February 12, 2018
EP. 99 — Sober Mathematician
Longtime listeners know: math is Chris Gethard’s nemesis. A real-life mathematician calls in and gives Gethard the most thrilling math quiz ever on a podcast. (We feel safe making that claim.) He also talks about his struggle with substances in college and getting sober. Geth also tells a never-before-heard story about an unusual religious ceremony in the rainforest, which involves hallucinogens and terrible diarrhea.
This episode is brought to you by Burrow.com (www.burrow.com code: STORIES), Talkspace (www.talkspace.com/beautiful), Stamps.com (www.stamps.com code: BEAUTIFUL), and Brooklinen (www.brooklinen.com code: BEAUTIFUL).
99 — Sober Mathematician
[00:00:45] CHRIS: Hello to everybody who knows how to solve five X plus three equals fifteen. It’s Beautiful Anonymous. One hour. One phone call. No names. No holds barred.
[00:59] THEME MUSIC: I’d rather go one-on-one. I think it’ll be more fun and I’ll get to know you and you’ll get to know me.
[00:01:11] CHRIS: Hello, everybody, it’s Chris Gethard. Welcome to another episode of Beautiful Anonymous, a podcast where you listen to people talking. Nice, simple, clean premise. Not much to explain there. I’m talking on the phone and you get to spy on with your ears while you’re driving or relaxing, whatever you do. Thank you for listening. It’s the best, best thing in my life. I tell you one thing that underlines how cool a gig this is, is so many people came out. We sold out The Bell House last week, had almost 400 people packed in there listening to a call. Got them to meet a bunch of you guys afterwards, including a bunch of mods from the Facebook group. And it was cool. It was cool to meet all these people who just wanted to kick back and listen to a thing. If you’re in New York tonight, got another show. I think there might even be a handful tickets left. Next week I think is sold out. Tonight come on out, come to Brooklyn Bell House we’ll all hang out, have a party. Good. Be a good time. What else do we have to talk about? Last week’s episode “Chemo Chameleon”. Not surprising. A lot of people really sending a lot of love to that caller. The Facebook group, a lot of people really just wishing her well as I do, as I do. And I hope everything turns out okay. I hope everything turns out okay for everybody, whoever has called this show. What a weird gig where so many times it’s just the thing. The bell goes off and I just immediately, I hope they’re okay. I hope everybody’s okay. The whole premise of this podcast might just be, maybe we can all be okay? Let’s talk about it. Speaking of which, this week’s call. I will tell you, this one’s interesting. Young caller who’s already been through a lot. And I’ll say right away, too, that the call ended kind of abruptly. We were having a lot of fun. Kind of caught up on us. I just want to reiterate from the top. Caller, kudos to you. You’ve been through a lot. You’ve handled yourself well. I hope it keeps going well. You said that I had anything to do with some of the life improvements you made. That means the world to me. And really all the credit goes you. I want to make sure I say that. And on top of that you guys can tell just from that there’s some serious stuff that’s talked about in this one. But we also have a ton of fun. At one point, I will warn you, I yell, I yell so loud during this call that it actually caused people in the Earwolf office to come into the booth because they thought something was happening, that I was like screaming at a person. They were like, ‘Man, he’s really giving it to that person.’ I was like, ‘No, I was just having the most fun I’ve ever had screaming, yelling about dumb stuff.’ So, yeah, some serious stuff in this one. Some fun stuff in this one. And a pretty cool caller. Can’t wait to see what you guys think. Maybe I’ll see you at The Bell House tonight. Enjoy.
[04:01] PHONE ROBOT: Thank you for calling Beautiful Anonymous. A beeping noise will indicate when you are on the show with the host. [beep]
[00:04:08] CALLER: Hello?
[04:10] CHRIS: Hello.
[04:11] CALLER: Who is this?
[00:04:14] CHRIS: It’s Gethard. Who’s this?
[04:16] CALLER: Gethard? Oh, man.
[04:17] CHRIS: Don’t say your name.
[04:20] CALLER: Oh, you almost tricked me. I almost said my name.
[00:04:23] CHRIS: Why would you start so aggressive? That’s the most aggressive start in the history of the show. ‘Who is this?’ You know who this is, you called me. You called me.
[00:04:30] CALLER: Because, man, I have had a really stressful day and I didn’t think that something good was gonna happen. And I consider this something good.
[00:04:41] CHRIS: Well, who knows? We’ll see how it ends. Let’s not count our chickens before they’re hatched, my friend. But look.
[04:49] CALLER: I started out by being overly aggressive. And then it sounds like you just threatened me by saying, “we’ll see how it ends.’
[00:04:55] CHRIS: Well, I’m known to match aggression with aggression. I think that’s part of growing up in New Jersey. I think it’s a Jersey thing.
[00:05:03] CALLER: I was just about to say that sounds like a New Jersery kind of thing. How are you doing?
[00:05:10] CHRIS: How am I doing? I’ll tell you. I’m awful excited because I’m going on vacation tomorrow for three weeks. And it’s the first time in my adult life that I have a job that has ended and I know it’s coming back, the TV show. So it’s the first time I get to go on vacation and just relax, not have to worry about some dangling open thread. So I’m feeling great.
[00:05:35] CALLER: Oh, that’s so wonderful, man. As opposed to most of the Beautiful Anonymous calls I’ve heard recently where it’s all just ‘I’m stressed about this, I’m stressed about this.’ That’s dope.
[00:05:45] CHRIS: Stressful times. A lot of stressful times, that’s the way of the world. Now, how are you?
[00:05:51] CALLER: Oh, man. So I had to drive an hour and a half this morning to had a doctor’s appointment. But sike, it was actually a two-hour drive, even though it was only supposed to be an hour and a half. And then I got lost, like, four times on the way back and I almost got into an accident. And man, have you ever seen Final Destination when the logs for that truck?
[00:06:22] CHRIS: What is that relentless tapping? There’s a relentless – oh, no, it went away.
[00:06:26] CALLER: Is there a tapping?
[00:06:28] CHRIS: Yeah, wait let’s just. Jarred, you hearing that? I’m hearing a tapping. I do know the logs from the truck scenario. I don’t know if that’s just Final Destination. I’ve seen a few renditions of the logs from a truck. Did you run into a logs from a truck on the highway?
[00:06:43] CALLER: Not nearly as bad. I was driving and then a big road sign fell off the back of this guy’s truck and it got lodged under my car. And I thought I was gonna die.
[06:56] CHRIS: [laughing] What did the sign say?
[00:06:59] CALLER: It was just a picture of some dude, like with flags. It was a silhouette.
[00:07:04] CHRIS: Flags? A picture. So a big sign – oh, like a roadwork sign.
[07:11] CALLER: Yeah, exactly.
[07:11] CHRIS: One of those silhouette roadwork signs came flying out of a truck, right into your car, got stuck underneath, and thought that you were gonna die.
[00:07:19] CALLER: I did, yeah.
[00:07:21] CHRIS: I’m sorry you had to go through that. It sounds really scary.
[00:07:24] CALLER: Yeah man. So that’s how my day is going. And I’m not even home yet. But then I saw that tweet. I got real excited.
[00:07:34] CHRIS: That’s good. I’m happy to help out. I’m gonna warn you now, if you know what the source of that tapping is, you should eliminate the tapping or else everyone listening to this is going to want to murder you.
[00:07:53] CALLER: Okay, I’m gonna go ahead and, cause I’m in my car and you should not be able to hear tapping. But I’m gonna pull off to the side and I’m probably just gonna wait on the side of the road for like two hours, or 45 minutes, or however long we have.
