characters or levities or whatever.
[00:08:46] CHRIS: Yeah. I mean, I do feel like we have the advantage because so many movies that travel the world come from the US. So I feel like other people may get to know our accents better. I grew up with a very heavy New Jersey accent, which not many people know the real version of. But I think sometimes listeners to this show may not realize – sometimes when I get excited, you hear the Jersey come back out, but there’s like a stereotype that, there is a big stereotype that people from New Jersey talk like this, like, [in accent] “I’m from New Jersey. Where are you from?” And that’s not real. That’s all just based on a sketch that Saturday Night Live did decades ago. The real Jersey accent, which you hear sometimes in the show, is when I start going like, [in accent] “oh, my God, that’s horrible. That’s horrible.” And if there’s a word with a T in the middle, we don’t pronounce it in New Jersey, like a baby cat. How would you refer to a baby cat?
[00:09:37] CALLER: A kitten.
[00:09:38] CHRIS: I say kitten. [didn’t pronounce T’s] That’s when you know you’re in Jersey. Trenton is the capitol. Kittens. We wear gloves and sometimes we wear mittens. We don’t wear miTTens. We were mittens. That’s how you know you’re in New Jersey.
[00:09:51] CALLER: Sounds like a lot –
[00:09:54] CHRIS: Yeah. So anyway, now we’ve discussed regional dialects. What else would we like to talk about today?
[00:10:01] CALLER: Crikey. So I’ve –
[00:10:03] CHRIS: Did you just say crikey? Hold on. Did you just say crikey?
[00:10:07] CALLER: Yeah.
[00:10:09] CHRIS: That’s a real thing, huh? Well, I love that.
[00:10:12] CALLER: Yeah. Yes. Maybe just when I’m nervous it comes out.
[00:10:17] CHRIS: I love it. I’ve got a crikey out of it. Maybe I’ll start trying to bring crikey over the pond. Maybe I’ll see if I can introduce crikey into the New York lexicon.
[00:10:26] CALLER: I’ll try and crowbar in a cool blimey if you like.
[00:10:29] CHRIS: Oh. I like that. Wait, I heard blimey in there. What was the first one?
[00:10:35] CALLER: Cool blimey.
[00:10:37] CHRIS: Oh, yeah. Blimey.
[00:10:40] CALLER: That I say a lot more than crikey. I think crikey is more of an Australian phrase.
[00:10:46] CHRIS: Crikey, yeah. You might be right about that. Crikey. Blimey. Wow. OK. I’ll stop being blown away by things that are completely standard and regular for your pattern of speech. OK, go. What are we gonna talk about?
[00:11:01] CALLER: Yeah. So yeah, I’ve always had a thought. Oh, if I ever get through – oh, may I just quickly, just a side note, say to anyone outside of the US, because I know a lot of people are like frustrated if they can’t get through, do keep trying. You can do Skype and stuff like that. It does work, like hold on and don’t give up and stuff.
[00:11:22] CHRIS: I love that. And I really do – I keep saying to people, I want this show to keep going until every single person who wants to call has a chance to get on record. That’s my goal. I want everybody who ever wants a chance to talk, to call and talk. So I’ll keep it going as long as you guys keep calling.
[00:11:40] CALLER: Yes. I mean, I initially started calling just because I had a free Skype trial…oh no product placement!
[00:11:52] CHRIS: Oh, no, that’s OK. That’s fine. I mean, if it turns out that you are somehow an undercover British Skype operative who’s been tasked with getting on this show, specifically plug Skype, I would go so far as to say kudos to the Skype viral advertising department because that is an elaborate and unlikely to work plan.
[00:12:16] CALLER: Yeah, definitely. Don’t you get 11,000 callers? What would be the chances of that?
[00:12:20] CHRIS: Let’s see where we’re at right now. You’re on the line – so far – oh, it’s a slow day. Only 8,800 so far. 8,800 call attempts so far.
[00:12:30] CALLER: That’s still pretty staggering. That’s a pretty high number.
[00:12:34] CHRIS: It’s cool. It’s cool.
[00:12:37] CALLER: Sorry, OK. We keep deflecting. OK. So. Yes. So I’ve had a thought, like what would I talk about? OK. So 2018 was the best year ever. Lots of really good stuff happened. Like I hit 30, I bought my own place, and I booked my wedding. I adopted a cat, I you know, went to awesome gigs and all this kind of stuff. It was just the best – it was the best blooming year ever. [laughing]
[00:13:07] CHRIS: OK, OK.
[00:13:09] CALLER: And then 2019 wrapped around and mid-January my dad passed away.
[00:13:17] CHRIS: Aw, I’m sorry.
[00:13:18] CALLER: Which was a bit of a bummer. Yeah. Yeah, thanks. It is a complicated thing. I’ve had a difficult relationship with him. And long story short, that’s actually how I got into listening to your podcast. So someone who I work with, they recommended this podcast which deals a lot with grief and comedians talk for an hour about their personal experiences with grief. And then somehow I went on this kind of personal story journey trying to listen to other people because there is no guidebook to grief. Like you don’t know if how you’re feeling is normal and how long it’s going to last. And no one’s got the answers. So it’s just helpful reading or hearing other people’s stories. So lo and behold, you know, I discovered Beautiful Anonymous so I’m a pretty new caller and listener even, because it was only to say like since January, February. But it’s so lovely hearing from other people from all over the world and everybody’s like different stories. And it’s kind of been really, it’s been really helpful because you don’t know how to feel. And there have been – there was one day I just woke up and I was in the wrong mood. Like, it’s that classic, “oh I got out of bed the wrong side this morning”. It was literally from the point I got up, I felt rotten. And by the time I was, you know, made my way to work because I thought, oh, just a normal routine. I’ll get out of the funk and you know, I love my job. I think I said it three million times as well. I’ll get out of this funk and I’ll carry on with my day and I’ll be back to normal. But I was in the lift up to the office crying, and then be lying to this lady, who I know has lost her mum recently. And she said, “oh, this is a grief day.” Oh! It has a name. So yeah, it’s been a pretty tense January and February and March and April. And that’s it. But then there’s also good things. So, for instance, two days ago, my sister had a baby. And I’ve got this – so nice. Lots of nice things to look forward to. So many good, happy things, so. Yeah, it’s not all bad.
