TRANSCRIPT Judge John Hodgman Ep. 437: Stick and Move and No New Butterfinger

This week, Judge John Hodgman and Bailiff Jesse Thorn are in chambers to clear the docket with special guest Paula Poundstone!

Podcast: Judge John Hodgman

Episode number: 437

Guests: Paula Poundstone

Transcript

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse thorn

Welcome to the Judge John Hodgman podcast. I'm Bailiff Jesse Thorn. We're in chambers this week, clearing the docket. With me as always is the world's tallest man, Judge John Hodgman.

john hodgman

Jesse Thorn, you know what I say to that introduction? Who cares that I'm here? Because there is someone else here.

jesse

[Stifling laughter] Yes. Yes.

john

I mean, we're gonna fight to introduce this person. She is a hero to both of us.

jesse

Of course.

john

An unstoppably funny comedian.

paula poundstone

I think it's Amelia Earhart.

crosstalk

Jesse: That's your guess as to who it is? Paula: That's my guess so far.

jesse

[Stifling laughter] Okay, we'll find out. John, keep going. She's saying Amelia Earhart.

john

[Laughs.] You know her from Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! but what you don't know—

jesse

Sorry, John. I think it's probably... Amelia Bedelia. Go ahead, John.

paula

Oh, you were so close...

john

We've got two votes for Amelias. But what you don't know—and that show is edited down. Right? And you don't appreciate that even though this person is so, so, so funny, off the cuff—and on the cuff! All around the cuff! On Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! What they edit out is usually [laughs] 40 to 50 minutes of pure comedy gold. [Jesse laughs.] I sat there, back when they let me be a guest on that show instead of being a panelist—get at me, Peter Sagal. [Paula laughs.] I had to sit in the audience for an extra 30 minutes while this person riffed—did 30 minutes of, honestly, off the cuff astronaut comedy. [Jesse laughs again.] One of the most amazing things I've ever seen. Listeners to the podcast, please welcome Paula Poundstone!

crosstalk

Jesse: Paula, it's a joy to have you on the Judge John Hodgman podcast. Paula: Well, thank you so much!

paula

What a lovely introduction! Thank you!

jesse

Now, I have to ask you this, Paula, before we get into the docket. We're gonna clear the docket in just a second. But it's not often that you get a comedy legend on your program. And of course, you have the MaxFun podcast, Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone, so, you know, I'd like—I'd like to think that we can give you a call, invite you over to come on.

crosstalk

Jesse: I—I see that. Paula: Oh, sure. Yeah.

jesse

It's not often that the occasion for a comedy legend coming on your podcast is the release of a candy bar–themed rap single. [Stifling laughter] You have a new song—

paula

I do!

jesse

[laughing] specifically because you're upset about the new recipe for Butterfingers.

paula

It's called "Not My Butterfinger." [John and Jesse laugh. Paula continues unfazed.] It's a rap song.

jesse

[Stifling laughter] How did it come to your attention even that there was a new recipe for Butterfingers?

paula

Oh, I—'cause I love Butterfingers!

crosstalk

Paula: And I was on the road— Jesse: "They're crispety, crunchety, peanut buttery—how can you resist?!" Paula: They're crispety crunchety, I love the fun size...

paula

So I was on the road and I got even a better than the fun size, it was the Butterfinger Chips.

jesse

Mmm!

paula

And I had gone into a store, and I came out with a bag of Butterfinger Chips, I couldn't have been happier—

jesse

I'm a big fan of a Butterfinger BB. Give me a Butterfinger BB any day.

paula

What was the BB—what—

jesse

It's like a little spherical Butterfinger.

paula

Ohhh! Oh, but wait 'til you find out what's happened!

jesse

Okay.

paula

Alright, so I pop one in my mouth, and it tastes awful. And I'm looking for the date on the bag; I'm thinking, "Oh my god, I've gotten like a bad—" You know, I'm ready to march back in there and get my money back and then some!

jesse

Little somethin' extra for Mama!

paula

Yeah, I was ready to sue the [censored] outta them! And then I look carefully and there's a red corner on the bag. That—that is not good news! [Gravely] And there it says: "New, improved recipe."

jesse

Sickening.

paula

Ohhh my gosh. You know, what is there to hope for? What is there to live for? When, you know, Butterfinger doesn't make a good candy bar anymore?

jesse

Yeah.

paula

Yeah. And it—and the thing is, had anybody ever complained about it before? Had anybody ever, "You know, these—you know what these need is a new recipe"? No! We were happy.

john

That's just make-work for some big candy executive who needs to justify his or her position.

paula

Well, it turns out that Butterfingers were bought by a different company. I think it's called, like, Ferraro or something.

john

[Increasingly disgusted] Ferrara Candy formed in a 2012 merger of Ferrara Pan Candy and Farley's & Sathers Candy Company, blegh. Farley's & Sathers. I didn't know this! Ferrara's the ones that make Lemonheads, Red Hots, and Boston Baked Beans.

paula

None of which are meant to go in the mouth! [John bursts out laughing.]

jesse

[Laughing] Yeah! [Paula also laughs.] It's a candy exclusively for throwing at your teacher.

paula

Yeah. Those are not good candies! Ugh. Oh, I gotta tell you what—as a result of the travesty that is the new Butterfinger, I have jettisoned to the Heath Bar! And so I was driving, in fact, to tape Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone, which we tape in North Hollywood, and it is an enormous schlep from my house, so I'm driving and driving and driving. And I had a bag of the small Heath Bars. So I, you know, tear one open, and I'm chewing on it, and all the sudden there's—like, I bite into something that I can't bite into, that I can't get my teeth through. And I'm like, "Uh-oh." [Stifling laughter] I try again, and then still not—you know. So I spit it out and I look at it, like, "My god, it's a tooth!" And I think, "Wait a minute. There was a tooth in my Heath Bar!"

