April 29, 2019
A past caller who’s made strides in living with grief, learning to tell her story and finding a path of acceptance catches up with Gethard in studio (no phones!). They ask: Are we living in a simulation? What’s dark matter? What type of scientist parties the hardest?
This episode is brought to yo by ProFlowers (www.proflowers.com code: STORIES), Casper Mattresses (www.casper.com/beautiful), Stamps.com (www.stamps.com code: BEAUTIFUL), and ZipRecruiter (www.ziprecruiter.com/BEAUTIFUL).
161 — Sky Full of Ghosts
[00:00:00] [AD BREAK]
[00:01:45] Chris: [music transition] Hello to all my drunk scientists. Beautiful/Anonymous. One hour. One phone call. No names. No holds barred.
[00:01:55] [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.
[00:02:09] Chris: Hi, everybody. It’s your friend Chris Gethard. Welcoming you to Beautiful Anonymous. Podcast that I’m eternally grateful that I get to do. I tell ya I’ve been reflecting on it lately, I’ve had major life changes, as listeners know, I had a kid nine days ago and it’s awesome and I’m tired. And I thank everybody who sent your well wishes. A lot of people who listen to the show have sent me messages on Twitter and Instagram and in the Facebook community. You guys have been so nice. Thank you for that. But I’ve been thinking about this show. I’m always humble and laid back about this show. I’m gonna go ahead and say it: I think this is one of the best podcasts going. And I think it shows off what people all over the world are thinking about. And I’m really proud of it and I’m not gonna be humble anymore. I’m gonna start shouting to the hilltops. I think this show… If you listen to it, I think it means you’re dedicated to embracing humanity. And I know that that’s a big thing to say but I’m gonna say it. I thank you guys all for supporting it and supporting me. Got an interesting episode coming up. We have a… This is a very, very unique one. I think people are going to be excited about it and fascinated with the experimental side of it. We have done follow up calls in the past. We did the Beautiful Follow-ups series on Stitcher Premium. Those all exist if you want to sign up for Stitcher Premium. They’re just sitting there for the taking. We’ve done other ones on the regular feed of the show. Some people have gotten through twice. And we’ve also done live episodes. We’ve done episodes where we set up sort of a whole audio setup at a park bench. We did those in London and Toronto and New York and those are really well-received as well. But we never had both happen at once. We had a caller who I think is… A caller that many, many people point to as one of the more impactful episodes of the show. The episode was called Whirlpool Galaxy. It was Episode 104. Came out March of 2018. Very, very inspiring call. But a tough call. Was a caller who lost both her husband and child at the same time. And so she was a widow. She was a bereaved mom. Two situations you wouldn’t wish on anybody, let alone all at once. But she found a way to sort of reconcile and rebuild her life by diving into the world of astrophysics. Really, really fascinating stuff. And really, like I said, just call that hit a lot of people in the gut. We reached out to the caller to do a follow up and she actually told us she was going to be in New York. This happened back in December. We said, what if we do an in-person follow-up? Never done that. But, you know what, it’s also really cold out there. We can’t just go sit at a park bench. So we said, why don’t you just come by the studio? So what you’re gonna hear now is me sitting in the studio waiting for a caller who has called in to just walk right through the door. And she does. And she sits down. And we have a really great conversation. It was amazing to look her in the eye. It was amazing to hear where she’s at. And once again, I just found myself so impressed by her strength and her resolve and her thoughtfulness. And I think you will find those things to be true as well. Enjoy.
[0:05:26] [TAPE ROLLING] Chris: Alright. So we’re rolling. Hey, everybody. So it’s a caller who had called up and let us know that she had lost her husband and child in an accident. That she had a falling out with her family in the aftermath. That she threw herself into academic work, specifically related to space as a way to sort of cope and focus on something and move forward. And her academic compatriots sort of became her new family. And it was really pretty eye opening. Pretty mind blowing. And my understanding is that she’s right down the hall in the green room. So. I don’t know how this is gonna go. And you guys don’t either. I guess we’re gonna all figure it out together. I’m gonna go ahead and set up another cup of water… a cup for water if she’d like some. And she’ll walk in here and we’ll talk for a while and then you guys will get to hear it and we’ll be able to make eye contact and we’ll be in another experiment. And this show is always an experiment which is listening and connecting. Here we go. Hello.
[0:06:47] Caller: Hello.
[0:06:51] Chris: How are you? I want to get up and give you a hug. I’m fighting off a cold.
[0:06:51] Caller: OK. That’s fine
[0:06:52] Chris: I don’t know how you feel about that. OK. So nice to see you.
[0:06:55] Caller: You too. Where do I sit?
[0:06:57] Chris: You can sit right there. I should… Am I allowed to point out you’re very on-brand in your outfit, out of the gate, just so everyone knows. So the person I think that we all refer to in shorthand as Whirlpool Galaxy, a weird thing to call someone. You’re wearing space themed pants and a NASA jacket.
[0:07:17] Caller: Yes.
[0:07:18] Chris: And it’s an awesome NASA jacket.
[0:07:19] Caller: Thank you.
[0:07:20] Chris: As you’re a… I’m gonna need you to turn your phone on airplane mode.
[0:07:23] Caller: On airplane mode.
[0:07:25] Chris: Yeah, I can hear that distinctive fuzzy crackle.
[0:07:26] Caller: Oh no really?
[0:07:27] Chris: No, it’s OK. I don’t think it gets recorded, but there’s…
[0:07:28] Caller: Oh, OK.
[0:07:29] Chris: There’s like a static thing that happens.
[0:07:30] Caller: Yeah.
[0:07:32] Chris: I’m much better on the phone than in person. I’m bad at eye contact. I’m a squirmy fellow. You can probably explain to the listeners what it’s like to be in this studio with me because I’m a naturally squirmy man in this situation.
[0:07:45] Caller: You’re not too squirmy. I feel like I’m much more squirmy than you.
[0:07:48] Chris: I think you have a cool collected confidence right now. Whereas I’m physically hiding behind the mic. I notice I’m positioning it between us. So how are you?
[0:07:58] Caller: I’m okay.
[0:07:59] Chris: Okay.
[0:08:00] Caller: Yeah. How are you?
[0:08:02] Chris: I’m all right.
[0:08:03] Caller: Yeah.
[00:08:04] Chris: Yeah. Excited about some things in life. Stressed about some things in life. Fighting off a little cold.
[00:08:09] Caller: Okay.
[00:08:09] Chris: Just sort of real life.
[00:08:11] Caller: Yeah… But I think that accurately describes my life too. Other than the cold, I don’t have a cold.
[00:08:17] Chris: Oh, that’s good. I hope I didn’t give you one.
[00:08:17] Caller: Yeah.
[00:08:18] Chris: I gave my wife one.
[00:08:19] Caller: Oh no.
[00:08:20] Chris: Not ideal.
[00:08:20] Caller: Yeah.
[00:08:22] Chris: That’s what happens. Now I remember so much about our call. When did we…? I remember when… It was over a year ago, right?
[00:08:32] Caller: I think it was about a year ago. It was, like, about a year ago because I think it aired in March.
[00:08:37] Chris: Yeah.
[00:08:38] Caller: But we spoke prior to that.
[00:08:39] Chris: Right.
[00:08:40] Caller: So it’s been almost a year.
[00:08:41] Chris: Almost a year since we spoke
[00:08:43] Caller: Lots of changes in that time.
[00:08:45] Chris: I was going to say a lot can happen.
[00:08:46] Caller: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:08:47] Chris: So fill me in on these changes.
[00:08:49] Caller: Well so. Well, first of all, being on the show was definitely a major turning point. I would say in in my life in general.
[00:08:56] Chris: OK. That could be good or bad.
[00:08:57] Caller: No it was good. It was good.
[00:08:58] Chris: Now I’m feeling stressed out.
[00:08:59] Caller: Yes. Yes. It was a very good thing. It was a turning point in my grief, even, I would say.
[00:09:03] Chris: Oh wow.
[00:09:05] Caller: Yeah, ’cause I have friends who I made after the tragedy or whatever, who also lost children or husbands and things. And they would say things to me that at the time I didn’t understand. Like they would say that eventually, the grief becomes part of you or they would say, like, lean into the grief. And I didn’t really understand what they meant by it. And I think what they meant by it is it’s kind of like acceptance. ‘Cause the first year was a lot of avoidance and, like, denying that it was real. Like I read this book by Joan Didion called “The Year of Magical Thinking”. And she calls it that because her husband had died suddenly and one day she was cleaning out her apartment. She found a pair of his shoes and she was like, oh, I need to keep these for when he comes back. And I definitely did things like that. Like I kept toys in my backpack for my son and stuff like that. So the first year is kind of like, yeah… Like I said, you kind of avoid it and you’re in denial. But being on the show, I think, and just telling my story which I was so afraid to do. It really led me to, like, a path of acceptance, I think. And it’s a really powerful feeling. Not necessarily… Well, it’s good, but it’s also, you know, very painful but very powerful. I would say so. The show helped me with that. And it has helped me tell my story since because I recently moved to where nobody knew me. And so telling my story is something that I’ve had to start doing and I didn’t know how to do that before.
[00:10:41] Chris: Yeah. I also know that, when you put it out there, one thing that always makes me happy with the show is there were other people who… Some who had been through similar things, or people who said, at the very least I have a new understanding of what that must be like for other people. You know, I think that it was something that other people were able to listen to and get some insight and some perspective. And I think it helped some other people who were at points in their own grieving processes for whatever they’re going through in life.