[00:15:59] CHRIS: So you get – it sounds like overall you’ve got a really, you’ve got a kickass life going that you’re enjoying and this grief has thrown you for a real loop.
[00:16:10] CALLER: Yeah. I mean, yeah. 100% I’m so lucky, you know. Hashtag blessed and all that kind of stuff. I’ve never really been a sad person. I think I’m definitely one of the lucky ones to say that I’ve never really had depression or felt depression or had problems with anxiety and so many of my friends have it and it’s heartbreaking. I wish I could help or, you know, do something. But I, yeah. I’ve never really had it. God, it sounds awful like, “oh I’ve never been sad before.” Like, of course I’ve been sad and crappy things happen sorry Sally, I don’t know if crappy is okay. But, you know, it’s – yeah, I’ve got a lot of good things. Maybe that’s the thing. You know, like I’ve been focusing so much on all the good. I’ve not actually really been dealing with this, you know, tense part, the whole grief, you know.
[00:17:16] CHRIS: Now can I ask, you said you had a – I think you termed it a difficult relationship with your dad. Do you feel – do you feel like that has contributed to this grief lingering? Because I would imagine maybe that might leave a lot of stuff unresolved or sort of a lot to wrap your head around in terms of pondering that relationship. Is that part of it?
[00:17:41] CALLER: Yeah, 100%. So actually, I last spoke to my dad in 2015. So what, four years ago? He died during this argument. Which is you know, annoying and upsetting because it’s one of those classic, you know, unfinished business things. And there’s quite a few complications around it. So another thing is that he doesn’t live in the UK. He is from another country and he moved back to this other country. I’m not gonna say it ’cause it’s definitely gonna be an identifier but I’ll probably end up saying it because I’m not very good at keeping secrets. [laughing]
Yeah. So he lived in another country since I was six, which is his home country, and seeing him was always difficult growing up. We’d kind of go over there twice a year during the school holidays, but we always thought he was coming back home and he never did. And then we found out he had another family which, you know, now as a 30 year old, I’m like “well yeah, duh.” But at the time when I was this kid who was absolutely besotted with my dad, he was, you know, the best thing ever. I think that was probably the hardest thing because I loved him so much. It felt like I was betrayed. It so quickly goes from adoring someone to then not wanting to hear their name or, you know, acknowledge their existence and all this kind of stuff. It so quickly flicks from one to the other, sadly. Yeah. So at the time when we found out that he died – well, actually, let me put it in a kind of timeframe. So while my sister was expecting this baby – and I should point out, my sister maintained an okay relationship with my dad. They were on talking terms and check in every now and again. But I had for the past four years, you know, been like, “nope, done with it” like final straw, that kind of stuff. So when she found out that she was expecting a boy, she sent a message to my dad’s phone and said, “hey, got some cool news, I’m going to be a mom again.” She’s got a daughter. And she got her message back that said – well, actually, it was a picture. It was a picture of my dad in the hospital bed looking God awful, looking real bad. Really, really bad. And the message said something like, you know, “we’re pleased you got in touch because things aren’t going great here.” And it quickly became apparent it wasn’t my dad writing this message. It was his current wife. The other wife – another wife. And yes, so that was like a Wednesday we found out that he was gravely ill. And then we woke up on Sunday morning that week to find out he passed away. So then by the Sunday afternoon, my sister, my mom, and I booked flights to go over for his funeral, which – so we landed. No, we flew and landed on the Monday. We buried him on the Tuesday, flew back to London the next day on the Wednesday. I had a couple of days off and then I went straight back to work the following week. And I haven’t stopped since. Like I haven’t properly kind of stopped. And I realize also I haven’t stopped talking in ages. So I’m gonna stop talking for a little bit.
[00:22:00] CHRIS: [laughing] Well, that’s OK. You have a lot to say.
[00:22:05] CHRIS: [music transition] Our caller says she hasn’t stopped talking in ages. And I think it’s important to recognize that sometimes you do just have to pause in life, such as right now as we’re pausing for advertisements. Check out these products, these services. There’s a lot of promo codes here, really helps the show when you use them. So check them out. Consider it. We’ll be right back.
[00:23:37] CHRIS: [music transition] Thanks again to our advertisers. Now let’s get back to the phone call.
[00:23:42] CALLER: I realize also I haven’t stopped talking in ages. So I’m gonna stop talking for a little bit.
[00:23:47] CHRIS: [laughing] Well, that’s OK. You have a lot to say. You have a lot to say. It’s such an interesting thing, isn’t it? Because you know, I’m extremely lucky. I’m close with both my parents and you know, everybody has tangled up feelings about their folks, but I know for me I got very, very lucky. One of the things that’s so interesting that I’m sure has to be part of what you’re wrapping your head around, is if you get to the point where you cut a parent off, this is clearly a self protective instinct, right? As a child of this, you felt like there was deception. You felt like some sense of betrayal. You’ve mentioned that he had a family that you didn’t know about. So you’re cutting him off out of a sense of protecting yourself and of being done with it. And, I say this out of pure curiosity and compassion. It’s gonna sound a little harsh maybe, but I would think that you know, from the outside and maybe even before it happened, you would think that maybe your father’s death wouldn’t be one that sent you into a spiral for all these months because it sounds like someone who you’d really been burned by and hurt by, and I’m sure it must be quite confusing – even for you, it sounds like – to have this grief mess with you this profoundly, because it sounds like the relationship itself had already messed with you so profoundly.
