December 12, 2022
If you heard a blood curdling scream, what would you do? A man tells the story of what he did for a stranger who severed his foot mowing the lawn. He also describes his annual camping trip where he invites 100+ people and doesn’t tell them where they’re going. Later on, he shares with Geth what his cat Santa taught him about love.
349 — Saving Feet, Saving Souls (Live from Durham)
Chris [00:00:07] Hello, Motorco Music Hall. It’s Beautiful/ Anonymous. One hour. One phone call. No names. No holds barred. Hey everybody, it’s Chris Gethard. Welcome to another episode of Beautiful/ Anonymous. Thanks to everybody who listens, supports the show, who has kept this thing running for six years now. Six years. I hope we can keep it going for many, many more. Wanna let everybody know I got live shows coming up December 16th. I’m going to be at Littlefield for the late show. So early show stand up, late show improv. December 16th. Come on out. ChrisGeth.com for tickets. Now this week’s episode, we just recorded this one live down in Durham, North Carolina. People came out to the Motorco Music Hall. It was awesome. And this call has three major sections. One, you’re gonna hear about this caller stepping up in the face of something unexpected and and that makes the world feel insane. And one of those situations where sometimes you step up, sometimes you don’t. And this time he happened to when someone else was in need. And it’s gruesome. So buckle up for that. Then we start getting into this thing that the caller does, and I make fun of the caller a lot and say that it sounds a little bit culty, but hey, who am I to criticize things that feel slightly culty? So I’m ribbing them a little bit on that. But a truly cool activity that he plans and shares that I think a lot of people are going to be intrigued by. And then something happens at the end. And you’re not even going to believe it. Who who who was pulling the strings behind this the whole time? You won’t even believe it. Buckle up. Turns out I have a nemesis. Find out who it is at the end of the call.
Voicemail Robot [00:02:08] Thank you for calling Beautiful/ Anonymous. A beeping noise will indicate when you are on the show with the host.
Caller [00:02:15] Hello. Good evening.
Chris [00:02:17] How are you?
Caller [00:02:19] I’m good. Hey, can I ask you a funny question?
Chris [00:02:21] Sure.
Caller [00:02:23] What’s your name?
Chris [00:02:31] My name is Chris.
Caller [00:02:34] Thank you. That’s not a joke. My friends said I should call this number. And now we’re here.
Chris [00:02:44] So you have no idea what this is. You have no idea why there’s people cheering.
Caller [00:02:49] Well, I mean, you have a lot of prerecorded messages in the pre-roll, so I gathered it’s a podcast. I gathered we’re going to chat, and I didn’t know who I was chatting to. So great to meet you.
Chris [00:03:00] Yeah, just don’t tell me your name. And that’s really the only rule.
Caller [00:03:04] All right. My name is.
Chris [00:03:05] No! Don’t do it.
Caller [00:03:07] I’m kidding. I’m kidding.
Chris [00:03:07] Imagine if if you look at that, we get we get some rabble rouser on the line who wants to break the only rule? Thanks for taking a chance and calling this thing. Is your friend with you right now? Like, do you have a friend with you?
Caller [00:03:19] No, she she had texted me and messaged me, said, Hey, you should call this number. And I love responding to random invitations. So here we are.
Chris [00:03:29] Great. Great. I love that. I love that. Yeah.
Caller [00:03:33] I also want to say to the crowd, you can heckle me. You talked about heckling. I think I can take it.
Chris [00:03:37] Oh, you want the crowd to heckle you?
Caller [00:03:39] I’m just allowing it.
Chris [00:03:40] You’re allowing. You’re not. Okay, so not encouraging, but allowing it. So you’re creating a hazy, gray area.
Caller [00:03:46] Perfect.
Chris [00:03:46] Love that. Love that. I think this is going to be great.
Caller [00:03:50] Well, I have to admit, I actually interview people for a living, but I am never on this side of the interview, so I’m a little nervous.
Chris [00:03:59] I love that. So so that that also means that like any any instincts or tricks I have developed over the history of doing this show, you can probably sense me- you can probably sniff me out trying to nudge it in different directions or whatever I’m up to.
Caller [00:04:13] I, I will disarm all the tricks and just let this flow. How about that?
Chris [00:04:18] Okay. Okay. Yeah, I love it. I love it. So we can talk. I mean, the way this works is we got an hour and we can talk about anything you want. Anything. It can be as surface level nonsensical as you want. It can get as deep as you feel like. It’s totally up to you.
Caller [00:04:35] Well, I talked to your producer and I said I could share the story of the lawnmower.
Chris [00:04:40] All right.
Caller [00:04:43] I was at a park. Public park.
Chris [00:04:48] Yeah.
Caller [00:04:48] And I was prepping some gear for for work. So just working out on the back of my car and I hear a lawnmower cut off. Like it’s been running. I hear the engine, you know, Chug, chug, chug, chug, chug. And then screaming. Bloodcurdling.
Chris [00:05:07] That ain’t good.
Caller [00:05:09] My wife was at the car, so I knew she could watch all the gear. So I ran, just ran. Instincts just run to the screaming, see if there’s anything I can do to help. It’s the neighbor that lives next to the park. There’s no fence. There’s just a little grass knoll. A little, little rise there. Come up over the rise and I see a man crawling across the ground on his belly with a 20 foot blood trail coming from behind him.
Chris [00:05:36] Like something from a horror movie.
Caller [00:05:39] Maybe it’s your Gabba Gabbagoul castle. Yeah. But this is real.
Chris [00:05:50] Okay.
Caller [00:05:52] So I run up to him and turn him on his side, and the top third of his foot is missing.
Chris [00:06:02] Okay, You have got this crowd right where you want them. Let me tell you that right out of the gate, gripping tale. So he’s he’s legitimately chopped off a major portion of his foot.
Caller [00:06:12] I estimate about a third.
Chris [00:06:14] So all the toes gone.
Caller [00:06:16] Gone. I can see blood spurting, I can see bone, I can see tendons.
Chris [00:06:22] And what kind of footwear? Are we talking like half a sneaker still left on the other half of the foot? I just really want to get this imagery nice and rich.
Caller [00:06:29] Right. I don’t know if that would be better or worse. He. he’d been wearing flip flops.
Chris [00:06:32] Come on! Come on, come on. So one flip flop left on the intact foot, and then I imagine the the other flip flop went flying.
Caller [00:06:41] It was missing. Yeah, it swept off. Flipped off. So Grandma comes out on the porch, so it’s like a two story. We’re like, on the walk out underneath in the backyard. Two story, like main story from up top. Grandma comes out screaming. I’m like, Hey, I need you to throw me a towel. Cuz I need to put pressure on it? It’s spurting blood.
Chris [00:06:59] Yeah.
Caller [00:07:00] So she runs back in, throws me a dish towel, and I tell him, like, Look, man, this is this is going to hurt. Wrapped it up.
Chris [00:07:06] You, now you say Grandma. Is this his grandma?
Caller [00:07:10] I assume so based on the age. I don’t. I don’t know this family.
Chris [00:07:13] It’s not someone you know. Great. No. Yeah, I’m just clearing that up.
Caller [00:07:16] Yeah.
Chris [00:07:17] So you tell him this is going to hurt.
Caller [00:07:19] This is going to hurt. Wrap it up. Put pressure on it. He winces. His sister, I assume, is out in the backyard at this point. She is… She is worthless. She’s just she’s just wandering around screaming. And so finally I’m like, Can you call the police? You know, can you call 911?
