TRANSCRIPT Judge John Hodgman Ep. 438: You’ve Got Bail!

Podcast: Judge John Hodgman

Episode number: 424

Transcript

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse thorn

Welcome to the Judge John Hodgman podcast. I'm Bailiff Jesse Thorn. This week: "You've Got Bail!" Lillie files suit against her husband Thaddeus. Thaddeus has had the same email address—ApeManson@website.com—for 18 years. He uses it for everything, including as his contact information for their children's schools. Lillie finds Thaddeus's email address embarrassing and offensive. She'd like him to change it. Thaddeus would like to keep using his email address. Who's right? Who's wrong? Only one can decide.

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[Door opens. Footsteps. On the next line, chairs scrape on the floor.]

jesse

Please rise as Judge John Hodgman enters the courtroom and presents an obscure cultural reference.

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[Door shuts.]

john hodgman

The atmosphere is great, of course, but this time I struggled a bit with the sheer ludicrousness of the scenario. Since this is simultaneously Hodgman's most straight-faced and most preposterous podcast, the image of the dark lord's plasticky paw emerging from the mirror in the finale is daring but pathetic. An attempt to reconcile Christian mythology with materialist science, even in a fictional context, must inevitably fail. Bailiff Jesse Thorn, please swear the litigants in.

jesse

Lillie and Thaddeus, please rise and raise your right hands.

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[Chairs scrape.]

jesse

Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God or whatever?

thaddeus

I do.

lillie

I do.

jesse

Do you swear to abide by Judge John Hodgman's ruling, despite the fact that his own email address is Hodgman696969@website.com?

thaddeus

I do.

lillie

I do.

jesse

Judge Hodgman, you may proceed.

john

Lillie and Thaddeus, you may be seated.

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[Chairs scrape.]

john

For an immediate summary judgment in one of yours' honors, can either of you guess the piece of culture that I almost quoted verbatim? I added in my name and podcast to make it a little bit deceptive. Can you guess where it came from? Lillie, you seek justice before this court. What's your guess?

lillie

I thought we were gonna let Thad guess first.

john

You know what? You're right. It's fine. We're gonna do a pass to Thad. [Someone laughs quietly.] Classic pass to Thad.

thaddeus

Roll for initiative. [Lillie chuckles.]

john

And Lillie, you get a few extra moments to consider. Thad? You've been passed to.

thaddeus

Is it a passage from L.E. Snelgrove's book The Swarm: On Bee Keeping?

john

A passage from L.E. Snelgrove's book The Swarm: On Bee Keeping? Very common guess on the podcast. [Thaddeus laughs.] Is that something you made up, Thaddeus?

thaddeus

No, it's not.

john

It's a real thing. Alright, cool. Are you a beekeeper?

thaddeus

I am not.

john

Okay, great. Well, that was good. We passed enough time there. Lillie? I tried to buy you some extra time with the beekeeper question. What is your answer?

lillie

Alright, well it just sounds to me like someone writing an email complaining about Lord of the Rings.

john

Well... I'll put that in the guess book. That's about as close as anyone could humanly guess. Because while all guesses are wrong, [laughs] it is essentially a person writing an email complaining about The Lord of the Rings, insofar is—as it is a movie review written on a little-known movie-oriented social media website where people can trade lists of movies that they watched and review movies. This was a review of John Carpenter's 1987 horror movie Prince of Darkness, and it was reviewed on this site Letterboxd. I don't know if this is still an active social media network. I chose this review 'cause I thought it was funny and because of the member of this social media website—goes by the name F.Apemanson. F.Apemanson. [Thaddeus and Lillie laugh.]

john

Which is the email address in question. This is Thaddeus, your email address, the one that Lillie takes issue with. Without naming the domain, will you confirm that it is Apemanson@xyzxyz.com or org or edu?

thaddeus

Yes.

john

And do you pronounce it "Ape man son" or "Ape Manson"?

thaddeus

"Ape Manson."

john

"Ape Manson." I was trying to find you out there in the Googleverse, trying to see if I could track you down with just Apemanson. But this is not you, right? 'Cause this person is in the UK. And you are not.

thaddeus

Right.

john

So there is another Apemanson out there. So I'm not outing you by saying that your email address is Apemanson. We will not reveal the domain, obviously, because we want to protect your privacy. Alright, so Apemanson, A.K.A. Thaddeus, A.K.A. Thad—do you go by Thad, or do you prefer Thaddeus?

thaddeus

Uh, either or.

john

You've got one of the great first names. Very distinctive. And yet you chose a different name.

jesse

John, I'd hate to disagree with you right at the top of the show, but Thaddeus is the poor man's Phineas.

john

[Laughing] Oh! [Lillie laughs.] Do you have a brother named Phineas?

thaddeus

I have a brother Francis.

john

Wow. Thaddeus is an unusual name. Where did you grow up?

thaddeus

In Massachusetts, on the south shore.

john

Oh, alright, cool! And you go by Thad?

thaddeus

Yes.

john

Alright. And you still live in Massachusetts, both of you, Thad and Lillie?

crosstalk

Lillie & Thaddeus: Correct.

thaddeus

Yeah.

john

Fantastic. Well, why does the email Apemanson@blahblahblah.com bother you?

lillie

Well, so, it started last month when I was filling out—you know, we have to do contact information cards for the school, and for the room parents, and we now have two kids in elementary school. So I was writing everything down twice this year. I cringe every year writing down Apemanson@website.com. The word "ape" I just think is silly. He's not an ape, he's a human. "Manson..." I think at the time it was actually a reference to Marilyn Manson? Which I think needs to just stay behind in the 1990s.

john

[Stifling laughter] Mm-hm. Mm-hm. Mm-hm. Is that the origin of the email, Thad?

thaddeus

That's... about right. My brother made it for me. [Jesse laughs quietly.] And that probably is an accurate thing that it—the end part is from Marilyn Manson, probably.

jesse

Thaddeus, do you stipulate that you are man, not beast? [Lillie and Thaddeus laugh quietly.]

thaddeus

This is true. Yes.

jesse

Okay. Just wanted to confirm. [Thaddeus and Lillie laugh.]

thaddeus

The ape part is from a—my brother's—the nickname for me, 'cause I had pretty hairy arms, so they would always call me the ape, and then it turned to the ape man, and then after I got out of college and I needed a new email, he created that email for me, and I've had it ever since.

john

Do you like the email address? Apemanson?

thaddeus

Yeah! I mean, it's, you know, pretty whimsical, I feel. I— [Jesse starts cracking up and Lillie makes a sound of hesitation.] I've had it for—[laughs]. I've had it for 18 years. [Chuckles.] And it was like Lillie said. When she's signing up for all these things to deal with, with school and sports, and I'm looking through at like, the block of addresses that are there, it's usually, you know, the person's name. They're pretty blasé. And then there's mine there. And I don't—I kind of wear it with like a badge of honor, I guess, you know, that it's not just [drearily] "Thaddeus[censored] blah blah blah." You know?

john

Mm-hm.

thaddeus

And there's Apemanson.

john

Thank you for revealing your last name. [Lillie laughs quietly.]

thaddeus

Oh. [Laughs.]

john

We're getting even closer to finding the true identity of Apemanson. [Everyone laughs.] But it is very silly. Is that what bothers you about it, Lillie?

lillie

Yes. It's silly, and I guess I'm just—I'm stuck on the word "ape." I just feel like it's not... appropriate? It's not that I want him to even just get rid of the email address, I just want him to create a more bland one for use with school and sports, like coaches and things.