[00:25:30] CALLER: Yes, confusing is definitely the word. So I thought about the scenario if I had still had such a lovely relationship with him and did still adore him like I used to and I was, you know, six, seven, eight, whatever. And leaving him you know, when I did adore him would still be tough. I don’t know whether it’s supposed to make it harder. The fact that, you know, things have – things went sour towards the end and yeah – also, to put into context, there was another family as well.
[00:26:12] CHRIS: A third – a third family?
[00:26:15] CALLER: Yeah, man. Yeah at the funeral, I met three sisters who I had not met before, which was pretty nuts. Yes. And you also said about protection – protection and deception I think are two words that have been going around in my head. So I think where they thought he was protecting us from the truth or – but really, it felt like deception and all this kind of stuff. Again, classic death cliches that you’re just left with so many questions. And it’s that whole like, I just wish I had, you know, 10 minutes with him to go, “what was this about? What was that about?” And this and that and the other. So that you can kind of, you know, for your own benefit, get your head around it, I suppose, because it’s hard enough kind of remembering that, oh, yeah, my dad’s dead. [laughing] I shouldn’t laugh. But you know, that’s a tricky enough thing. But then also to go, “oh, yeah, my dad’s dead. And I still – am I angry about it or am I really sad that I didn’t, you know, go and see him for one last time? Or should I have reacted that last way in the argument?” And all that kind of stuff. And I could, you know, play that card of well, he’s the parent. He’s always the parent, and I’m always the child in this scenario. So should he have been the one to be like, “look, I’ve done some bad things and, you know, sorry” or whatever? I know my mom wanted an apology and she never got it. So, I think I’ve been protecting her or, you know, tried to be kind of her body of armor or something. Yeah. Ugh.
[00:28:15] CHRIS: It’s really…this is an obvious thing to say, but what a hard thing to even have an opinion on as an outsider hearing about it. Because it’s like in the one sense it’s such a cautionary tale, right? Of I bet there’s some people listening right now who have a strange relationship in their lives going, “this might be a good motivator for me to reach out” so that there’s at least some base level, so that if that connection gets severed, like your connection did, that it is something that’s not unresolved. On another level though, there’s a part of me going well, to have three families that are separate from each other, to not offer up apologies to people who feel like they deserve them…I’m certainly not trying to speak ill or judge a person who’s passed. But it does sound to me like you were not the one who created all these unresolved situations and you’re not the one who made those circumstances happen, so it is heartbreaking to hear that you went from having one of the best years of your life to being so tangled up in the grief and what sounds – a word that I don’t think we’ve brought up – it sounds a little bit like there’s some guilt involved on your end. Maybe I’m wrong on that. But it’s just heartbreaking to hear because you’re not the one who created any of these circumstances.
[00:29:42] CALLER: Yeah, you’re right. Yes, there is. There is this element of guilt because I you know, even though it was very, very short window of time from that Wednesday when we first got the notification that he was in the hospital and looking terrible to that Sunday morning when we found out he’d gone. I could have tried to make a phone call or tried to – ’cause it was an actual pickle where you know, okay. He’s not going to come around from this, you know. And I could have made that call or you know, but I didn’t. Perhaps because I was just trying to – I don’t know what I was doing. Those days are a bit of a blur now in hindsight. I think I just carried on working and the typical like “keep calm, carry on” British way of doing it, I guess. Ugh. [laughing]
[00:30:42] CHRIS: But it’s also…yeah. It’s really, I thank you for opening up about this because it’s really hard. What a fascinating thing to think about that I bet a lot of people have been through their own version of, or are in the middle of their own version of because it’s like – was there any element of you that’s like, so you’re estranged. Sounds like, sounds like your dad really in life created a lot of chaos that made you eventually go, “I’m done with this, I’m gonna hold you at arm’s length.” Was there any element of you that goes, “OK, the guy’s sick. Why does that mean I’m the one who has to bite the bullet? And why isn’t he reaching out to me?” You know, like why – why does it take your sister saying, “hey, I got this news” to even hear about this? Like, I’m sure there must have been a part of you that’s like – is there any part of you that’s like you don’t get to use your illness to almost twist my arm into having this conversation that I’m not ready to have or that you should probably be initiating, was there any elements of that?
[00:31:56] CALLER: I mean, yeah. Now, it does feel that way. At the time, I think my sister was kind of guilted into feeling like she should – so when we got that message, I think she was guilted into going over to see him and also taking her daughter because he’d never met his granddaughter. So my sister was actually put in that horrible position of feeling guilty about whether or not she’d – but she was expecting at the time as well. And imagine a two year old going to a foreign country and hospitals are scary and seeing this scary man and scary things, you know. So I’m glad that my sister didn’t make the decision to go over there, which he had been guilting her about for a while. And had I been given a second chance to kind of consider it, I don’t think I would. I don’t know. Yeah, it’s hard to know. If I was advising someone else who is coming up to this situation, do what feels right for you in the moment, because always after you kind of doubt like whether or not you did the right thing. And it’s like that classic…not classic, that sounds morbid. But if you get the opportunity to sort of kiss goodbye to a loved one and some people will go, “oh, no, actually, I’d really rather not. I don’t want to see them when they’re not there anymore.” And then some people are like, “yes, of course, I wouldn’t miss the opportunity to go and say goodbye in the chapel of rest” or whatever. It’s whatever feels right to you at the moment and you can’t regret that you know, five, 10 years later down the line. I think that’s something I learned from that other grief podcast. You know, you got to do what feels good – not good – but do what feels right for you there and then. Yeah. So it’s I mean, me looking back between that Wednesday and Sunday before we found out that he’d gone. You know, I guess I’ve just gotta stick to my guns. I suppose I made the right decision for me at that time. Does that answer the question? I’m not sure.