[00:08:11] CHRIS: Okay. Okay yeah. You have fifty-five minutes. Yes. Thank you for that. I assume that’s probably safer anyway than being distracted while driving.
[00:08:21] CALLER: Man, see everything happens for a reason.
[08:24] CHRIS: Yeah, that tapping may just be saving lives right now.
[08:29] CALLER: Somebody who’s gonna listen to this and think, ‘You know, I should probably get off the phone.’ And then they’re gonna do that and it’s gonna be you and me. We’re gonna save America, Chris Gethard.
[00:08:38] CHRIS: Yeah, maybe we just saved America. All of its problems. So you’ve pulled over now, huh?
[00:08:48] CALLER: Yeah, can you tell?
[08:49] CHRIS: Yeah, it must’ve been just the rotation of your tires or something. Quality of the road grade.
[00:08:56] CALLER: Well, now that you mentioned that, now I’m just going to be stuck thinking that my tires are warped or there’s something massively wrong with my car from the road sign earlier.
[00:09:05] CHRIS: You’re kind of a worrywart, huh?
[09:07] CALLER: A little bit. I’m actually shaking right now just by the fact that I got on the show.
[00:09:15] CHRIS: You’re playing it real calm and cash. You sound pretty laid back.
[00:09:19] CALLER: There is no way that that is accurate. Man, I am completely shaking.
[00:09:27] CHRIS: No need to be intimidated. No need to be worried about it. You’re talking to a dude who can barely hold it together day-to-day. So you’re good. In good company.
[00:09:38] CALLER: Yeah, I’m pretty aware of that. I don’t think it narrows me down too much, but I am one of the people who’s seen, like, every single public-access episode and, like, all that kind of stuff.
[00:09:55] CHRIS: That’s awesome. Thanks for checking out my stuff.
[00:09:57] CALLER: Yeah. Yeah. So this means quite a bit to me to be able to get on here.
[00:10:03] CHRIS: That’s nice. Oh, the old public-access. The people who used to watch the old public access show I did, I got to say, I’m very happy that things have turned around for me. The past couple of years I’ve had a hot streak. It’s nice. But those were the people who literally kept me from quitting when I had nothing. So thank you for watching that.
[00:10:25] CALLER: Oh, I watched while it was on Fusion, actually. So what is it? Of course, I knew your Bonnaroo story, because I was a big fan of stand up. And I was getting one [unintelligble] on my couch one night and I saw the Chris Gethard Show on Fuse and I’m like, ‘Hey, isn’t it that dude who did a bunch of Molly? I like that dude.’ So I watched your show and I instantly fell in love with it and I watched everything.
[00:10:55] CHRIS: Well, thank you so much. That’s awfully nice. Now, what’s your deal? What’s your story? Why you so nervous about everything all the time?
[00:11:05] CALLER: I don’t know, man. I’ve had lots of anxiety most of my life. What is it? All right, so I’ve got to go to a sober house tonight and speak in front of a group of people.
[00:11:23] CHRIS: Woah, that’s cool.
[11:24] CALLER: And I’m also nervous for that.
[00:11:27] CHRIS: Yeah. Wait. I want to know what that means. So are you in recovery?
[00:11:32] CALLER: I am.
[11:33] CHRIS: That’s cool. How long, you know, how long you got?
[00:11:36] CALLER: I got like, just over a year and a half.
[00:11:40] CHRIS: Nice, congrats.
[00:11:41] CALLER: So, yeah. Oh, man. Sorry. I’m super nervous.
[00:11:46] CHRIS: No need. We’ll get over it. We’ll get into a rhythm. It’ll be fine.
[00:11:50] CALLER: I would imagine.
[00:11:51] CHRIS: Yeah. Don’t even sweat it. I’ve got your back.
[00:11:53] CALLER: Yeah. So yeah. I’ve got like a year and a half. And do you want to do the fun part?
[00:12:00] CHRIS: Yeah!
[12:01] CALLER: I’m still only 21.
[00:12:04] CHRIS: That’s awesome. Congrats. I quit before I was 21 as well. I don’t know if you know that.
[12:11] CALLER: Oh, I’m very aware of that actually. Wow. I’m trying not to come off completely obsessed, but you did play a very large role in my being okay with getting sober as young as I was, and then also with my going on mental health meds. Finally pulling the trigger and going on Lamictal, which I know you’re well-acquainted with.
[00:12:41] CHRIS: Yeah. Every morning, take my Lamictal.
[12:45] CALLER: Oh, I’m a nighttime kinda guy.
[12:47] CHRIS: Yeah. I used to do half in the morning, half at night. But I tell you, we’re bumping them down. Shrink thinks I might even be at a point where they’re a placebo at this point, but as long as it’s working, I’m not rocking the boat. So long as I’m not crying on cliffs and weird New Jersey towns. Then I’ll stick with it.
[13:05] CALLER: Oh, yeah, I feel it.
[00:13:07] CHRIS: I think that’s cool. Were you in college? Were you, like, an active student when you quit?
[00:13:13] CALLER: Yeah, yeah.
[00:13:15] CHRIS: That is not an easy task.
[00:13:18] CHRIS: No, it’s not. Because, you know, obviously there’s a lot of partying that goes on in college, but even more than that. It’s like, if you’re partying as much as I was partying, the only people you’re friends with are people who party.
[13:36] CHRIS: Right.
[13:38] CALLER: So, you kind of don’t have any real support system around you.
[13:42] CHRIS: One hundred percent. I remember just feeling too, just on a basic day-to day-level. I had a few stops and starts when I quit drinking because I was pretty aware that I should stop. It was pretty clear that I just didn’t know how to do it right. People ask me, ‘How come you don’t drink anymore?’ And I say, like, ‘Well, I wasn’t good at it.’ And I think they think I’m joking. And there is certainly something like, you know, intentionally trying to be, like, a little cheeky about that answer. But it is true. Like, I wasn’t good at it. But it’s like, when you go to your friend’s place and you’re in college, like it might be 2:00 in the afternoon and people just sit around a table drinking already. Like, you’re just around it all the time. So kudos to you.
[00:14:26] CALLER: Oh, man, thanks. I’m stoked about it. See, I actually. What was it? I stopped drugs first. Because, I mean, I was really bad at drinking, but I was really, really bad at doing drugs.
[00:14:44] CHRIS: What were the drugs? What were the drugs you were messing with?
[00:14:48] CALLER: Obviously, I smoked a ton of weed. And I’ve had, you know, mental illness problems my whole life. So I had those Ativan, which are you acquainted with those?
[00:15:00] CHRIS: Wait, Ativan, I’ve heard of. Never taken it.
[00:15:05] CALLER: It’s a lot like Xanax, except more fun.
[15:12] CHRIS: More fun?
[15:13] CALLER: At least in my opinion.
[15:14] CHRIS: Now Xanax chills you out?
[00:15:15] CALLER: Yeah, exactly. So it’s basically – my friend would call it “big boy Xanax.” So it’s basically just Xanax, except more. So I’d take that.
[00:15:26] CHRIS: [hums] So this is Xanax, but more?
[15:28] CALLER: So yeah, I’d take that.
[15:30] CHRIS: Okay, so you’re messing with prescription pills.
[00:15:32] CALLER: Yeah, it was just more intense. A lot of, oh dude, a ton of Adderall, and Vyvanse. I was a big fan of them.