jesse

Lillie, are you more bothered by the "ape" portion, which refers to a majestic group of animals? [Lillie laughs quietly.] Or the "Manson" portion, [stifling laughter] which refers to a musician who named himself after a serial killer? [Someone laughs.]

lillie

[Whispering] Oh my god... [Normal volume] Well, I mean, they're both bad, I just—I don't know. I just feel like the days of comparing people to monkeys should be over. I mean, we're both white, so I don't know if we wanna bring a racial discussion into it, but I just—that makes me uncomfortable, and also the reference of a serial killer, and the goth singer. All three.

john

I'm glad you brought up the issue, because it did flag for me a little bit.

lillie

Mm-hm.

john

In this day and age, Apeman could have a connotation that is... offensive, in a racial way.

lillie

And I don't think anyone intended it that way, but—

john

No, no, no, no, of course not! Of course not. I grew up in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which is the only Commonwealth in the area of the Northeast known as New England. And I remember, as a youth, going to the Primal Plunge zine store in the Allston Mall in Allston, Massachusetts, to peruse the zines, the counterculture zines. 'Cause I was an extremely pretentious 17-year-old. And there were a lot of zines that were dedicated to a kind of "ironic" appreciation of Charles Manson, which even then I found to be distasteful, because he caused a lot of harm. That is not Thaddeus! Thaddeus, you are neither a racist nor a serial killer, are you, sir?

thaddeus

Not at all, no.

john

What do you do for a living?

thaddeus

I work for the government. [Lillie and Jesse laugh.] I'm a mailman.

john

[Stifling laughter] Oh! [Jesse, John, and then Thaddeus laugh.] It's funny, the more specific you got, the more threatening it seemed. [Laughs.] [Jesse, Lillie, and Thaddeus laugh.]

jesse

[Menacing] "I always deliver." [John and Lillie laugh.]

thaddeus

Yeah. I'm a letter carrier.

john

You're a letter carrier; fantastic. And Lillie, what do you do all day long?

lillie

I work for an investment advisor; I'm a back office person. So I do reporting and client customer service.

john

And you have two sons, is that correct?

lillie

Mm-hm.

john

Did I hear that right? What are their ages?

lillie

They are ten and six.

john

And how long have you been married?

lillie

11 years this December.

john

So Apemanson@blahblah.com predates your marriage by what, seven years, right?

crosstalk

Thaddeus: Yes. Lillie: It does.

lillie

In fact, when we were dating he didn't have texting technology, so he would email me a lot. Gave me pause even then, but— [Multiple people laugh quietly.] But I liked the guy.

thaddeus

[Stifling laughter] Mm-hm.

john

You saw beyond it.

lillie

Yep. [Laughs.]

john

When you had Apemanson bestowed upon you, Thaddeus, who were you then? What was your life like as a—I guess 26-year-old?

thaddeus

I was just out of college, about—you know, had been out of college for a couple, few years. And I was just kind of bouncing around aimlessly, pretty much. You know, I was skateboarding a lot, and going to the movies, and uh— [Lillie sighs.] —working part-time at the post office at the time, and, you know, I had a little painting business. So I was pretty carefree.

john

Mm-hm. Do you still like that guy? Are you still that guy? Or have you settled down?

thaddeus

Uh, I'd say 85% that guy. [Lillie, Jesse, and Thaddeus laugh.]

jesse

Man, will you be my mailman? [John, Lillie, and Thaddeus laugh.]

thaddeus

I have like, you know—I'm like a 16-year-old with the crushing weight of the Earth on my shoulders, you know? I'm still pretty much the same guy that I was back then, but I have grown up responsibilities now along with all that.

john

Lillie, do you agree that he's a 16-year-old at heart who's managing adult responsibilities?

lillie

Yes, I believe I referred to him with Jennifer and Hannah as "a Peter Pan–style husband."

john

[Stifling laughter] Mm-hm. How does he manage his adult responsibilities?

lillie

He does pretty well. Sometimes there's a little bit of remote managing, 'cause he's—his hours are more conducive to him, you know, getting the kids from school and all that. So sometimes I feel like a dispatcher in the afternoon. Like, reminding him where he needs to be, and...

john

Uh-huh.

lillie

Of the things that have to get accomplished in the afternoon before I get home. But he—you know, he does it all willingly. Even if he doesn't remember.

john

What are your concerns that people will have when they see Apemanson@blahblah.com on, say, a school contact sheet or something like that? [John responds affirmatively a few times as Lillie answers.]

lillie

So, I'm an administrator for a youth sports league and, you know, when someone has an odd email address, it doesn't necessarily make me judge that person or treat their child differently, but it gives you that moment of pause. Like, "Oh. You never updated your email address since 1996?" Or whatever, and I'm just imagining—you know, it's kinda like that death by a thousand paper cuts. Like, are people just pausing in a minute micro-judgment when they're like, reviewing his email address? Like, it's—I mean, you're right. It's not a world-ending...

john

I mean, it's not like his—it's not like his name is Hoobastank1998. [Everyone laughs.]

jesse

Judge Hodgman, have you ever had the experience—if I might sidebar very briefly—

thaddeus

Please! [Lillie laughs.]

jesse

—where you are going to email a person of renown. Say a film or television personality.

john

Yeah.

jesse

Or something similar. Have you had the experience that universally, a famous person's email address is either their name @populardomain.com...

john

Mm-hm?

jesse

Or something completely incomprehensible that they picked on AOL in 1995? [Laughs.]

john

Right. [Lillie chuckles.]

jesse

Like, I think 20% of celebrities have kept their AOL email address from 1995. Everyone else's is just their name @popularwebmailservice.com.

john

That was part of the aesthetic of adopting Internet into your life in the nineties, was coming up with a wicked cool handle! What was your first email address, Jesse?

jesse

Mine was JJThorn@sirius.com, but—

john

That's pretty good!

jesse

—that was because, like many people at the time, I shared my email address with my mother. [Laughs.] [Lillie laughs.]

john

Yeah!

jesse

[Laughing] Because our ISP only gave us one email address.

john

Wow! Did she or you learn information that the other didn't want them to know about?

jesse

I don't think that ever happened. I think we were both very discreet.

john

Very good. I was JKHodge@aol.com, which I think is right down the middle between sorta nicknamey but still identifiably me. I wonder if that still works. Someone email JKHodge—J-K-H-O-D-G-E @aol.com and let me know. By writing me at hodgman@maximumfun.org.

jesse

I think my first email address of my own was Mr.T@sirius.com.

john

Okay, there we go.

jesse

Which, you know, is embarrassing. But frankly, my last name is still Thorn, and I'm still a big fan of Mr. T, sooo... it works!

john

You deserve the title "Mister." You're a true Mister.

jesse

I am!

john

Lillie, do you have any email addresses in your past that you're a little embarrassed by, that you moved on from?

lillie

My first email address was Lilliekins@aol.com, but I don't—that's not that bad.

john

No, it's not that bad. But it's a little cutesy.

lillie

It's what my grandpa called me.

john

[Tone of "Aw!"] Oh!

crosstalk

Lillie: [Laughing] Yeah! John: That's lovely!

jesse

Mine was LyteFunkieTwos@aol.com. I was a big LFO fan. [Laughs.]

john

[Laughs.] Riffing off of Lillie, mine was BelovedGrandson. [Laughs.] [Lillie and Jesse laugh.] It's what my father—my grandfather called me. [Thaddeus laughs.]