[00:34:08] CHRIS: It does. It does. It does. It’s just, yeah. I guess – I just keep – I find my heart bleeding and my main compassion laying in the idea of, I mean, it’s horrible to lose a parent. It’s horrible to lose anyone in your life when there’s so many things that are unresolved. But I just feel, like my heart is really going out to you in the sense of, it sounds like you didn’t create much of the sort of chaos that came to define this relationship and I know it’s sort of just a pretty basic thing to say, but you didn’t create it. You’re a young person who’s trying to navigate it your whole life and now you’re here left holding the bag, trying to figure out all those feelings in the aftermath of your dad being gone. And that just – I know this is basic, but that just sucks. That just really sucks.
[00:35:08] CALLER: [laughing] Yeah. Yeah it does. Yeah. It’s a big bag of suck. You know, I hadn’t not thought about my dad dying before. You know, he had been ill previously. And you know, because he lives in this foreign country and we don’t regularly talk to him, I thought, you know what happens if he dies and no one tells us? Like these other families, they don’t owe us anything. They don’t know us. They don’t have to tell us. They might think they might gain something from not telling us. We don’t know. We’ve not met them. But you know, it just so happened that they did. And when we met them, they were super nice and you know, the youngest sibling of the family, I’ve known about her only in the last few years. And I was jealous of her. And I was you know, I harbored all these kind of negative emotions towards her because she had the dad that I didn’t have growing up. You know, she had him you know, on her 10th birthday or she had him as a teenager, and she had the dad that I didn’t. So I thought when I met her, you know, I’d keep my distance and avoid any kind of clashes. And then I meet her and she’s the coolest kid you’ve ever met. [Chris laughing] She’s so witty and sharp and so considerate. Like bear in mind, this is our dad’s funeral. She’s so considerate and sweet, but also like there was – OK, do you know an anecdote. There was one moment where in this particular culture – because my dad was a different culture as I’ve said – in this particular culture, you stand in the courtyard of the mosque and the coffin is there. And the family, the grieving family, I should note, because you’re expected to very visibly cry it seems. The five daughters – picture this – the five daughters all have their hands on the coffin and the crowd gathers. Anyone, you know, any of your uncles, off the street, anyone, they all come and they watch you cry and they take photographs of you, which I still don’t know why. But it was very strange. And I whispered to my sister, my British sister, and I say, this is weird they’re taking photos, and then the younger, cool sister that I’ve just met and the one who I thought, you know, would be a bad egg, she whispers to me, she goes, “this country’s shit, I hate it.” [laughing] And so I start laughing because it completely throws me off guard. You know, that was just what I needed to hear in that moment of weird and that she feels weird as well. Sorry Sally. You know, it was just – it was classic. I guess that was one good thing that has come out of all of this is, is I’ve kind of earned…earned? No. Gained, that word. I gained a really cool sibling.
[00:38:47] CHRIS: Do you think that you’re gonna stay in touch with these siblings that you met through this experience? Is there any potential for that?
[00:38:55] CALLER: There’s potential, yeah. So more than likely, yes the one who is younger than me. Because she’s cool. [laughing] The other two…I don’t know. I know the eldest one…I don’t think she’s very sociable to anyone. And the other one, I don’t know. I’d probably not. I think she fainted at the funeral as well. I don’t think she’s doing well, but she’s never reached out to me. It always seemed that everyone reached out to my sister. She was probably the nicer one [laughing] baby sister, but I don’t know whether my dad spread rumors about me going, “yeah. Don’t talk to that one. She’s a troublemaker” because you know, I exposed him or whatever. Yeah, I don’t know. Probably not.
[00:39:52] CHRIS: Wait, when you say you exposed him, what does that – what does that mean?
[00:39:57] CALLER: Well, sorry, I shouldn’t say exposed. I mean, I called him out. I just called him out on his B.S., you know? He was definitely a man of pride. And the man, as you know, it was a very like traditional country that he came from. It is full of respect and very patriarchal and all this kind of thing. So like he, my other half asked for his permission in marriage, which I know is kind of cute and traditional, but I’m not a traditional person. But I knew that it would mean the world to him. So we did it. And, you know, that kind of just puffed up his ego a little bit more. Even so, you know – sorry, exposed was the wrong word. I mean, I just called him out and gave him what for really. [laughing]
[00:40:54] CHRIS: Wow. That’s a weird year. You’re right. That’s a weird year for that to start – for that to be a January incident that kicks off your year, I think you’ve earned the right. You’ve earned the right to overthink things for a while, certainly.
[00:41:12] CHRIS: [music transition] I think we all have a right to overthink things once in a while. Sometimes our lives have things that need to be dealt with. Also, sometimes our lives have advertisements in them because we live in a capitalist society and commercialism is literally everywhere. This show is no different. Check out the ads. Use the promo codes. We’ll be right back.
[00:43:00] CHRIS: Thanks again to everybody who sponsors Beautiful Anonymous. Now let’s finish off the phone call.