john

Oh, no. [Jesse laughs.]

paula

And I was like, "Okay," and then I'm like, reaching behind me in the car trying to find the wrapper. I'm like, "Okay," because I am sending this—I am gonna sue the [censored] out of Heath Bar! So I'm gonna collect the wrapper it came in, you know, so that I have my evidence. But I think now that I know that it's—you could potentially bite into a Heath Bar and find part of a tooth in it... Would I still take the risk of eating Heath Bars? And I decided yes! [Jesse laughs.] [Stifling laughter] I would, because—you know, I haven't heard of it happening before.

jesse

It's not a—like, a well-known phenomenon.

paula

No! So exactly. Like, I cleared that out of my way, you know? It's like lightning striking twice. It's not gonna happen! And as I'm having these thoughts, my tongue falls into a hole in my mouth. [Jesse laughs.]

john

[Laugh of acknowledgment.]

paula

And I realize—"It was my tooth!" [Jesse laughs again.] I went through with the lawsuit anyways, and I'll tell you why—[laughs]. [John and Jesse laugh.]

john

[Stifling laughter] I love that we've uncovered that Paula Poundstone has a secret ambition to sue a candy company. [Jesse laughs.]

paula

Sue the [censored] out of them. [Jesse laughs.]

john

It's like, "Hey, uh, I haven't heard Paula Poundstone on Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! She doesn't seem to be touring that much anymore—" "Oh, you didn't hear? She retired. She pulled a slip-and-fall in front of the Necco Wafer company." [All three laugh.] "Made $10,000,000; she's done." [Laughs.]

jesse

I don't think you even need to pull a slip-and-fall in front of the Necco Wa—you can just sue them for how bad their candy is.

john

How dare you.

paula

It's a beautiful candy.

jesse

Guys, we're talking taffy! We're talking candy dots! And we're clearing the docket on the Judge John Hodgman podcast. Here's something from Charlie. He says: "Someone sideswiped my car the other day, but did the stand-up thing and left a note, offering to pay the entire repair cost. All told, it'll cost 'em $300 to $500. My inclination is to cover a portion of the cost myself, maybe $50, to recognize them doing the responsible thing and leaving a note, when it would have been quite easy for them to get away with it. I asked my mom if this seemed reasonable to her. She thought I was being too soft. Am I being too soft, or is my mom being too hard?"

paula

I love it that Charlie exists! I love that a 20-something millennial has this approach! I was in a wreck one t—just a, you know, fender bender, in a parking lot at the Rite Aid. I think there was a woman backing out—you know, I was going through the parking lot and, you know, she backed out when it wasn't her turn. You know, we both got out of our cars, and she said "I don't know what the rules are, but it wasn't my fault. [John and Jesse laugh.]

jesse

Bold claim.

paula

Yeah. That was a 20-something years ago.

john

That was a Gen X-er!

paula

You know, the millennials have kicked the experience of being 20-somethings up a notch. I like that. I say take the money for the repairs, but maybe give them some candy! That's my thought. [John laughs, and then agrees as Paula continues.] Maybe some Heath Bars. You know they don't have teeth in them! [John and Jesse laugh.]

jesse

That's the new slogan of Heath Bars! Heath Bars, sponsor of the Judge John Hodgman podcast! [Paula laughs.]

john

"Now with no teeth."

paula

[Laughs.] No, it's not now with no teeth, because technically it was my tooth. [John laughs.] So it's, uh, "Heath Bars—"

john

"Heath Bars! We've never had teeth!" [The other two laugh.]

paula

"Heath Bars, they don't bite back!" That's a good one.

john

Ah! There we go! Oh my goodness. Heath Bar, come sponsor Judge John Hodgman.

paula

So Judge Hodgman, is Charlie being too soft or too hard?

john

No, I love Charlie, too, Paula Poundstone! I mean, I'm a Generation X-er. I'm a slacker. You know what I mean? We're the passed over generation. The millennials are often criticized for being "sensitive," and "woke," and everything else, but they seem to be a generation of true empaths! They really care about how everyone's feeling, and I think that's really the—good thing! They're not all, you know, smash-and-grab, "me, me, me," greedy baby boomer-types who just wanna sue candy companies all the time. [Jesse cracks up.]

paula

Yeah! Yeah. I've known that ilk!

john

I think Charlie's impulse is wonderful! I don't think it's necessary; I mean, I—it may have been a millennial who sideswiped Charlie, and is also stepping up to do the right thing! Like, "This is my fault!" If you were an anti-SJW edgy comic, [laughs] you would be saying that they were trying to out-woke each other by paying each other more money for the one thing that went wrong or whatever.

paula

Now they're gonna have like a 12 days of Christmas thing. Like, every day, one's gonna give the other a gift. You know. Uh, five golden rings.

john

Right.

paula

You know. Turtledoves. [John laughs.] Just—stuff's gonna just keep piling up on one another's doorstep. Like, "Nooo! It is I who should give you, you know, a partridge in a pear tree." "No, no! It is I!" Gee, I hope to get in a wreck with a millennial.

john

Yeah, [sarcastically] these millennial snowflakes are having a virtue signal war, but— [Paula laughs.] [Sincerely] I think they're both decent young people. You know, what I would say is that Charlie should reach out to the person—first of all, anyone listening, you know, if you—if you ding or damage someone else's car or property, leave a note! And, you know, do your best, if it's within your means, to take care of the damage yourself.

paula

Or contact Charlie! Uh—

crosstalk

John: [Laughing] Or yeah—right—yeah. Paula: 'Cause Charlie'd pay for part of it!