[00:15:46] CHRIS: And would you get prescriptions for all these or would you just find your way? Would people just be selling them kinda around campus?
[00:15:53] CALLER: It started out with prescriptions and then my prescription would run out, and I would find ways to get it from other people. And, you know, at a certain point you go home for winter break, you fail almost all your classes. And you’re just like, ‘OK, I don’t think I can do these things anymore.’ Mainly because your dad says, ‘What the you know, what the heck is wrong with you?’ So, yeah.
[16:30] CHRIS: If you’re messing with that much Adderall, too you probably lost, like, 25 pounds since the last time they saw you. When I messed with that Adderall, I got so skinny and so hyper and I never needed to sleep. But then what would happen is all my muscles would hurt and I would poop blood. Those were the trade-offs. I don’t know, you ever have that one? Any of the weird side effects from the Adderall. Boner stuff? I had some boner stuff.
[00:16:53] CALLER: [laughs] I would go between – you had some what stuff?
[17:00] CHRIS: [ennunciating] Boner. Erection. Boner stuff. [laughs]
[00:17:05] CALLER: [laughs] I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t mishearing you.
[00:17:09] CHRIS: Yes, your ears do not deceive you. I did say the quote, “I had some boner stuff.” That is a thing I just said to you. Yes.
[00:17:20] CALLER: I feel like you should apologize right now.
[00:17:24] CHRIS: My bad, my bad. Sorry Sally, in particular, less to you. My mom and my aunt.
[00:17:28] CALLER: You don’t have to apologize to the recovering drug addict for saying the word boner.
[00:17:35] CHRIS: No, I – what was it? I would just alternate between, and the Vyvanse I liked way better because it was way stronger, but I would be up for like, two or three days straight. And then to avoid the comedown, because aw man, the comedown was bad. Like you feel hollow, you feel dead. So to avoid that, I would just smoke weed all day, every day for four or five days straight, for a week or two weeks. Just you know, I didn’t have anything else. But I ended up during the course of one semester I lost 20 pounds. No, I gained 20 pounds. I lost 20 pounds. I gained 20 pounds. I lost 20 pounds. And I gained 20 pounds.
[00:18:27] CHRIS: Wow, 20 pounds swings. Not good for the heart, I would imagine. Not good for the overall, no cardiovascular system just constantly losing and gaining weight in increments of 20 pounds. A lot. That’s big swings.
[00:18:44] CALLER: [laughing] No, that’s always been a thing for me. I can gain and lose weight super, super easily. You know, a blessing and a curse. But, you know, in addition to the weight, I imagine the copious amounts of speed I was doing weren’t helping the old ticker either.
[00:19:00] CHRIS: Meaning? Meaning the Adderall and what’s the other one – Vyan, Vyan Vyvanse …
[00:19:05] CALLER: Vyvanse. Yeah.
[00:19:10] CHRIS: Vyvanse, another amphetamine type?
[19:16] CALLER: It’s, yeah. Vyvanse is awesome, man. It’s scary how great that stuff is. Like people, like Wall Street guys, you know, the guys who are supposed to do coke all the time?
[00:19:28] CHRIS: Yeah. Yeah. I live in New York City. I see those bros all the time.
[00:19:32] CALLER: Yeah. A lot of those guys don’t like coke nearly as much as they like Vyvanse. Because, you can just – oh man, yeah. It’s just so smooth. And it lasts so long, and you get so like, I don’t even know, man.
[00:19:49] CHRIS: And your nose doesn’t bleed?
[00:19:52] CALLER: Your nose doesn’t bleed. It can if you want it to.
[00:19:57] CHRIS: Oh, you can snort this stuff, too?
[00:20:00] CALLER: Yeah, ’cause it’s in like a capsule, so you can pop it open or you can leave it shut if you want to extend it. I just want to go on record, though, again, the guy who is essentially promoting this is a recovering drug addict.
[20:14] CHRIS: Yes.
[20:14] CALLER: So, listeners, don’t. All right?
[20:17] CHRIS: Yes. Important to note.
[20:20] CALLER: Don’t, don’t do this stuff. Maybe if you have like a big project and you have to pull an all-nighter, but –
[20:28] CHRIS: No! No! No! Let’s draw a line in the sand. No! Not ‘if you got a big project,’ [unintelligble]. If you have a doctor’s prescription and the doctor tells you this is something necessary in your life, then sure. Not if you need to pull an all-nighter!
[20:43] CALLER: [laughing]
[20:46] CHRIS: No! No! Let me jump in there. No! But, you know, you bring up something important. You bring up something important, which is interesting. Like with drugs in particular, because I’ve had my run-ins with Adderall, molly, like you mentioned. And it’s funny because you’re saying like, ‘Yeah, I’m basically promoting them, but I’m a recovering addict’. But there is something to be said for like, that’s the realistic conversation, right? Because nobody gets way too into something because it’s not fun. You know?
[21:18] CALLER: [still laughing] Yeah!
[21:19] CHRIS: Nobody gets it dives headfirst into something because it’s not awesome. It is awesome at first. But then what happens is, like you said, you’ve been awake for days at a time and a month goes by and you’ve lost 20 pounds and you’re failing out of your classes. And everyone who loves you is like, ‘Whoa, the fuck is going on?’ And then you take a step back and you go, ‘It’s not even that fun anymore. My whole life is now about like, getting this stuff and then adjusting my brain, my chemistry to react to this stuff.’ And like you said, I’m smoking tons of weed to avoid the comedowns. And I’m sure there’s diminishing returns on how fun it is when you do it. So I actually think, you know, I’m talking too much right now. But when you’re saying like you’re basically promoting it, I think that’s important. I think it’s important to, like not demonize them as something that’s a bad time. It’s a good time with diminishing returns and ultimately bad results.
[00:22:09] CALLER: Oh, yeah man. And especially, you know, again, I’m a college student, so like, I’m not just some, like, prude who thinks nobody should be doing this stuff. That’s why that’s why even my like disclaimer is still like, ‘Yeah, you can do these prescription drugs recreationally, just in moderation.’
[00:22:30] CHRIS: I want to reiterate my opinion; no. Let’s not. Let’s not even say that. But I get what you mean. You know, there’s friends in my life where, like, ‘I take mushrooms all the time and it opens my mind.’ And I’m like, ‘More power to ya.’ I know for a fact if I took them, I’d wind up like, with a giant beard living in the woods, like mumbling about lizard people. Like, I just know what would happen if I took hallucinogens. Not a good scene, but more power to you if you can do it.
[00:22:58] CALLER: Yeah. What is it? I always really wanted to do hallucinogens, but I just, I never got around to it because the couple of times they were around, I knew I was in a really bad headspace. And then I mentioned that to my psych, who is also a nurse practitioner, right? Is yours?
[23:15] CHRIS: [hums in agreement]
[23:17] CALLER: What was that?
[23:18] CHRIS: I said, “Mmhm.”
[23:20] CALLER: Oh, okay. Thanks for the slightly less vague mumble.
[00:23:24] CHRIS: Your aggression again. The aggression.
[23:26] CALLER: Yeah. She’s also extremely and wonderful and I love her. But I mentioned that and she’s like, ‘Oh, good. If like, with your kind of bipolar, and your history, and your family history, like if you did any kind of hallucinogenics, you could probably have a psychotic break.’ I’m like, ‘Dope.’