[00:43:07] CHRIS: I think you’ve earned the right. You’ve earned the right to overthink things for a while, certainly.
[00:43:13] CALLER: Thank you. Yeah. Yeah, I am – but, you know, I’ve got a great support network. I’ve got lovely friends. And my love is amazing. And I’ve started going back to counseling. I went, I think it was like for 19 months, I went every week to this counselor. He was brilliant. So, yes, I just had my first session the other week with a nice lady. Yeah, I don’t know if she’s right for me. But we’ll see how it goes. I kind of have a lot of nice ladies in my life. And shock horror I think I need a man to talk to. I haven’t really had that kind of –
[00:43:59] CHRIS: [laughing] You want to find a counselor who you can – who when you get into the emotion of these dad issues, that you can really go to town a little bit.
[00:44:09] CALLER: That’s all I picture is just him writing on a clipboard, “daddy issues” and underlining it three times. That’s all it takes.
[00:44:17] CHRIS: Listen, I’m not – I don’t want to be, too – have we named an episode Daddy Issues yet, Harry? Because if not, I think this is – we clear cut know the name of this episode. What else would it be? If only we could underline something three times on a computer screen. It would be – we have to call this one – it’s the definition. But I like that you want a male counselor so that if that emotion comes out, you can displace that rage and have – and I’m sure right, like is it going to be like the stereo – I would imagine like the stereotype of like a British counselor. Maybe he’s like an older, reserved, gentlemanly type who you know, wears tweed. And then you’re just going off on him. He asks you one question and brings out the daddy issues. And you get to just go off on this very reserved British gentleman. That’s what I have in my mind.
[00:45:08] CALLER: Yeah. I mean, that’s pretty much it. That’s all I want him for. You know, take my money. I need someone to fill that for a while.
[00:45:15] CHRIS: You need to pay a punching bag, an older male punching bag to get out some of the dad rage. I think you earned it. I think that’s fair, I think that’s fair.
[00:45:31] CALLER: [laughing] Yeah.
[00:45:34] CHRIS: So in the midst of this year, in the midst of this year – like you said last year, I wrote down you’re planning a wedding, you got a cat, you have a new place to live. All these good things. What are you doing in the course of this year when this grief’s kind of grabbing you and dragging you down into the muck a little bit. What’s the type of stuff you do on a day to day basis to keep your head above water?
[00:45:55] CALLER: I have been throwing myself into work, which I think I said. I’ve been doing wedding planning. So like the week that we got back from the funeral, I thought, I’m going to put out save the dates and I’m going to send out the save the date to all of my loved ones and all my favorite people, because that’s the right thing to do. I’m going to start planning and it’s something nice to focus on. And that was the right choice because then sending out the save the dates meant I also got lovely replies. And it was all my favorite people just going, “this is awesome. I can’t wait!” And “yeah, looking forward to it!” And all this kind of stuff. I mean, I’ve been with my other half, it’ll be 11 years this summer actually, we’ve been together so it’s been a long time coming. And that’s what a lot of the people are saying. You know, this is going to be the wedding of the century, which I perceive a little pressure. But, yes, I’ve been doing a lot of that, which is, you know, a nice kind of distraction. Bit of Pinterest, all that kind of stuff. Playing with my cat or hanging out with my niece. And now we’ve got the nephew as well. That’s nice things to do. Yeah. I live by – I live in a seaside town and it’s just a nice place. I’m trying to walk more as well. So say if I’ve finished work, sometimes I’ll get off at a earlier train station and then walk along the sea and take a long way home and, just stuff like that. Like walking and listening to stuff, listening to podcasts, little stuff that just kind of, you know, mean I don’t wake up the next day feeling glum. I try not to be a captain buzzkill. I know I’ve been, you know, it’s a tough week and it made me really sad. I hope you don’t think I’m like a negative Nelly, but. How about these for titles: Negative Nelly. Captain buzzkill. Because I’ve got daddy issues, I must say.
[00:48:04] CHRIS: Let’s go ahead and write those down Harry, because we’re brainstorming some good ones. These are all killers. These are all real click getters. These are download getters. That gets me mad because you just described like such an ideal life. You just described like you have this loving partner of 11 years and you play with your cat and you live in a seaside town. And sometimes you get off the train early to walk along the sea and then you play with your adorable niece and your new nephew. And it sounds so ideal. And then it’s like – oh and then your dad, who was kinda not great, had to go die and fuck the whole thing up. Sorry Sally. That sucks. This guy who you were already fighting with had to go die and put you in your head and it just put you deeply in your own head when you’re just trying to walk along the sea to get home to your cat. It sucks!
[00:49:00] CALLER: My three-legged cat as well.
[00:49:02] CHRIS: Oh, what? It got even cuter. No! A three-legged cat?
[00:49:08] CALLER: [laughing] Yeah. He’s got an Instagram and he’s been on BuzzFeed and everything.
[00:49:12] CHRIS: A three-legged Buzzfeed cat!
[00:49:17] CALLER: Yeah, man.
[00:49:18] CHRIS: I mean, your dad has to go and die on the other side of some ocean and make you just sad for five months. That sucks.
[00:49:26] CALLER: Oh, God. I’m so glad you get it.
[00:49:29] CHRIS: Yeah. I don’t mean to be – I’m not tryna like boil it down in any way, but it just sucks. It just sounds like you have a real good thing going. And yet there’s one – you have this one open wound. You have this one open wound. And what sounds like an other – you even like your job! Who likes their job? Nobody likes their job. And you’ve brought up like 11 times of like “oh I just throw myself into my work.” I have the easiest job on earth! Even I’m not like, “I love throwing myself into my job.” And then you’ve got this one open wound. And this guy has to go and do the one thing that might really cause some permanent damage, which is tragically pass away without resolution. That sucks. That sucks.