john

Yeah, Charlie's a light touch. [Laughs.] Yeah, you're absolutely right. Yeah. And then Charlie, I would say get in contact with the person and say, "This is a really nice gesture. May I offer to chip in this money, or donate some money to a charity that you care about? 'Cause I just wanna honor the gesture that you've made." And then to spite his own mother, Charlie and the side-swiper should become best friends. [Jesse laughs.]

crosstalk

Paula: Yeah! I love this story. John: You know what I mean?

jesse

As a woke millennial myself, John, can I offer a possible, uh, alternate structure?

john

Sure! Go ahead, Avocado Toast!

jesse

I love— [He and Paula laugh.] I love Paula's suggestion of offering candy. I don't know if candy is necessarily the right thing, but I think that Charlie's instinct to offer some consideration to this person feels dead on to me.

john

Yeah!

jesse

But I am not convinced that money is the answer here. I think a nice note and possibly some kind of small, thoughtful gift after all is said and done that just acknowledges, "Hey, this could have been a lot more hassle for everybody had you not left that nice note and, you know, and actually paid for everything when you said you were; I really appreciate it. Here's a gift certificate to a local ice cream place," or whatever. I think something post-facto would be a nice way of acknowledging it.

paula

That all sounds good to me until you went dairy. [John and Jesse laugh.] Years ago, my kids and I, we found somebody's wallet. And they did send me a gift; it was like a—you know, bread thing, I forget. Which was lovely. But my point is that they also sent me a really nice note, and I've had that note taped up in my room ever since. So Charlie, if you don't wanna go dairy— [Jesse laughs] —just acknowledging it with a note would be a valuable thing.

john

Just to recap, Charlie: I suggested maybe donating to a charity of the side-swiper's choice. Jesse suggested, you know, some kind of a dairy trigger.

paula

Yeah. [Jesse laughs.]

john

And a nice note. I think Paula suggested a nice note. I think we all agree that your instinct is absolutely correct. A gesture that will honor the side-swiper's decency is called for, and I think that just paying back a little bit of the money feels a little—a little hollow compared to the other things that we suggested. [Laughing] So you're wrong, Charlie. Your mom's right. [Jesse laughs.] Find another way to give back to the most decent side-swiper of all.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

Jeremy says: "Please help resolve a debate between my girlfriend and me. When I buy fresh produce at the supermarket, priced by the pound, I remove the extraneous leaves, stems, and other detritus before bagging them up. Particularly with bunches of radishes, [stifling laughter] and tomatoes on the vine. I dispose of the stems by the produce, visible to employees, but not in the way of other shoppers." I guess next to the box? "I hate the idea of adding tasks to the supermarket employees' job, but they don't provide waste bins, and the employees have to straighten up the produce display regardless."

jesse

"I believe it's unfair to pay for garbage that will only be thrown away at home. My girlfriend is mortified when I do this. She says these bits are part of the product and paying for them is a cost of doing business, and two, that removing the stems is tantamount to opening the packaging before buying something from a store. What say you, Judge Hodgman?"

john

So Paula, are you as sufficiently confused as I am as to what Jeremy is doing in the supermarket, or do you understand what's going on?

paula

Well, I'm not sure where he's putting the—uh, what did he say? Det—det—what—

jesse

[Stifling laughter] "The detritus."

paula

The detritus. I never heard of the word Detritus before, but I assume it's in Ohio. [John and Jesse laugh.] I don't know where he's putting it, but I have to say, I never thought of that before! The idea that if you're buying something by the pound, and it comes with the useless stuff that you're just gonna throw away when you get it home... I have to say, I think that's kinda genius!

jesse

[Laughs.] If we've learned anything so far in this episode, it's that our friend Paula Poundstone has schemes.

paula

Apparently I didn't have enough of 'em, because this is sheerly brilliant! [John or Jesse laughs.]

jesse

Now, whenever I'm at the grocery store, I'm coring those pineapples. I just bring a core, clonk clonk clunk clunk, don't wanna pay for what's not useful!

paula

Most of the pineapple gets thrown out, the way I do it anyways!

jesse

Judge Hodgman, I think what's happening is Jeremy is removing everything but the fruit itself, that actual tomato, and putting it next to the produce box, [stifling laughter] because, as he points out, they don't provide a place to throw it away! [Laughs.]

john

Well, I actually wrote back to Jeremy—I forgot to mention this to, uh, Hannah Smith, our producer, that I wrote back to him. This is for real, 'cause I was like, "What? What kind of—I'm not clear what you're talking about. What veges and stems are we talking about?" And he said tomatoes—he said this particularly comes into play with tomatoes and bunches of fresh radishes, where he'll load the small plastic bag provided with only the radish or the tomato, and tear off the stems and leaves and just sort of leave them gently aside. [Paula or Jesse snorts.] Like, as if you—you know, as if you were going in to buy apples, [stifling laughter] and then using one of those fancy spiral apple peelers to take off all the—[breaks off, laughing].

paula

[Laughs.] Yeah, exactly! [John agrees.] To peel it! Right. Yeah.

john

I appreciate, Paula, your gesture towards thrift, in not paying for something you don't want, and also sneakiness, in getting away with something. [All three laugh.] But we also have a settled principle here at Judge John Hodgman that one should be mindful of the work they leave behind for others, and what troubles me about Jeremy is he knows he's leaving work behind for others. He knows that he's leaving extra tidying up for the people who work at the store, and he's doing it anyway! And there is another error that Jeremy's making, which is that—there isn't a lot of use for tomato stems; I'll grant you that, Jeremy. [Harshly] I'll grant you that.