jesse

Yeah.

john

It was cutesy, but there was a time, right, Lillie? Where you were like, "Time to put childish things away."

lillie

That's correct. I actually—I—so I manage four email addresses now. And I do it fine all from my phone, so I just fail to see why it would be so difficult for Thaddeus to just make another one.

crosstalk

John: So, Thad— Thaddeus: That's crazy. [John and Lillie laugh.]

thaddeus

No one needs four emails.

john

You—[laughs] you mean to say you manage four emails of your own?

crosstalk

Lillie: Yeah! John: Four different accounts? Lillie: For different purposes. John: For different purposes. Lillie: Mm-hm.

jesse

Lillie is the first president with her own BlackBerry. [Lillie and John laugh.]

john

You have your professional, you have your personal... You have your—

lillie

Mm-hm.

john

—secret family. [Jesse or Thaddeus chuckles.] And Lilliekins@aol.com. Just keeping it around.

lillie

That's right. Well, I have youth sports, 'cause I'm on the board. And I have one in my married name, one in my maiden name, and, um... my—yeah, my work.

john

Why would it be difficult for you to create a second email address, Thad?

thaddeus

I just don't see the need to have more than one.

john

Is it hard for you to figure out how to do it on your Motorola Star Tack?

crosstalk

Lillie: Yes. Thaddeus: Well—yeah, that's exactly right.

thaddeus

I wouldn't know how to create one. And then, I have one that works perfectly fine. [Lillie scoffs quietly.] It's worked for eight—I just had my 18-year anniversary with this thing about a month ago; I got an email. And—you know. I feel like it goes along with this culture that we're in, of this "dispose everything," it can get tossed away at the drop of a hat. You know what I mean? I had a old TV, and it broke down. I took it to the TV repairman, and he fixed it, and it worked great. Nowadays, if somebody's TV breaks, they throw it away and—you know. This email has served me well for 18 years, and I don't feel the need to have a second.

john

We're not talking about throwing away an email address like it's a TV. We're talking about creating another email address that could be used in more professional circumstances.

jesse

[Comically indignant] Judge Hodgman, would you ask Henry David Thoreau to throw away Walden Pond— [John snorts.] —or add a second pond that redirects to Walden Pond?

john

[Laughs.] Interesting metaphor. It's gonna take me a little while to unpack. [Everyone laughs.]

jesse

Thaddeus is a man of principle! [Thaddeus or John cracks up.]

lillie

He truly is.

john

Is there other examples of Thaddeus's use of technology that are distinctive, Lillie?

lillie

He has annoying ringtones, and he doesn't silence his phone when he's using the Bluetooth speaker. [Someone sighs.] So I'll be like washing dishes, and then I'll hear like, the Wilhelm Scream over the speaker in my house. [John and Jesse laugh.] Or a Tarzan call.

john

What kind of phone do you use? You can name the brand.

thaddeus

[A little contemptuous, almost embarrassed] iPhone.

john

You're up to date!

thaddeus

Yeah. [Lillie chuckles.]

john

You say it with a certain amount of withering contempt.

thaddeus

Well... Yeah. I don't like green text messages, and a bunch of my friends have Androids.

john

You intro yourself as a Luddite on this podcast! [Thaddeus and Lillie laugh.] And then you're railing about green text messages! That's some pretty advanced tech snobbery! [They laugh again.] I'm with you, though. I hate those green text messages. [Thaddeus laughs.] Come on, everybody. Get with it. [Laughs.]

thaddeus

Seriously.

john

Lillie, you could set up a new email address for him, right?

lillie

I could do it. I do a lot of things for him. [Someone snorts.] Like, um—

john

Like what else? [Someone laughs quietly.]

lillie

Put all the sports and school apps on his phone. Gave him—you know, made him his own logins, and make sure he gets all the scheduled stuff. You know. So I do a lot of that. I'm happy to walk him through the process if he needs help. But maybe he'll be empowered and come up with tons of email addresses he likes!

jesse

Let's take a quick recess. We'll be back in just a moment on the Judge John Hodgman podcast.

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[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

The Judge John Hodgman podcast is of course supported by all of Maximum Fun's members. You can join them at MaximumFun.org/donate. This week, we're also supported by Mozilla, the makers of Firefox. Firefox throws the book at creepy trackers that follow people online! Trackers are what some companies use to find out what sites you visited, and what you clicked on, without your consent. Firefox says "That's an invasion of your privacy." That's why Firefox blocks ten billion trackers for users every day, automatically. When you're using Firefox, your privacy is protected.

jesse

Go to Firefox.com/privacy to learn more about how Firefox is keeping trackers in check. This episode is also supported in part by Native Deodorant. You know, less is more with Native. They have fewer, simpler ingredients, so you know everything that's in your deodorant. And there's no aluminum. It's aluminum-free. It comes in a variety of scents, including un-scented, and a baking soda–free formula for those with sensitivities. You can try Native with absolutely no risk. They offer free returns and exchanges in the United States, so... so, you know, lift your arm, give it the old [like a squeaking hinge] "wheet-woo, wheet-woo." See how it goes! For 20% off your first purchase, visit NativeDeodorant.com and use promo code "JudgeJohn" during checkout.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

Court is back in session! Let's return to the courtroom for more justice.

jesse

When you say "sports apps," do you mean like MLB.tv so he can watch streaming ball games? Do you mean like sports training apps? Or do your children's elementary school sports teams have apps?

lillie

Children's elementary school sports teams have apps so that coaches can communicate with everybody. The schedule's always on the app. One of our sons plays soccer in two different leagues, so there's two apps. There's one for town and one for his club.

jesse

Judge Hodgman, I hope you'll forgive me, but... when I was a kid, and my sports teams had apps, that meant mozzarella sticks. [Lillie, Thaddeus, and John laugh.]

thaddeus

[Laughing] Yeah! And let me tell you, it's ponderous. Like she said, there's two for one. I think I have three different ones on there. And not only do you get alerts from the apps, then you get emails. So you're getting hit, you know, twice with these things. And you know, she'll put things on there, like she had a banking app on there. Aaand I never—

crosstalk

Lillie: Yeah, that one doesn't get used. Thaddeus: I never used them.

thaddeus

But I have been using this soccer app. But it is, like—you know, you get inundated, and it's like, "Really, guys?"

jesse

Why use a banking app when you have a perfectly good cardboard box under your bed? [Lillie and Thaddeus laugh.]

thaddeus

My go-to is always, like, "Lil, uh, how much money's in the account?" Or "What time is this and that?"

crosstalk

Thaddeus: And she— Lillie: Right. I'm—I'm his app.

thaddeus

She gets really aggravated with that stuff.

jesse

[Amused] Yeah, reasonably so. [Thaddeus laughs.]

john

Would you like—would you like Thaddeus to be more technologically self-sufficient than he is, Lillie?

lillie

Uh, yes. Mm-hm.

jesse

Lillie, do you think this reflects technological ineptitude? Or do you think it reflects... a lack of emotional and relationship skills?

lillie

[Laughs.] I think it's mostly the technology angle. You know, he's a mailman, he doesn't need—you know, I'm on a computer all day, so it's easy for me to check things, and he doesn't remember passwords, stuff like that. But no, as far as relationship goes, he's got plenty of skills. It's just the technology.