[00:11:12] Caller: Yeah, definitely.
[00:11:15] Chris: And that was… I think that was… I remember as soon as we hung up immediately thinking like that was… That must have been hard to put out there. And I’m glad to hear that you don’t have massive regrets that you did.
[00:11:27] Caller: Oh, no. Yeah. No regrets at all.
[00:11:29] Chris: Oh, that’s good.
[00:11:30] Caller: Yeah. Yeah. It was definitely a positive experience for sure.
[00:11:32] Chris: Yeah.
[00:11:33] Caller: Yeah. Telling your story and hearing other people tell their stories. It really helps to know. Like you don’t want anyone else to have gone through something similar, but knowing that other people have been through it is really helpful. So it’s good to know that it could help people too. Because I think with grief, one of the only things, like… It’s very rare to find comfort. Which you comforted me. So I did want to thank you for that. That’s like a huge thing.
[00:11:57] Chris: Happy to help in any small way. Happy to help.
[00:12:01] Caller: But yeah. So, yeah, it’s just it’s comfort. Like one of the only comforts you can find in grief is like trying to help other people. I think that’s one of the only things that helps get through the hard days.
[00:12:14] Chris: Right.
[00:12:14] Caller: Yeah.
[00:12:15] Chris: So when you say when you say a lot has changed in the almost past year, what are you…? What does that mean? What’s changed?
[00:12:23] Caller: Well so I’m in graduate schools. I’ve gone through my first semester. I’m getting my PhD in astrophysics.
[00:12:32] Chris: Hell yeah.
[00:12:33] Caller: Haha. Yeah. So I moved from like basically the only home I’ve ever known, really, to a state I hadn’t really visited much, had never lived in my new town – or I’d never been to my new town before.
[00:12:45] Chris: So you moved for your PhD program?
[00:12:46] Caller: Yeah. Not knowing anybody. I moved like away from my, you know… I had built this like support group of about like probably around 10 people who…
[00:12:55] Chris: Yeah I remember you said. Yeah.
[00:12:56] Caller: Yeah. Like fiercely supportive people. And I moved away from all of them and started in, you know, like a new job. It’s basically a job. They pay me to do it, too. So that’s really…
[00:13:06] Chris: Oh, that’s awesome.
[00:13:06] Caller: Yeah.
[00:13:07] Chris: I’ve heard about this thing, where you’re a student, but you also pick up some scratch.
[00:13:11] Caller: [00:13:11] Yeah.
[00:13:12] Chris: That’s nice.
[00:13:12] Caller: I wrote a proposal. I hadn’t heard back. Last time I talked you. I hadn’t heard back, but I had already written the proposal. But yeah, I wrote this proposal for funding and it was… I basically did it because I thought it would be good practice. There was like no way I was going to get it, but then I did. So now my whole PhD is funded so…
[00:13:30] Chris: Then you kind of have to go. We’ll give you money to do this instead of you paying through the nose to do it. Huh. That must’ve been tough, though, to walk away. Because I remember one of the things that struck me so hard when we first talked was you had really said, like, your academic circles sort of became your family. Because there was this… One of the things I want to get to at some point is… Because I remember there were some, like, money drama with your family. And I remember you saying that the academic side of it… Is that something that you’ve managed to rebuild in your new situation or…?
[00:14:08] Caller: Yeah. So… And honestly, I wasn’t expecting that. So I was… I’m kind of a stubborn person and… I’m a really stubborn person…
[00:14:16] Chris: Okay.
[00:14:17] Caller: I had decided basically, like after everything happened, like you really see people’s true colors. And there was like some people who came out and were like fiercely supportive, like ridiculously supportive. And then there was, you know, like people like my family who were the opposite. And so I kind of thought, you know, I’d have, you know, these about 10 people forever. But… And I was kind of afraid to build new relationships. Afraid of, you know, betrayal or whatever could happen, because I didn’t want to be hurt anymore. Life’s already hurtful enough as it is. So I wasn’t expecting to find like new friends or anything. So this year has been really surprising. One of the best things that’s come from it is there’s these people in my cohort, like, the other first years. There’s like four of us that are really, really close. I would already say like best friends status. And we’ve only known each other since August and they’ve been really, really supportive. So, yeah, that was really unexpected. And they’re younger than me. I’m like older than most people who are starting their PhD and their lives are vastly different than mine. I definitely don’t fit in to academia very well like I… I don’t feel like I really belong there. Well, maybe they do a little bit more. But yeah, I feel like they’re just like my people. So they’ve been…
[00:15:39] Chris: Yeah. And they’re all aspiring astrophysicists as well?
[00:15:42] Caller: Yeah.
[00:15:44] Chris: Wow.
[00:15:44] Caller: Yeah.
[00:15:45] Chris: What kind of gigs can you get as an astrophysicist outside of NASA? NASA’s the big employer I would imagine. That must be the brass ring for a lot of people.
[00:15:54] Caller: Yeah.
[00:15:55] Chris: And then is there Elon Musk? Is Elon Musk hiring people?
[00:15:57] Caller: Maybe? He probably hires a lot more engineers. I don’t know if he hires scientists.
[00:16:03] Chris: And Virgin Galactic. There’s the space tourism thing. I would imagine there’s some there.
[00:16:08] Caller: Probably some there, too. Yeah. And then the others pretty much… You can be a professor. You can work at NASA. You can do a couple of other similar type job. Oh. Work at, you know, some of the world’s largest telescopes.
[00:16:22] Chris: Oh right. OK. Which seems… That seems like it’s still within the realm of academia too a bit.
[00:16:26] Caller: Yeah. Yeah, it’s kinda those three jobs are kinda similar like because part of your job is research and then if you’re at a telescope the other part of your job would be maintaining the telescope. And then in academia the other part is teaching and having grad students like me.
[00:16:42] Chris: Yeah. Do you know which one you want to aim for?
[00:16:45] Caller: Well, so I’ve been thinking about this lot. When I was little, I wanted to work for NASA. And this one time I was moving to a new school and I took this math test and I did well on it ‘cause I really liked math. And, you know, my teacher. He said something like, “Oh, you know, your future children are gonna be lucky that their mom can help them with their homework”. And I was like, yeah. But also, I like math. And I asked them what I would have to do to work at NASA. And he laughed at me. And so I’ve been… I don’t know. I’ve been thinking about that a lot because my current PhD advisor… She doesn’t work at NASA. She works at my university, obviously. But she built one of the instruments that was on Hubble. And now she’s building… She also built the instrument that’s on the James Webb Space Telescope, which is the successor to Hubble. So…
[00:17:37] Chris: So you see the door…? You’ve seen people who have cracked the door open.
[00:17:41] Caller: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah. She’s like kind of a big deal at NASA. So.
[00:17:45] Chris: And how much of your… How much of this thing where you say you’re flirting with the NASA ideas specifically to say “fuck you” to that person who laughed at you?
[00:17:51] Caller: OK. Maybe… Yeah, a lot.
[00:17:53] Chris: OK. Solid 85 percent?
[00:17:55] Caller: Yeah.
[00:17:56] Chris: I put the percent here. 50/50?
[00:17:57] Caller: Probably 50/50.
[00:17:59] Chris: Mine would be 90/10. Mine would be “I don’t even want to work there, but I just want that person who doesn’t even remember giggling to eat shit and die”. That would be… But that’s the New Jersey in me. That’s the New Jersey in me.
[00:18:11] Caller: I’m a bit like that too. Yeah.
[00:18:13] Chris: I’m… Now you probably are familiar with this, so I am, no joke, right now, halfway through – and I did not read this because we were meeting up today. I’m a little obsessed with a magazine called Texas Monthly. They do great long form journalism. I’m a nerd about it. Most of it’s true crime. I love it. But I was reading an article that they had. They did their like list of their best journalism. The one I’m halfway through right now is a guy who is an astronaut. I think he’s still contracted with NASA. Maybe he doesn’t work there. You probably know this guy, who’s trying to build spacecrafts that are based around using plasma as fuel. Like the actual substance that’s found on the sun.
[00:18:50] Caller: Oh, whoa. OK. Yeah.
[00:18:52] Chris: Where you can get to Mars in 60 to 90 days instead of nine months.
[00:18:56] Caller: Whoa. No, I haven’t heard of that.
[00:18:57] Chris: But he has to basically harness a substance that is a fourth form of matter that doesn’t exist on earth.
[00:19:02] Caller: Whoa. Okay. Yeah.
[00:19:04] Chris: And he’s going to build a spaceship that can apparently go one hundred and eleven thousand miles an hour.
[00:19:09] Caller: Damn, that’s crazy.
[00:19:11] Chris: It’s nuts. Point being, I guess I know a little bit about physics on my own – in my own right.
[00:19:16] Caller: You do. Yeah. I was impressed with your knowledge last time.
[00:19:19] Chris: Well, I’m a big nerd. I’m a big nerd. I don’t really know all that much. That’s cool, though. It would be cool if you worked at NASA.
[00:19:27] Caller: Yeah. When the telescope launches… The other day, my PhD advisor was saying that people from her team get to be in the room when the first pictures come down. And I started jumping up and down when she said this. And so she like looked at me and she was like, “Do you want to go?” I was like, “Yeah”.
[00:19:42] Chris: So you’re going to be there?
[00:19:43] Caller: Yeah, I get to be there when like the first – some of the first pictures come down.
[00:19:46] Chris: That’s super nerdy, but super cool.
[00:19:48] Caller: I know. I’m really excited. I’ll probably cry.