[00:50:19] CALLER: I’m so glad you get it. In the same breath, I feel awful for the people that don’t have all these like privileges and lovely things in their lives and they’re also dealing with all this crappy stuff. So I don’t want to gloat too much. [laughing]
[00:50:35] CHRIS: But you can’t fall – I’ve said it before on the show I think. This idea – you can’t – I feel like that’s one of the weird things about many cultures is that it’s like, you can’t apologize for your pain or let it be competition with other people’s pain. It’s real. And any sort of privileges or stability or advantage you have shouldn’t make you feel guilty about the fact that you got this open loop that’s gonna be very hard to resolve. You can’t do that either. Yeah, I know what you’re saying though. Some people have stuff going on and they don’t get to wander near the sea in an existential haze. They don’t get to gaze out upon the crashing waves, but it doesn’t change the fact that shit hurts. It’s okay if it hurts.
[00:51:26] CALLER: Yeah. Thanks, yeah. That’s the truth.
[00:51:30] CHRIS: What’s the cat’s name? And what happened to his leg?
[00:51:35] CALLER: [laughing] So his name is Wobbly Thomas.
[00:51:36] CHRIS: Come on! No, it’s not. No, it’s not. He has three legs and you named him Wobbly Thomas? That’s a little mean.
[00:51:48] CALLER: Well his name was – no! He was a kilo overweight when we adopted him. Plus, you know, he’s a little bit wonky. So he was Gorgeous Thomas when we got him. But yeah, he’s Wobbly Thomas. He’s cool with it.
[00:52:05] CHRIS: He’s a cat, he doesn’t know. Now, I assume he had three legs when you adopted him and there wasn’t some sort of tragic accident.
[00:52:14] CALLER: Yes. No, you’re right. I’m not a terrible pet owner. Yes. So we adopted him after he was in foster care – animal foster care for like a year. So the RSPCA, they found this cat that had been hit by a car. He hadn’t been microchipped, no collar or anything like that. So they took him into care. His leg was amputated, it was beyond recoverable. And then some foster carers kind of – because they just have so many pets to deal with. The foster carers took him in and no one had an interest in him. No one cares for the three legged cats of the world it seems. Well, that’s what I thought until, you know, as I say, made him an Instagram account, found out that there’s a tripod community, that he is a part of.
[00:53:07] CHRIS: A tripod community? That’s a thing? Tripod cats?
[00:53:11] CALLER: Tri-PAWED.
[00:53:13] CHRIS: Tri-PAWED. So it’s both an accurate description and a pun on the word tripod.
[00:53:18] CALLER: Exactly. What’s not to love?
[00:53:21] CHRIS: You know, when I hear you say no one loves the three legged cats of this world, I know that in a literal sense you’re referring to Wobbly Thomas, but I can’t help but wonder if deep down on some level, you’re metaphorically speaking of yourself.
[00:53:36] CALLER: Whoaaaaa.
[00:53:37] CHRIS: How was that for deep? How is that for deep? I don’t think that’s –
[00:53:41] CALLER: Wasn’t ready for that.
[00:53:43] CHRIS: No, I don’t think that was true. I just felt like it was there sitting on the table and I had to go for it.
[00:53:48] CALLER: I thought you were going to say it sounds like the time to dismiss them.
[00:53:52] CHRIS: I mean, when you said you wander on a seaside town, I immediately had “Everyday is like Sunday” pop into my head. [Chris singing] In this coast – in this coastal town that they forgot to close down, Armageddon. Come Armageddon… [Chris ends singing] It’s hard to get in on the Morrissey stuff as he descends progressively further into right wing shittiness. Is that all the talk over there?
[00:54:20] CALLER: Yeah, it’s really hard to – you fight an internal battle of liking the music, but also not liking the musician. I think that song – I think that was filmed in my town, actually. I’m pretty sure that it includes like the local shopping center and stuff from my town in that video. Unless I’m completely getting my like musical trivia knowledge muddled up. But yeah, it’s the shame. There’s a lot of kind of people that you used to love when you were younger coming out and being jerks. Like John Cleese, for example. I’m going to drag him. I’m going to put him on blast.
[00:55:03] CHRIS: Oh, yeah. He just went off on someone on Twitter right?
[00:55:09] CALLER: It’s ridiculous. He lives in a foreign country. I think it’s like a bit of a tax evasion or illusion or whatever. He doesn’t live in London anymore. But he’s saying, “oh, London isn’t – it doesn’t have Londoners anymore. And of course, it voted Brexit” and all this kind of stuff. But John, you lose your opinion when you leave the country. So, yes, it’s just dandy the dog.
[00:55:38] CHRIS: And he also strangely attacked my friend Nicole Byer on Twitter. Nicole Byer came up with me in the same comedy scene in New York. She lives in Los Angeles now. She was on my show. And he went after her, kinda out of nowhere. It’s weird. And he’s like a comedy legend. And she’s in – relatively I mean, certainly compared to John Cleese – it’s weird that he would have an opinion on someone who started, you know, like five or six years after me, let alone him. Attacked her for doing comedy that mentioned female genitalia. He thought that was real egregious. Weird.
[00:56:21] CALLER: Some people should not have the Internet.