Chris [00:07:39] Right. Let’s say- If I can, let’s just say she was worthless in terms of helping in that moment, because she was clearly in some form of shock, having witnessed who you assume was her own brother chop his foot off. Not she’s like a worthless human being the other 364 days of the year.
Caller [00:07:59] Sure. I’m kidding. I’m kidding. I’m not making a value judgment. She was worthless in this situation, so.
Chris [00:08:06] Got it.
Caller [00:08:06] She calls 911, but also Grandma calls 911.
Chris [00:08:10] Yeah.
Caller [00:08:11] Cuz I yelled it out to sister, but they both heard it and both did something. So that got confusing because they’re both describing the same situation to probably the dispatcher sitting next to the same dispatcher. Oh, and then grandpa comes over and he wasn’t very much help either. My wife gets over there after a while and then we can hear the sirens coming. And so I and the family was just they were in shock. And maybe it helped that I was helped that I was not connected to this. So I, I yelled at one of them like, Hey, go, go to the front yard and help meet the ambulance. Help them, help them find their way back here. So paramedics get there. They they’re like turning to me like, Hey, what’s his name? I’m like, I don’t know his name. Well, how old is he? I don’t know. I just I just met him. And the family’s not being very helpful still.
Chris [00:09:02] And how old is this guy? Can I ask?
Caller [00:09:05] Yeah, I would assume he’s, like, mid twenties. Maybe early twenties?
Chris [00:09:08] Ooh. Not that there’s any good age to chop your foot off, but he had his whole life ahead of him.
Caller [00:09:14] Yeah, If he was 70, I wouldn’t have felt so bad.
Chris [00:09:17] We, you know, we’d all still be like, Oh, that sucks. But we’d be like, Yeah, you know, you can limp through the last ten years, you know?
Caller [00:09:28] Right. Obviously. Yeah. I’ll wrap it up. I don’t want to focus on the like gore. I once they were working on him they unwrap his foot and start injecting him with pain meds because he was just in a lot of pain, lot of exposed nerves. I just went to holding his hand because his family was just in shock. They were literally like wandering the backyard like zombies. Grandma still up top, sister’s walking around. Grandpa was not doing anything helpful. I’m just holding his hand and just like, Hey, man, squeeze my hand as hard as you want. And just like, just tried to be present for him. Just talking to him while the EMTs or paramedics do their work. And, and then my wife came over and was like, Is there anything I can do to help? And I I’m trying to think like, hey, maybe, maybe there’s something that can be saved. So I turned her and I was like, babe, I need you… I need you to go find the toes.
Chris [00:10:19] You need to take a breath after, Babe, I need you to go find the toes. Be right back after our ads. Stay tuned. Thanks so much to all our advertisers. Now, let’s get back to the phone call.
Caller [00:10:44] Babe, I need you… I need you to go find the toes.
Chris [00:10:51] Yeah, how’d she respond to that?
Caller [00:10:53] She’s a very queasy kind of person, but I just, you know, I think she stepped up and was like, okay, I’m going to go find the toes. And so she went to the grandpa and was like, Hey, do you have, like, a like a Ziploc I can have? And they together, they went around and Grandpa ended up doing it. They went around and like, you know, how can you pick up dog poop you put your hand in the bag inside out and you pick it up? They did that with all the fleshy bits they could find. And I don’t know if that was helpful or not. Because they load him up. They actually knocked them out there. They, like, injected them with something to knock him out because of course the pain meds weren’t being enough. And then they carried him away and they’re like, what hospital are you taking him to? And so they just left. Whole family’s like, thank you, bye. All the emergency personnel leave. And it’s just me and my wife left in the backyard and there’s like gauze wrappers and like, like not needles, but like, you know, just all the trash from, like, all the paramedics just all over the backyard. So we, like, picked it all up and found a little trash can on the side of the house, threw it all away. And and then we left. And I have no idea what happened since.
Chris [00:12:04] What?
Caller [00:12:05] That’s what kills me. That’s what kills me about this story is I don’t know how it ended.
Chris [00:12:08] How long ago was this?
Caller [00:12:12] Three or four years ago?
Chris [00:12:13] And there’s no article in the paper? There’s no no part of you that ever followed up. I have to say, I’m certain that they don’t want to relive the horror, but I’d imagine this family has talked about you for the past four years. There’s- that means there’s a family out there going, Who was that guy who appeared out of nowhere, told the rest of us what to do, got 911 there, stopped the bleeding until the paramedics- like, they’ve wondered about you for four years. They would love a knock on their door I imagine.
Caller [00:12:44] I’ve wondered about them for four years, but part of it- are you familiar with like the J.J. Abrams, like the mystery box concept?
Chris [00:12:50] No. Talk me through this.
Caller [00:12:52] I don’t know it very specifically. Like he talks about, like, this toy thing he got sent as a kid. It was the mystery box. And he said the idea of the mystery box way better than whatever he opened up inside the box every time. Because, you know, once he opens it, it’s like, oh okay, it’s a little toy or a little project craft project or whatever. He said the ultimate mystery box is the mystery itself, you know, like never, never knowing. And that’s, I don’t know, I wonder. So they live near my cousin’s house. This is like this house is near my cousin’s house, so every time I’m out there, I’m like, should I should I knock on that door and say, Hey, I was the guy. How is he? Did the toes help?
Chris [00:13:33] That, I mean, that’s the thing. Like, you don’t- not only do you not know how he’s doing, you don’t even know if your wife had to pick up a bag of toes for no reason.
Caller [00:13:43] Yeah. So I should find out for her sake, is what you’re saying.
Chris [00:13:48] I just feel like that family would probably love to get a thank you in. That’s my, that’s my guess. Here’s what we got. We got um Jess is saying, Knock, bro. Um, Jenna suggests you reconnect at an IHOP. She says it just feels right. Eat sausage links mayb? Which is too much, Jenna. Too much, Jenna.
Caller [00:14:11] Too much. So. But I don’t want it to be about me, right? I just want to know if he’s okay and like what quality of life he has. It would make me a little uncomfortable if that became like, Hey, we want to thank you. Like, that’s, that’s not what it’s about for me.
Chris [00:14:23] Mm hmm.
Caller [00:14:24] So that’s. That’s another reason why I haven’t knocked is because I don’t want them to have a face to it. I just want it to be like, Hey, we got the help we needed when we needed it. We can trust that any time something happens, somebody, somebody will come.
Chris [00:14:36] I like. I like that idea. So you almost feel like there’s um I don’t want to say ethical. But there’s there’s almost something for you that feels important in the sense of I don’t want credit for it. I want people to assume that strangers will help in times of need. And maybe me knocking on the door would change that, too. That speaks very I think that speaks very well of you. Who are who are you, hero? Just sort of- do you have any training? Are you like an EMT or a combat veteran?
Caller [00:15:09] Oh, no, no, not at all. No.
Chris [00:15:12] How did you not flip the fuck out?
Caller [00:15:14] I was just in the right place at the right time. I think it helped that I wasn’t involved. You know? I wasn’t the sister. I’m sorry for- if she ever hears this- calling you worthless. You were in shock.
Chris [00:15:22] Imagine if she’s like, I’ve wondered forever what happened to that guy. And then I find this podcast, he’s calling me worthless.
Caller [00:15:31] Yeah. So, so who am I? What do you want to know? I can. I can be. I can be open.
Chris [00:15:36] I don’t. I don’t think it’s a reach to say that, you know, you and I, first of all, you and I have found some laughs along the way as you tell this story. But it’s a gruesome thing that happened. You ran in there and did something that I think a lot of us would say not everyone’s capable of doing. Not everybody hears the screaming and has the instinct to run over. Not everybody has the wherewithal to not pass out when they see that. Not everybody goes into a mode where they start telling other people, I need this from you, I need you to get me this and that, and I need you to call this person. Get out front. It’s just very eye opening. Is that something you knew you had in you? Or was it in that moment that you found out that that was a part of you?