[23:48] CHRIS: Yeah. I always assumed that if I took acid, I’d wind up like the guy in my hometown who stood on Main Street with a coffee cup all day, every day. Empty coffee cup. Just standing. Figured. Yeah. The rumor was he had a bad trip back in the 70s. Just do it on Main Street. Shaking the coffee cup in his hand all day.
[00:24:09] CALLER: Yeah. No, that doesn’t sound like a fun time.
[00:24:11] CHRIS: No.
[24:15] CALLER: I don’t know. I’ll have a friend smoke DMT and then be like, ‘Yo, it’s the most amazing thing.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, but have you tried like, taking a warm bubble bath? That’s also pretty cool.’
[24:25] CHRIS: [chuckles] And you don’t feel like you’re experiencing the sensation of death.
[00:24:31] CALLER: Exactly. [chuckles]
[24:33] CHRIS: DMT, for any listeners. Well, just for any listeners who don’t who aren’t familiar, DMT is a molecule that’s supposedly when you consume it – I think by smoking it right? You are said to have your brain releases the same chemicals that are released when you die. I believe is the story with that one, right?
[00:24:53] CALLER: Yeah. You either smoke it or you can make it into this tea called ayahuasca.
[00:24:58] CHRIS: I always heard – now ayahuasca is, I always thought, was what DMT was derived from. That ayahuasca is like the natural thing.
[00:25:05] CALLER: Oh yeah, but they make like, you can get a tour or like some kind of weird thing to the rain forests so that they’ll make you like, ayahuasca tea.
[00:25:17] CHRIS: Yeah.
[25:18] CALLER: Which is essentially DMT in tea form.
[00:25:21] CHRIS: I got a story about that and nobody knows. Never been told publicly.
[00:25:26] CALLER: Can we know it?
[00:25:28] CHRIS: So a lot of people at this point, because I’ve talked about a bunch, including in the HBO special, know that in 2012 I had a very, very big freakout. Well, where a lot of people don’t know is that my friend Antonio Campos, a noted filmmaker, director of films such as “After School” and “Simon Killer”, producer of “Martha Marcy May, Marlene.” Good pal of mine. We were writing something together and I was going to his office every day, and I was popping Adderall like M&Ms. I was just in front of him, eating Adderall and he finally was – and I was telling him, like, I was like staying up all night and sleeping around. And he finally grabbed me, he’s like, ‘Yo, we gotta get you out in New York City.’ So nobody really knows this part of the story which is that my friend had a film in a film festival in Brazil. And he’s like, ‘You’re coming to Rio with me.’ And I was like, ‘Fuck, yeah, I am!’
[00:26:24] CHRIS: How’s that for a cliffhanger? I’m the most open book in the world. What story have I not told? Well, you’re just going to have to stay tuned in the meantime. We got advertisers. That’s why I get to bring you the show free every Tuesday. Back right after this with more phone call.
[ 26:42] [AD BREAK]
[00:29:32] CHRIS: Thanks again to everybody who sponsors this show. It’s much appreciated. Now let’s get back to the phone call.
[00:29:39] CHRIS: My friend had a film in a film festival in Brazil. And he’s like, ‘You’re coming to Rio with me.’ And I was like, ‘Fuck, yeah, I am!’ And he’s a great guy. And he’s not a puritan. He’s not a moralist. Antonio is like, ‘Look, we’re getting you off the grid and you have to just decide, like, if you want to be a party guy now, you do it in Rio. But if you want to, like, go back to being yourself, we can get you off the grid and chill you out.’ We went there. I found out that ayahuasca is legal in Brazil. Only in the religious ceremonies of this quasi-Catholic cult. So it’s this weird Catholic cult that’s legally allowed to use ayahuasca. So I found out it was like one of these things where I was gonna have to take a bus to a mountain then have to transfer to another bus.
[00:30:26] CALLER: Yeah, that’s the exact thing I was talking about!
[30:29] CHRIS: Yeah! Yeah! And then you go to this weird Catholic ceremony and they give you ayahuasca. And like the people, they demonstrate Jesus being tortured and stuff, I think. Whole thing was intense and I was trying to set it up so bad. So bad. And then you know what happened? That saved my life. This saved my life, my friend.
[00:30:49] CALLER: Yeah?
[30:50] CHRIS: Late one night I’m like, making active plans, inquiries on how to get to this ayahuasca mountain top cult. Hungry. Eat some street food. These nuggets I’ve never known what they’re made out of. I bought them from a stand on the beaches of Copacabana. Horrific diarrhea! [enunciating] I mean HOR-RIF-FIC DIARRHEA. It was like one of these like 14-hour stomach bugs. I think I was in Brazil for about six days and 14 of those hours were just spent with an indescribable diarrhea. And I couldn’t go out. And all I did, I was able – there was a pool on the roof of my hotel. There was a bathroom next to the pool. No one ever used the pool. So I sat up there and I looked out over the beaches of Copacabana. I looked up at Sugarloaf Mountain. And I would occasionally just go do diarrhea blasts in the bathroom of this rooftop hotel. And I was drinking Mexican Cokes to try to calm my stomach down. And it was there staring out at the Jesus statue above Rio de Janeiro, looking at the beautiful mountains and seas that I said, ‘I think maybe I’ve taken things too far and I need to chill the fuck out.’ And then I came back and got my head together. My wife noticed it. She was not my wife at the time. She was a friend who was wary of me. And then when I got it, we got married and now everything’s good.
[00:32:20] CALLER: Well. I’m very happy about that. Also, I remember when I was watching the Chris Gethard show and I found out that it was Hallie from The LLC who was your wife? I think I screamed. I was so happy about it.
[00:32:40] CHRIS: Well, that’s a nice scream for you. A fanboy moment. That’s awesome. TMZ gossip.
[00:32:50] CALLER: Oh, yeah. And then with Bethany and Keith, one of my friends told me that they were married and I was like, ‘Oh, my God, so happy for them.’
[00:33:00] CHRIS: They have a baby. They have a little baby.
[33:04] CALLER: I didn’t know that!
[33:05] CHRIS: Baby, Bethany, and Keith. Look at that I’m giving you all the inside scoops. I’m giving you all the hot goss.
[33:11] CALLER: Oh my God! That’s probably the cutest baby ever.
[33:13] CHRIS: I mean, that baby is cute.
[33:16] CALLER: Oh, my God. Okay, well that’s awesome.
[33:19] CHRIS: What other Chris Gethard Show gossip can I give you? Let’s see. One time, Rob Malone was eating a cheeseburger and his jaw locked up.
[33:30] CALLER: [laughs]
[00:33:31] CHRIS: Hey. I want to get back on track. I want to get back on track about you. I need to ask. What’s the deal with the sober house and how did you come to be a speaker there? Is this a place that you stayed? Is this part of like an AA type program? Because to be as young as you are and to quit all the substances is one thing, but to be speaking, that’s another level. Very interesting. Tell me about the sober house.
[00:33:55] CALLER: OK. I’m going to backtrack a little further and then get to it. Is that okay with you?
[00:34:00] CHRIS: Hey, yeah, this time is yours.
[00:34:03] CALLER: Okay. Well, just to fill everyone in because I feel like I left on a tangent. So drugs happened. I quit drugs. I was about to go back to school. The day before I left – also, my parents thought I was dead for like the whole semester becuase they couldn’t get in contact with me.
[00:34:22] CHRIS: Cool. Cool.
[34:24] CALLER: So I’m about to leave. And then my dad finds a ton like, liters and liters, of vodka that I had stashed away. And he goes, ‘Hey, man, not okay.’ I end up going to a meeting with him – an AA meeting.