[00:19:50] Chris: So there’s gonna be like a whole bunch of PhD students spread throughout the country are gonna be really jealous that you’re a fly on the wall for that.
[00:19:56] Caller: Yeah.
[00:19:58] Chris: That’s awesome.
[00:19:58] Caller: My job won’t be so glamorous. Like I’m probably gonna be staying up all night, like watching these screens, making sure that the telescope is doing everything OK.
[00:20:06] Chris: Yeah.
[00:20:07] Caller: And just like if there’s like a red light that starts blinking, I’ll call the right person.
[00:20:11] Chris: That’s still kind of the dream, though, right?
[00:20:12] Caller: Yeah, definitely.
[00:20:14] Chris: Oh, your face lit up. This is nice that we’re not… This is a moment where I can tell you just started glowing at the idea that you might get to see a red blinking light if a telescope breaks. This is the dream. Wow. All right. So, hard question… Always awkward to ask them, let alone a person. Is the relationship with the family healed at all or is it still “keep your distance people, you did me dirty”?
[00:20:41] Caller: Keeping my distance. I haven’t spoken to them at all since the last time I talked to you.
[00:20:48] Chris: Wow.
[00:20:48] Caller: They email me, you know, on certain holidays they email me. Sometimes randomly they’ll email me. And, you know, it’s usually, like, it’s like two sentences like “I hope you’re doing okay”, “I love you” or whatever. And it it’s really hard cause my first reaction is you know, I still love them and I feel really bad for them. And I don’t want to hurt them. And I know by not talking to them, I’m kind of hurting them. But also, like hope… Hope can be beautiful. But it’s also not appropriate in some situations. Like it’s not appropriate when you… Like when action is more appropriate. Like they hope I’m doing better. But they could be doing something to make me better. They might be apologizing. They haven’t apologized. So…
[00:21:40] Chris: Really? Do you even answer the emails with your own cursory reply or just…?
[00:21:44] Caller: I just ignore them. The only time I’ve ever… I guess I have responded and it’s when my sister tells me that my nephew says something and then I respond to him specifically. But…
[00:21:54] Chris: Right.
[00:21:55] Caller: That’s the only time I’ve responded.
[00:21:56] Chris: Right. Because the nephew doesn’t have any skin in the game on this.
[00:22:01] Caller: Right. Yeah. He’s you know…
[00:22:03] Chris: Innocent. Yeah.
[00:22:03] Caller: He’s only seven. He was my son’s like best friend. So…
[00:22:07] Chris: And does that bring up any feelings of like are they…? Is this genuine or are they dangling him out there as a way to keep me? I would imagine… ‘Cause it was if I remember right, it was there was like, Kickstarter money that had come in to support you when everything had gone down and people tried to sink their claws into that a little bit, right? Was that it?
[00:22:24] Caller: Yeah. Yeah, basically.
[00:22:26] Chris: Bummer. Money is a bad thing.
[00:22:29] Caller: I know, right? Yeah. They had done similar things before, but I always excuse it because, you know, we’ve always been in survival mode and people will do things they normally wouldn’t do in survival mode, but there was no excuse for them to treat me the way they did when I was going through what I was going through. So, unless they completely change as humans, I probably won’t talk to them again. And that hurts a lot.
[00:22:54] Chris: Of course, yeah.
[00:22:55] Caller: Yeah, my life looks so different. You know, three years ago I had a husband, a son. You know, I thought I had a loving mom and brother and sister. And now I’m living somewhere and I don’t have any of those things. Itt’s very strange.
[00:23:09] Chris: Yeah, yeah That’s like, what, a… I almost wonder… Another hard question to ask. So I would imagine, like you mentioned when we first sat down. In terms of your husband and son, it’s a process you go through, stages you learn. You were saying before, how to sort of let the grief be a part of you.
[00:23:35] Caller: Mm-hmm.
[00:23:36] Chris: I’d have to imagine… Is there is there some sense almost which your… your mother and your siblings remains more of an open wound because they’re still out there and they’re not apologizing and it’s being kind of kept open in that way.
[00:23:56] Caller: Yeah, definitely.
[00:23:57] Chris: That’s certainly a sucker punch
[00:24:00] Caller: Mm-hmm. And with grief, too. Grief is almost an open wound, too. I don’t know that you ever. I don’t think I’ll ever heal from it. It’s… It’s like you’re just you’re learning how to live with it. Like, it’s… It’s always there in the background. You always have this, you know, pain, you know, this severe pain that’s just always there. But you learn how to live with it. And I’m doing a better job of that. Like I used to – when it first happened, the first year, probably, I wouldn’t, like, for example, I would purposely not smile, even if, you know, I had the urge to. And people, if they wanted to take pictures with me, I wouldn’t I would never smile in pictures. And and I almost, like, was making myself more miserable, I think, just because… I just wanted everyone to know that there was like this pain that was always there. And I felt like I had to be kind of like sad all the time just to be true to that
[00:24:55] Chris: To project that.
[00:24:56] Caller: Yeah, exactly.
[00:24:56] Chris: To make sure they knew.
[00:24:57] Caller: But like since being on the show and since, like, really embracing the pain or whatever, I feel like now I’m the opposite. I’m like seeking out joy and happy things as much as possible. And I think part of the reason I’m doing that is one of my friends, who was a significant mentor to me. I would call her one of my best friends now, which is strange because she’s 40 years older than me, but she’s also a widow and a bereaved mother. And in talking with her, I could see her. You know, she had this… You could see the pain. You could feel it from her. But she also… Like when she laughed, it would like light up a room. Like she was she was always seeking… She was always seeking, you know, joy. And so I think I learned. I’ve been trying to do that more. And these new friends that I have are really teaching me to laugh again, because they’re, you know, this young group of people and they’re really fun and stuff. So, yeah, I think the new group that I’m surrounded by, they’re a really fun group. And I think it’s exactly what I needed. I need to be around people who make me laugh because the pain’s always there. And I still have the dark days. You know, there’s days when I can’t get out of bed. Like the hardest day of the year was 10 days ago. It was my son’s birthday. And I didn’t think I was going to get out of bed that day. But the two girls that I’m close with, you know, messaged me and they were like: “What can we do for you today? Do you want us to be there? Do you want to leave you alone?” And so I told – I had plans for the day. And so I asked them if they would do it with me. And so we went to the store and bought like all of my son’s favorite toys, like books and Legos and stuff like that. And brought them to this like a home for children without homes. And they bought a bunch of stuff, too. And because I had heard this idea from other bereaved parents that on birthdays and stuff, if you do like random acts of kindness, it’s helpful. And I did that for my husband’s birthday, who was two weeks before my son’s. And that really helped. But then my son’s birthdays a lot harder. And so they came along with me for that. And so they’re… Yeah, they’re there for me on the dark days, too, not just on the days when I can smile.
[00:27:21] Chris: They step up.
[00:27:23] Caller: Yeah, basically.
[00:27:23] Chris: It’s always nice when you have some people who step up.
[00:27:25] Caller: Yeah. Definitely.
[00:27:26] Chris: I think you’re the third person who’s been on the show who brought up this idea of random acts of kindness. There is one caller who just kind of took it upon themselves as a project to do in their life of 30 days in a row. And then I talked to someone who had survived the mass shooting in Las Vegas who also said –
[00:27:46] Caller: Oh yeah.
[00:27:47] Chris: – there’s a whole community of survivors who have sort of responded to what they went through by trying to actively get out there in the world and… And put kindness forward to others. It’s really amazing how that is a… That is a human instinct across the board.
[00:28:08] Chris: [music transition] Let’s go ahead and pause right there. That’s a cool thing worth underlining how many people who participate in this show are dedicated towards being kind to others in random ways. We got ads on this show. The ads are the way that we bring you the show for free. So sit back. Listen to ‘em. Get these promo codes. It really does help the show if you use those promo codes when you order stuff. Enjoy it. And we’ll be back right after this.
[00:28:41] [AD BREAK]
[00:31:57] Chris: I remember when I was – when I started with my current shrink, which is eleven years ago. I was really down and out. And I remember at a certain point telling her, I have this weird – I have this very unexplained urge that came out of nowhere to sign up for Habitat for Humanity where you go build houses for people. And she was like, “That’s a sign that you’re getting better”, because –
[00:32:17] Caller: Oh.
[00:32:17] Chris: – very often when people who are kind of in the trenches with any version of these negative feelings come out of it, your urge is like, “How do I start spreading that?” And of course, I didn’t sign up because I’m a selfish human being. I also am aware that the idea of me building – I don’t… The idea that if I build someone a house, that house would invariably be unlivable. It’s… I can’t even hang blinds. I’m… Worst fight my wife and I ever got into was me trying to hang blinds. The idea I’m going to build a home for someone… But I try to be… I try to put kindness out there in other ways. It’s really amazing how people who survive stuff want to make the world better for others.
[00:32:56] Caller: Yeah. My therapist is actually the one who gave me the idea. She had been to a workshop for people who are grieving and it’s a common thing that people do. So yeah.
[00:33:07] Chris: Now this crew that you have of fellow people in an academic environment who you say are much younger than you and you’re now in a situation where you’re like… Living this life. I have to – There’s a part of me that’s like, wait, are these like college kids that party and stuff, and you’re along with it? But then there’s also part me that’s like no, these are astrophysicist PhD students. I can’t imagine they’re like raging at keggers.
[00:33:31] Caller: Well, so actually amongst scientists, astronomers are known as the ones who know how to party the most.
[00:33:38] Chris: Really?
[00:33:39] Caller: Yeah.