Caller [00:16:23] That’s a great question. I think I think it’s I think it’s innate. I don’t think I just like situations like that don’t panic me. You know the the the four F’s fight, flight, freeze, and I’ve heard a fourth one recently. I don’t know if this is like clinical or not, fawn? Is like a trauma response if you, like, fawn to the person that’s creating the trauma or something. Don’t quote me on fawn. Fight, flight, freeze.
Chris [00:16:47] I’ve heard fight or flight, but I didn’t know they had expanded it to four. I didn’t know they’d blown that one out.
Caller [00:16:52] I read that recently. I don’t even know where.
Chris [00:16:55] Fight Flight Freeze or Fawn?
Caller [00:16:58] Yeah.
Chris [00:16:59] Wow. Okay.
Caller [00:17:00] So I think about those. Yeah, because I had a situation- okay, here’s an- I can tell you about a freeze moment.
Chris [00:17:07] Okay.
Caller [00:17:08] I was in the this- I’m the butt of this joke. I was in a in a hallway at a local university doing some work for my profession. And there was a there was a display case and it had a bunch of plastic balls in it, like the foam, like the ball pit like at the McDonald’s or whatever? It was filled- but I notice that there was no lock on the display case. And it’s just in this hallway and there’s like hundreds of people around. I was like, Wouldn’t it be funny if I just slid the glass open and all the balls came falling out? That’d be funny, right?
Chris [00:17:41] Classic prank. Yeah.
Caller [00:17:43] And I and I was I said it to a friend that I was there with, one of my colleagues, and so I slid it open like an inch. Like, to, like, make him think I was going to do it, and the entire pane of glass popped out of its frame and slammed, slammed down onto my foot and broke. Like shattered. But it didn’t shatter in one piece. It broke like the bottom foot- it was like five and a half feet tall, like two, two and a half feet wide. The bottom foot and a half broke and shattered, and then it fell again, and then that part hit my foot and then broke and shattered. And then that part fell. So it fell. It crashed for like 10 seconds. And I’m in front of like 60 people in this hallway.
Chris [00:18:22] Is there also a cascade of ball pit balls joining this?
Caller [00:18:25] And then all the balls fall out of the display case all over the hallway! So I was so embarrassed. I just froze and I ended up like I caught the pane. I tried to catch it as it kept going down and the whole thing ended with me holding like a one by one piece of glass and just freezing because I was so embarrassed.
Chris [00:18:46] Do you get cut up at all from that?
Caller [00:18:49] I caught the two edges that were still intact, so I was okay, but.
Chris [00:18:52] And your foot there was just glass shattering over and over again on your foot and no cut?
Caller [00:18:57] No cut.
Chris [00:18:58] And then years later, you see a guy chop off his own foot.
Caller [00:19:01] I didn’t. I didn’t even realize those stories had a little connection.
Chris [00:19:07] Yeah, that’s a full circle moment right there. That’s why they paid me the big bucks to go, Hey, lot of feet in your stories. Lot of feet and cuts.
Caller [00:19:16] Yeah. Thanks for bringing that together. Yeah.
Chris [00:19:18] You’re welcome. You’re welcome.
Caller [00:19:20] Closing that circle.
Chris [00:19:20] When you sell the screenplay rights, now you can have that as one of those come to God moments where the character realizes, it’s like final destination, but just for feet. That’s your life. A foot will get chopped off. It was meant to happen in that hallway.
Caller [00:19:40] So that was a freeze moment. I don’t know. Maybe. Maybe we all have moments where we run to the danger and some when we fall to the ground.
Chris [00:19:48] I’ve had both. I’ve had both for sure.
Caller [00:19:53] Yeah. Have you had a- what’s, what’s a moment when you’ve done both?
Chris [00:19:59] Well. I don’t think I’ve talked about this on the show. Probably the scariest moment in my entire life. Here’s one of the most twisted things I ever saw. And it’s not a cool story. So everybody buckle up. But I was- this was many, many years ago. This was probably 12 or 13 years ago. I was going to see a movie. This is when I lived in New York. I was with my girlfriend at the time and I forget the name of the movie, but it was like, actually, my friend Corey who’s here tonight, we were both early adopters of mixed martial arts. Before all the meat heads were watching it, you had to be like a pro wrestling nerd finding weird Japanese tapes. And there was this MMA movie that was out and I was trying to go see it called Warrior or something, and we were running late, me and my girlfriend, so we were like hustling up eighth Avenue towards 23rd Street where the theater was. And I was kind of like doing the New Yorker thing where you’re just like walking really fast on the sidewalk and you’re in your own zone. You’re not really paying attention. And all of a sudden I just heard somebody going like, Hey! Stop! Hey! And I look up and in front of me, there’s this guy. And there was he there were two things I noticed right away: he was really, really big and broad shouldered. Tall guy. Not muscular, but just a tall, broad guy. And he had on a little string backpack, which like right away, I was like, that’s weird. Then most most importantly though, he- and this is not cool at all. And I’m not- this is not a thing I’m trying to bring up- he was dragging a woman up eighth Avenue in New York by her hair. And it was really nuts. And everybody around. It was a it was like dinner time in the summer on Eighth Avenue. If you know that section of New York I’m talking about, that’s the heart of Chelsea. That’s like there’s restaurants, there’s outdoor seating even back then. And um I just took off running towards him. And it wasn’t a conscious thing. And I went to reach up and this guy was significantly- I’m five foot seven, five foot eight, maybe, when I’m not slouching. And this guy was bigger. He was well over six feet. And I went to reach towards him, and I never forgot this moment where as I was reaching up towards him, I just heard like finally my brain caught up to what I was doing and I heard myself think, This might not end well for you. I heard myself think that to myself, like warn myself because I just I was like, all I knew was like, if this guy’s doing that to this woman, like, he’s going to have no qualms being violent to me. This is this is insane. So I grabbed him by his shoulder and he spun around, and right away I could see that he was cross-eyed drunk. And it was, like I said, like dinnertime. And he was blacked out. And he just turned around and he dropped this woman and he just started like, staring at me with these eyes where it’s like, you know, when you deal with someone who’s so drunk where you can tell this person’s not even in there right now. Like there’s not even a human in there right now. And I just looked at him and I went, You can’t do that, man. What do you? What do you? You can’t do that. Like, you can’t do that. And I just kept repeating that. And he was like, starting to, like, flex and kind of show me his size in a way where I was like, This is bad. And then all of a sudden he shrunk and he turned off and ran away and he ran like down I think it was like 21st Street. And I’ll tell you what happened was a bunch of workers in a restaurant on Eighth Avenue saw what was happening, and it was probably six or seven guys working in this restaurant, came pouring out and they were all, you know, not to not to paint anybody with stereotypical brush, but this was just like a kitchen full of Mexican workers put down their tools and came running out. And I’ll tell you, like, Anthony Bourdain has this famous quote about, like, if you’ve ever eaten at a restaurant in New York City, then you have you have then illegal immigrants have been a part of your life and you need to shape up how you view people and humans. And I was like, those guys. There were all these people standing there watching, and then those guys came out of fucking nowhere and chased that dude off. And thank God, because I was about to get my ass beat by a maniac. And I always, always, always remember that aspect of the story. And then yeah, the guy took off and me and my girlfriend sat with the woman. The police came. She wouldn’t press charges. And she told us she was staying at a hotel. I remember exactly where. It was in New Jersey. I was like, Why are you staying in Secaucus, New Jersey? And she eventually got in a cab and was like, I’m just going to go back to the hotel. And we were like, But he’s going to be there. And I have Googled her name since, and I’ve never figured out what happened. So that was one of the good ones where I stepped up. And then living in New York City, there’s been, I don’t know, roughly 80,000 times where I’ve seen a human horror show unfolding on the street and I’ve done nothing about it. Just the other night I was in Penn Station. I live back in Jersey now. I was like going back to catch a train back to New Jersey, and it was freezing cold. And this guy comes up to me, I was in a deli inside Penn Station buying a bag of chips. He’s like, Can you find me some coffee? And I was like, Oh, sorry, man. And then I walked away. I was like, Why couldn’t I just buy that guy coffee? Why? Why? Why is my instinct just, No, sorry. No, go away. That’s happened a hundred thousand times? But I’ve got a few in there where I did the right thing.