[00:34:43] CHRIS: Is he in the program?
[34:45] CALLER: He is.
[00:34:46] CALLER: Oh, wow. That must’ve freaked them out. That must have been a heartbreaking thing for him to see his kid hoarding booze.
[00:34:53] CALLER: Yeah. To his credit, he was unbelievably calm about it. He just said, ‘Hey, I think you should come to a meeting.’
[00:35:02] CHRIS: Yeah.
[00:35:04] CALLER: I don’t think he was actually that calm on the inside, but so I came. That’s when I realized like, ‘Oh, I’m a drug addict.’ Like, not just ‘I can’t do drugs.’ Like, ‘I was an addict.’ And then I was trying to control my drinking and it didn’t work at all. It just kept getting worse and no more fun. And just I couldn’t stop drinking. And then I finally, like, threw my hands up. I’m like, ‘Well, fuck this. I’m out.’ And yeah, so then I decided to be sober. I decided that that was probably the right thing for me to do.
[35:49] CHRIS: Nice.
[00:35:51] CALLER: I do want to preface everything with – so, if I say something and you’re listening to this and you’re in AA, I’m not claiming to know everything. But also if I’m listening and you hear something and you, I don’t know. I just don’t want people to think that I’m like speaking for all of AA or I know everything about it or anything like that.
[00:36:20] CHRIS: Yeah, I think that’s a cool disclaimer. You’re just talking about your experience.
[00:36:25] CALLER: So I’m home right now. I’m still in school. It’s winter break still, so I’m home and I’m going to my group that I have around here. And I asked my friend to – I used to speak at a detox which, like man, a detox is where people are coming in right after they overdose and they’re all like medicated on like tranquilizers. And I would just go to talk to them and be like, ‘Hey, guys, if any of you are awake, basically just know that my life is miserable, I was able to make it not miserable by going here and doing what other people told me to do. So if any of you want to, that’s an option.’
[00:37:19] CHRIS: Yeah.
[37:20] CALLER: Then I asked my friend who still does that, still goes to that detox to speak, I asked him if I could come with him and he said, ‘Nah, man, but I’m going to this sober house tomorrow.’ And he didn’t explain what it was. All I know is that it’s a different building and it’s going to be people who are less sedated then that and actually kind of conscious. So, I’m really not sure what’s up. But that’s kind of a thing in AA. Somebody will tell you you can do something and you should just say yes and do it because most of the time saying yes means you’ll be there to help somebody out you, at least be there to try to help somebody out.
[00:38:13] CHRIS: That’s awesome.
[00:38:15] CALLER: You’ll probably be uncomfortable and it won’t be what you’re used to and you’ll get kind of vague instruction and it won’t make sense. And then somehow it ends up helping.
[00:38:28] CHRIS: So you kind of got your own head together and decided you wanted to get to work, make a part of your life trying to help other people get their heads together, too.
[00:38:38] CALLER: Yeah, that’s one of the biggest things that AA really is. You know, they say like freely give what was so freely given to you. People helped me out without a question about it. Everybody just wanted to see me happy and sober. And so logically, I should be going about my life just trying to make everyone around me happy. And if it pertains to them sober.
[00:39:11] CHRIS: Yeah. I think that goes for depression, too. My shrink once told me, I once went into a therapist appointment with my shrink and told her, ‘I don’t know why, but I have this really burning desire to join a Habitat for Humanity. Habitat for Humanity to build some houses.’ And she said, ‘You know, a lot of times when I know when someone who’s suffering from major depression is starting to have it lift in a more permanent way because they have an immediate desire to go help other people.’ And she’s like, that’s not an uncommon thing that people get this fire in their gut to go volunteer or try to make an impact. And it’s maybe that they’re feeling like they can pay it back or that they’re feeling hope for the first time in a while, whatever it is. I should note, it was a passing interest and I did not join Habitat for Humanity. I wish I could say I was that good of a person, but I like to try to convince myself that I try, that I do good in other ways. But I try to do my part. I think, yeah, that idea of you gotta sort of find your own safety net and then become another link in that chain for anybody else.
[00:40:23] CALLER: See, I would always think that that was happening to me. But I am, I don’t know if I had already mentioned it, I’m bipolar. So I would think that me wanting to go help other people and like, ‘Oh, my friend needs help. Let me drive them to the courthouse so that they can pay their ticket. Even though I’ve been up for like thirty-five hours already,’ or like, ‘Oh, let me try to help these people,’ I don’t know, in whatever way. And it would always just turn out I was manic and thought that I could save the world.
[00:40:56] CHRIS: Right. Right. Right. Right.
[00:40:58] CALLER: Yes.
[41:02] CHRIS: So, you know, this is obviously a thing, especially at a young age. That is a, you know, I’m sure daily concern. I’m sure you are around drinking a lot. You’re around the people used to do drugs with a lot. You got to really make an effort to step back from that, stay strong. [unintelligble] you from it, for it, rather. But I do want to know just in a well-rounded sense outside of that stuff, how are you doing? What are you up to? What are you up to outside of that stuff? So that I don’t want that whole defining aspect of what we talked about. It’s not who you are as a person. It’s a phase of your life that you’re fighting back against in an admirable way. So what? Tell me more is what I’m saying.
[00:41:45] CALLER: I don’t know. See, for like so much of my life, I let my mental illness kind of define me. Because as you know, it can be so overwhelming and all-consuming that basically until I was 20 years old, my biggest personality trait was just I’m depressed. But yeah, outside of that, you know, especially now that I’m happy, I really like school, which, don’t yell at me for that. I love it.
[00:42:22] CHRIS: To each his own. To each their own, right?
[00:42:24] CALLER: I feel it’s a valuable thing for people to experience. I’m trying to be very controversial right now. Yeah.
[00:42:33] CHRIS: I think if you like school, then you should do school. That’s great. Everybody gets mad at me. People get mad at me for saying, I’m just saying – if you don’t like school and you don’t know what you want out of school, maybe you take a gap year. You don’t spend six figures when you don’t have it. That being said, let’s move on. You like school. That’s rad. That’s good. You should do things you like.
[00:42:54] CALLER: Yeah, I think if you don’t know what you want to do, at most do community college. Don’t be committing yourself to moving to another state or anything. Yeah, but I really like school and I do a lot of outdoors stuff. I actually, I will say I’m in the northeast. So there’s a considerable amount of snow on the ground. But I did actually just go hiking. I hiked up a small mountain near me yesterday.
[00:43:23] CHRIS: If you’re a fan of mine, you almost definitely attend SUNY Purchase or SUNY New Paltz. [wheezes] If you’re that into me … What’s that?
[43:29] CALLER: No actually. No, surprisingly.
[43:34] CHRIS: But good guesses?
[00:43:36] CALLER: Yeah, fair guesses. I almost went to school for music, almost. I decided against that. I would say my school, but I feel like we’d just be narrowing down further and further.
[00:43:51] CHRIS: Yeah. Don’t do it. Not at all. Don’t do it. So you go out there. What are you studying in school? What are you studying in school that you enjoy so much?
[00:44:00] CALLER: I study math in all of its forms.
[00:44:03] CHRIS: We’re enemies. You and me. I liked you up until this moment. Math is the enemy! Math is THE ENEMY!
[00:44:09] CALLER: No, no, no, no. Hold on. Hold on.
[44:12] CHRIS: Convince me on math.