[00:33:39] Chris: Why is this?
[00:33:40] Caller: I have no idea.
[00:33:41] Chris: What?! So… So wait. You said astronomers throw down.
[00:33:46] Caller: Yeah. They throw down. So, like, for example. OK –
[00:33:48] Chris: What?!
[00:33:49] Caller: So it was last weekend. I was with… So prior to this I had never met like an astrophysicist before, and now I’m surrounded by them. So, like, if you would have asked me a couple years ago even, like what would happen if there was 20 to 30 astronomers in a group? Well, last weekend there was that.
[00:34:05] Chris: I would think a lot of people pushing their glasses up.
[00:34:07] Caller: Yeah.
[00:34:08] Chris: Talking and… Talking, citing text books and stuff. That’s the stereotype, right?
[00:34:13] Caller: Yeah and that definitely happens like in the department. But then it’s like, OK, we’re not in school anymore. You’re not allowed to talk about research. And so actually last weekend we did this thing that they’ve been doing at my university for, I think six years now? Where it’s called “Toward a Beer”. And we all get on bicycles that are decorated with, like, lights.
[00:34:34] Chris: Is this all astronomers and astrophysicists?
[00:34:35] Caller: Yeah, 20 to 30 of us. And we go to the first brewery and we have hundreds of temporary tattoos.
[00:34:44] Chris: What are you talking about?
[00:34:45] Caller: I know right?!
[00:34:46] Chris: Okay. Temporary… The glasses are off. Temporary tattoos. Walk me through this.
[00:34:50] Caller: So, yeah, we like laid out all of these temporary tattoos on this table and we’re all putting like temporary tattoos on each other and we’re wearing matching pink shirts that we designed specifically for this event. And we just ride our bikes from brewery to brewery. I think we rode 25 miles in total, you know, with speakers on the bike and, you know, dance parties on the bike.
[00:35:15] Chris: So you guys party like the most annoying bachelorette party.
[00:35:19] Caller: Yeah.
[00:35:21] Chris: Astrophysicists party like they’re getting married in a week.
[00:35:23] Caller: Pretty much. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:35:24] Chris: Wow!
[00:35:25] Caller: And we were wearing like crazy leggings, you know. Like other people wearing – I wear these every day, but…
[00:35:30] Chris: You wear that – you wear your space pants every day?
[00:35:32] Caller: Pretty much. Yeah.
[00:35:33] Chris: Wow.
[00:35:33] Caller: Yeah.
[00:35:34] Chris: So you’re all in?
[00:35:35] Caller: Yeah. I’m all in. And on that day they were too. They also wore like cactus pants and stuff because we live near Saguaro cacti. So that’s a theme there.
[00:35:45] Chris: So by the end of this night, it’s just a bunch of doctorate students crashing bikes into walls and vomiting on the streets and stuff?
[00:35:53] Caller: So last year there were wrecks. This year we didn’t have any wrecks.
[00:35:57] Chris: Did someone have to give a speech about that? Like can we please…?
[00:36:00] Caller: Yeah. The one student who got in a wreck definitely told everybody. And he got in two wrecks actually so…
[00:36:07] Chris: On the same night?
[00:36:08] Caller: On the same night. Yeah.
[00:36:09] Chris: Wow.
[00:36:09] Caller: Yeah well cause beer and bikes is like a bad combo but, yeah. And also it wasn’t just students. There were postdocs and professors there also.
[00:36:18] Chris: Really?
[00:36:18] Caller: Yeah.
[00:36:18] Chris: That sounds truly inappropriate.
[00:36:19] Caller: It was yeah…
[00:36:20] Chris: On many levels. Although when you get to the upper levels of academia, those divisions mean a little less, right? Like an undergraduate professor’s never gonna go on like a beer crawl with a student.
[00:36:31] Caller: Right. But grads… Yeah PhD advisers will definitely drink with their students at times and stuff. Like every Friday we have what we call FLASC ’cause astronomers are known for making terrible acronyms. So FLASC is an acronym. I forget what it stands for. Something about astronomers social club. But every Friday we go and drink beer together with like postdocs and everybody, so…
[00:36:55] Chris: Here’s a weird question and maybe you don’t want to pull back the curtain on the party culture of astrophysicists too far. I would not be surprised if they got down with psychedelics more often than other areas of academics.
[00:37:08] Caller: Yeah. Well so at my current university, not that I know of…
[00:37:12] Chris: Really? I could see people there like: “Why don’t we just take some mushrooms and sneak back into the telescope?”
[00:37:17] Caller: Yeah, I have heard of people like smoking weed up at the telescopes. And one time I was with my professors and graduate students at this thing called the Oregon Country Fair, which is kind of like a smaller version of Burning Man. And they were definitely talking about doing psychedelics together. But they were not around me, so…
[00:37:39] Chris: I am not a psychedelic type. I feel like with my notoriously public brain chemistry issues it would always be a bad thing. But I would imagine that if you were into it, taking mescaline with a bunch astrophysicist is going to lead to one of the best conversations of your life.
[00:37:57] Caller: Yeah. Probably. We have good conversations, like when we’ve been studying all day and it’s like midnight. It’s… Yeah, we have good conversations and when we’re just kind of like out of it.
[00:38:08] Chris: Is there…? Is there stuff bandied about?
[00:38:12] Caller: Is there stuff like what?
[00:38:13] Chris: Like bandied about in conversation, like theories in those conversations where you guys are like, maybe this is true about space? That would blow an average – like, my average, civilian mind?
[00:38:24] Caller: Yeah, like I remember one time everyone was freaking out ’cause they were like, we really could be living in a simulation ’cause we like learn to write simulations, you know, and we’re like, oh, what if we’re living in a simulation?
[00:38:35] Chris: So once we learn to do that, it really opens up the possibility that this is…
[00:38:39] Caller: A simulation, yeah.
[00:38:41] Chris: Wow.
[00:38:41] Caller: Yeah.
[00:38:43] Chris: Which would indicate that nothing in my life is real.
[00:38:46] Caller: Kinda, yeah.
[00:38:47] Chris: It’s all programmed into a very, very limited amount of choice I’ve actually made. That I am a Sim.
[00:38:53] Caller: Yeah. My favorite question to ask –
[00:38:56] Chris: – You just giggled like “yeah”, whereas to me that’s the most chilling thought.
[00:38:59] Caller: Oh, it’s chilling like…
[00:39:01] Chris: ‘Cause who wrote it? Who designed it?
[00:39:03] Caller: Right. Yeah. What if…? Who…? That’s scary…Yeah.
[00:39:06] Chris: Oh boy. So we might just be in Ready Player One and not even know it.
[00:39:10] Caller: Mm-hmm.
[00:39:14] Chris: That’s really good to meet you face to face. Wow. I don’t have to think about any of that in the world of comedy.
[00:39:21] Caller: Yeah.
[00:39:22] Chris: So that’s the new one that you wrap your head around.
[00:39:25] Caller: Yeah. That was one that freaked people out the most. Oh, but that’s the thing I love asking astrophysicist is “What freaks you out the most about the universe?” That’s probably my favorite question.
[00:39:34] Chris: What are some of the answers you’ve loved the most?
[00:39:37] Caller: Well, so yeah, I asked my current friends the other night. And one said, you know, like just how many galaxies there are in the universe. One said how big the universe is. One said, you know, a very nihilistic answer, that nothing matters. I thought that was a little bit philosophical and not so astrophysical. What freaks me out the most, I would say, is that like everything we’ve studied, so like everything we can see and detect, even like stuff that we can’t see, like gravitational waves or x rays and stuff like that, that only makes up 5 percent of the universe. The rest, the other 95 percent is dark matter and dark energy, which we know basically nothing about. Like we know it exists, but we don’t know what it is.
[00:40:24] Chris: Is dark matter one of those things…? I’ve tried to, you know, try to… I just consume information. I’m a nerd about just reading a lot. Dark matter. They’ve like brought a few…. They’ve managed to actually isolate like a few – I don’t know if it would be molecules or atoms or whatever it is – but they’ve actually made it exist in our world. But wasn’t there some concern of ” Oh the people doing this might tear the fabric of our reality asunder by trying to get this dark matter to exist in our world”?
[00:40:53] Caller: Yeah. So that’s an example of journalism.
[00:40:57] Chris: The media hype.
[00:40:57] Caller: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:40:58] Chris: So you’re saying fake news!
[00:41:00] Caller: Yeah.
[00:41:00] Chris: You’re yelling fake news on this. Was it the Large Hadron Collider?
[00:41:03] Caller: That’s what it was, yeah. They were afraid that the Large Hadron Collider was going to, like – there was going to be a mini black hole or something. I think that’s what they thought was going to happen there.
[00:41:11] Chris: And that – it was the sort of thing that the media – I remember the media hyping it up like when they turned this thing on, it might suck the earth into itself.
[00:41:17] Caller: Haha, yeah. Which that’s not gonna happen.
[00:41:19] Chris: That was never gonna happen.
[00:41:19] Caller: No, no.
[00:41:20] Chris: There was no – ’cause I would have to imagine any academic or scientist worth their salt would, if that was a possibility, would go, “Let’s not turn it on”.
[00:41:29] Caller: Right. Yeah. They totally wouldn’t turn it on.
[00:41:31] Chris: If there’s even like a point 0.01 percent chance that it’s going to eat the world, we don’t flip that switch.