Caller [00:25:21] I love that moment you described when your hand’s going out and your brain is saying, this is a bad idea. I think it’s those moments that it’s it’s probably important to do it anyways, even if it’s a bad idea.
Chris [00:25:34] Well.
Caller [00:25:36] You were one of the only people in a position to do something right in that moment. And I think that matters.
Chris [00:25:42] I feel like, well, the scary part, and I think the thing that you’re speaking to as well is like there were actually so many people watching it who just instantly went into shock and couldn’t do anything. And I’m not judging those people. I was just one. I was just the one who my body told me to go. My body was like, Run, go do something. And everybody else froze. And I’ve been in the situations where you freeze as well. And it’s that weird thing where you realize, like, we all think that there’s rules and we all think that society is built in a way where things are going to function. And then the more you shrink it down and, you know, look at it on like a moment by moment level, the only reason it still functions is because of us. It’s because of the actions that we take in those moments. And, you know, there’s been other times where I’ve frozen and watched someone else step up that day. And I’m sure you have as well. And you sit here you go, oh, they tell us that there’s like police and EMTs and firefighters and politicians and infrastructure and all this stuff built to help us. But really, the end of the day, none of that stuff gets there quicker than you sometimes. And what a scary moment, right? What a scary thing to realize the only reason we all make it through the day is because we all look out for each other.
Caller [00:26:58] Yeah. I’m not I’m not a Trekkie per se, but there’s a quote from there that said, whoa, bad, bad or good for the crowd? It’s hard to read from here.
Chris [00:27:09] It broke the tension. None of us were expecting you to say Trekkie as you and I started philosophizing on the necessity of humans helping one another on a basic grassroots level. Nobody expected you to go like, So anyway, Spock said- like, that wasn’t, it wasn’t on any of our radar.
Caller [00:27:25] I’m just acknowledging I don’t even know who said it, but it’s from Star Trek. There’s a quote from one of the characters that says, I don’t know what I should do. I only know what I can do.
Chris [00:27:35] Boom.
Caller [00:27:36] And I that that’s speaking to what we’re speaking about here is like… You do what you can and maybe maybe there is no right or wrong or should in some of these tense situations. But it’s one person standing up. It’s one person taking a stand, intervening, saying something, that can make all the difference. And like you said, it makes the world go around.
Chris [00:28:03] It’s a beautiful thought. I’m gonna tell you something about me. I’ve been misspelling my own hashtag this whole time. There’s been a lot more people using the hashtag than I knew. And someone just told me, Chris, you misspelled the hashtag. So I clicked over and I’m checking the right one. People are blown away. Curious Watcher says, Safe to say this guy isn’t playing in the World Cup tomorrow, referring to the lawnmower guy. oof. Oh, this guy Jack here is the guy who I talked to last time who has watched, watched the (UNCLEAR) in the castle. That’s all. All right. All right. Someone saying, The main takeaway of the story so far: don’t wear flip flops. I’m not a fan of flip flops either myself. Um, anyway, so many other people here watching and participating. Caller, I like you. What else do I need to know about you? We know you were a hero once.
Caller [00:28:56] Oof.
Chris [00:28:57] We know you keep equipment in your car. You interview people.
Caller [00:29:03] I have something that’s near and dear to my heart I can share.
Chris [00:29:05] Sure.
Caller [00:29:08] I’m in my mid thirties. I have a lot of nostalgia for, like, tight social knit groups that you’re kind of. Oh, I’m blabbing. Let me. Let me back up. I have hit a stage in my life where I’m realizing it’s harder and harder to stay connected to friends and acquaintances. And I was looking for a vehicle to do that in a deep, meaningful way. And what I landed on through inspirations of friends and some some examples out there is I have I’ve started leading a yearly I call it an adventure trip. Adventure road trip.
Chris [00:29:45] Ooh.
Caller [00:29:46] I have a list of people that I admire or like some of them are friends, some of them are acquaintances, some of them it’s probably like a social faux pas to actually invite them to something like this, but it’s like it’s people like, I wish that I could spend deep, meaningful time with. People from all walks of life. And somebody that, you know, if anyone, anyone in my life that’s impressed me or like, I want to spend more time with that person, they go on this list. There’s like 136 people on this list. I send out an email every summer and it keeps getting bigger every year. Send out an email and say, Hey, you’re invited. These are the dates. I’m going camping for five days. I would love it if you would join me.
Chris [00:30:29] Well, this is getting interesting. Gonna hear more about this project and it goes in a lot of directions you’re not going to expect when we get back. Thanks again to our advertisers who help make this show happen. Now, let’s finish off the phone call.
Caller [00:30:52] You’re invited. These are the dates. I’m going camping for five days. I would love it if you would join me.
Chris [00:30:57] You send it out to all 136 people?
Caller [00:31:00] Oh, yeah. The response rate is super poor. Who wants to go camping for five days? And, you know, 12 people say yes, and then on the day of, six people show up. So it’s just like it just gets smaller and smaller and smaller. But I’ve done this three times now. I’ve had about 7 to 10 people on each trip. And I don’t tell them where we’re going. They don’t know.
Chris [00:31:28] So they just meet you.
Caller [00:31:29] I tell them. I tell them we’re meeting at my house at this time. We’ll be back Sunday night at this time. Are you in?
Chris [00:31:39] And almost universally they say, nah.
Caller [00:31:45] And that’s how I know who my real friends are.
Chris [00:31:47] Well, let me ask you. Say, you’ve got like, you know, 6 to 10 who say yes every year. Is it is it has it been in the, you said three times you’ve done it? Is it the same group of 6 to 10?
Caller [00:31:57] New people surprise me every year. I’ve had a couple of repeats, but not many.
Chris [00:32:01] And they don’t know each other?
Caller [00:32:03] No, that’s the gorgeous thing about it is like there’s all these people I know from different aspects, walks of my life, and I get to put them all together, go out in the woods with them for five days.
Chris [00:32:14] Are you fucking Willy Wonka? What are you doing? Get a bunch of strangers together and go on adventures? I love it.
Caller [00:32:23] And it’s been so, so like, first of all, I get to reconnect with nature. Like, I think- I grew up as a Boy Scout. Like, I loved, like, I went camping a lot and then like, got into my adult life and kind of stopped doing that. So that’s been a reconnection for me. Plus, like, we cook all our meals together. And it’s a road trip, so it’s every night we camp in a different spot. We don’t just go to a campsite and hang out for five days.
Chris [00:32:45] Do you rent an RV or something?