john

But radish leaves are perfectly edible! Radish greens you can make into a radish green pesto; radish greens you can roast along with radishes; you can do all kinds of things with radish greens! They're great! Just like carrot tops, too, Jeremy! Don't be wasteful. Do you understand me?

jesse

Yeah—I mean, like—but also, the grocery store is setting their prices on the basis of people not acting like a crazy person and cleaning and, like, separating their foods at the stand. [John agrees with the above.] I mean, as—just as they would, you know—you would charge [laughs] one price for shelled walnuts and one price for unshelled, or whatever. Like, the grocery store is setting their price presuming that no one is trying to beat the syst—

crosstalk

John: Yeah. Jesse: —I just feel like this is a classic case— John: It's a scheme! Jesse: —of a guy trying to beat the system.

john

It's a scheme. Ultimately, it's making an unsightly mess that someone else has to clean up.

paula

I don't see this couple staying together. [Jesse cracks up.]

crosstalk

Paula: I don't know if that's— Jesse: [Chanting as Paula speaks] Break them up! Break them up! Paula: I don't know if that's for another show, but I—I see, uh...

paula

Jeremy and the girlfriend splitting up very soon.

jesse

You know, if we've learned one thing on the Judge John Hodgman program, it's that often husbands have other redeeming qualities. [Laughs quietly.]

john

I will say that Jeremy himself has a number of redeeming qualities, not least of which is that he is a long-time supporter of Maximum Fun. So I will say his first and last name. Because his name is Jeremy Frank. [Jesse bursts out laughing. John cracks up.]

paula

Do you know him?

jesse

Yeah, I know Jeremy Frank!

paula

How do you know Jeremy Frank?

jesse

Awww, he comes to MaxFunCon; he's a very active Maximum Fun supporter. Okay. I'm not the judge, [laughing] but I rule against Jeremy Frank and his weird scheme. [Two resounding thumps, presumably Jesse hitting a hard surface to simulate a gavel.]

john

I rule against Jeremy Frank, too. I thank you for your support, Jeremy; you named one of the great case names of all time, Snickerdoodiligence. [Jesse and Paula laugh.] I name you, and I shame you; because, one, you're doing it wrong. And two: I know, Jeremy, that even in the context of shame, you will enjoy having your name read out loud [laughs] on the podcast. [Jesse and Paula laugh.] Jeremy Frank, I judge against thee!

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

Let's take a quick break. More items on the docket coming up in just a minute on the Judge John Hodgman podcast.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

Judge Hodgman, while we're taking a quick break from the fun we've been having with the great Paula Poundstone, we've got a few things to mention! First of all, you have a brand new, hard cover book, called Medallion Status!

john

Yes! Today is the second day that it has been out in the world. Thank you to everyone within the sound of my voice who pre-ordered Medallion Status. Now it is in bookstores; you can tell less far-sighted people in your life to go to your local bookshop, check it out, see if it's for you. It's a book of funny first-person essays about me! It's about travel, it's about fame, it's about the dwindling of fame. It's about the Property Brothers, it's about the nude scene I had to do with an oboe and Mozart in the jungle. It's about everything that is going on in my head, and I have given it to you, and I—and I hope that you will enjoy it! If you wanna look for it online, Bit.ly/MEDALLIONSTATUS. You've heard it many a time before, all capital letters, all one word.

john

Or now, go to your local bookshop and say, "Can I upgrade to Medallion Status?" They'll probably know what you're talking about. I am on tour for the book, starting this very evening in New York City with Liz Gilbert. I believe there's standing room only tickets available for that. And then I go on to Boston; to Chicago; to Austin, Texas; to San Francisco; to Los Angeles with Aimee Mann. Uh, San Francisco with Linus the Corgi and Chompers the Corgi, two famous Corgis of Instagram who are on the cover of the book. It's gonna be a great time, and I would love to see you all; so if you wanna check out where I'm going to be for the book, just go to JohnHodgman.com/tour. And while you're there, scroll down the page and see where Jesse and I are going for Judge John Hodgman: Live Justice in November! Jesse, let's talk about that now!

jesse

Well, we've had a lot of pushback from Canadians about how the word T-O-R-O-N-T-O is pronounced. [Stifling laughter] Apparently, we're pronouncing it like American newscasters when we say Tuh-rahn-toh.

john

Tuh-rawn-tohhhhh!

jesse

Torrrr-un-toh! Apparently, real people from the TDOT, like cardinal official, say T'rahn-uh.

john

And that's where we're going! T'rahn-uh, C'nah-duh!

jesse

T'rahn-uh, C'nah-duh, on November 6th, then off to Dur-ham, North Carolina, November 7th. Ate-lanta Gorge-a (Atlanta, Georgia) on November 8th, Worshington (Washington), DC on November 10th; and Port-lahnd, Meen (Portland, Maine) on November 11th. You can find all of those at MaximumFun.org/tour, and if you live in Toronto, Durham, Atlanta, Washington, or Portland— (Tuh-rahn-toh, Dur-um, At-lan-tuh, Wash-ing-tuhn, Port-l'nd, as he usually says them) —and you have a case for the show, we'd love to hear about it! Submit them at MaximumFun.org/jjho, or email hodgman@maximumfun.org, and make sure to let us know in which of those cities, or near which of those cities, you live!

john

Yeah! Just put it up in the subject, like "For At-lahn-tuh," or "Worshington," or "Truntru," and just let us know that you're gonna be around; and if we decide to hear your case on stage, guess what? Your ticket is free. I'll also add that I will have copies of Medallion Status there on tour, as well as the very, very collectible Famous Corgi pins. If you buy a book from me on tour, either a Judge John Hodgman or on the regular book tour, you're gonna get a Famous Corgi enamel pin. You buy two books, it's a Double Corgi, and three, it's Triple Corgi Elite, sooo, come check 'em out.