[00:41:38] Caller: Mm-hmm exactly, yeah. Yeah. And also anytime it’s like, oh, astronomers found this thing and they don’t know what it is that the media is like “Aliens. It’s aliens”. Like there was that alien star. And then I think also they thought there was like an alien spaceship, but it was a comet. So… Or I think it was the first, like object from outside our solar system and it may have actually been an asteroid.
[00:42:04] Chris: So it is funny you’re in the field where, ’cause it does – I would imagine it gets them a lot of clicks to say stuff. But you are in a field where it is legit that you’re like “Nope, the media has intentions that are for advertising purposes” and “get eyes on it” purposes. And you see that at times. Where if they actually asked people of your stature, let alone your professors, that it would be explained to them, “No, this is not what you’re about to claim it is. But you’re still gonna go publish it without asking those questions”.
[00:42:32] Caller: Right, yeah.
[00:42:33] Chris Damn. Damn!
[00:42:36] Caller: You have to – you have to be careful what you say, ’cause I don’t know if you – I don’t know… I think scientists do need to get better at talking to the public. You know, there’s certainly some that are great at it. But in general, it’s a thing that I think our field needs to work on.
[00:42:50] Chris: Yeah.
[00:42:51] Caller: Yeah.
[00:42:53] Chris: Now, there’s a popular expression that goes around that says we know more about space than the ocean. You agree? Disagree? Does it fill you with a fury that these oceanographers are trying to steal your thunder?
[00:43:02] Caller: No, I think that’s pretty accurate.
[00:43:04] Chris: Oh OK. I’m trying to create a battle between space and the sea.
[00:43:07] Caller: Hahaha uh-huh.
[00:43:09] Chris: So, you know more – so you just said that we only know about 5 percent of what actually exists in the universe.
[00:43:14] Caller: Well, everything that we know about is of that 5 percent, we don’t even know the full 5 percent, though. So…
[00:43:22] Chris: So you can identify that 5 – you can identify 5 percent of what exists, without even having a fundamental understanding of it?
[00:43:29] Caller: Yeah.
[00:43:30] Chris: How much of that 5 percent do we understand?
[00:43:33] Caller: I mean, like a percentage of that 5 percent.
[00:43:36] Chris: 1 percent?
[00:43:37] Caller: I’m not sure. That would be really hard to quantify.
[00:43:41] Chris: And you’re talking about the basic things like light.
[00:43:45] Caller: Yeah. Light, and –
[00:43:46] Chris: And ozone and… And why this chair is real.
[00:43:49] Caller: Right. Yeah. Mm-hmm.
[00:43:51] Chris: And why certain things stretch and certain things don’t?
[00:43:53] Caller: Mm-hmm.
[00:43:54] Chris: So we’re dumb.
[00:43:56] Caller: Yeah.
[00:43:57] Chris: There’s a whole… There’s a whole series of mechanisms that we will never understand and we try to convince ourselves that we’re the shit.
[00:44:05] Caller: Haha. Basically, yeah. Maybe someday we’ll understand, but not in my lifetime.
[00:44:10] Chris: Now, with that in mind, I wonder… I don’t know that we talked about this last and maybe we did. Do you believe that this all randomly happened or did it have to be by design? ‘Cause simulations start – if scientists are starting to believe that possibility, it’s telling me that someone programmed it and designed it then. A creator. Discuss.
[00:44:33] Caller: Haha. So like, as a scientist, the only, like, responsible answer is I don’t know. Because there’s nothing… There’s no way for us to prove or disprove it.
[00:44:43] Chris: Right.
[00:44:43] Caller: As a person… I also don’t know. It feels like the universe is really… Its – what’s the quote…? By the way, you need to watch Contact. Have you watched it yet?
[00:44:57] Chris: Wait, the Jodie Foster…?
[00:44:58] Caller: Yeah, yeah.
[00:44:58] Chris: The one that the Aussie guy? – I’ve been told I’ve been pronouncing it wrong. Aussie. No.
[00:45:03] Caller: Oh, OK. So there’s a –
[00:45:04] Chris: So it’s really that good?
[00:45:05] Caller: Oh it’s good, yeah. It’s my favorite movie.
[00:45:06] Chris: We should have a public screening where we rent out – Jarrett we should rent out a theater. Harry, can you write this? We rent out a movie theater to show Contact and we invite any Beautiful/Anonymous fan in the area to come watch Contact with me for the first time.
[00:45:18] Caller: That’s a great idea.
[00:45:19] Chris: It’ll be a good… Good discussion. Okay.
[00:45:21] Caller: So –
[00:45:22] Chris: You were saying?
[00:45:22] Caller: Yeah, there’s a quote in the movie that says something about how the universe is so big. If there’s nothing else out, there would be an awful waste of space. And they were talking about aliens in that movie, probably. But also, I don’t know… Yeah. The universe is so big and the more I learn about it, the more big and crazy, you know, I’m realizing it is. And so… But I don’t know.
[00:45:49] Chris: Now I’m dumb about this stuff. You’re not. Is it as simple…? – like in my very rudimentary level of thinking, is it as simple as if we were to be able to go through a black hole, something’s on the other side. We know there’s some other thing. If you get through one and we know those are there, something’s on the other side and we have no idea what that is. Is that the basics?
[00:46:10] Caller: Well, that could be that could be possible. Or you could just, you know, go in and just die. And it’s just like a –
[00:46:17] Chris: Oh! Oh! One or the other.
[00:46:19] Caller: Haha, yeah. One or the other.
[00:46:20] Chris: Either there’s a whole other conception of what a universe is on the other side of it, or you just disintegrate into atoms instantly and no longer exists.
[00:46:28] Caller: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Through spaghettification like we learned last time.
[00:46:32] Chris: Spaghettification. Yes, I do remember not understanding that last time.
[00:46:34] Caller: Hahaha, uh-huh.
[00:46:36] Chris: Wow. Wow! Wow! I think there’s stuff – we have 25 minutes left.
[00:46:41] Caller: OK.
[00:46:43] Chris: I think there’s something to be said… And who knows, maybe it’s just because in person we talk more about things like this. But I will say within the past year, the idea that we’re like joking more about this side of things is a sign, of, like you said, that the grief is changing and transforming.
[00:47:02] Caller: Mm-hmm.
[00:47:03] Chris: That’s cool.
[00:47:04] Caller: Yeah.
[00:47:05] Chris: Can I ask another hard question?
[00:47:06] Caller: Yes.
[00:47:07] Chris: Has there been any thought towards things like dating?
[00:47:11] Caller: No, not – no…
[00:47:12] Chris: There’s not a thing yet.
[00:47:13] Caller: Mm-hmm.
[00:47:14] Chris: Might never be.
[00:47:15] Caller: Might never be. Yeah, I say never but my widow. friends say don’t ever say never.
[00:47:20] Chris: Yeah.
[00:47:21] Caller: But… Yeah.
[00:47:22] Chris: Yeah. That’s just the thing that you hold close to your heart right now. It’s not happening.
[00:47:27] Caller: Yeah. Yeah. And last time I really appreciate how you were very, you know, sensitive with me at the time. That’s what I needed. And this time you can ask me more questions if you want to. And if it’s too much, I can just tell you it’s too much. But I have told this story a few times now, like to my classmates. I had to tell them, even though I once I told them, I found out they already knew. And then I told my PhD adviser – well, that was through an email. But she already knew, too. So… But I’m getting better at talking about it.
[00:48:05] Chris: About the details of what actually happened?
[00:48:06] Caller: Yeah.
[00:48:07] Chris: Well, I always – I said it – I’m sure you heard in the intro of the episode. I knew. I said some of the listeners are going to be mad that I didn’t just go, “What happened?” But it was just so clear to me that that was not… It would have crossed over into the show being… I could feel it immediately of this would be for the purpose of the sensationalism of that story.
[00:48:29] Caller: Mm-hmm.
[00:48:29] Chris: And it didn’t seem like a thing that you felt was necessary to tell in order to get out what you wanted to get out of the call. So I never wanted to ask. So I would say if that’s something that you feel like would offer up some value for you to share personally or you think other people get something out of it. It’s up to you. But I’ve never… Never wanted to force that question because it didn’t seem like it would be nice. It just didn’t seem like it would have been the nice thing to do back then.
[00:48:56] Caller: Yeah. Yeah. I appre- Yeah, back then, I don’t know that I’d be able to handle it. Now I’ve… So back then I had only had like a couple of panic attacks and I didn’t really know how to handle them. I’ve actually been having panic attacks a lot more and I actually thought I was going crazy. I thought they were gonna put me back in the psych ward again. But now I’m like learning… Learning how to deal with panic attacks. And I’d… Yeah, to the point where things I used to would have been a panic attack are now just like me having maybe just severe anxiety and just getting through it. So I’m… My anxiety has, like, gotten very, very bad this past year. Or recently since going to… It’s just I think grad school is really stressful. And so having that and it’s linked to my, you know, survival. Like I have to be successful in it to keep, you know… To survive monetarily and everything. Also, it’s like my biggest dream and I would be really sad if I didn’t have it.
[00:49:59] Chris: Of course. And then there is – I don’t want to… I’m reading a whole book. I might be reading too much into this. But are you also saying that like when your anxiety hits based on the amount of real life stuff you’ve lived through, do you feel like it’s… Just like goes in deeper? Does that add to how deep it cuts with the panic and stuff like that?
[00:50:19] Caller: Yeah, ’cause… So I have PTSD too.
[00:50:20] Chris: Of course. Yeah.