Caller [00:32:47] Just caravan and a couple of cars. I take my truck and we take a couple cars and and so that’s great because we’re like seeing all these new places, you know, waking up in a new place every morning, and we get to just have this deep time together. And every morning we take 30 minutes to to go out and meditate so we get some alone time because that’s like, I think I get overwhelmed. You know, it’s it’s interesting, like spending all this time with people, you need a minute to recharge. So we get to go out by ourselves. You know, I pick a nice spot, like, hey, go spread out. Let’s go go reconnect with ourselves for a little bit and then come back together and drive to the next spot and do some more adventures. So that’s been, I don’t know, does anybody want to steal that idea from? It’s free. If you have friends that would sign up for a mystery five day road trip, be my guest. It’s been a it’s been a really special thing. I’ve been able to connect with some cool people and have some meaningful talks.
Chris [00:33:42] I love it. I have questions.
Caller [00:33:45] Yeah. Go for it.
Chris [00:33:46] So. Is it? And I’m not asking to imply in any way that you are sexist, but is it all dudes on the list? Because I-
Caller [00:33:54] Oh absolute- absolutely not.
Chris [00:33:56] Absolutely not. Because my question is, if you have like nine guys that show up and all these people don’t know each other and then… One lady walks- I could imagine that being a long five days for her. Has that happened?
Caller [00:34:14] It has not. It’s been roughly equal in numbers.
Chris [00:34:16] Okay. Okay. That speaks well to your 136 person mailing list. I love that. I love that. Now, are there people are there people showing up who have known you for many years? Are there people showing up who you like met at a bar one night and you’re like, Let me get your email address. You seem interesting. What’s the level of casual to, no, this is an old college friend I lost touch with and I really want to reconnect?
Caller [00:34:43] Yeah, one of the one of the girls that came on the last one, we’d only met twice.
Chris [00:34:48] Wow.
Caller [00:34:49] Some of- one’s a friend since I was in the ninth grade. So it’s, it’s a mix. But I hope- and I send out I sent out a one page letter explaining, like, the philosophy behind it, and, like, what I’m trying to do. Because I’m trying to, like, like, I know that’s a weird email to receive, especially for, like, someone I’ve only worked with once or met once. And so I try to, like, lay out like, why I’m doing this and the purposes for it and invite them into that realm with me and see like is if this is a shared goal, because not everyone likes the outdoors, not everyone likes camping, not everyone can take five days off for work. But if this is something that speaks to them, I hope they’ll come, come join me on it. And so send that out, I think with like the right, the right intentions there, that it’s turned into something really beautiful.
Chris [00:35:31] Can I, can I be totally honest in my reaction?
Caller [00:35:34] Of course.
Chris [00:35:35] On the one hand, I’m like, this is the coolest thing in the world. And more people should be doing things like this, getting small groups of people together and encouraging them to really connect, put down the phones, not just build our communities in virtual ways that don’t really give us what we need, but to rebuild these connected communities through shared activities in real life, one on one eye contact. I’m like, This is what the world needs. That’s the type of healing that I think is going to take us away from some of the dark turns of modern times. On the other hand, you’re sending out this letter with like this statement of your like mentality and intent where it sounds to me like you are also maybe two steps away from being a cult leader.
Caller [00:36:17] There’s still time. You got to build up to it.
Chris [00:36:20] Still time for what? That doesn’t totally address. Still time to firmly nail it down as a cult leader?
Caller [00:36:29] Those guys had to start somewhere.
Chris [00:36:32] Have people brought this up with you before?
Caller [00:36:34] I’m being sarcastic. You can’t see my face. I’m teasing you. Okay, so let’s poll the audience. If you got this email from someone you trusted, how many of you would go if you could?
Chris [00:36:46] I will say. Okay. Big chunk of people saying they would. How many people would go, This person seems like a cult leader and I feel uncomfortable? It seems almost like equal numbers, but more enthusiasm from the wary cult people. We’re getting some reactions to this. Curious Watcher is saying, This fieldtrip reminds me of a Black Mirror episode where a group of friends did the same and they all ended up becoming werewolves or something like that. Sign me up! Graham says, Every camping trip should include a mission statement. Emily says, Is this the part where we heckle him? And I like that. Sara Marie says, Have you always been someone who would ask 136 people to go camping with you? Or is that something that came later in life?
Caller [00:37:34] I have always been that person, I think. You remember when flash mobs were a thing? I did flash mobs. I organized flash mobs.
Chris [00:37:44] I always knew those fucking guys were cult leaders. All those flash mobs. I kept my eye on those, man. Oh, someone wants to know, Inherently Unfranchiseable asking a great question. Do you send out feedback forms afterwards? I think it’s a great question. If you’re sending out like a letter of intent beforehand, do you do a follow up?
Caller [00:38:05] I do send a survey.
Chris [00:38:08] Nailed it! You nailed it, Unfranchiseable!
Caller [00:38:13] This is the feeling less anonymous. I feel like they’ve got me pinned down.
Chris [00:38:18] I’ll say, though, like, this sounds like the type of thing where maybe somebody gets this letter about this camping trip and then six months later, they get a letter that’s like, hey, so you want to come live on a farm that a rich widow bought me? Like you got, that sounds like the next step in this process.
Caller [00:38:33] So I have a question. Do you want to come next year?
Chris [00:38:44] There’s part of me that really does.
Caller [00:38:48] I’ll get your email and then you can be one of 126 that don’t come.
Chris [00:38:53] Well, how do we invite all these people here in North Carolina too?
Caller [00:39:01] Yeah, maybe I should- was less- oh, yeah, It’s. It’s. I’m not commercializing this. No, it’s, it’s been hard. This, this is such a sacrifice. I actually do a full scouting trip. So I take one friend and do the full route and find the camping spots and validate, like I do tons of Internet research and I validate all the spots I want to visit by going there and seeing is it worth it or not? Is the juice worth the squeeze? And then so it takes, you know, four or five days to run that trip, the scout, and then I do it do it for real. So it’s a it’s a huge time investment, but it’s feeding my soul. Sometimes I worry about the intention of it because I want it to be this place to connect. But if I’m being honest… It’s selfish. Like, I want to go hang out with these people. It feels like it feels a little tinged by that. And that’s the one thing that I haven’t been able to wrestle with yet, is like… Is that okay?
Chris [00:39:54] I think it is. I’ll tell you what, in all seriousness, and this is something I haven’t opened up about too publicly… As I get older, I’m also finding I think that part of it was that… I’ve definitely been a workaholic. Part of it is I’ve lived a little bit of a strange life- of my own choosing. But I definitely feel like my friendships have waned in later years as we all get older and busier, and especially since I had a kid. I bet there’s other parents in the room right now who know exactly what I’m talking about, that when you have a kid, all of a sudden you’re like, Oh, half your friends just never fucking talk to you anymore. Like, there’s friends who don’t have kids who are like, It’s not my thing. I don’t want to hear about it. I don’t want to have to ask you about it. I have a friend who I considered one of my best friends who’s never met my son. He’s three and a half years old. I’m like, Holy shit, man. Like you are someone I, I let in. You were someone I was close with. Like, I have friends who I knew through work stuff who just never ask me how my son’s doing, who just never- and I’m just like, Man, a lot of these friendships were way more tenuous than I thought. And I also am not the best. There’s been so many times where I’ve just been like, I got to go like attack career stuff and make money. And I work in this field where if you’re not trying to go get it, you’re not going to get it. And I go, Oh, and I did a piss poor job at maintaining friendships. So that feeling of getting older and lonelier and needing to do something sort of extreme to foster those feelings and to push the reset button in a hard way, I totally get why you’re doing what you’re doing. I see it. And I and I think that that is societal and I think there’s a lot of people feeling that way. And I think it ties into why there’s so many people who maybe hit a phase of life where things get a little lonelier or a little more grim and they don’t know how to handle it. And then I’m not even trying to make a joke here. It’s like the next thing you know, you’re fucking storming the capital because you needed some group of people that would accept you. And now you’re just like, What the fuck, guys? What are- the guy with the horns? We’re all following the guy with the fucking horns? Like, I really do think there is a mass loneliness right now, fueled by some combination of, like, the baby boomer values teaching us all, like, you just work till you die. And us all being like, No, I don’t want to. And then also, all of us spending so much time on Instagram. I think those things combine into this loneliness that we haven’t totally diagnosed as a culture yet. And I do kind of like the idea of meeting up with a bunch of strangers and driving around the country for five days. I really do.