jesse

If you are looking for holiday gifts or just looking for something nice for yourself, this week and this week only there is a sale in my vintage store, the Put This On shop—which, by the way, sometimes people say, "What do you sell, vintage clothes?" We have some vintage clothes in there. But mostly it's vintage stuff. Jewelry, both for men and women, and beautiful home goods, and so on and so forth. You can use the code "Fall Justice" this week only at PutThisOnShop.com, that's "Fall Justice" at PutThisOnShop.com, and you get 30% off your entire order. 30% off anything! Including things made out of gold!

john

What?!

jesse

Solid gold!

john

30% off gold? [Faint echo of John's audio.]

jesse

[Echoing faintly] SOLID! GOOOLD! [No echo] Let's get back to the case.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

Welcome back to the Judge John Hodgman podcast. We're clearing the docket! With [laughs] Paula Poundstone—recording artist, Paula Poundstone, from the Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone podcast. We've got something here from Pedro. He says: "I manage the family cell phone plan, and I recently transferred to a new carrier. I transferred five lines: mine, my wife, my father, my mother, and my brother. The new carrier gave me a promotional gift card for moving the lines: $100 for each line, for a total of $500, on a debit card which will arrive around Christmas. My brother has already claimed $100 of it, but I'm not too keen on this plan, because I did all the work! He lives in Chicago, so I had to mail the SIM out to him."

jesse

"Also, the phone he's using is a hand-me-down I gave him, after I upgraded my phone. Besides paying his portion of the monthly bill, he didn't do anything to earn the promotional credit! I'd like the judge to allow me to stake full claim of the promotional credit."

john

Wow, this is a glimpse into a world I knew nothing about, phone-churning for cash. [Jesse laughs.]

paula

Yeah! I don't know about this, either!

jesse

Paula's excited! New scheme!

paula

Yeah, when you switch— [Jesse laughs] —ah, and if there's any part of the phone that you're not gonna use, take it apart and leave it on the side of the display case! [The other two laugh, and Jesse chimes in affirmatively] And you don't—and you don't pay by the—by the pound. I'm not big on when something happens and somebody goes "Oh, I want part of that!" My daughter did that to me just the other day.

jesse

Really.

paula

I said that I was receiving some money for doing something, [laughing] and she said—actually said to me, "Can I have it?" [Jesse laughs.] Which I credit her with only one thing, and that was at least it was direct. [Jesse laughs.]

john

Were you getting your annual settlement check from 3 Musketeers? [Jesse and Paula laugh.]

jesse

Yeah, it lacks the subtlety of a signature Paula Poundstone scheme, but... [John cracks up.]

paula

Yeah. Yeah, no, I liked it—I liked it that it was direct, I have to give her that. But anyway, so for me, I'm bringing some of my own baggage to it, I think. The fact that it's a brother.

john

Right! Because you expect a child to be a mooch and a taker.

paula

Yeah.

john

That's their job.

paula

You know, a friend of mine had a boat, and he told me a boat is a hole in the ocean that you pour money into, and let me tell ya— [John laughs.] You know. A kid is a hole in the universe— [John and Jesse laugh] [Jokingly anguished] —that just sucks your bank account dry!

john

[Laughing] Right. It's not just your money it takes, it's also your life force. [Jesse laughs.]

paula

Ohhh my g—it takes everything!

crosstalk

John: Takes an— Paula: Takes a cudgel to your heart. Yeah. John: Yeah.

jesse

But to be fair to this brother, this brother is paying his fair share of the bill, as are the other members of the family, so...

paula

So wait, why is it all on one bill? Why is his brother's bill on his bill?

jesse

[Laughing] Because they have a scheme that they worked out together!

paula

Ah!

john

Here's what I gotta say. Pedro's brother is obviously a mooch. You're a mooch, Pedro's bro! These are all grown people! His wife, his father, his mother, and his brother? They don't even live in the same city, and Pedro's like, [grimly] "I've got to manage the family phone account." You brought this on yourself. These are all adults who could be handling their own biz!

paula

Pedro, I think what John is trying to say—and I've never seen John this fired up before—if you give them the answers, Pedro, how will they learn? [Jesse laughs.]

john

Yeah! You have conditioned your brother to be a mooch, Pedro! And you should have cut him off long ago. What do you think, Jesse?

jesse

I'm gonna be frank. I think I might be diverging from the two of you.

crosstalk

Paula: Uh-oh. Uh-oh! John: Oh, boy! Okay, here we go.

paula

Jesse, as it turns out, manages an entire branch of his family tree's phones. [Jesse laughs.]

john

Multi-generational phone manager, [laughs] Jesse Thorn.

jesse

I think that Pedro took on this responsibility willingly. I think this is his scheme that he came up with in order to save himself money. And he roped all these disparate family members into stretching the very boundaries of the rules, to the point where he has family members across this great nation roped into his family plan. I don't think he's breaking the rules. I'm fine with this. You know, I think the telecom companies have planned for this. I don't think it's a surprise to them. [John agrees.] I think he does this because he wants to do it. [John agrees.] Because he saves money doing it. I don't think this is a tremendous burden on him, I think he's a guy that loves schemes!

john

Mm-hm.

jesse

And I think that everyone is paying their fair share, and when there's a benefit, everybody should get their fair share.

john

You think that everyone should be paid their fair share by Pedro.

jesse

Yeah. I think so. That's my feeling. Or they should, you know, put it towards a family vacation or donate it to charity or something.

john

I just presumed, because of the person I am, that Pedro took on extra responsibility in order to have emotional leverage over his family so that he could control them. [Jesse bursts out laughing.]