[00:44:12] CALLER: It makes you feel any better, I think that most math and the way that it’s taught is horrible. [sigh] I’m trying to think. Because I do a lot of tutoring, so most of the time when I tell kids, when they say ‘I suck at math, blah, blah, blah’ is ‘No, just somebody along the way made you think that you sucked at math, and then you fell back a little bit.’ And because math constantly builds on itself, once you fall back, it’s almost impossible to catch back up. So all you need is one person at one point to make you – that all you need is one person at one point to make you feel bad, and then you’re gonna be bad for the rest of your life.
[00:45:03] CHRIS: I’ve been bad at it since fourth grade. I got put in special math in fourth grade.
[00:45:08] CALLER: Yeah! So you probably just didn’t have a super big knack for it, so I can’t blame anyone who doesn’t like math because this system of math education does not like most people, I suppose. That being said, math is important and it’s the only reason you can be in the society or things like that.
[45:34] CHRIS: Can we do a test? I’m going to start with, I want you to test me. We’re gonna find out my proficiency at math. We’re going to start at seven times six, which I believe is 42. And I want you to give me math problems. I actually have a pad in front of me and a marker. Give me math problems that increase in a, you know, reasonable amount. And we’re gonna see how far I can go before we realize how quickly I crap out at math and it frustrates me to no end.
[00:46:07] CHRIS: Let’s pause there because I know I just dropped a bomb and a lot of you guys are salivating right now. Think about how you get to listen to a guy do math. It’s very, I will say, having recorded it, it’s funny. You come back, it’s – you wanna hear me get frustrated? Yeah. Come back after this. We’ve got ads now. Check them out. Use the promo codes. We come back for more phone call soon.
[46:33] [AD BREAK]
[00:48:03] CHRIS: Thanks again to all of our advertisers. Now let’s finish off this phone call.
[00:48:08] CHRIS: Give me math problems that increase in a, you know, reasonable amount and we’re gonna see how far I can go before we realize how quickly I crap out at math and it frustrates me to no end.
[00:48:22] CALLER: Okay. Right off the bat, I’m going to tell you, when people think that math is arithmetic and that math is all just – when I tell people in the math major and they expect me to be able to do like, hard multiplication problems. I get very upset because math is, it is very much not like that. It is a lot of logic and forming arguments based off of facts and solving large, complicated problems with large models.
[48:55] CHRIS: So more of a word problem? You’re more of a word problem guy?
[00:48:55] CALLER: Let’s start off with more of a word. Let’s start off with that. Sure. Sure. Yeah. Yeah. Seven plus four?
[00:49:05] CHRIS: 11. That’s easier than seven times six.
[00:49:09] CALLER: Okay. Five plus seven?
[00:49:11] CHRIS: 12. I mean I’m 37 years old. I can add five and seven.
[00:49:17] CALLER: All right. 11 times 11?
[00:49:26] CHRIS: [sighs] 121?
[49:29] CALLER: What was that?
[49:30] CHRIS: 121?
[49:32] CALLER: Very good.
[00:49:33] CHRIS: Oh God. Okay. Ugh, I’m so stressed out! Harry, he can see it. Harry is just cackling with glee because he’s facing me and watching my body language. Okay. So I think I nailed 11 times 11.
[00:49:43] CALLER: Okay. 25 divided by five?
[49:48] CHRIS: Five.
[49:52] CHRIS: Hello?
[00:49:55] CALLER: This dead air is going to be great for the episode Chris.
[49:59] CHRIS: [laughing] Well done, well done. I nailed five by five! I nailed five by five. Eleven times eleven is very hard for me because I do a weird thing where I go, ‘Well 11 times ten is that, and then plus one more 11 is that, and then you add that.’
[00:50:14] CALLER: Yeah. Yeah. That’s how you’re supposed to teach math by the way. When people complain about Common Core, they have no idea what Common Core actually is.
[50:21] CHRIS: Ugh I’m so stressed out.
[00:50:23] CALLER: It’s because all the old people we’re taught just by memorization. And then they think that teaching kids how to actually work with numbers is the devil because they don’t understand it. I don’t know.
[00:50:37] CHRIS: Why can’t we just live in a world where no one does math and everyone’s a podcaster and a comedian? [yelling] I never needed it! They told me! I said – I looked them in the eye! I looked my teachers in the eye, I said, ‘I will not need this!’ They said, ‘You will need this.’ I said, ‘I. Will. Not. Need. This. If I need this, if I am living a life that needs this, I will change my life to not need this.’ And you know what they used to say? I may have mentioned this on the show before. They said, ‘You know, you’re gonna go to the grocery store. You’re gonna have a basketful of items. And you’re not gonna know how much it costs.’ And you know what they always used to say when I was young? You know, at these seminars? ‘It’s not like you’re walking around with a calculator in your pocket.’
[51:18] CALLER: [laughing] Yup.
[00:51:19] CHRIS: [yelling] Well, guess what? Some genius named Steve Jobs finally was like, ‘Maybe we should have calculators in our pockets!’ They also tell you the time! With numbers! Not the hand things. Another thing I never needed to know!
[00:51:43] CALLER: I will say, as somebody who actually cares about math and computer science, the fact that you would give Steve Jobs any credit whatsoever, for anything other than being good at marketing … little upsetting gotta be honest.
[00:51:57] CHRIS: Well, we all know The Woz was the guy building the blue boxes back in the day.
[00:52:01] CALLER: Yes. Yes. I don’t know, see – trying to think. I totally had something to say and I forgot it in amid all of your really over the top, ranting.
CHRIS: [laughing] If you ask me 12 by 12 my answer legitimately is ‘I do not know.’ Let me try 12 times 12. 11 times 11 is …
[00:52:29] CALLER: If you’re going to do a math problem I’m gonna bump you up from arithmetic to algebra.
[00:52:32] CHRIS: Yeah, because that’s where I crapped out hard.
[00:52:36] CALLER: Okay. X plus two equals ten?
[52:40] CHRIS: Eight!
[52:41] CALLER: Solve for X.
[52:42] CHRIS: Eight.
[52:43] CALLER: Okay, you got it. Very nice.
[52:45] CHRIS: Come on. Come on.
[52:47] CALLER: Five X plus three equals 15?
[00:52:54] CHRIS: Five X, fu – oh let me write that down. Nothing more exciting in the audio sphere than listening to a guy do math. [laughing] Five X plus three equals 15, so that … [sigh and marker scribbling]
[53:08] CALLER: This was an episode of the Chris Gethard Show, wasn’t it?
[00:53:10] CHRIS: [muttering] 12 … I don’t remember. There’s been too many fucking things … 12 divided by … [muttering] You can’t divide 12 by five!
[53:20] CALLER: Yes, you can. The number is called twelve-fifths.
[00:53:24] CHRIS: Twelve-fifths? It’s just too many … 24 … [muttering]
[53:28] CALLER: You don’t have to divide it!
[00:53:29] CHRIS: 24. No you can’t! It’s not the answer they want! Mr. [bleep] yells at you! If you look Mr. [bleep] in the eyes, said ‘twelve-fifths’, he’d yell at you and he’d make you feel bad! And you’d say, ‘Why don’t you just coach the soccer team and do them – and not be mean to me? I’m in seventh grade!’
[53:48] CALLER: I actually judge because I have like, math education majors and oh my god. Math teachers have to learn so much more math and they’ll ever use. Like, oh my god, this stuff called analysis, which is the theory underlying theoretical calculus. And then you’re not even gonna be teaching calc. It’s ridiculous.
[00:54:12] CHRIS: Is it 2.2 or 2.4? Is it 2.2 or 2.4? 12 divided by 5?