Caller [00:42:34] And that’s where this was coming from, was like this sense of like, Man, my connections seem like they’re falling apart. They’re not as tight. And maybe this will rekindle some of them or forge some new ones or be a be a vehicle where we can make some lasting connections and memories. And it’s been that. And we make I make a little round up video. So that goes in the invite list as well, like, hey, this is what it looked like last year. You’re not totally surprised, but every year I go completely somewhere new because I want the variety.
Chris [00:43:01] Has there ever been anyone who turned around at the end of it was like, Yeah, that was not my thing and I was pretty miserable the whole time. And then you feel guilty. I feel so much stress getting a group of people who they all know me, but they don’t know each other and then I’m responsible for their having a good time for five days. I’d just feel so much stress.
Caller [00:43:19] Is that kind of exciting, though? Like you see if it works or not?
Chris [00:43:22] No, that’s my social anxiety nightmare.
Caller [00:43:25] No? Oh, man. I love it. I love I love bringing people who like I love and think are interesting together and then seeing how they interact, because I hope, I mean, it’s gone well. I want it to go well.
Chris [00:43:34] It sounds like an awesome thing.
Caller [00:43:35] I think I foster an environment where it can.
Chris [00:43:38] Being at a party where I’m the only one everyone knows, I’m like, Oh, that’s- put a fucking- pin me to the wall.
Caller [00:43:44] Oh, I love those. I love those.
Chris [00:43:47] I hate that feeling.
Caller [00:43:48] You get to connect with every single person there and make.
Chris [00:43:52] Someone did just yell, You’re doing that right now. Believe me. 15 years of therapy, trying to sort out how those things go together. Believe me. Believe me.
Caller [00:44:03] I mean, look. I love like so one example, one fun, one fun anecdote was on night two, this was the first day I did it, night two, we drove- we did a lot of exploring during the day and we drove. I’m like, hey, our campsite’s, kind of far away so we’re going to drive through into the night a little bit. So multiple hours after it got dark, we were driving. We get to the campsite. I’m like, Hey, guys around here, there’s like lots of cliffs so like, don’t wander off too far. Just be careful. And uh but as everyone woke up in the morning, I was able to, like, go over cuz like, you know, someone was brushing their teeth. They’re starting to gather their sleeping bag and I go, like, Hey, go, go walk over there, go look. And I had taken them, without them knowing, because we’d driven in a way that none of them expected, to the edge of the Grand Canyon. And we woke up on the rim of the Grand Canyon on the north side. And some of them I found out- because I couldn’t ask them- some of them had never been to the Grand Canyon. Their first experience was waking up at sunrise to experience it for the first time. So that was pretty magical.
Chris [00:45:01] Damn dude. Saving feet, saving souls.
Caller [00:45:07] I’m just trying to save myself.
Chris [00:45:09] Well, that’s another thing too. You said that there’s a selfish aspect to it, but I would say this. I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with being selfish when you act on that selfish impulse and that selfish need in the way you are, you know, for you to sit here and go like, I feel bad because it’s kind of something I need. It’s like, well, a lot of people, when they go, I need something, they start like wrecking their own lives or wrecking their families, right? Or they start like, I’m going to go to a casino four nights a week because I’m chasing this feeling that I don’t have. And instead you’re going, Let me get a dozen strangers together and see if we can all experience beautiful things together. I think a selfish need is a fine thing to act upon when you explode it and expand it into something that’s group driven and giving to others. I don’t think you need to feel guilty about that for a second. There are people having some big reactions to your to your your your ways here.
Caller [00:46:04] I want to hear those but can I just really quickly say my presumption was that I wasn’t the only one feeling that way and that maybe this could be soul soothing for others. And it’s self-selecting. I figure, like I’m sending this to all the people I admire. People that don’t want to come, won’t come. The people that do, will. And that’s how it’ll shake out. So sorry, I didn’t want to interrupt you, but I just wanted to get that idea across.
Chris [00:46:23] Andrea is going to save your contact info. I want to be on this invite list, I want to.
Caller [00:46:28] I will send you- I will send you an invite and I hope you come.
Chris [00:46:30] Sure. But then that but then I’m like, and then eight months later, are you telling me, Hey, I need $10,000 and you’re not allowed to have sex with your own wife anymore? Like at what point, here, now put on this robe and also there’s a comet coming, we’re going to worship it.
Caller [00:46:45] Hey, man. I said it was self-selecting, if that’s what you’re into.
Chris [00:46:50] Fair. Bill points out, towards me, I believe- isn’t mixing a bunch of different strangers the recipe for a good party? Yeah, you’re probably right. It sounds like you’re an extrovert. Jenna says, The fact he scouts the locations does give me serial killer vibes. Oh, Anne says, Does anyone ever ask to bring a partner or friend or kid? And what do you say?
Caller [00:47:11] I had I let everybody have a plus one that helps them feel more comfortable. Somebody that does a little social anxiety or, you know, is worried about the social aspect of it. Everybody gets a plus one. I also make it kid free just because we are moving so fast and trying to be like a little bit more on the adventuresome side. So I did have someone ask, they’re like, Oh, we go hiking with our kid all the time. I just had to like blanket say no because it would get messy if I was making exceptions for one person and not everybody else. But kid free and a plus one.
Chris [00:47:44] Someone’s asking, Do people have to sign a waiver? Do people have to sign a waiver?
Caller [00:47:49] They probably should. No, it’s not that formal. And I wouldn’t say it’s that adventurous. We’re not- I’d love to like, incorporate some like rappelling or like, you know, we did some canyoneering. That was actually pretty dangerous on the second gear and even gave me some anxiety through some of the tight spots we had to squeeze through in the slot canyon. But it’s generally like I tailor the options so that anyone on the trip can do it. And that’s why I go on a scout, not because I’m a serial killer, because I need to know what all the options are so that whoever shows up at my house on the day, I can actually, like, make the determination, like, should we do this hike or this hike based on who’s there.
Chris [00:48:24] And based on your sense of their of their comfort level and physical capability.
Caller [00:48:28] Comfort level, capabilities, yeah, exactly.
Chris [00:48:30] Yeah. And Inherently Unfranchiseable coming through with another great one. Does the caller have a favorite cult leader? You a Manson guy, you like the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh? Who do you like?
Caller [00:48:43] I like… Chris.
Chris [00:48:50] Me?
Caller [00:48:52] What is this if not a cult.
Chris [00:48:54] You did certainly turn that one around me really succinctly and accurately. I mean, I’ve been accused- believe me, for as much fun as I’m having telling you you sound like a cult leader, anyone who’s followed my career knows I, I’ve treaded that line for years and had and- but I’ll tell you what, did have to say, take a big step back, that’s not what you want, dud. Like, there was there was a stretch in my life where I was had a cult fan base to the degree that it was becoming an actual cult. And I was like, I think that’s dangerous.