paula

Oh ho ho ho! Oh, yeah. He's putting the squeeze on Pedro's brother!

john

But you're saying it's all about money. Ehhh, alright.

jesse

I think for Pedro, it's about power. I think he likes to have a scheme. He likes to be in charge of it. That none of this is actually a great burden to him, although it may take time.

john

He had to mail a SIM card.

jesse

[Dismissively] Yeah. I think that Pedro is paid for the logistical burden he bears... in power, [stifling laughter] and in being the guy who gets to decide what phone plan they have. If anyone has differing interests, he's the one who gets to pick the one that is best for him and his wife or whatever. [Laughs.]

john

Of course, if I rule in Pedro's brother's favor, then Pedro has to pay out to all of his family members.

jesse

Yeah, I think so.

paula

'Cause that's precedent. You know what I think is amazing? This is not a lot to go on, and yet, both Jesse the bailiff and the Honorable John Hodgman, the judge, have created an entire family story—

jesse

[Laughing] Yeah.

paula

—out of this!

crosstalk

Jesse: Well—! Paula: Where there's resentments, there's a lot of filling in that you're doing for the—[laughing] for the jury! Just sort of fascinated by how you guys have filled in any possible empty spaces— John: Well... Paula: —between these pieces of information. John: Yeah. We have— Paula: You've created full characters— John: Yeah. Paula: —out of a man that we only know as "Pedro's brother"! [Jesse and John crack up.]

paula

Full, rich characters!

john

Here is my point. I want Pedro's brother to have a name! I want Pedro's brother to be a full, independent human being! To get out from the web of codependence that Pedro himself has woven with this cell phone plan! I want Pedro's brother to be like, "I don't want your hundred dollars, I want my own life, bro!"

crosstalk

John: But— Paula: [Singing] Riiise up!

paula

Riiise up! [John laughs, followed by either Jesse or Paula.]

john

But—I'm very torn. Here's what I'm gonna order. You have to pay $100 to your father, to your mother, to your wife, and to your brother, and that is punishment for revealing to them that you got this bonus in the first place. [Jesse and Paula laugh.] You should have kept it a secret! Come on, Pedro! And as damages, Pedro—if your brother does live in Chicago, I'm going to be at the Chicago Humanities Festival presenting my book Medallion Status: True Stories from Secret Rooms on November the 3rd of this very year, 2019.

john

[Sternly] You can find out the details, Pedro, at JohnHodgman.com/tour. You have to buy your brother a ticket to my thing. There are student tickets at $10, or if you're a good brother, buy him a—buy him a VIP package that comes with a book. But that's damages, on top of the $100.

paula

Wow. He's really throwing the book at him.

john

Yeah! Next time, don't brag about your secret refunds!

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[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

Here's something from Elizabeth: "My husband thinks trashcans in the bathroom are disgusting. After he had to empty a particularly full one this past trash day, he actually threw the entire can away. He doesn't wanna replace it, and expects me to carry all bathroom trash to our kitchen can. We're a family of five, with two daughters, and our bathroom is the most-frequented one in the house. I want Judge Hodgman to order my husband to allow a bathroom trash can in each bathroom, and an injunction against him raising this issue in the future."

paula

Oh my gosh! [John bursts out laughing.] Elizabeth! I will come to where you live and support you! [John and Jesse crack up.] I will be the Greta Thunberg of your house! I will sit outside your husband's room with a sign! That says "Bathroom trashcans... rule!" Yes!

jesse

It's a good sign. Catchy slogan. [Laughing] Let's stick with it. [He and Paula laugh.]

paula

Yeah, that's a ridiculous idea, not to have a trashcan in the bathroom!

john

You have to understand, Paula, that there is—there is a long history on this podcast of women writing in to say that their spouses, particularly their male spouses, have ridiculous ideas about how to do things.

jesse

And I think particularly a long history of, in heterosexual couples, husbands who come up with a system that does not accommodate the different ways that women experience the world.

john

I wanna address this, because I have read some comments recently, all around the Internet—not a lot, but a couple of comments—that suggest that this is a selection bias on my part. Because when you write to me at hodgman@maximumfun.org, or submit a case at MaximumFun.org/jjho, I read those things, and I select them. And people are saying like, "Well, he just picks the ones in which the husbands are all trashcan-throwing-away creeps."

paula

But you're telling me that the raw data, like the stuff that just comes in unedited in any way, is a large percentage of these godawful stories. Are a lot of them about the bathroom trashcan? [John and Jesse laugh.]

crosstalk

John: No, this is the first— Jesse: [Laughing] No!

john

This is the first one, and I dare say an extreme example of having—of building a new system by getting rid of all systems altogether. [Laughs.]

jesse

I think it's fair to assert, John, and correct me if I'm wrong, that you are engaged in an active Affirmative Action program, trying to find—

john

Yes.

jesse

—wives with schemes! [John confirms again.] Just to balance it out a little bit!

paula

Wow!

john

I'm actively scanning, constantly. I take no pleasure in saying this, but I have now observed—what is it? Almost nine years of data, and the scatter graph is very clear: the behavior cluster is "husbands are weird." And I have learned a lot from this data, so if you're out there in the—on the Internet about to leave a comment that I'm selecting these cases to tell a story as a master storyteller and story crafter—obviously I do that, but—I'm not doing this to tell a story. I've learned from the data, and I've become a better person as a result. Think about it. Don't throw out the trashcan, dude!

crosstalk

John: Come on! Paula: No, that's absurd!

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[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

When we come back, we'll have more with our pal Paula Poundstone, from Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone. It's the Judge John Hodgman podcast.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

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[Three gavel bangs.]