jesse

He is a younger Gen X-er. Like... [Lillie laughs, and then she and John laugh as Jesse continues.] [Laughing] It's not like he's in the Greatest Generation; he's like, "They didn't teach us that in the Marines at Guadalcanal!"

lillie

This poor guy; he majored in photography. The year he graduated, the digital camera blew up. He's on that cusp of analogue/digital in many areas.

john

You were robbed of your artwork!

thaddeus

[On a sad laugh] Yeah.

lillie

True. [Thaddeus chuckles.]

john

Your medium was stolen from you!

thaddeus

Yup. I still press on with the film, though. She was like, "What are you doing with this film?" And, you know, once she saw the results, she got on board and was like, "Yeah. This is definitely better."

jesse

Thaddeus, do you have your own darkroom?

thaddeus

I do not.

jesse

Do you go use a darkroom, or—somewhere? Like, do you rent one at the community college or something?

thaddeus

I just shoot 35 millimeter right now. You know, had to downsize. But when I was in college, I had access to the darkroom.

john

Right.

thaddeus

And was shooting large format. But now—you know, and I had a little snobbery towards the 35 millimeter when I was in school, but I embrace it now. And I love it. You know? That's what I started off on, and you know, it's full circle. And I take pictures of the kids and this and that, 'cause that was like, a big thing for me. I'm like, "All these photos are on the phone." Like, we need to have actual pictures and—that we can hold and look at, you know, and—you know, sure! 2 out of the 35 are good, but those 2 are awesome, you know what I mean?

john

Right.

jesse

I wonder, given that you made the transition to 35 millimeter from what I can only presume was like, giant silver nitrite plates and like a towel that goes over your head— [Lillie laughs.] —and a big plunger, and a thing that goes "poof," and a puff of smoke comes out. That's all—sits on a giant tripod. [Someone snorts.] Made of wood.

lillie

Mm-hm.

jesse

[Stifling laughter] I wonder if you can't manage, maybe, possibly, to figure out how to use the banking app on your phone. [Lillie and Thaddeus laugh.]

thaddeus

I've deleted it. [Lillie and Jesse laugh.]

john

So when you're shooting 35 millimeter, do you send the film away to be printed?

thaddeus

Yeah, I go to the lab.

john

But would you like to be doing more darkroom printing?

thaddeus

Ehh, I don't know. I—I have different thoughts on that now. You know? I don't wanna really be bathing in all those chemicals.

john

What's it like being a letter carrier? What time do you get up? What's your work day like? What do you love about it? What do you hate about it? What do you tolerate about it?

thaddeus

I get up at 5:30. I make my boys' lunch, and my lunch, and breakfast. And I report to the office for seven o'clock. And I get my mail ready, and I usually hit the road about ten o'clock, and then I go deliver mail and listen to podcasts for three hours. And I'm usually done... er, 1:30. For the day. I'm a rural carrier, not a city carrier, so we have a whole different set of rules that we go with.

john

What's the difference?

thaddeus

Our pay scale is an evaluation vs. hourly. So if I work for six hours, I'll still get paid for nine. Or you know, I could work for twelve and get paid for nine, but I very rarely go over that evaluation. And then I come home and get the kids off the bus and do homework and make dinner, all that good stuff.

john

It sounds like a great day-to-day life. Do you find it fulfilling?

thaddeus

I do! You know? I've been doing the mail for—oof. Almost 25 years. And I've got a great relationship with a bunch of my customers. I answer my Santa Claus letters personally.

john

You open the Santa Claus letters yourself, on the side of the road?

thaddeus

Yeah, and then—[laughing] no, yeah, by the road. No. [John and Lillie laugh.] I take them home, and then I write them out. I've developed a font for Santa, and then I sign the signature with Elmer's Glue and glitter, and you know, I sometimes do a wax seal for Santa Claus, and I put a candy cane on it. They're personalized to the household because I—you know, been delivering the same route for so long, I know, you know, what goes on in—[breaks off, laughing]. [As Newman from Seinfeld] "When you control the mail, you control information," you know?

thaddeus

[John cracks up.] I know stuff about the people, so— [Thaddeus, Lillie, and Jesse laugh.]

lillie

That was a Seinfeld quote.

crosstalk

Thaddeus: Yeah. Seinfeld. Lillie: That was Newman. John: [Stifling laughter] No, I know.

john

Is Newman a hero among letter carriers? [He, Thaddeus, and Lillie laugh.]

thaddeus

I prefer Cliff Clavin.

john

Oh, yeah, sure, there you go. What do you remember about the time when you were truly Apemanson? When you were 26 years old? Is that a time that was special to you?

thaddeus

You know, I was in the throes of my bachelorism. [Laughs.] I lived at home until I was 28. [Lillie laughs.] I didn't really—you know. I wasn't really too motivated for anything else other than—I didn't realize, you know, like, "Oh!" [Lillie laughs.] "Maybe—maybe I should—[laughs] you know, move out or whatever." But you know, back then, like, seriously, all's I was doing was skateboarding all the time and you know, just hanging out with friends and... that was it.

john

Sounds amazing.

jesse

And working on your glue stick and glitter skills. [Lillie and Thaddeus and/or John laugh.]

thaddeus

That didn't come 'til a couple years later.

john

Did you have an ambition beyond... that? And I'm not saying that you should have.

thaddeus

You know, I kinda just fell into the post office thing. Well, I didn't fall into it. You know, it's kinda like a family. My nana did it. My dad, my aunt, my mother, cousin, sister, so you know, a big postal family. [He and Lillie laugh.]

john

I really wanna meet your nana the letter carrier.

crosstalk

Lillie: She's awesome. Thaddeus: Oh, she's been—she's gonna be 90 coming up. Yeah.

john

Oh my goodness! Is she still out there slinging mail?

thaddeus

No, she retired about 18 years ago.

crosstalk

John: [Laughing] 18 years ago, what?! Jesse: Hm. Thaddeus: Yeah! [At least one person is cracking up.] Jesse: That is still a pretty solid run! [The laughter peaks again all around and then dies down.]

john

About the time that you became Apemanson, she retired?!

thaddeus

[Laughing] Yes! Yes! Correct!

john

What's math? [Laughs, so does someone else.] What's 90 minus 18?

jesse

72!

john

Wow! Is it common among letter carriers that it be sort of a family tradition?

thaddeus

It's kinda like a nepotism thing. You know, one person gets in there, and then they're like, "Alright, I'll get you in," you know? And that's kind of pretty much what happened with my father, 'cause he was like, "What am I gonna do with this kid? All's he's doing is skateboarding and reading comic books, and you know, flying around doing this and that." And so he—you know, he's like, "I got you a job at the post office," and I'm like, "What are you talking about?" So I did that for many years, just part-time^. And then I almost quit several times, 'cause I got various other jobs, and I just held on to it for like pocket change. And here we are!

jesse

I like the idea that in his twenties, Thaddeus was just reading comic books and skateboarding, [stifling laughter] and sometimes the teacher would make him write sentences on the board— [Lillie laughs.] —and sometimes he would say, "I'm Bart Simpson; who the hell are you?" [Lillie laughs again, Thaddeus cracks up.]

john

Lillie, how did you meet Thad? And you just saw this freewheelin', skateboardin', letter-carryin' dude and like... "He's for me; he'll definitely be a reliable husband and parent to two boys"? [Beat.]