Caller [00:49:26] Not everyone makes that decision. Some people lean into that. Why did you lean out?
Chris [00:49:30] Well, because I mean, you don’t know anything about me and a friend just told you to text me, but between this show and my old public access show, I talked a lot about feeling like a fucked up person and a loser and sorting stuff out. And then I did an HBO special about a suicide attempt and mental health difficulties. And what I found was that a lot of people attracted to my work, and I say this with great love to anybody who bought a ticket tonight, are people who maybe identify with those problems or at least feel empathy towards those problems. But when you are talking about your own mental instability and unwellness, you tend to maybe attract people who also feel that. And I realize inherently people who support my work, there is a portion of them who are mentally vulnerable, and that can take on many different types of forms. But that vulnerability is something that it’s my responsibility to respect and to draw some boundaries on. And I realized like, Oh, you can fan the flames of the cult thing, and I’ve seen a lot of entertainers do that. But for me, it just almost felt like exploitation. And I actually feel like the past few years I’ve been a little more closed off and people have heard me share a little bit less about myself and my life in my work. And some of that’s that I had a kid and I don’t want to drag someone else in to be me being the guy who’s so public. Some of that is also realizing I need to take a step back because there needs to be some boundaries, not just for my wellness, but because I’ve met enough people who like my stuff who I think would be very vulnerable to suggestion and things like that. And you got to have some responsibility as an artist or else you’re just a dickhead, I think. I’m not a hero for saying that. There’s no need to clap. I appreciate the one person who tried, though.
Caller [00:51:17] That was that was me.
Chris [00:51:20] Imagine if you were just crouching in the corner of the room. If we just all turned around and there was some some guy and he sprinted out the door right now. That would be amazing. It was me! He was calling from inside the house!
Caller [00:51:30] But in all seriousness, I like that sentiment. Yeah, you have, you have a lot of responsibility with the influence that you have, so that’s that’s cool that you take it seriously.
Chris [00:51:41] Yeah. Yeah. I think, I think, I think we all have to take care of each other and I think that starts on a very, almost in the same way we were talking about before, like when bad situations happen on any random city block, you got to trust there’s going to be one or two people who have the instinct to actually get in there and sort it out. And if one or two people always do, then we all stay safe. I almost feel like it’s the same thing of like, you got to take care of the people who are right in front of you and you got to think hard about the responsibility you have to them. Anyway.
Caller [00:52:10] How much more time do we have?
Chris [00:52:11] Let’s see. Let’s see. Great question. I got to say, for a guy who’s never even heard this show.
Caller [00:52:17] I don’t know how long we’re going.
Chris [00:52:18] We got 11 more minutes.
Caller [00:52:21] Oh, that’s great.
Chris [00:52:22] Yeah.
Caller [00:52:25] Any more any more questions about this? This is the Internet mob mentality of like, oh, this guy did something nice for his friends. He must be a cult leader. So any any more comments from that crowd?
Chris [00:52:36] It is. It is a cynical- I’ll tell you what, I want to admit it, though. It was a cynical and negative reaction. I think worth flagging and discussing. But I’ll also say like one of my main impulses, all cult leader jokes aside, I do love it. And done responsibly, like I said, it’s the type of thing we need more of. And it’s, it sounds almost like radically rejecting this idea that we’re going to connect with people through these ways that don’t actually connect us, which we all spend so much time on our phones trying to do every day. It’s like you could put up a TikTok video and sit there and go, How many likes did it get? It’s not going to get you nearly as much as waking up next to the Grand Canyon with a stranger you met three days ago and going, Holy shit, we’re actually living life and it’s real and it’s right in front of us. So let me just say on record, I don’t get the sense you’re a cult leader. And I think what you’re doing is beautiful.
Caller [00:53:24] Thank you. And I’m teasing. If that’s if that’s if that’s hazing, I can take it. But there’s that intention there. And oh, man, I was going to say something about that. Totally forgot. Oh, to help you help reinforce the cult crowd, I know I’m digging my grave here- I do invite people to turn off their phones the whole time.
Chris [00:53:49] Good. Nobody’s mad about that.
Caller [00:53:51] Oh, because, you know, so they can’t contact their families.
Chris [00:53:55] So you tell them specifically for that reason? Not like I want us to stay present in the moment, but just specifically, like, you will not text anyone for help.
Caller [00:54:05] No, yeah, I’m teasing about that. No, yeah, just to stay present. I have a satellite phone, so if we, you know, we go to a lot of places that don’t even have service, but if we we had a problem, we could call for help. But yeah, I do invite people to like, check out of the digital world and check into this experience. And I think that makes it really powerful.
Chris [00:54:20] And do you do you charge people for this?
Caller [00:54:23] I it’s like I say, whatever it’s going to cost me, you know, for fuel. Like, we share fuel, you know, among all the, you know, fuel costs and food. And it’s like $30, $35 a day. I try to make it, like really affordable so that it’s it’s just cost. I’m not trying to make money on this.
Chris [00:54:37] You just want the conversations. You just want to see people experience stuff and you want to sit back and go- that’s a feeling I know well, too. You want to see someone wake up next to the Grand Canyon and you want to be 15 feet away from them and go, I get to see this person witness something beautiful for the first time, and that’s going to keep me going all year long.
Caller [00:54:56] Yeah.
Chris [00:54:57] Damn, dude.
Caller [00:54:58] Can I. Can I share a story? A lesson I learned recently about love?
Chris [00:55:04] No!
Caller [00:55:05] All right, next question then.
Chris [00:55:07] No, of course.
Caller [00:55:10] All right, This. This is a story about a cat. I was trying to catch a rat in my backyard because there was a rat problem, and all I had was one of those, like, you know, raccoons sized trap cages. And we’d inevitably catch some of the neighborhood cats in there. They never worked on the rats, so hot tip-don’t try that. So I would you know, the cat’s been outside overnight. I’d feel bad for it, bring it inside the garage, give it some food and water, let it go back to where it goes. Third cat. On the third cat with that, it was it was a completely feral wildcat and I didn’t know that. So I let it out in the garage and it immediately just starts zooming around the room, trying to get out the window, climbed up on this shelf in there, and then found a hole in the construction and went down into my attic. And it stayed and so I put food and water out for it and a webcam. And it didn’t come out for 24 hours. Like it didn’t eat, didn’t drink. And it’s like October. This was two years ago. So it’s like, hot. It’s like it’s, you know, it’s like probably like 70 degrees in the daytime. So it was probably 90/100 degrees up there. And I’m like, This cat’s going to die in my attic and it doesn’t deserve that. Plus, it will smell. And I got to get it out. So me and a friend went up there. First I went in with like two pairs of gardening gloves and it’s hiding. I finally- it took an hour of searching up there and I finally find it. It’s hiding in the eaves. And went in there, but my shoulders barely fit in between the first support beams. I don’t know how construction works. So I reached my arms out, try to grab it, and it bites through my gloves. I got all these bites on my hands. It doesn’t want to come out. And so I throw on my beekeeping gloves, I’ve got lamb gloves, three, three layers. Go back in there. It bites through all three layers of gloves. I pull it out anyways. I have this on video because I had a GoPro and thought it’d be interesting to capture. So I pull it out, throw it in a bucket, bring it inside. Now I’m like, now what do we do with it? After all of that, I decided, let’s make it a housecat. I don’t own any cats and my wife’s never owned any pets. And I was like, I bet we can, like, socialize it. So I started trying and I tried and failed and tried and failed and tried and failed. And it’s it’s been like two months now. No progress. It still just hits me, hisses at me, tries to bite me. And then I then I started doing Internet research. I was like, Well, what am I doing wrong? Surely I just try to pet it every day. That’ll help. I was so naive. This was just like really dumb of me. So then I find out that, oh, nobody socializes cats once they’re over like 12, maybe 16 weeks old. And this cat is six years old. Like, this is just stupid. So then, but then it’s like all this time’s invested. So I double down and through a long process- I’m rambling a little bit- through a long process, I socialize this cat to where every night when I get into bed, it’s waiting in the bed for me to crawl onto my lap and cuddle up. Every morning when I wake up, it hears when I wake up. We named him Santa because he tried to escape up our chimney one time. And it’s really great because his full name is Santa Claws, the C-L-A-W-S. And he is. He is my buddy. Like I love him. And he taught me that even when you want to give up on someone… that that someone just wants to be loved.