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[Music.] Lisa Hanawalt: Hey, if you like your podcasts to be focused and well-researched, and your podcast hosts to be uncharismatic, unhorny strangers who have no interest in horses, then this is not the podcast for you. Emily Heller: Yeah, and what's your deal? [Lisa laughs.] I'm Emily. Lisa: I'm Lisa. Emily: Our show's called Baby Geniuses! Lisa: And its hosts are horny adult idiots. We discover weird Wikipedia pages every episode.

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Emily: We discuss institutional misogyny! Lisa: We ask each other the dumbest questions, and our listeners won't stop sending us pictures of their butts. Emily: We haven't asked them to stop! But they also aren't stopping. Lisa: Join us on Baby Geniuses. Emily: Every other week on MaximumFun.org. [Music ends.]

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[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

Welcome back to the Judge John Hodgman podcast. We've got Paula Poundstone here from the Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone podcast on Maximum Fun, and we are clearing the docket. Here is something from Marta: "Whenever we, or even just he, have to travel, he waits until midnight the night before the trip to pack He turns on all the lights in the bedroom after I've gone to sleep, wakes me up, [stifling laughter] and asks me to tell him what to pack. Then he wants to weigh the pros and cons of each item I tell him to pack, and then he questions if he really needs to bring the things that I told him to pack."

jesse

"He's only responsible for packing his clothing, toiletries, and electronics. I organize and pack all the other things, including gifts for his family when we travel to visit them in Bangladesh. His packing habits have made me anxious for the entirety of our 12-year relationship. I would like the judge to order that my husband must finish packing by ten PM the day prior to travel. Additionally, when he asks me for advice on what to pack, he cannot then question my advice."

john

Now, it could be, Paula Poundstone, that Marta is advising her husband to pack... ambrosia salad and gummy worms.

paula

Yeah. Exactly. "Get the vines from the tomato plants!" [John laughs.] "Honey, put those in there!"

john

"Don't throw those radish greens away, pack them!"

paula

Yeah!

john

"You'll want them in Bangladesh!"

paula

"Honey, did you put the birdseed in? In case we see some birds?"

john

[Laughing] Yeah.

paula

There's some details that aren't in here, by the way.

jesse

I think the main detail is [stifling laughter] "Does he also shine floodlights into the bedroom and like, play loud heavy metal music on loop?" This is like a psy-ops campaign he's running! [John cracks up, Paula laughs.]

paula

[John responds affirmatively as Paula begins.] She says that he turns on all the lights in the bedroom after she's gone to sleep. So—like, I'm gonna pack tonight to go to work in the morning, and I'm gonna get picked up at about 3:30 in the morning to head to the airport. And there's a possibility that I'll be rushing to finish packing before 3:30 in the morning. So my question would be, what time is her husband able to start packing? Because I'm a little sympathetic to the "waits to pack until midnight" thing. It may be that he's busy.

john

Everyone has different packing procedures and requirements. I like to pack the morning of. I hate packing the night before.

paula

Well, how can you pack the morning of?!

jesse

You are a confusing man! So you like to get to the airport hours early, but you also like to pack the morning of?!

john

[Short beat.] Yeah. Yeah, I'll get up earlier, so that I can pack the morning of. Unless my flight is so early that it would be disruptive to my wife's sleep.

paula

Oh, that's very caring.

john

In which case I will make the sacrifice of packing the night before. I don't know why I don't like to pack the night before. To me, it just feels... I—you know, I don't know. I just like to pretend that it's the end of a regular day. But for a regular old trip, I'll pack the morning of, as long as I'm traveling late enough that it's not disruptive to the sleep schedules of my loved ones.

paula

I don't like to travel late. Gotta get on the first flight out.

crosstalk

Paula: Because that way there, you can stick and move when something goes wrong, and let me tell you something— Jesse: [Stifling laughter] Gotta be able to stick and move.

paula

Something goes wro—this—here's an important thing that Marta might wanna embroider into a—like, a sampler that you could hang on the wall, maybe just over her husband's bed: "Packing and writing always take longer than you think they're going to."

john

Right.

paula

That's just something to keep in mind.

john

Yeah.

paula

Especially if she's sending him on some sort of scavenger hunt for things to pack! That's what it sounds like.

crosstalk

Jesse: Can I suggest a second thing to put on the sampler? Right underneath? Paula: Yes. Yes.

jesse

"If you're flying, you gotta have room to stick and move."

paula

Yeah. Gotta have room to stick and move, that's true! You do!

john

We definitely have a title for this episode, which is "Stick and Move and No New Butterfinger." [Paula laughs.] Marta's husband, you are allowed whatever process you require in order to pack in the way that you want to pack. Late at night, early in the morning—you know, long period of time of consideration, or just throwing a whole bunch of ambrosia salad into a pillowcase and grabbing an Uber to the airport. Whatever you need to do. But as in all issues within cohabitation and a lifelong partnership, you need to be considerate of the other person. And you have been torturing your wife for 12 years with this.

john

You have to make an adjustment. You cannot pack at midnight and wake her up. And you cannot do that thing that so many spouses do but should not, which is ask for advice, and then say that the advice is wrong! Take the advice or don't, but just accept the advice as given, and then make your move.

jesse

Yeah, you don't get to put the responsibility onto her, [stifling laughter] and not do what she suggests. You can't—you don't get to have both of those things. Like, obviously when you ask your wife, "What do you think I should bring?" what you're trying to do is make it so that if she doesn't say "swimming suit," then you get there and there's a pool, it's her fault. But you're not even accepting the things that she's suggesting!

john

Right. So, obviously she loves you very much. For 12 years this relationship has been going on, and I trust that you love her very much, and you don't want a situation where you have total packing freedom, because that is a situation in which you live alone. [Paula laughs.] Pack before ten, just as Marta asks, and accept advice, move on.