lillie

[Laughs.] Thad and I had mutual friends. We were both living in the city of New Bedford at the time. We met at a friend of mine's birthday party. This friend actually said, "You should talk to Thad tonight." Like, you know, she was kinda trying to get me to like, flirt with him, and I did. I talked to him, and he's fun. And then we realized, you know, weeks later, that we actually lived like around the corner from each other.

john

When you said "Well, so what do you wanna do with your life?" he's like, "I don't know! I think I just wanna be a letter carrier like my nana." [Lillie and Jesse laugh.] That's not always what a potential spouse wants to hear.

lillie

[Laughing] No.

jesse

Although that's a lot better than, in my case, explaining to my mother- and father-in-law that I aspire to be a professional podcaster. [John and Lillie laugh.]

lillie

You know, I—I didn't think about it. I just—I loved him. Loved spending time with him. We didn't really plan to have kids, and then we did, and he's so lovable.

thaddeus

I have a high charisma. [Lillie laughs.]

john

If you're just a skateboarder with a part-time letter-carrying job— [Thaddeus and Lillie laugh.] —and you're going to get a woman to marry you, you gotta have high charisma. And you do! [They laugh again.]

jesse

Not as high as my mother's beloved mail carrier, Ping. My mom and Ping have a platonic romance that's been going for almost 20 years now. I think they would move in with each other if they had the opportunity.

lillie

[Laughs.] That is so sweet.

thaddeus

Fantastic.

john

Well, you do play a role in your customers' everyday lives, don't you, Thad?

crosstalk

Thad: Yes! Lillie: Mm-hm. Thad: Mm-hm.

john

That's a deep relationship, if you see your mail carrier every day, and you talk to them. What comic books were you reading when you were 28 years old and living at home? My dream.

thaddeus

Oh, back then it was probably just Amazing Spider-Man

john

Right.

thaddeus

—and, um, you know. The usuals. X-Men.

john

What'd you think of the Clone Saga?

thaddeus

I think I was out by then.

john

Phew. [Laughing] Good.

thaddeus

[Laughing] Yeah.

john

Then you're—you're still on my list, Thad. Good. [Thaddeus and Lillie laugh.]

lillie

We still own every comic book he ever read.

john

[Feigning surprise] Oh, really? Thad holds on to childish things? Hm, interesting. [Lillie, Thaddeus, and Jesse laugh.] Any other holdovers?

lillie

Skateboards.

john

Skateboards? Yeah.

jesse

[Stifling laughter] He's still got that slingshot he used to keep in his back pocket. [Thaddeus and Lillie laugh.]

john

Do you feel, Lillie, that Thad has trouble moving on from that period of in his life?

lillie

I think he's just trying to bring it with him? He's not, like, rejecting any of his new responsibilities other than, you know, my wish for him to change the email address. But he really has a hard time letting go of possessions from that era. Like the comic books, and we have several tubs full of skateboards that he just buys and never intends to skate on. We have walls in our house that are covered with skateboards. [Laughs.]

john

I didn't know that you stored skateboards in tubs.

thaddeus

They're art pieces. [Lillie laughs.] She's embraced it.

lillie

Mm...

thaddeus

Well—

lillie

Have I? [Thaddeus or Jesse bursts out laughing.]

thaddeus

Yeah, you picked out ten and we put them up in the living room, you know, and— [John bursts out laughing.]

lillie

Ten—ten out of how many, Thad?

john

[Recovering] How many?

thaddeus

[A little sheepishly] Uh... Dozens and dozens and dozens and dozens.

lillie

Mm-hm.

jesse

Do you have one of the MaxFun-themed decks, available at MaxFunStore.com?

lillie

We were not aware of those!

thaddeus

Ooh.

crosstalk

Lillie: But— John: Mm. Jesse: Oh, good! John: Yeah. Jesse: Well, thank goodness I just plugged them. [Lillie laughs.]

john

We'll send you 25 of them.

lillie

[Laughing] Thank you. [Jesse laughs, Thaddeus cracks up.]

thaddeus

Only 25?

lillie

Round out another tub. [Thaddeus laughs.] It'll be good.

john

Is there anything else that I need to know about, Lillie, with regard to Thaddeus? Are the skateboards an okay situation? Or are they—is this a problem?

crosstalk

Thaddeus: This is funny to me, that she brought— John: Excuse me—excuse me, please— Thaddeus: Oh— [Lillie is laughing.] John: Excuse me. [Thaddeus laughs.]

john

I will hear from you in a moment, sir Apemanson.

thaddeus

Sorry, Judge.

john

Lillie, are you okay with these decks, and these boards, and these trucks, and these wheels?

lillie

You know, we have a in-law suite that is just full of comic books and skateboards. And it would be really nice if we could have company come and visit, instead of...

john

Mm-hm.

lillie

...housing old items.

john

Anything else that Thad has a hoard of, aside from skateboards and one old email name?

lillie

Skateboards and comic books.

john

And comic books.

lillie

And old email. That's it.

john

Beyblades and Pogs? [Thaddeus laughs.]

lillie

Oh! Several gaming systems. [John laughs.] Like an old Xbox, an old Super Nintendo, an old Wii. You know, now that I'm thinking about the contents of that room...

john

This is all in the in-law suite?

lillie

Yeah.

jesse

[Stifling laughter] Thaddeus, is this just a system to prevent your in-laws from visiting? [Everyone laughs.]

thaddeus

It's an elaborate—an elaborate scheme. That's my man cave!

crosstalk

John: Oogh. Why— Jesse: Oh, boy. John: You were so close to winning, Thaddeus! Thaddeus: So—wow! Jesse: Yeah, you were really winning, Thad, and then you said "man cave." [Someone is laughing and striking a surface.]

thaddeus

Well, it's not really a man cave at all. That's, I mean—it's actually a hoard.

jesse

Yeah, walk it back, walk it back.

thaddeus

My board hoard.

john

It's your board hoard! You—actually, you did win me back a little bit with "board hoard." [Lillie and John or Thaddeus laugh.]

jesse

Yeah. That was good. Lillie, has there ever been any consequence that you've actually perceived, of him using this slightly embarrassing email address?

lillie

It's just honestly how I feel about it. It makes me cringe when I have to provide it to people. So I have talked to a lot of people in—you know, in the community, and they've all been like, "Yeah, I noticed it, but so what?" Or you know, but to me it's just—it's not an appropriate email.

john

So Thaddeus, if I were to rule in your favor, what would you have me rule?

thaddeus

I would have you rule that I can continue to use Apemanson as my— [Lillie laughs, then Thaddeus.] —my email, as I have for the last 18 years, uninterrupted.

john

You keep acting as though this precedent of use of this email address is somehow legally compelling. Like, "I've been using it for 18 years. That's gotta count for something."

thaddeus

It was a gift from my brother, you know? [Lillie laughs.]

john

[Tsking] Oh, how dare you?

jesse

This goes back to the Magna Carta, Judge Hodgman! [John and/or Thaddeus laugh.] This is English common law!

john

Okay, so leave everything the—exactly the way it is, as you have indeed tried to do since you were 26 years old. [Lillie laughs.]

thaddeus

Well, you know, I guess if it—you know, push came to shove—[laughing] I don't know—another email address, I don't know if I can handle another email address! [Jesse cracks up.] It's a lot.

john

Are you afraid you won't know how to use it?

thaddeus

It could go the way of the banking app. [Lillie laughs.] [Someone exhales sharply.]

john

Lillie, what email address would you want me to order him to use?

lillie

You know, one based on his first and last name. I would help him look at it on his phone. I just want him to have a more conventional forward-facing email for interfacing with our community.