[00:50:23] Caller: So like when… Basically, whenever my anxiety level increases, when I get like adrenaline in my system, it’s like I’m back… I’m back on the worst day again. And I get images in my head from the day. And I have to, like, push them away and stuff. And just being in grad school in general increases my anxiety. So little things that normally wouldn’t make me nervous. I’m already at like a level of anxiety that’s pretty high, so just little things can push me over.
[00:50:53] Chris: Yeah.
[00:50:54] Caller: But I think getting through my first semester of grad school… I now know, I can get through my whole PhD. And also just like I mentioned earlier, like once you embrace… Once you embrace the pain and the grief you, it’s – I was saying it was like a powerful feeling because you realize you’ve survived your worst imaginable nightmare. So like, what else can happen? Like, I… It’s like I can handle anything.
[00:51:21] Chris: Right.
[00:51:21] Caller: So it’s… So, yeah. That… That’s helped. And I’ve kind of… Like my therapist says, like when you have anxiety, you… It sounds cheesy, but you kind of like, you know, tell yourself reassuring things. And so that’s one of the things I tell myself is like I’ve already survived the worst. Like… I can handle anything.
[00:51:42] Chris: And not only have you survived it, but it’s this… I feel like you’re in this… And I want to say incredibly unique, but other people… Other people do have… Do lose people in an instant.
[00:52:00] Caller: Mm-hmm.
[00:52:00] Chris: And you’re in a situation where it’s like, oh. It’s like it pu- It’s almost like it pushes a reset button on so many aspects of your life.
[00:52:08] Caller: Mm-hmm.
[00:52:10] Chris: So like now I just go and live another life, I guess?
[00:52:12] Caller: Yeah, exactly. It feels like a completely different life. Like, I feel like I’ve had like three different life’s basically.
[00:52:17] Chris: That’s weird.
[00:52:18] Caller: Yeah.
[00:52:18] Chris: But then I gotta say, it’s really inspiring that you’re like, “All right. I live another life. And now I have to get over something that is truly unimaginable by anybody’s standards. I guess my next life will be me getting a PhD in a field that is, I would imagine, even in the academic world, one of the hardest” – like no offense. Okay. Everybody knows my relationship with school, but this is not like you’re getting a PhD in American studies that I studied, alright? That’s a lot easier to wrap your brain around than astrophysics, right? This is not a… This is not a comparative literature PhD. Let me read a Mesopotamian text and compare it to a Victorian-era English – This is high level. This is even the other academics are looking at you guys going, “Well, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
[00:53:15] Chris: [music transition] I’d like to pause the show just to apologize to anyone who’s in the world of comparative literature. I have no idea why in the moment it felt about worth slamming a ccompletely unrelated academic discipline But I did. Maybe… Maybe it made you laugh, but I’m sure there’s at least a handful of people out there going, “Hey! That’s what I studied! Chill out!” My bad, everybody. We’ll be right back with more conversation.
[00:53:43] [AD BREAK]
[00:55:06] Thanks again everybody who sponsors Beautiful/Anonymous. Now let’s finish off this face to face combo.
[00:55:42] Caller: Yeah. And that… Have you ever heard of Imposter Syndrome?
[00:55:47] Chris: I have.
[00:55:48] Caller: OK. Yeah…
[00:55:49] Chris: It’s the thing you constantly feel like you don’t belong in life that you’re living.
[00:55:53] Caller: Yeah. So that’s like a really common thing amongst astrophysics – I think scientists in general. It’s something we talk about a lot, especially… We have tea time with women in astronomy and that’s something we talk about all the time. And I think that adds to my anxiety is I have Imposter Syndrome. And it’s worse for people who are marginalized in some way or… So it’s worse for like women in this male-dominated field or for like, you know, people who grew up poor, for example. So, yeah, that adds to the anxiety as well. Because you look around and ever you feel like everyone’s smarter than you and…
[00:56:31] Chris: So you feel like you’re constantly in Good Will Hunting? Have you seen that one?
[00:56:34] Caller: Haha. I mean… Yeah, yeah.
[00:56:37] Chris: Yeah. And I would imagine, too, it must be even more pronounced with Imposter Syndrome when you… With some people, that is just a hurdle they have to get over. But you legitimately would have been living a life where none of this happened. It was already… Like you were saying, you’ve lived three different lives. There’s been other things where it’s like “No, I thought it was gonna go totally this way.”
[00:57:02] Caller: Mm-hmm.
[00:57:04] Chris: “Why am I wearing a NASA jacket again? How did I get them…?” It’s really… It’s quite fascinating.
[00:57:12] Caller: Yeah.
[00:57:13] Chris: I have to say, too… I’ve been hesitant to say this. But just in the spirit of I’m dragging all this information out of you, I will say that… I’m expecting my first child right now.
[00:57:29] Caller: Yeah, I did hear that.
[00:57:30] Chris: And the… I have to say. When I heard that we were going to talk again. I remember when we first talked feeling… So like being able to understand, holy shit, that sounds like it must be the most painful thing. But now that I’m expecting a kid, it’s like such a level of fear, when I think about your story and… My kid’s not even here yet, and I feel like I understand it a little better and… And I don’t know how you’ve managed to pull off all this high-level achievement because I already know just being a few months away, that that’s… You must have ninety nine reasons to just stop in your tracks –
[00:58:28] Caller: Mm-hmm.
[00:58:28] Chris: – and you managed to find one that kept you going.
[00:58:31] Caller: Yeah. Yeah…
[00:58:33] Chris: That’s…
[00:58:34] Caller: I do want to say congratulations, by the way.
[00:58:36] Chris: Thanks, I’m sorry to bring it up in such a morbid context.
[00:58:38] Caller: No. No that… Yeah it makes sense.
[00:58:40] Chris: It is something that feels like, if we’re having a real conversation, that is a thing where I’m like, “Wow, I get it just a little bit more.”
[00:58:49] Caller: Yeah. And you’ll get it more.
[00:58:50] Chris: Whoo.
[00:58:51] Caller: Yeah. Yeah. I mean it’s gotta be one of the… I don’t – I can’t… I can’t personally think of something that could be more painful than losing a child. Yeah. It’s got to be probably one of the worst human experiences forever. Yeah. I don’t… I’m surprised that I’ve made it. There definitely were times when I didn’t think I would. Like I definitely thought about it… Like I had a plan even. I was going to kill myself. But I got through that. And now it’s not even a question. Like, I’m not going to. Like once I decided I wasn’t going to – like the reason behind it. I know I won’t ever do that, but it definitely was a thought, for sure.
[00:59:39] Chris: Of course. Yeah. I mean, and I’ve been… I’ve been someone… A borderline activist towards that cause, and I know this is a very, very dark, almost – not even a joke, but where it’s like, “Yeah, if anybody has a right to make a plan and put your tone – Yeah. You’re gonna think about it” –
[00:59:59] Caller: Mm-hmm.
[1:00:00] Chris: – “most of course”. Of course. And I’m so happy you didn’t. But it’s not even like a question. Of course you’re gonna have every dark thought in your head. Of course.
[01:00:10] Caller: Yeah. It does get dark. And like I said, I still have dark days. I still have days I don’t get out of bed, but –
[1:00:17] Chris: It is not going that far.
[1:00:18] Caller: No, no.
[1:00:19] Chris: Good, good, good.
[1:00:20] Caller: Yeah. Not anymore. So, yeah…
[1:00:23] Chris: So we need you to crack the code on how to get us to Mars. Could you be that person? Is it is there a possibility that you’re like… Something clicks and like, are you working in a program that high level where like, I guess it’s hard to think about it yourself. When you look at these… You said there’s like four or five other people that are your people. Are you looking at them going like, “You might be smart enough to crack the code on something?” Is it that type of thing? Is your program that high level?
[01:00:51] Caller: Yeah. There there’s been people who have made, you know, pretty big discoveries at my school and stuff. It’s like a top 10 program in the world. So there’s lots of first base science. So it’s a really… There’s lots of high achieving people there. Yeah. Usually science, though… How it works is you make small incremental progress.
[01:01:13] Chris: Right. And then every once in a while there’s a weirdo who steps up and it’s like, “You’re all thinking of it wrong”. Right?
[1:01:17] Caller: Yeah. Yeah.
[1:01:18] Chris: I was just reading that as far as us getting to the moon… I forget the exact specifics, but there was like a way that people were aiming to do it. And there was one guy that was like, “We’re all doing this wrong and why won’t anyone listen to me?” And I think he, like, kind of went off… Went out of the chain of command and wrote some letters to some people that were like, “We got to think about it this way”. And they finally listened. And he was just one weirdo who was like, “You know, I’m thinking way different”.
[1:01:44] Caller: Haha. Uh-huh. Yeah, that’s all it takes is like one weirdo to come up with a different way of doing it.
[1:01:49] Chris: That was Einstein, right? He was one of those.
[1:01:51] Caller: Yeah, for sure.
[1:01:51] Chris: Some famous examples. Tesla.
[1:01:54] Caller: Yeah.
[1:01:55] Chris: Edison was more of a… Though Edison lived in my hometown.
[1:01:58] Caller: Oh, really?
[1:01:59] Chris: So I have a fondness… Yeah. My mom’s house was knocked down due to the Edison factory expanding when she was a kid. Tells it how we were doing. That being said, he was a little bit more of a genius-slash-thief.
[1:02:12] Caller: Right? Yeah, I have heard that. That happens, too.
[1:02:16] Chris: Yeah. Got to watch your back in this academic world.
[1:02:19] Caller: Yeah. Luckily, I’ve found myself in a program where everyone’s very collaborative because a lot of, you know, programs aren’t that way. It’s very competitive. But I’m at a place with like, lots of good people who are very collaborative.