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[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

Okay, we have a letter from a listener in response to episode 432, "Dowager Mayor," about neighborly etiquette and the responsibility of greeting one's neighbor when you move into a new neighborhood. Zach says: "My wife and I bought a house in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood in Philadelphia a couple of years ago. We made a point to reach out to our neighbors before we even bought the house. We were trying to be conscious of our status as new inhabitants on a block of people who have lived there for decades. Speaking to our neighbors early on has been very helpful! Our neighbors look out for packages and keep an eye on our house when we're out of town. We also try to do what we can to help out on the block."

jesse

"In a situation like ours, I think it's very important to introduce oneself. Although it will not erase the rising taxes and displacement that come with gentrification, it's quite literally the least one can do."

john

Alright! This is a married man in a heterosexual couple who's not a monster! Good job, Zach! I mean, gentrification is a complicated topic, obviously. You are doing at least the very least you can do by being neighborly, and that is a good scheme. So that's a good one! Good job, Zach! Good job, Charlie, who wanted to give money to the person who side-swiped him. In the parlance of the great podcast One Bad Mother on Maximum Fun, you're doing a great job. Paula Poundstone of the great No One Listens to Paula Poundstone podcast on Maximum Fun, you did a great job! Thank you for being here!

paula

Thanks so much for having me!

jesse

Every Judge John Hodgman listener should be listening to Paula's MaxFun show, Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone, with the hilarious Adam Felber. [Paula chuckles.] The only man brave enough to interrupt Paula's torrent of hilarity. [Laughs.]

paula

[Stifling laughter] He tries. He tries to interrupt. It's very hard to do.

jesse

[Laughs.] I got to be a guest on that show, and I had such a great time, not least because I got to pet Paula's dog while I was recording. [Laughs.]

paula

Well, that's a nice thing, too!

jesse

Yeah, that dog's a beaut! The docket is clear! That's it for another episode of Judge John Hodgman. This week's episode edited by Jesus Ambrosio, produced by Hannah Smith! Jen Marmor headed out on maternity leave; we wish her all the best!

crosstalk

John: Hurrayyy! Jesse: We love you, buddy! [Someone is clapping.] Jesse: Good luck!

jesse

Follow us on Twitter at @JesseThorn and at @hodgman. We're on Instagram at @judgejohnhodgman. Make sure to hashtag your Judge John Hodgman Tweets #JJHo. And check out the Maximum Fun subreddit to discuss this week's episode! You can submit your cases at MaximumFun.org/jjho, or hodgman@maximumfun.org via email. Make sure to let us know if you're in one of the cities to which we are traveling on tour. And we'll see ya next time! On the Judge John Hodgman podcast. Here's Paula Poundstone's debut recording!

music

"Not My Butterfinger," by Paula Poundstone. [Song begins with spoken dialogue. There is indistinct chatter in the background, people walking around, supermarket-type environment.] Cashier: Next in line? Paula: Hey, um, I see that you have the fun-size Butterfingers in the bag. Cashier: Uh-huh. Paula: But do you have the medium-size ones? Cashier: Uh... Yeah, we got a new box right here. Paula: Oh, terrific. Cashier: Yeah. Paula: Alright, cool. Ah, uh, what do I owe ya? [Heavy bass begins with vocalizations in the background.] Cashier: It's... $2.75.

music

Paula: Alright. Terrific. Cashier: Out of five? [Receipt printing.] Cashier: Change. [Coins clinking.] Cashier: Thank you. Paula: [Rapping] Of all the things that need to change, there're many. In the Butterfinger recipe, there weren't any! Can't provide equal opportunity? That's lunacy! Anyone can see! Can't they address that deep regret? Instead of just f-[warp-censored] with my chocolate?

music

[Singing] Some things need to change Some things need to change But not my Butterfingers But not my Butterfingers Some things need to change (Yo!) Some things need to change (Yo!) But not my Butterfingers (No!) But not my Butterfingers [Rapping] This is crispety crunchety fun-size, but what are you thinking? Wouldn't it have been wise Consider, my sister Consider, my brother Stop the gun violence Stop shooting one another! Cruelty to the transgender I don't get it It's such a mind bender That needs a correction But Butterfingers don't need a new direction!

music

Change our type of fuel! Make a powerful public school! And if we don't let love rule We're done (We're done!) [Singing] Some things need to change Some things need to change But not my Butterfingers But not my Butterfingers (No way!) (Ride together? Come on) But not my Butterfingers But not my Butterfingers (White supremacy? Oh, please! It's 2019!) But not my Butterfingers (Come on, tell 'em, Paula!)

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[Rapping] Skip the meat and eat some greens! Put down your screens! I'd like to bring back the telephone booth! We deserve the truth! (We deserve the truth!) We deserve the truth! (We deserve the truth!) Stop worrying about how much peanut butter At the top we've got a gold-plated nutter! We deserve the truth! (We deserve the truth!) [Singing] Some things need to change (Hey!) Some things need to change (Hey...) But not my Butterfingers But not my Butterfingers Some things need to change Some things need to change But not my Butterfingers But not my Butterfingers

music

(Keep it sweet, man! You know we're trying to get fatter, not thinner, out there surviving No) [Back to spoken dialogue as the music continues.] Paula: I feel all the hope going out of my body. Cashier: Well, I'm sorry about that, ma'am. Can I help you with anything else? Paula: Can I get my money back? Cashier: [Exasperated] Ma'am, you already bit it. Paula: Well, I didn't say put it back on the shelf! Cashier: Next in line? Paula: [Singing] Butterfingers.

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[Three gavel bangs.]

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[A cheerful guitar chord.]

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Comedy and culture.

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Artist owned—

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