jesse

Lillie, would you be comfortable with an email address that automatically forwarded to his Apemanson address?

lillie

Yeah. We could do that. That's a great idea, Jesse.

thaddeus

You can do that? [Beat.] [Lillie laughs.]

john

Oh...

lillie

Yeah!

john

You'll be so surprised at what you can do, Thaddeus, now that it is 2007. [Jesse and Thaddeus crack up.] You'll be amazed.

lillie

The problem with that—there would be an issue with that, though. He would be replying, then, from Apemanson.

jesse

Depends on how you set it up.

lillie

Yeah.

john

I think that there's a way to set it up. I'll take that into consideration.

jesse

On a popular webmail service that I use, it's possible to automatically reply with the address to which someone sent the email.

thaddeus

Also, I do not reply to emails. [Lillie and Jesse laugh.]

john

What a surprise.

thaddeus

I just read them.

lillie

[Sighs.] Yeah.

john

I think I've— [Lillie laughs.] —heard enough. I'm gonna go into my Internet café/oxygen bar, circa 1997— [Thaddeus and Lillie laugh.] —to listen to “Walking on the Sun” and come up with my verdict. I'll be back in a moment with my decision.

sound effect

[Door opens.]

jesse

Please rise as Judge John Hodgman exits the courtroom.

sound effect

[Chairs scrape. Footsteps. Door shuts.]

jesse

How are you feeling about your chances, Lillie?

lillie

I just have such a simple request. I know there's just such a precedent for weird dad... law.

jesse

Thaddeus, how are you feeling about your chances?

thaddeus

I was feeling... great about it, but, um... [Laughs.] I think— [Lillie and Jesse laugh.] I think my chances are, uh... [Lillie laughs.] Sl-slipped away towards the end there.

jesse

[Laughing] Are you concerned that we may harsh your mellow? [Thaddeus and Lillie laugh.]

thaddeus

You know, if that's the case, then so be it. I'll accept any verdict handed out to me.

jesse

Thaddeus, to what extent is this entire conflict driven by your professional jealousy of electronic mail? [Thaddeus and Lillie laugh.]

thaddeus

That's right! Yeah. [Jesse laughs.] It's cutting into—[breaks off, laughing]. Taking food off my kids' plates. [Lillie and Jesse laugh.]

jesse

We'll see what Judge Hodgman has to say about all this when we come back in just a second.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

Judge Hodgman, we're taking a break from our case. We're about to go on tour, my friend!

john

We are, Jesse! Judge John Hodgman: Live Justice is bringing law to the lawless lands of Toronto, Ontario, on November 6th; Durham, North Carolina, November 7th; Atlanta, Georgia, November 8th; Washington, DC, November 10th; Portland, Maine, November 11th. Now, it sounds like we left a date out there. "What happened to November 9th?" you might ask. Well, guess what? While Jesse and crew go on to Washington, DC, to rest and relax and take a night off, and make sure that the city is secure for my arrival... I'm gonna go to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and just have a meetup with some friends! 'Cause there's—there's no live show there this time around. So I'll—but I miss it! I'll let you know where we are. If you go to JudgeJohnHodgman.com/tour, you can learn about all the details of where we're gonna be together for Live Justice, where the Philadelphia meetup is gonna be, and all the other things you need to do to join us on this road.

jesse

Judge Hodgman—John Hodgman. It's his full name. Has a brand new book. It's called Medallion Status. Like this podcast, it's funny but it's also wise. Those are two things that you need in your life. And let's be frank. There is a covenant between podcast host and podcast listener. And that is: you will enjoy the podcast over many, many months, perhaps even years. And eventually, the host of the podcast will write a book, and whether or not you intend to read it, you the listener will purchase the book!

john

[Laughing] Whoa!

jesse

We do our job, you do your job!

john

[Laughs.] I don't disagree! [Laughs.]

jesse

[Jesse is veering in and out of shouting; all high intensity.] It's called Medallion Status, by John Hodgman! You don't have to read the book! I encourage you to do so; you'll enjoy it if you do—you don't even have to read! [John laughs.] Just ask someone to go to a bookstore and ask for Medallion Status by John Hodgman! PURCHASE THE BOOK!

john

[Laughs.] In all seriousness—and thank you, oh Bailiff my bailiff—

jesse

[Normal volume/intensity.] You're welcome.

john

It is a tenet of the Judge John Hodgman show that if there is culture that you love—you don't have to love everything; you don't even have to like everything. But if there is culture that you love, and the creator of that culture is asking you to support it in a specific way, and you want to do that and you are able to do that, say financially, this is the ask from me to you. This is the thing that I made for you. This is the culture that I made for you. Along with the podcast, it is sort of the work that is closest to my heart. And it would be very, very meaningful to me if you were able to support it! Either by going to Bit.ly/MEDALLIONSTATUS or your local bookshop, and ordering a copy or buying a copy and enjoying it. Or, if that's not within your means, tell a friend.

jesse

There are a lot of comedians who write books. John Hodgman is a writer who does comedy. John Hodgman is a gifted writer. Whether or not you read, whether or not you speak English, whatever your circumstances are, you can buy the book, display it in a prominent place in your home, and everyone who comes in will know that you are an urbane sophisticate. Somebody who gets it.

john

Thank you, Jesse. [Laughs.]

crosstalk

Jesse: [Laughing] It's that easy! John: I'm honestly—I'm honestly blushing. [Jesse laughs.]

john

Thank you, everybody, for all the support so far on Medallion Status. And, looking forward to saying thank you in person out there in the world. JohnHodgman.com/tour has all of my book events yet to come, and all of the details for all of our Judge John Hodgman live shows, where books will be sold as well if you wish to get them, along with a lot of other really interesting and cool new Judge John Hodgman merch. We're gonna have a great time together. After every event, I will be hanging out and signing and talking and chatting with everyone who wishes that. And, before we go, I should remind you that if you have a dispute in Toronto; Atlanta; Portland; Washington, DC; or Durham, North Carolina—if you have a dispute that you want us to consider for the live show, won't you write me please?

john

At hodgman@maximumfun.org, or MaximumFun.org/jjho—there's a form there where you can fill out—and let us know what town you're in and what your dispute might be. Maybe we'll hear your case right there on stage! Whatever you do, I say, and we say, thank you.

jesse

Judge Hodgman, I've spent the entire summer hoarding vintage finds here at MaxFun World Headquarters.

john

Yes.

jesse

And this week, they are released! Upon my shop at PutThisOnShop.com. The—

john

[Dramatic bellow] Release the finds!

jesse

The treasures are almost overwhelming in their number and variety; they can all be found at PutThisOnShop.com and almost all of them—all but the very, very large and difficult to ship ones—ship for free with the code "VintageJustice". So go to PutThisOnShop.com, find a treasure—perhaps a ring, or a pair of cufflinks, or a stickpin, or a bracelet, or a home good—and order it for yourself or a friend at PutThisOnShop.com with the code "VintageJustice." Okay, let's get back to the case.

sound effect

[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

Please rise as Judge John Hodgman re-enters our courtroom and presents his verdict.

sound effect

[During above, the door opens, chairs scrape, footsteps. The door shuts.]

john

[Stifling laughter] My breath is still taken away. I confess that I was listening to you talk from my chambers. Jesse Thorn! [Lillie laughs.] You found the crux! [Lillie, Thaddeus, and Jesse laugh.] Snail mail vs. email, I can't believe I missed it! Maybe it's time to put aside childish things, and podcasts, and move to whatever my next phase of life is, and get a new identity for myself that reflects that I am not the judge I once was, who didn't see the snail mail vs. email. [Lillie laughs.] That was incredible!