[00:54:17] CALLER: 12 divided by five is going to be ugh, fourths, fifths. It’s 2.8. Isn’t it? I don’t know.
[00:54:27] CHRIS: You’re the man! [slams marker]
[54:30] CALLER: [laughing] Wait, no! It’s 2.4, my bad!
[54:34] CHRIS: It’s 2.4 that’s what I thought.
[00:54:36] CALLER: See, but that’s again, though. No, but I judge them because they don’t have to take the harder classes than I have to take. So, I’m like, ‘You don’t really know any math.’ So anybody who tells you that you have to simplify your answers to 2.4 instead of twelve-fifths, they don’t really know that.
[54:57] CHRIS: Yeah, but when you’re a kid and all you want to do is get through the day without people focusing on you cause you’re in eighth grade. And everybody else is going through puberty. And you’re not going to go through puberty for four more years, you don’t need –
[55:14] CALLER: What does that mean?
[55:14] CHRIS: The girls suck! Coach putting a spotlight on the fact that you can’t divide 12 by five.
[00:55:21] CALLER: What does that put you at? Senior year?
[00:55:24] CHRIS: Yeah, senior years is when I finally got pubes. Not even, okay maybe end of junior year.
[55:28] CALLER: It’s okay buddy. Same.
[55:31] CHRIS: Yeah, that’s rough. When you’re in that –
[00:55:32] CALLER: Yup. That’s right when I was turning 17. It was a very, very lonely high school existence. It was sad.
[55:41] CHRIS: I mean, it gets to the point where they don’t even make fun of ya anymore, right? They don’t even make fun. After a certain point, they’re just like, ‘Oh, yeah. I mean, we’ve said all the jokes. So. Yeah. I guess your voice will just change … I mean we can’t say any more jokes.’
[00:55:54] CALLER: It’s fine because I have this slightly feminine, and I was a little flamboyant and over the top. So all the older girls thought I was gay and they would all just make me their best friend.
[56:10] CHRIS: Oh, that’s cool.
[00:56:09] CALLER: So I kind of went to the opposite side. Instead of getting bullied, I was invited to parties with the older kids.
[00:56:15] CHRIS: Oh, you embraced.
[56:18] CALLER: Oh, yeah, to some extent.
[00:56:20] CHRIS: Not me. I wasn’t get invited to parties by older girls. Wouldn’t say ‘Oh, what was your high school experience like? Lot of older girls bringing me to parties.’ Not so much. Me and Mark. What’s that? [yelling] You went to five proms?
[00:56:40] CALLER: [laughing] Yeah.
[56:42] CHRIS: Oh man.
[00:56:43] CALLER: I think I went to a prom my sophomore year, junior year, all four. So sophomore, junior, senior, and then I was dating a girl who was in high school still, my first year of college. So I went to a fourth one then. So you could pay me to chop off a finger, but I don’t think you could pay me to relive like a month worth of high school.
[00:57:08] CHRIS: How much would I have to pay you to chop off that finger?
[00:57:11] CALLER: Jeez, I’m gonna go with left pinky finger, the least effective one.
[00:57:18] CHRIS: Sure, pinky finger on your non-dominant hand. Realistically, how much money do I have to offer you to chop that off and send it to me in the mail?
[00:57:28] CALLER: For me to chop it off myself, like with a cleaver – well, now that I’m looking at my student loans, because I just realized I’m going to graduate about 60 grand in debt.
[00:57:37] CHRIS: Oh, fuck.
[57:40] CALLER: It’s okay.
[57:41] CHRIS: No it’s not!
[00:57:43] CALLER: No, it’s okay. cause my field has 99 percent employment.
[00:57:47] CHRIS: What are you talking about? How do you get employed? What’s your field with math? You a mathematician?
[00:57:53] CALLER: Well, because I double with – because there’s pure math. Which is, have you seen that movie “Good Will Hunting”?
[00:58:02] CHRIS: Yeah. Yeah. Matt Damon.
[00:58:04] CALLER: Basically, pure math is just a bunch of smart guys sitting in a room talking about stuff. Applied math is solving problems and making people more money. So applied math as a field has, I think over a 97.5 percent employment or something.
[00:58:21] CHRIS: What fields? What type of fields do people go into? Buy stocks and bonds and stuff like that? Market predictions?
[00:58:30] CALLER: That’s financial math. And then you can use it to apply to Jeez, I want to go into more like, business and optimizing solutions for people. You can use it to go into computer science, or into physics, or into a bunch of different stuff. Like you could use it to go into stats or really anything.. There’s a bunch of different stuff.
[00:59:01] CHRIS: So when you say you want to use it to help businesses, is this the type of thing you’d go, you get a consultation fee from a business. They give you all their breakdowns of how they’re spending money, where they make money. And you would look at it and go, ‘I’m seeing this money move. I’m watching these numbers swirl around.’ And here’s the places where you can, you know, plug things up, maybe keep some of this money around in smarter ways. Here’s ways that you can spend money to make money that you’re not thinking of in your field, that type of thing?
[00:59:26] CALLER: Kind of. It can be either a consultation – it’s either consultation or it’s in-house. So since I’m not like a big, fancy, famous person, like a lot of my professors are, they’ll get hired by some crazy important company to do one giant project and get a bunch of money from it. I’d probably be hired in-house for small projects like, ‘Hey, I think the cardstock that we’re using for the spam letters we send out might be charging us, might be putting a little too much of a load on our delivery trucks. How can we optimize this?’ So basically I’m selling out. Yeah, I’m selling out is what it is.
[1:00:09] CHRIS: That’s cool, but maybe –
[1:00:11] CALLER: But it’s fun to sell out.
[01:00:11] CHRIS: Yeah, but you can also maybe get to a point of credibility in your field where you can then take the fact that you sold out and apply it towards things that really mean something to you. But you have to go earn your stripes first, especially in a field like that.
[01:00:26] CALLER: I don’t know. I definitely like to think that somewhere along the line I’ll end up doing pro bono work for some charity or something.
[01:00:38] CHRIS: You’re going to sell out. You’re fine with selling and moving on. You’re into it. Get me that cash, baby. I want that cash.
[1:00:46] CALLER: Yeah. It’s not like – it’s not the most evil thing in the world. I will make money by making people more money and making less redundancy in the world. So I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Although I’m sure many people might. But yeah, at least I’m not going onto Wall Street.
[1:01:10] CHRIS: Now as someone who has studied the large bulk of my work, who has watched what sounds like around 200 hours of me, what optimizing solutions would you offer me in my life? As someone who wants to offer optimization solutions?
[01:01:28] CALLER: Oh Jesus. Oh, man. You’re so far away from like – see my suggestion, if we want to be real, would have to be something like, ‘Oh, give yourself a finite amount of time or a finite part of the week that you allow yourself to worry about stuff. ‘ So that way it stops affecting your productivity on everything else.
[01:01:57] CHRIS: Oh that’s a good one.
[1:01:59] CALLER: And then when you would come back to me and say, ‘No, that’s ridiculous, I have to worry all the time.’
[01:02:03] CHRIS: No, I would say ‘You’re totally correct.’ I would say ‘You’re totally correct.’
[1:02:07] CALLER: Yeah, see? And that’s why.