[01:02:32] Chris: And that’s going to get really shit done?
[1:02:34] Caller: Uh-huh.
[1:02:34] Chris: I don’t know if you’re at that – I would imagine a place like… Some of these put like – a place like M.I.T., where it’s a fight to get in. And that must mean everybody’s like hiding their research from each other a little bit more? Makes sense. The culture.
[1:02:45] Caller: Yeah, for sure. Yeah. The Ivy Leagues, you know, are known for being like shark tanks instead. Yeah.
[1:02:51] Chris: No, thanks.
[1:02:52] Caller: No. I wouldn’t like that.
[1:02:54] Chris: Nah. I once did a college gig at Dartmouth. That’s Ivy League, right?
[1:02:57] Caller: Mm-hmm.
[1:02:59] Chris: That’s how smart I am. I have to ask if it’s Ivy League. Everybody there plays beer pong every night. Every house has a beer pong table in the basement. And they all think it’s the coolest thing in the world, that there’s this omnipresent level of beer pong. And they were all nice kids and it was a beautiful campus. But I wanted to just grab em and just be like the beer pong thing in particular… It’s not cool. You all think it’s so cool. It’s not that cool. You know what’s cool? Get a bunch astrophysics on bikes all fucked up, crashing into each other. That’s what’s a cool party.
[1:03:26] Caller: Haha, yeah. Uh huh. Haha.
[1:03:29] Chris: Then they fall off the bike and then they look at the sky. And all of a sudden, that’s when the revelation comes that allows us to colonize Jupiter.
[1:03:35] Caller: Hahahaha.
[01:03:37] Chris: That’s what I think. That’s what I think. So, yeah, at about 11 minutes left.
[1:03:43] Caller: Eleven minutes.
[1:03:43] Chris: Anything we should talk about it?
[1:03:46] Caller: It’s up to you.
[1:03:47] Chris: I mean…
[1:03:48] Caller: Any questions you’ve been wanting to ask?
[1:03:50] Chris: I am… You had brought up that you’re more willing to talk about some of the details. I’m tempted. But like I said, if you think it’s not gonna give you anything or listeners out there anything, I don’t need to know. But I am – I am tempted just out of curiosity’s sake.
[01:04:04] Caller: Yeah. So. Well, so… My PTSD and… So I recently found out I’m going to a conference for the James Webb Space Telescope and I looked it up and I found out it was gonna be on the beach. And the worst day happened at the ocean, and so –
[1:04:25] Chris: I wish I had not asked that ocean-driven question before.
[01:04:28] Caller: No. Yeah, no –
[1:04:29] Chris: Sorry about that.
[1:04:30] Caller: No you’re fine. Haha. You’re fine.
[1:04:33] Chris: Yet again putting my… Didn’t even know I was…
[1:04:37] Caller: No, it’s totally fine. But basically, I have this like… So it used to be where I couldn’t see pictures of the ocean. Now I can see pictures. Then I couldn’t see videos. Now I can see videos. But I still haven’t been back to the ocean. And in about seven months, I have a conference there that I’ve signed up for. So I was talking to like my therapist, and I was like – I told her, you know, I am going to this conference. I need to confront the ocean before them because I don’t want to do it around my colleagues. ‘Cause I actually did see the ocean once from far away. And I had a crazy panic attack. And so obviously, I don’t want to do that in front of my colleagues. So basically, in the next six, seven months, I have to get over my fear of the ocean and I’m trying to decide how to go about doing that. So the two year anniversary is coming up in about a month from today. And my childhood best friends who have been super supportive are flying to be with me. And last year, what we did on that day is we hiked the the tallest mountain in Oregon. The point was to get as high above sea level as possible. I don’t know. You just make up these things to get through the day. So this year, though, I might ask them to go to the ocean with me for the first time.
[1:06:02] Chris: So it’ll help you get through that before the conference itself?
[1:06:04] Caller: Yeah. And my therapist says with PTSD, with anxiety, you have to – She said basically when I do, you know, go to the ocean, when I confront this, I have to overcome it because if I go and, like, basically the anxiety wins, then it’s going to build up even more. So it’s like a battle I can’t lose. Like when I decide to do this, I have to do it.
[1:06:31] Chris: It’s like a boxing match almost?
[1:06:33] Caller: Yeah.
[1:06:33] Chris: Like it’s going to knock you down and you have to get up before the 10 count.
[1:06:36] Caller: Exactly. Yeah. Which, you know, I’ve done that a lot in this past year. Like with the panic attacks that have recently been happening, I’ve had to do that. Like I was for example, I had to give this presentation and I was afraid I was going to have a panic attack and not be able to talk, maybe run out of the room or something, because I had had a panic attack during class and I had to run out of my class. And that was – I had never experienced that before. Anxiety’s the worst. But yeah, so… So I just had to – I almost didn’t give the talk. I could have emailed my professors and been like, “Look, this is my situation”. I haven’t told them yet, but I think they would have allowed me to not give the talk or whatever. But I just did it and it was easy. I wasn’t even nervous. Nothing bad happened. And so now I know that’s something I can do. So this is just a more extreme version of that. But basically, I have to be successful at it when I do decide to go there. But yeah. So it happened at the ocean and it was a freak accident. It doesn’t happen to very many people. It’s like a very regional thing. But basically, one minute they were there and one minute, you know, they were gone.
[1:07:45] Chris: Right.
[1:07:47] Caller: I turned around and they had been swept out to sea by a sneaker wave.
[1:07:51] Chris: Right.
[1:07:52] Caller: And my memory… Like I’ve blocked it out a lot. I avoid those memories. That’s what my therapist calls it. So I have like bits and pieces of memories from the day. Mostly my mem- Like I can handle what happened to me. I just can’t handle what happened to them. So a lot of my memories are things that were happening to me because things that happened to them I still can’t I can’t handle it.
[1:08:19] Chris: No, of course.
[1:08:20] Caller: Yeah.
[1:08:22] Chris: That’s horrible. I’m really sorry.
[1:08:24] Caller: Thank you.
[01:08:29] Chris: Yeah, that’s like… Growing up in Jersey, we got the famous – you got the Jersey Shore, which is A) as everyone knows, ten nightmare people. But also the actual shore itself is beautiful, but there is always that thing of… Every parent… When your kid is like… Don’t fuck around because it can… You gotta show respect and it’s… That’s really hard to hear that your family is one of the situations where it’s like “Yeah, you have to be really careful because. It’s not a joke”.
[01:09:17] Caller: Yeah. And with – Like we were very far away. We weren’t anywhere close. You know, it was in winter. It’s not like we were…
[1:09:26] Chris: Oh you weren’t even swimming?
[1:09:27] Caller: Oh, no.
[1:09:27] Chris: It wasn’t even like – Because we get warned about like, oh, there’s rip tides and stuff. And you have to be…
[1:09:31] Caller: Oh, yeah. No, we were just –
[1:09:32] Chris: So you were just on the sand?
[1:09:33] Caller: Yeah. We were on it. We were like actually on these rocks. We were far, far away. And in Oregon, there’s this thing that happens where you’ll be watching and you watch the waves come up to a certain point and they’ve gone up to that point all day. And then suddenly there’ll be one that’s just out of nowhere. And so, yeah, we weren’t… Yeah. It was winter. We were doing what everyone else was doing on the beach that day. So…
[1:09:57] Chris: So there are a whole bunch other people out there and it’s just…?
[1:09:59] Caller: Yeah. I mean… Yeah. There wasn’t anyone near us at that time ’cause we were taking a walk. But yeah, there was lots of people there that day with their families.
[01:10:08] Chris: So it’s like a few hundred yards that way, few hundred yards that way, those people didn’t have to experience this…?
[1:10:14] Caller: Right, yeah. It’s a… This like freak thing that happens.
[1:10:19] Chris: That’s horrible.
[1:10:21] Caller: Yeah.
[1:10:22] Chris: I’m really sorry.
[1:10:23] Caller: Thank you.
[1:10:24] Chris: Yeah, that is one that I imagined… Again… Like we said during our last call, I can see how that would also help put you on a quest to figure out how the world works. Like you are in the field now. It’s like, “What is this universe? Why does it be the way it does?”
[1:10:48] Caller: Mm-hmm. It does feel very random and… Yeah.
[1:10:50] Chris: Yeah, yeah.
[01:10:52] Caller: Yeah, because there’s so many little things that day that, you know – One of the things I’ve learned to not do is think about the things you don’t have control over. ‘Cause I was driving myself crazy for a while, going back and being like, you know, I was the one who wanted to go to the beach that day, for example. Like my husband took me because I was the one – I’m the one who likes to get out and stuff. And so I just remember him being like, “Oh, maybe we should go here”. And I was like, ‘Oh, no, let’s go to the beach”. And so those things can really torture you, you know, going back over the day. You know, a million things could have been different. It would’ve turned out so differently. But…
[1:11:32] Chris: But it’s also, I’m sure, you know logically, and doing this show… We just -before you came in here, we did a call from someone whose parents, her dad, was a quadriplegic because a car hit her out of nowhere. Hit their car out of nowhere, you know.
[1:11:46] Caller: Mm-hmm.
[1:11:47] Chris: A maniac can show up in a movie theater with a gun these days like it’s… That’s not on you. And you know that logically. But I also know that it’s such bullshit to in any way say the emotional side of that is not real.
[1:12:04] Caller: Right. Yeah.
[1:12:05] Chris: ‘Cause I’m sure you’ve had that conversation a million times.