jesse

[Stifling laughter] Well, our plan had been to wait a couple years before we pushed you into the wilderness to die. [Lillie and John chuckle during the above, John and Jesse laugh after.] But I mean if you wanna get that going now, we might as well! I'm ready to ascend.

john

We do go through phases of life. Where we move from one period in our lives to another period in our lives. And I'm not sure that you're aware of that, Thaddeus, [laughing] but it's true. It's really true. You will be made aware of it as you watch your children grow and see their phases, as you have already seen. When I first started hearing this case, I was like, "A classic manchild who doesn't wanna give up the things that made him happy when he was a little kid!" [Lillie cracks up.] [Laughing] "Of 28 years old." [Thaddeus laughs.]

john

"Living at home with his comics and his—and his skateboards, and his consoles!" And I was right! You don't wanna give those things up; it's true! You acknowledged it! You hold on to your comics. You hold on to your board hoard. And you hold on to your job as a letter carrier, which is good honest work that one should be able to support a family on, and at least provides you with—I presume a lot of pension security? Yes, no, maybe so?

thaddeus

Yeah, I'm—I'm good.

john

You got benefits, right?

thaddeus

Of course.

john

I'm not wrong that you are a manchild. [Lillie laughs.] Living your life in many ways the same way as you did when you were a child, unwilling to give up the Apemanson that you were then. And yet, you are not just a manchild. Like so many of the manchild husbands that have come through this courtroom, who pretend to be grownups with great careers, [stifling laughter] but are secretly small and petty. You present yourself as a 44-year-old 26-year-old, with your board hoard and your Sega Geneses and stuff. But in fact... it seems like you've really matured into the role of a very responsible husband and father. Would you disagree, Lillie?

lillie

No, I would not disagree.

john

I hope, and get the sense, that you're happy in this life. That you don't feel that there's something missing. That you are engaged in your children's lives, and the lives of your family, and your love for your wife, and that seems like a very happy place to be! Yes or no, Thaddeus?

thaddeus

100%. I am very happy.

john

Right. And I've looked at your evidence that you sent in. Two photos that are germane. One is of your arms.

thaddeus

Yes. [Lillie laughs.]

john

Which you claim are extremely hairy, and therefore that is why you are called the ape man. [Lillie laughs.] And you can see these photos at the Judge John Hodgman page on MaximumFun.org and also on our Instagram, @judgejohnhodgman. I think that the listeners will agree with me: not particularly hairy arms. [Lillie laughs.] Didn't really capture it, if that's what you're going for.

thaddeus

That didn't capture it.

crosstalk

John: No. Lillie: You should see his back. [Thaddeus laughs.]

john

Well—that's a different situation, I suppose. [Lillie laughs.] But you know what? They're high charisma arms, I'll give you that. And then you also sent in a photo of your beautiful dog, who is named—?

lillie

Jane.

john

Jane?

lillie

Mm-hm!

john

I have to make an announcement. You know, I've been traveling this country. I've been raising money. I've been talking to voters all over this country. [Stifling laughter] I'm dropping out of the race for number one family. You guys win. [Lillie and Thaddeus laugh.] You guys win.

lillie

Thank you.

john

Jane the dog! Wonderful dog! You gave us the picture of the dog just 'cause it looks cute.

lillie

Yep.

john

But it also has a little signback saying "the vet only emails my mom," meaning you, Lillie, because—

lillie

Mm-hm.

john

—Apemanson is too embarrassing. [Thaddeus laughs.] We have a lot of data points on this program of husbands in heterosexual married couples being weird selfish monsters. That's not Thaddeus, I'm glad to say. Except for this email address. [John, Lillie, and Thaddeus laugh.] I admire your ability—to the point of almost extreme envy, Thaddeus—to have integrated the life that you remember as a 20-year-old, of work and play in balance. You don't take work too seriously. You take your life and your personal happiness seriously. And woven it into a truly admirable family life, and a sense of happiness in place. That's really wonderful.

john

You can let go of these things. Of some of the physical totems of the previous life. You don't need a Wii. [Someone laughs quietly.] You don't need all those consoles. I bet you don't need as many skateboards as you have, but that's not the point of this conversation. The point of this conversation is this one email address. The thing that should be the easiest for you to let go! You let go of your snobbery about 35 millimeter film cameras! You matured, and now use them! You realized that you had to move forward in your life, and that large format photography was now out of your reach.

john

You are capable of this forward motion, even if you are a Luddite who loves your old TV— [Thaddeus and Lillie laugh.] —your old TV and won't throw it away, or whatever. [Lillie sighs.] You know that you can. You've done it. And in this case, I have to say: there is, in this day and age of Twitter handles and creeps on the Internet—having something that starts with Apeman... It verges on a little alt-righty to me. It raised a little flag.

thaddeus

Really?

john

That there might be some kind of dank meme involved here.

thaddeus

Wow.

john

So there's that. And then there's the other thing. Which is that... your wife—she's really wonderful! She doesn't want you get rid of all your boards and consoles, or even this email address. But present something public-facing that is a little bit more mature than 2001 Thaddeus.

thaddeus

Mm-hm.

john

That represents the 2019 Thaddeus that you are. A different person, who has a fondness for the past but is not tied to it nostalgically. Even though I applaud you, Thad—

thaddeus

Hm.

john

—as a dude— [Thaddeus and Lillie laugh quietly.] —as a husband, as a father, and as someone who seems to have actually found peace in his life. It's—frankly, it's infuriating. [Lillie laughs.] But you gotta come up with a new email address. Just to take one step forward away from Hoobastank1999 or whatever. [Thaddeus and Lillie laugh.] And you know what? You can find a way to have that email address forward to Apemanson and vice versa.

thaddeus

Mm-hm.

john

It'll be easy to find out how to do it. You don't need to have Lillie be your de facto IT person. You can figure this out. And if you wanna figure it out, that's on you. You have to figure it out. But in the meantime... Thaddeus@aceofbase.com, is that a thing? [Thaddeus and Lillie laugh.] Is that a possibility?

thaddeus

RodHugenstein? [Lillie, Jesse, and John laugh.]

john

[Laughing] No, no more jokes, now! [Lillie laughs.] No more joke emails!

thaddeus

[Laughs.] Okay, right. Sorry.

john

After 40, joke emails are down the tubes. After 40, you don't have to wear these costumes anymore. You're just Thad. The cool dad! Well, there you go. That— [Lillie and Thaddeus laugh.] ThadTheCoolDad. There, I just ruined your life. This is the sound of a gavel.

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[Sound of a dial-up modem connecting.]

john

Judge John Hodgman rules; that is all.

jesse

Please rise as Judge John Hodgman exits the courtroom.

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[During above, door opens, chairs scrape, footsteps. Door shuts.]

jesse

Thad, how do you feel?

thaddeus

Feel alright about it, you know? He's right. He made a lot of good points, and it shouldn't be that difficult for me to manage my way around a second email. Even though I am a little intimidated by the thought of that. [Lillie laughs.] But I got a good partner over here that'll help me figure it out.

jesse

Lillie, [stifling laughter] how do you feel about the cool dad that you married?

lillie

[Laughs.] I love the cool dad. Happy about the ruling. Excited to see what new email he comes up with.

jesse

Well, thank you both for coming on the Judge John Hodgman podcast. It was great to talk to you.