[00:56:25] CHRIS: No, I mean I think most people should not be allowed near the Internet. I think – it’s funny. I was just talking with somebody the other day. I was talking to my buddy Don Finelli and he just had a kid as well. And I was telling him, oh, like his wife puts up all these Instagram pictures and she’s a comedy writer, she puts up these like really laugh out loud funny captions. And he’s like, “ahh yes, what the Internet was supposed to be. So like you looking at my kid’s pictures and chuckling at the captions my wife wrote.” And I was like, right. That is what it’s supposed to be. And then it’s also, you know, Russian teens manipulating me into being in a half rage, half frozen in fear state of mind 23 hours a day. Or Facebook manipulating my fears in order to get clicks so they make money. Oh right, that’s what it’s turned into. But also a great connecting force that has fomented a lot of positive social movements. So who’s to say?
[00:57:30] CALLER: Yeah, for sure. I mean – my job, I work in digital. I used to work in magazines. One particular magazine. You might know it actually, Bizarre magazine. Did you ever read that?
[00:57:41] CHRIS: Oh, I’m familiar B-A-Z-A-A-R right?
[00:57:44] CALLER: Oh, no. That came out, it was a bit more highbrow. No, we were more you know, along with the booby magazines. Bizarre as in B-I-zed-a-double R-E.
[00:57:55] CHRIS: You said zed! You said zed. I love it. That’s like a blimey or a crikey to me, a zed. We say Z, you say zed.
[00:58:03] CALLER: I thought I spelt it wrong, I was like oh, that’s embarrassing.
[00:58:07] CHRIS: No, I like it. I’ve never understood why Z in Britain contains a D. But anyway, who knows? Who cares? Oh, so it was like a porno – you worked at a pornographic magazine?
[00:58:16] CALLER: I didn’t – well, no, it wasn’t pornographic. It was, we’d call it like the number one alternative culture magazine. So it kind of you know, it was for the goths. So it’s like the emo kids of the day, I guess. Like, it was the underdogs of society. But it also, you know, had fetish stuff and all that kind of stuff. Like just the weirdos. It had fairies, it had the first like – I think it was the first plus-sized cover in the UK or something like that.
[00:58:49] CHRIS: The first what cover?
[00:58:51] CALLER: Sorry, plus-sized. There was a cover model called April. Yes.
[00:58:56] CHRIS: So it’s the magazine I would have grown up reading if I grew up a teenager in Britain.
[00:59:02] CALLER: Yes. Yeah, for sure. Yeah. I think it was quite international and it had you know, worldwide stuff. But sadly, it folded in like 2012 and because you know, the Internet. And so I went to the other side and I went into digital. And I’ve kind of worked my way now. I work in the charity sector, which I love. And I do a lot of stories. So it’s a lot of community. And I’m getting real voices heard and also diverse voices. Which is, I think probably why I love the podcast so much, because it’s you know, it’s put on blast all these people that you wouldn’t normally hear from. And it’s through the Internet that we’re able to get these people talking to one another and reading other people’s experiences and they can comment and all this kind of stuff like, all lovely stuff. Some of it’s good.
[01:00:04] CHRIS: Yeah same here. I mean, I talk a lot of shit about the Internet for someone who is presently hosting a show where I use the Internet to find random strangers to talk to and then I distribute the conversations via the Internet. I understand the hypocrisy of me bashing the – people have started to call me out on this of like “you bash the Internet a lot on Beautiful Anonymous”, which I will say is immediately hypocritical because it’s an Internet driven medium. Podcasting.
[01:00:27] CALLER: Yeah, we’re biting the hand that feeds there a little bit, aren’t we?
[01:00:31] CHRIS: We certainly are. We certainly are. Listen, we got seven minutes left. What do I – you seem like such a solid person, such a stable life going. You’re describing your job, it sounds like you’re doing good stuff and trying to help people have a voice. You’ve got so much to look forward to in your own life. You got your family expanding with your sister. You got Wobbly Thomas, you have the ocean. What do I gotta do – what do I got to do here to give you just a little something to hang onto to remember the grief is gonna go away. The questions will always remain, but how do we expedite this so that you can enjoy all these positive, wonderful things? How do you expedite grief? One of the great questions humans deal with. There’s no easy answer. I don’t know if there’s any easy work-around.
[01:01:26] CALLER: No, isn’t that a shame? That would be so good if someone had answers to all these questions. How do I stop feeling sad about these things? Yeah. I don’t know. And I’ve – it’s been so nice. Although, you know, Captain buzzkill bringing the party down a little bit. But yeah, yes. Focusing on the good stuff. Because on one hand, yes, I have been distracting myself and not really been dealing with the whole messy part of my dad being dead and all the side effects of that. Then on the same you know, in the same breath, it’s also been doing stuff that’s constructive. You know, I haven’t been self medicating or hurting myself or any, you know, bad things. It’s all kind of been positive stuff. So, yeah, like stuff sucks and you get a big bag of crap but if you think, okay – well no it’s not, I’m trying to make it sound easy, obviously it’s not easy. But you know, if you just try to get the good out of the crap – oh dear, this is a horrible messy bag analogy.
[01:02:43] CHRIS: [laughing] I do like that the analogy fell apart. And the only clear part that really – the only part that you really stuck the landing on was stuff sucks and you get a big bag of crap, and then the rest of it was very hazy as far as what to take away from it. The first half is very –
[01:03:00] CALLER: Yeah, it’s late Friday afternoon –
[01:03:03] CHRIS: Well, it sort of sums up where you’re at in general, though, huh? Like the part I’m certain of – stuff sucks and you get handed a big bag of crap. And then the other, the positive takeaway is a little more umm, hmm. Well, that’s a little more hard to nail down the foundation of but it’s there! It’s gotta be there.