[1:12:07] Caller: Yeah. Yeah, I think everyone who’s lost someone goes back and thinks of all the things they could have done to make it not happen. And that’s one of the things that tortures you the most. But it’s – So it’s one of the things you learn to not do, you know. And in general, I’ve learned, you know, if something’s hurting me or if something’s stressing me out or giving me anxiety, I think about it and it’s like, “Do I have control over it?” And if the answer is no, then I have to just let it go. If the answer is yes, then I can actually do something about it. But…
[1:12:39] Chris: Now I forget if we talked about this last time. But scientists, notoriously… The stereotype is not spiritual people, in fact, cynical. Atheists is the stereotype. Is this something that you’ve thought about? Is it…? Do you think about an afterlife? Do you…? You’re someone who’s had to consider that?
[1:13:06] Caller: Yeah, yeah, I definitely think about it.
[1:13:09] Chris: You’re in a field now where people, I think, are known for rolling their eyes out a little bit.
[01:13:13] Caller: Yeah. People are… There’s certainly been very vocal scientists who come out as, you know, anti-religion and stuff.
[1:13:23] Chris: I think we did talk about this a little bit.
[1:13:25] Caller: Yeah, a little bit. Yeah. But I think there’s definitely, you know, scientists who are religious, though, you know. At my school, there’s a few for sure. And I would say most people are agnostic, though. I would say most scientists are agnostic.
[1:13:40] Chris: Right.
[1:13:40] Caller: But I definitely think –
[1:13:41] Chris: I’ve always been a little too dumb to know the difference.
[1:13:44] Caller: I think atheists, you know, it takes some faith to say there is no God, while agnostics are like, “Hmm maybe there is, maybe there’s not”. Yeah.
[1:13:54] Chris: Agnostics are sort of like, “Probably, it doesn’t matter either way”.
[1:13:57] Caller: Haha, yeah.
[01:13:58] Chris: “So why worry so much about it?”
[1:14:00] Caller: Yeah.
[1:14:00] Chris: Yeah. Have you decided what you think?
[01:14:03] Caller: No… No, not really. Yeah, I’m not sure. I, you know, obviously I would hope to see them again someday, so maybe that’s where religion did come from, is from us trying to comfort ourselves when things like this happen. But it’s also a common theme throughout humanity. So… Who knows? I don’t know.
[1:14:26] Chris: Yeah, I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. I don’t know why.
[1:14:29] Caller: Do you think… Because you’re becoming a new dad?
[1:14:32] Chris: Probably.
[1:14:33] Caller: Mm-hmm.
[1:14:33] Chris: Probably something to that.
[1:14:35] Caller: Yeah.
[1:14:35] Chris: And a lifetime of Catholicism that I always have to unwrap at every major life stage. But yeah, probably. Probably because the kid’s on the way.
[1:14:44] Caller: Yeah.
[01:14:44] Chris: And there’s also a weird thing where it’s like… This is going to sound really small potatoes in the context of anything else we’ve talked about. But I think about my life a lot as a performer and why I’m still so addicted to getting on stage. And I do think like… I’ve realized that me getting up on a microphone in a room full of people. It’s the closest to church I have at this point. And the idea that when I’m doing comedy and even more so watching comedy, it’s like when someone says something true and everyone else starts reacting to it, it’s like, “Oh, that is this idea that we can all kind of collectively come together and connect on things and agree on things and, on an emotional level, be experiencing stuff together”. That is, whether God is real or not… That’s the closest I get to God, you know? Is that, when you have one of those magical shows where it’s like it’s not just “I told the jokes and they laughed”. It was like something happened in there –
[1:15:54] Caller: Right? Yeah.
[1:15:55] Chris: – Where I’m not going to forget that night. And they’re not going to forget that night.
[01:15:58] Caller: Yeah. Yeah, I could see that. I like that. Yeah. For me, I feel like doing research is my version of that. So I get that feeling.
[01:16:07] Chris: Yeah. Yeah. And you get to look through telescopes.
[1:16:12] Caller: Mm-hmm.
[01:16:14] Chris: See if God’s up there.
[1:16:16] Caller: Hahaha. I haven’t seen anything yet.
[01:16:19] Chris: Maybe one day you’ll point that telescope through the black hole and it’ll just be like some badass who’s just sitting there laughing at us. Like, “This was all just a board game I set up. I can’t believe it’s still going”.
[1:16:37] Caller: Hahaha, ooh.
[1:16:39] Chris: Wow. Well, this ended weird. We’re over an hour in. I’ve managed to make it end weird and philosophical and undefined. But it was – It’s really good to talk to you again and also to see you. And I love your outfit.
[1:16:54] Caller: Thank you.
[1:16:55] Chris: And I’m happy to hear that you’re connecting with more people. And finding that momentum that’s exciting to you. And as always…There’s also just on the utmost level… I just can’t believe what you’ve lived through and can’t believe how strong you are to face it down.
[1:17:21] Caller: Thank you.
[1:17:24] Chris: Thanks for coming into the studio.
[1:17:26] Caller: Yeah, it’s crazy being in here.
[1:17:28] Chris: Yeah. You’ve got to sign the table, with whatever you want.
[1:17:32] Caller: Oh, really? Yeah.
[1:17:33] Chris: As you can see, everybody does graffiti all over this thing. So, whatever you want to put, you’ve earned the right. These are harder to end when we’re in the same room together. Even the other in-person ones, we just walk in other directions. But yeah, you’re here. Even Harry and Jared – Harry’s standing up with his hands on his hips. He doesn’t know what to do. Nobody knows what to do. All right. All right. I guess we should say goodbye.
[1:17:54] Caller: Okay.
[1:17:55] Chris: Yeah. Thank you again for talking and everything.
[1:17:59] Caller: Thank you.
[1:18:00] Chris: Sorry about all the parts where I made it weird and sad.
[1:18:03] Caller: Haha. No you didn’t.
[01:18:09] Chris: [music transition] I gotta thank our conversationalist – it’s not really a caller today – for coming in, letting us know how she’s doing. What the last year has been like that. The progress in the degree and also how the grieving process unfolds, almost a year later. What a strong and beautiful person, and to just sit and talk. It was good. It was good. In person, 3 feet away. A little more intense than usual, and I am a little more squirmy than usual. But I can’t believe how strong that person I just got to talk to is. So thank you for coming in. Thank you guys for listening. Thank you. Jarrett O’Connell and Harry Nelson. Thank you to Justin Linville. Thank you to Shellshag for the intro music. ChrisGeth.com. That’s where you can come meet me on the road. I do a lot of stand up, live taping sometimes. Come check them out. If you like the show, go to Apple podcast. Rate, review, subscribe. We’ll see you next time on Beautiful/Anonymous.
[1:19:07] [THEME MUSIC] Kiss me/ Face to face.
[NEXT EPISODE PREVIEW]
[01:19:19] Chris: Next time on Beautiful/Anonymous. If you heard about someone who needed help right now, would you step up and help them? ‘Cause this caller did.
[1:19:29] [TAPE ROLLING]
[01:19:30] Caller 2: [music transition] I just got back this morning from a, like, 8 hour drive to go check on a friend of mine who was suicidal last night.
[1:19:40] Chris: Ahh. That’s bad. I’m sorry.
[1:19:43] Caller 2: Yeah. Who… Oh, no. As terrible as it is, like, I’m so happy to do it. Like, obviously, I wish it wasn’t that situation, but like, she literally didn’t have anybody closer to her, you know? And she is, like, somebody we played Dungeons and Dragons with. So last night with the first time I actually met her.
[1:20:08] Chris: [music transition] That’s next time on Beautiful/Anonymous.
[01:20:14] Caller 1: Hello, Chris and my fellow Beautiful/Anonymous listeners. So after I recorded the follow up, I thought it’d be nice to share this song with everybody. My supportive older brother and his wife and the artist who sings it, Claire Riley Rowe, all sat down and wrote it together for me. And then my brother recorded and produced it in his studio and he titled it “Sky Full of Ghosts”, after watching Cosmos episode, where they discuss how the light from distant stars and galaxies takes years to reach us, sometimes up to billions of years. So we’re seeing these objects as they were in the past, not as they are today. And it’s possible that some of these objects may not even exist anymore. So it’s almost as if we’re seeing their ghosts. So anyways, I hope everybody enjoys it as much as I do. And thank you for listening and I love you.
[01:21:02] Claire Riley Rowe : [music and singing] All this time and all this space/ Is it 20 years or just 2 days?/ Seems like forever since yesterday/ And now you’re light years away/ I’ve got my head up in the clouds above/ Cause I know that’s where you are/ Holding on to this heavy love/ Cause I can feel you so close/ In a sky full of ghosts/ In a sky full of ghosts/ In a sky full of ghosts/ In a sky full of ghosts/ Gravity has a hold on me/ Renegade black hole burning deep/Fading stars all around/ Ground control won’t you count me down?/ To get my head up in the clouds above/ Cause I know that’s where you are/ Holding on to this heavy love/ Cause I can feel you so close/ In a sky full of ghosts/ In a sky full of ghosts/ In a sky full of ghosts/ In a sky full of ghosts/ I used to think forever meant for ever/ I didn’t know it meant today/ One more smile just one more smile/ One more yesterday/ I’ve got my head up in the clouds above/ Cause I know that’s where you are/ Holding on to this heavy love/ Cause I can feel you so close/ In a sky full of ghosts/ In a sky full of ghosts/ In a sky full of ghosts/ In a sky full of ghosts