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[Three gavel bangs.]

promo

Music: Twangy country music. Tusk Henderson: Hello, my name is Tusk Henderson, and I am an outdoorsman. Narrator: Are you looking for a new comedy podcast? This month's episode of Beef And Dairy Network Podcast has, as its guest, the wonderful Nick Offerman playing the part of Tusk Henderson, adventurer and outdoorsman. Tusk: Think about fitting yourself, a month's worth of provisions, and a half-ton cow into a kayak. Narrator: So if you've never listened to the show before, this might be a good place to start. Tusk: I string a bowstring between her horn tips and I can fire a spear off the top of her head. And, uh, took in some very delicious cod. Narrator: So! If you're after a new comedy podcast, why not try The Beef And Dairy Network from Maximum Fun? Download it now! [Music ends.] Tusk: You flip a cow upside-down, they make an excellent toboggan.

promo

[Wolf howls. Dramatic piano and organ music. Throughout, the wolf howls again, and a crow caws.] April Wolfe: Hello there, ghouls and gals. It is I, April Wolfe. I'm here to take you through the twisty, scary, heart-pounding world of genre cinema on the exhilarating program known as Switchblade Sisters. [Sinister echo on the title.] The concept is simple: I invite a female filmmaker on each week, and we discuss their favorite genre film. Listen in closely to hear past guests, like The Babadook director Jennifer Kent, Winter's Bone director Debra Granik, and so many others every Thursday on MaximumFun.org.

promo

Tune in! If you dare... [Thunder booms, something growls over April as she cackles evilly, and then all sound abruptly cuts.] April: [Rapidly] It's actually a very thought-provoking show that deeply explores the craft and philosophy behind the filmmaking process while also examining film through the lens of the female gaze. So, like, you should listen. [Same sinister echo effect] Switchblade Sisters!

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[Three gavel bangs.]

jesse

Another Judge John Hodgman case in the books! In just a moment, Swift Justice. First, our thanks to Nathan Detweiler for naming this week's episode, "You've Got Bail!" If you'd like to name a future episode, just like Judge John Hodgman on Facebook! We put out our calls for submissions there, and honestly it's worth it just to see other people's stupid pun ideas. They're all really fun. Follow us on Twitter, @JesseThorn and @hodgman. Hashtag your Judge John Hodgman Tweets #JJHo, and check out the MaxFun subreddit at MaximumFun.Reddit.com if you wanna chat about this week's episode. We're also on Instagram, @judgejohnhodgman. Make sure to follow us there for evidence and other fun stuff.

jesse

And this week's episode was recorded by David Porter at Mix One Studios, and Jared O'Connell at Ear Wolf. This episode edited by Jesus Ambrosio, produced by Hannah Smith and Jennifer Marmor! Now, Swift Justice, where we answer small disputes with quick judgment. Judge Hodgman, Christy wants to know: "Is it okay to wear jeans and a T-shirt while flying? My mom says you need to wear nice clothes while traveling through airports. I say I'm not there to impress anybody! Who's right? Me or my mom?"

john

Well it was, I mean, a tradition in relatively early air travel to dress up for a flight. My wife remembers that when she was a little kid and they were gonna fly somewhere, she was forced to wear, like, church clothes. That was not my experience growing up. I don't remember what I wore as a kid on an airplane, but that's definitely part of a lot of families' experiences. Jesse, did you—did you take a lot of flights when you were a kid? Do you dress up now for an airplane flight, or—? What's your feeling about this, as our sartorial consultant?

jesse

We get a lot of questions about this, specifically from men, at Put This On.

john

Yeah.

jesse

And there is a large portion of the menswear enthusiast community that will tell you, "Uh, you know, if you dress nice, you're gonna get upgraded to business class! And you're showing respect for all the other passengers," and so on and so forth. And... I myself tend to, you know, at least wear something decent when I'm on the airplane, usually. I would say that the place I draw the line, though, is far below nice clothes. I think that it is incumbent upon you to wear... clothes an adult would wear in public in another context. [John laughs.] And maybe I would also say, you know, cover your feet?

john

Yeah.

jesse

'Cause they're up in other people's business. So I would say, like—I don't have a problem with jeans and a T-shirt, but I'm not nuts about people—especially adults—flying in like, pajamas.

john

Mm-hm.

jesse

And—[laughs] you know, a nightie and a robe. [Laughing] You know? Like, that's really pushing it. But that's mostly because it's just—you know, when you're in public, just act like a person who's in public with other people.

john

Yeah. I think that that's fair advice. I would like to... disabuse your Put This On-ees' ideas that if you dress up nice, you're gonna get upgraded. Believe me. [Laughs.] The airline is not looking at you personally when they're like, "Tch. Who should we upgrade today? He's very dapper." That's not happening. It's an algorithm, like everything else. Your name gets picked based on the priority you have within their loyalty program or whatever. Don't think that you can dress to impress at the airline.

jesse

I think that used to work, back in the days when you could like, show up early to ask for an exit row seat.

john

Oh, sure.

jesse

But those days—those days are 15 or 20 years past now.

john

I think your Put This On-ees are mostly looking for reasons to wear their special three-piece suits and their French cuffs.

jesse

That's true. [Laughs.] God bless them.

john

And you know what? You need no excuse! Go ahead, dress up. You can dress up very nicely for an airplane. But I agree. You never can overdress in almost any situation. When you think about what air travel is, it is basically sitting in a bunch of other people's laps. So it is reasonable to dress for comfort. But by the same token, you should also wear clean clothes, you should wear closed shoes, otherwise try to contain your odors as best as possible, because you are gonna be in close quarters. You're gonna be with these people for a while, so you don't wanna weird 'em out. [Stifles laughter.] By wearing a terrycloth robe or anything. No pajamas. I think nice jeans and a nice T-shirt is absolutely fine. I'm sorry that time has marched on, Christy's mom, but Christy is right. Jeans and T-shirt, comfortable shoes. Don't draw attention to yourself, don't smell too bad, you're gonna be fine.

john

The best advice I can ever give with regard to airports—and I've been asked a lot recently because of my book Medallion Status, now available in hardcover, electronic, and audio edition. Bit.ly/MEDALLIONSTATUS, #AlwaysBePlugging. Is get to the airport early! [Imploring] Get to the airport early so you don't have to have to worry about all that stuff! Just surrender to the slow march of weird humanity, and enjoy it! Don't rush! Okay. That's all I have to say about that. Except Bit.ly/MEDALLIONSTATUS, all capital letters, all one word. [Rapidly] JohnHodgman.com/tour.

jesse

That's it for this week's episode. Submit your cases at MaximumFun.org/jjho, or email hodgman@maximumfun.org. No case is too small, and a reminder: we're headed to Toronto; Durham, North Carolina; Atlanta, Georgia; Washington, DC; and Portland, Maine. So if you live in one of those cities and you wanna get into the show for free, and you've got a case, email it to us and let us know that you live in one of those cities in your email. That's Tuh-ron-to, or... T'ranna. Durham; Atlanta; Washington, DC; and Portland, Maine. We'll see you next time on the Judge John Hodgman podcast.

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[Three gavel bangs.]

music

A cheerful guitar chord.

speaker 1

MaximumFun.org.

speaker 2

Comedy and culture.

speaker 3

Artist owned—

speaker 4

—audience supported.

About the show

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