Chris [00:58:48] Wow.
Caller [00:58:51] And that was an 18 month process. Now we’re two years in and it’s just it’s smooth. It’s great. But I appreciate- and I wish I had a little more time- that’s why I asked how much time I have left. I appreciate everything he’s taught me about love and about patience.
Chris [00:59:09] That’s beautiful. Why you got a beekeeper outfit?
Caller [00:59:18] I, I have four hives. You get about 20 gallons of honey a year. Um I don’t know what to do with all that honey. Sitting in some five gallon buckets in my spare bedroom. I cook with it. I should sell it. But that that’s not my that’s not my line of work. It’s just a hobby. So that’s that’s the important question from the cat story is why do I have beekeeping gloves?
Chris [00:59:45] I was hoping you were going to say, Well, yeah, on my five day road trip, everyone’s required to wear a beekeeping outfit the entire time. No, it’s a beautiful story. And I was making a joke by going to the beekeeping.
Caller [00:59:56] I know, I know. I’m. I’m with you. I’m with you.
Chris [00:59:59] I love that you got that cat to come around. I love it. I love it. You strike me as someone who’s really kind of got it together. But there’s a running theme in in all your stories from the lawnmower to the road trips to the cat, which seems to be that you’re somebody who… How would I put it? Somebody who seems to fight pretty hard… To get active in the world, to adjust it in ways that you need it to be adjusted. Does that make sense? Like, you needed that cat to come around. You need these road trips to happen. You ran into that yard and made it happen to another person, which maybe makes me feel like you’re somebody who’s rallying against some feelings that the world isn’t, isn’t that enough.
Caller [01:00:53] Hmm. I will I will think on that. I do have an optimistic outlook. I generally trust people. I want to connect with people. And I hope that with our connection that their life is improved and it improves mine. So maybe it’s selfish, but I hope it’s a, uh, a win win.
Chris [01:01:19] A win win. Selfishness that leads to win wins. That’s what it is. Brianna suggests you sell the honey to fundraise for your trips.
Caller [01:01:29] I like that. I make the trips free? Or make the trips better?
Chris [01:01:34] That’s a great question. Cyril says you would make a great foster parent.
Caller [01:01:39] Ooh. I have several foster siblings that are now like adopted siblings from- we, my parents did foster care. I… I have a friend that just showed up at my house. Can I introduce you?
Chris [01:01:57] Yeah, sure.
Caller [01:01:58] I’ll let her take it from here. Cuz remember when I said I had a friend that told me to call?
Chris [01:02:02] Yeah, it’s her?
Caller [01:02:05] She just showed up.
Chris [01:02:06] Oh, we got one minute left!
Caller [01:02:07] I just wanna say I’ve had such a great chat with you. Thank you.
Chris [01:02:09] I’ve had a great chat with you. What a lovely thing to say hello to the organizer of this.
Caller [01:02:14] Here’s over to a friend.
Caller’s Friend [01:02:16] Hey, Chris. I just want to say, You’re welcome for five wonderful episodes. And I’ll talk to you tomorrow.
Chris [01:02:26] Wait, hold on. What does that mean? Are you the person from the two Scotland shows?
Caller’s Friend [01:02:34] It’s anonymous.
Chris [01:02:37] You’re the person who already got through and then already got another friend through at another live show? And now you did it again?
Caller’s Friend [01:02:43] Yep. I’ve done it. This is the fifth time.
Caller [01:02:46] The practice at failing- the parade girl!
Caller’s Friend [01:02:51] Yeah.
Caller [01:02:51] That is her!
Chris [01:02:52] You’re dominating the show!
Caller’s Friend [01:02:56] Here’s the thing, Chris. What were your words? You said that you called me a master manipulator?
Chris [01:03:02] This is fucking insane! I have a nemesis! This is insane! You did it again!?
Caller [01:03:11] She’s been invited on the adventure trip all three years, has never come. So maybe you two can meet each other next summer.
Chris [01:03:16] Wait, hold on. Because we just ran out of time. But you said five episodes, and I can count three.
Caller’s Friend [01:03:21] Yup.
Chris [01:03:22] You got two other people on?!
Caller’s Friend [01:03:24] Yeah, man. One of them was like, your most shared, according to Spotify. So, like I said, you’re welcome.
Chris [01:03:30] The Library Boy one?!
Caller’s Friend [01:03:33] It’s anonymous.
Chris [01:03:36] The fuck is going on?! What’s happening?! How did you crack the algorithm?! People try to get through to the show for years and you can just get on by yourself and you’ve gotten all your friends on? Who are you?! Why are you doing this?!
Caller’s Friend [01:03:53] It’s a good prank, though, because they’ve all done very well.
Chris [01:03:58] So, wait, you texted this guy. He calls up, drops another killer call, and then you drive to his house while the call’s happening just so you can grab the phone with one minute left and fucking flex on me?! (CROWD CHEERS)
Caller’s Friend [01:04:14] Chris. Chris. What would you have done if you were me?
Chris [01:04:18] I would-
Caller’s Friend [01:04:19] You can’t tell me you wouldn’t have done the same thing.
Chris [01:04:22] I absolutely would have. But holy shit. I got to go sit down and think about this. Why? I just want to know why.
Caller’s Friend [01:04:34] Well, actually, a lot of people have asked me that because I have tried to get a lot of people on this podcast. And sometimes you just need a hobby. Like wasn’t it, like-
Chris [01:04:48] So you want to say thanks and good night to the live show, live audience here in North Carolina and let them know- some of them are probably sticking around for the stand up- for the ones who are, I’ll see you in a few minutes. For the ones who aren’t, thank you so much for supporting the show and witnessing one of the strangest moments I’ve ever had on stage?
Caller’s Friend [01:05:04] Thank you everyone, for joining my and Chris Gethard’s Beautiful/Anonymous. We’ll see you next time. (CROWD CHEERS)
Chris [01:05:18] Caller, I have to thank you for calling even if you were being manipulated by a masterful manipulator, my new nemesis, who’s now apparently organizing what gets on the show and what doesn’t. Who knew? Thanks for calling. Thanks for helping other people. Thanks for trying to help the world. Thanks to Andrea Quinn who comes on the road and engineers the sound for me. Thanks to the Motorco Music Hall for having us down in Durham. This show is produced by Anita Flores. It’s engineered by Jared O’Connell. Out theme song is by Shellshag. Want to know more about me and my live dates, ChrisGeth.com. And wherever you’re listening, if you can hit Subscribe or Favorite or Follow, it helps a lot when you do. You can find our merch at PodSwag.com. Find our episodes ad free over at Stitcher Premium. Use the promo code stories for a one month free trial at Stitcher.com/premium.