[01:03:24] CALLER: Yeah, exactly. Oh yeah. I’m glad that some of it made sense. It’s true, like that will be the foreword of the Book of Grief. You know, stuff sucks and everything’s crap.
[01:03:37] CHRIS: And then go figure out the rest for yourself. I’ll give you the first – yes, I will give you the first half of this inspirational cone. But you got – it’s only the exposition and then you got to nail the conclusion for yourself. When’s the marriage? When are you getting married?
[01:03:57] CALLER: [laughing] Halloween 2020.
[01:04:02] CHRIS: You really gave yourself a lot of lead time on this one, huh?
[01:04:05] CALLER: Yeah. Yeah. Perfection takes time. No, that’s a lie. I’m just lazy.
[01:04:12] CHRIS: Why Halloween? A Halloween wedding? That sounds cool.
[01:04:15] CALLER: Yeah. So if you were to meet me, it would probably make sense the second you saw me. But also, yeah. Halloween is the best and it was one of the few dates that was left available in October 2020. This was back last summer. I wanted 10/10/2020 because it looks good in Roman numerals and someone had already taken it. [Chris and caller laughing] But you know, it’s a full moon. So full blown goth, wicked.
[01:04:47] CHRIS: So you worked at Bizarre magazine, there’s a goth vibe, you’re going to have a goth wedding. A Halloween wedding – is everyone going to dress up? Are you gonna encourage people to dress in costume?
[01:04:56] CALLER: Well, so that would be great. But also, I don’t like people to guess. So I’d probably theme it Christmas and say no fancy dress just to throw curveballs. I don’t want anyone to make you something and go, “oh, yeah, I totally get that she would have done that.”
[01:05:14] CHRIS: So wait, are you – you’re going to have a Christmas themed wedding on Halloween?
[01:05:19] CALLER: No, I hate Christmas. [laughing] But you know, Easter themed or you know, just –
[01:05:28] CHRIS: Switch it up, switch it up. Just regular. You’re thinking just regular wedding. You don’t want everybody – you don’t want people there dressed as like Freddy Krueger or anything like that.
[01:05:37] CALLER: Well, I wouldn’t say no. I’m not going to turn him away. I’m all for it, creativity and individuality. It’s not going to be enforced. That’s for sure. I’ve seen the plastic pumpkins and all that kind of stuff. And I don’t really feel that so we’ll just see. Maybe I’ll just go for posh goth vibes.
[01:06:01] CHRIS: Posh goth vibes. I’m getting a good sense of it. All right. All right.
We’ve got about a minute and a half left. What are we thinking, what’s the – what’s the closing message to the world on this one? And again, what I will say to reiterate, so, so sorry for your loss. So, so sorry that it fucked with your head. And I just really hope that you’re able to enjoy all the good things you got going on as you filter this one through your system, although I know that’s easier said than done.
[01:06:34] CALLER: That’s very nice of you. Thank you so much. It has been a pleasure talking to you. And I think I said, the podcast really did help me when I needed to kind of hear other people going through – going through it. Whatever “it” was. So, you know, it’s a really nice connection to have and you know, see the posts on Facebook and all that kind of stuff, it’s just super nice. So, yeah, I’m all about community involvement and connections and engagements. But yeah, I’d just – if anyone’s going through grief, I’m sorry. It sucks and it’s a bag of crap. But also, you know, enjoy the little things and it’s okay to laugh and it’s okay to cry and be angry and all that kind of stuff because there’s no rules, there’s no rules.
[01:07:25] CHRIS: I think the only real rule that we’ve nailed down is God bless Wobbly Thomas.
[01:07:34] CALLER: Yes, total Wobbly! [laughing]
[01:07:39] CHRIS: Thank you so much for the call. Thank you for talking.
[01:07:44] CALLER: Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you.
[01:07:51] CHRIS: [music transition] Caller, thanks so much. I’m sending you all the positive vibes I can muster. I hope everything goes great with your Halloween wedding next year. I hope that you and Wobbly Thomas continue to take over the world of BuzzFeed. And most of all, obviously, I hope that you really do take your time, get your head together, figure out how to process your loss. Which I will reiterate, I’m so sorry for. I thank you for calling. I have a feeling it’s probably going to help a lot of other people out there going through their version of their story. And I think that that’s a noble thing to do. Thank you. Thank you to Harry Nelson in the booth. No thanks to Jared O’Connell who abandoned me this week. I don’t know where he is, he big-timed me. That’s okay. I’ll talk to him when he gets back. Thank you to Justin Lindell for all your help in my life. Thank you to Shellshag for the intro music. You wanna know about me, dates I’m going on the road, go to chrisgeth.com. If you wanna help the show – one thing you can do, you go to Apple podcasts, rate, review, subscribe it really does help so much. Thanks so much for listening, and we’ll see you next time.
[NEXT EPISODE PREVIEW]
[01:09:01] CHRIS: [music transition] Next time on Beautiful Anonymous, it’s, I’m not gonna lie, a hard conversation. It’s not easy growing up young and female in a world that makes you worry so much about your body and we have a very brave caller who really gets into it with us.
[01:09:18] CALLER: And it’s so frustrating because I feel like I’m so on top of it. I’m so aware of it. And then at the same time, I’m not. I’m making stupid choices by not telling people and by continuing the same pattern of habit. Because there’s that line from people who have addictive behaviors by saying, you know, I can stop whenever I want. And I feel like that’s a place that I’ve been three years now and it’s not OK. And I know that it’s not OK, but knowing doesn’t mean doing. So that’s been difficult.
[01:09:51] CHRIS: That’s next time on Beautiful Anonymous.