[1:02:11] CHRIS: Time management is the correct instinct and anxiety driving distractions in my time management. 22 percent on point. Somebody needs to hire this kid. You’re going to get a gig ASAP. That was –
[01:02:26] CALLER: Oh, shucks. What is it? This reminds me. I had a very mean ex. She was not very nice. But she told me two very important things that I’ll always remember. One is don’t ask questions you don’t want to know the answer to. The other, for this situation is, you can’t apply logic to an illogical system.
[01:02:54] CHRIS: Damn.
[01:02:55] CALLER: So essentially you can’t apply math to Chris Gethard’s anxiety.
[01:02:59] CHRIS: So I’m an illogical system? I personally represent an illogical system. That sounds like a mean, but if you say she was mean, but she sounds like a mean, but very wise ex. Some wisdom there.
[01:03:13] CALLER: I mean, there’s some things like that. It’s like how we also say, like, drug addicts are really smart. Even though they’re homeless or like, even though they might be like homeless and like, miserable and ruining their lives. They’re really good at manipulating people or they’re just really good at getting the drugs that they want. You know? Like, in the same kind of way, people who are very manipulative tend to be pretty smart. And that’s the only reason they can be manipulative, you know?
[01:03:53] CHRIS: Mmhm. Mmhm, Mmhm, Mmhm. Still a sore spot.
[1:03:55] CALLER: You there?
[1:03:55] CHRIS: Yeah, I’m going to move on, I’m sensing that this is maybe still a sore spot with this mean ex. You dating anybody now?
[01:04:00] CALLER: Oh, man, I just got out of a year-long relationship.
[1:04:03] CHRIS: Ah, I’m sorry.
[01:04:06] CALLER: No, it’s fine. I know it’s a sore spot. It always will be. I’m okay with it, though. I like to try to be as vocal about it as possible just because if I can help a single person get out of an abusive relationship, it – which I think I have already – it means all the suffering that I might have gone through, and I hate to use the word suffering, but all the shit that I’ve had to wade through would have been worth it so that I can help another person.
[01:04:47] CHRIS: That’s a good way to flip it.
[01:04:49] CALLER: Yeah, I think it’s the same thing with AA. You know, there’s this phrase at one point and it’s ‘No matter how far down the scale we’ve gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.’ I think that’s a pretty important thing to keep in my life, you know?
[01:05:08] CHRIS: Yeah. Yeah, it’s pretty beautiful. Never did the program myself. So it’s nice to hear things like that.
[01:05:16] CALLER: Yeah. I don’t know. I was always – well, as soon as I found out that you didn’t drink, I was like, ‘Please tell me he’s in AA. Please tell me it is in AA.’ But honestly, not everyone needs it. And that’s a really important thing to remember. If you try to do AA and you are not – the first step is entirely dependent on you being 100 percent sure that you have no control over your drinking, or your drug use, whatever. So if you’re able to control that within yourself, then don’t try AA.
[01:06:00] CHRIS: Yeah, I’ve never went. I’ve had family members go. I’m really supportive of it. I think it’s really beautiful. I even will say there’s times where, you know, 17 years since I’ve been a drinker and there’s even still times where sometimes – I only ever want to drink when I’m at my most frustrated and angry and depressed. So that’s further evidence to me that it’s not a thing for me. And I never want to drink with people. I only want to drink when I’m angry and I want to go drink alone. And I still get those urges sometimes. I’ll say, there is a part of me that still has it in the back of my head, like ‘I haven’t had a drink in 17 years. But if I get to a point where I’m really close, I could go to a meeting.’ And I like knowing that. I like knowing that I’m if I’m like, ‘ I have never been to a meeting, I haven’t had a drink in 17 years, but I’m pretty pissed off and I keep thinking about it’ I think they’d still welcome me with open arms. And that seems like a cool organization.
[01:06:52] CALLER: Oh yeah, dude, without a doubt. See? I feel like I’m supposed to give you my phone number and say, ‘Hey, brother, if you ever need help, just give me a call.’
[01:07:04] CHRIS: That’s what this podcast is. This podcast is effectively –
[1:07:08] CALLER: Actually, yeah, if you reached out to me and I picked up my phone.
[01:07:13] CHRIS: This podcast is kind of AA for people who don’t deal with alcoholism. They deal with things like, they were on a boat that sank and the Coast Guard to rescue them. It’s AA for that.
[01:07:25] CALLER: Yeah. I was gonna say too, there was one or two things that I either mentioned or that I was going to mention, but I was like, ‘Oh no, this might – like as people know this, they’ll definitely know who I am.’ Or like, they might know who I am. And I was like, actually, the only people who would know that are in AA. And that’s another thing with Anonymous in the title so, I don’t know, you know? I’m not going to become a well-known, a well-known thing.
[01:07:52] CHRIS: And they’re not allowed to tell. Hey, you got a minute left.
[01:07:54] CALLER: No! Shit that went so fucking fast.
[01:07:57] CHRIS: Yeah. No, you’ve been sitting on the side of a road for an hour.
[01:08:00] CALLER: Oh, my God. Oh, shit. I saw you one time and it was one of the best days of my life. And I love you. And I love everything you do. And you’ve made so many people happier and healthier. And God damn, why didn’t you warn me?
[01:08:19] CHRIS: I did! I said you got a minute left! That’s what it was. That was the warning. You get aggressive every now and then. When did we see? When did you see – at a show? You came to a show?
[01:08:30] CALLER: Yeah. Can I give away a piece of information that you might remember me by?
[01:08:34] CHRIS: Sure, if you can do it in 13 seconds.
[01:08:36] CALLER: Okay. You signed my bottle of Deplin. It’s not a real, it’s kind of a mental health med. And you went up on stage and you said ‘That’s the coolest thing anybody’s ever asked me to do.’
[1:08:47] CHRIS: Yeah, I remember that.
[1:08:48] CALLER: You signed my medication.
[01:08:55] CHRIS: Thanks again to our caller for everything. You know, most of all, again, congrats. Congrats on that year and a half. And I think it’s so cool that you’re now trying to flip that and help some other people as well. It’s awesome. It’s so fun talking to you. And I’m glad that we’ve linked up a couple of times. I’ll say I remember signing a pill bottle. I can’t quite place the face or the place. It’s frustrating me, but it is good to talk to you again. Thank you for calling. Thank you to Jared O’Connell, the no-nonsense, no shit-taking enforcer in the booth. Thank you to Harry Nelson. Thanks Reverend John Deloran, Greta Cohen for helping me build this show. Thank you, Shellshag for the music. If you want to know about me, including tickets ChrisGeth.com is the website. ChrisGeth.com. Check it out. Any tour dates I have, they’re up there. If you like this show, go to Apple Podcast. Rate, Review, Subscribe. It helps so much. I promise you, it’s everything I got. That’s all the business. Thanks for listening. [music transition]
[01:10:04] [AD BREAK]
[NEXT EPISODE PREVIEW]
[01:10:34] CHRIS: Next time on Beautiful Anonymous, someone from very far away tells me what it’s like to be human where she’s from. [music transition]
[01:10:43] CHRIS: You thought you weren’t going to be able to have kids. Found out you had a kid without even really planning it.
[1:10:49] CALLER: Yeah.
[1:10:50] CHRIS: Had the kid. The kid’s four. Is it everything you wanted it to be?
[01:10:54] CALLER: Well, on days like today when I took him to his swimming lesson and he shit himself in the swimming pool. No, no.
[1:11:02] CHRIS and CALLER [laughing]
[1:11:12] CALLER: His last swimming lesson of the half-term and I had to drag him out of that pool.
[1:11:20] CHRIS: That’s next time on Beautiful Anonymous.
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