TRANSCRIPT Judge John Hodgman Ep. 676: J’Accruise!

Stacey says she’d be a great crew member on the reality show BELOW DECK. Her friend, Laura, says she doesn’t have what it takes!

Podcast: Judge John Hodgman

Episode number: 676



Sound Effect: Three gavel bangs.

Jesse Thorn: Welcome to the Judge John Hodgman podcast. I’m Bailiff Jesse Thorn. This week, “J’Accruise!”. Laura brings the case against her friend, Stacey. Stacey loves the reality show Below Deck about the lives of people working on luxury super yachts. Stacey says she’s a natural Lil’ Yachty and would be a great member of the crew and the show. But Stacey’s friend Laura says she can’t handle it. So does Stacey’s husband. And so does Stacey’s own mom! Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Only one can decide. Please rise as Judge John Hodgman enters the courtroom and presents an obscure cultural reference.

(Chairs squeak, followed by heavy footsteps and a door closing.)

John Hodgman: I command a king’s ship, not a private yacht. We do not have time for your damn podcast, sir!

Bailiff Jesse Thorn, please swear them in.

Jesse Thorn: Laura and Stacey, please rise and raise your right hands.

(Chairs squeak.)

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

(They swear.)

Do you swear to abide by Judge John Hodgman’s ruling, despite the fact that he does not have a super yacht, but merely a—probably a skiff? Skiff seems about the right size. I don’t know exactly what it’s called. I saw it one time.

(They swear.)

Judge Hodgman, you may proceed.

John Hodgman: Jesse, we have a ding-gee.

Jesse Thorn: A dinghy. Okay. There you go.

John Hodgman: Sorry, it’s pronounced ding-gee.

Jesse Thorn: What do you got there? Like, a ding-gee?

John Hodgman: Yeah, ding-gee. We got a ding-gee in the ding-gee pen.

Laura and Stacey, you may be seated for an immediate summary judgment in one of yours favors.

(Chairs squeak.)

Can you guess the piece of culture that I referenced as I entered the courtroom? (Whispering.) Jesse, I think they’re going to get it. I think they’re gonna get it. And I’m going to write down your guess, and I’m really going to do it.

Laura: I don’t have a great guess. My pre-prepared guess was Moby Dick by Herman Melville.

John Hodgman: Mooobyy Dick!

Laura: I don’t think that’s right.

John Hodgman: Have you ever heard someone read the first two chapters of Moby Dick aloud in a fake Maine accent, by any chance?

Laura: No!

John Hodgman: Well, That’s all I’m going to say.

(They laugh.)

Moby Dick, you say? By Herman Melville. A failure in its time. Out of print by the time it was reclaimed by the American canon of great, thick books. And a handy guide to whaling. Okay. I’ll put it down, and anyone who wants to go on the web and see our YouTube channel, you can see that I actually did write it down underneath your name, Laura. Now I’m writing down Stacey’s name, Stacey with an E.

Stacey: Yeah, Stacey with an E.

John Hodgman: And it’s almost time for your guess. And now it is time for your guess.

Stacey: My pre-prepared guess, which now I’m unsure of being correct, is Fool’s Gold, starring Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson.

John Hodgman: Why did you guess that? I’ve never seen that movie, so I don’t know what connection that might be having to super yachts or sailing or dinghies or maritime life at all.

Stacey: Oh my gosh, you need to stop everything and go watch this movie. (Laughs.)

John Hodgman: Alright, I’ll see you later!

Jesse Thorn: Look, if we stopped recording this podcast every time we had something better to do, (chuckling) there would be no podcast.

John Hodgman: Now, see—I forgot that we post full episodes on YouTube, and I failed to commit to the bit. I should have just walked out of my office at that moment to go start screening Fool’s Gold. What’s it about?

Stacey: Yes, it’s an action-adventure romance, and they’re on a mega yacht looking for treasure. So, yeah.

John Hodgman: Oh! Alright.

Laura: Stacey told me she watches that movie like at least once a year, which is hard to believe.

Stacey: It’s a good summer film, like to get you ready for summer. (Laughs.)

John Hodgman: “In 1715, in celebration of the marriage of King Philip of Spain, the largest treasure fleet in maritime history set sail from Havana, Cuba. The $500,000,000 worth of gold, silver, and jewels came to be known as the Queen’s Dowry.” What am I quoting from Stacey?

Stacey: That is a description of the Fool’s Gold.

John Hodgman: That is on screen text. Florida didn’t ruin your life. Well, these are all other people. Who’s Tess Finnegan? Is that Kate what’s-her-name?

(Stacey confirms.)

“Is something wrong?” “Why would anything be wrong? We just had sex in a church, and we’re not even married, and now we’re gonna dig up a grave?” “It was a good movie.” “I mean, what is that? Like, a triple sin? I’m surprised we haven’t been struck by lightning.” That would have been a great guess if that had been the quote, but that was the wrong guess for this quote. As indeed all guesses are wrong. What was I quoting, Jesse?

Jesse Thorn: Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.

John Hodgman: Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. Russell Crowe, Paul Bettany, a lot of great British character actors that you would now recognize, including children actors who have now grown up. Oh, directed by Peter Weir, by the way. Peter Weir. Who brings this case to this court? Is it Laura or Stacey? Who’s the complainant?

Laura: I bring the case. Laura.

John Hodgman: Laura, first, before we get into it—you both love to watch Below Deck.

(They confirm.)

I’ve dipped in and out over the years, and I have my faves.


Can you explain to the listeners at home who may not be familiar with it what Below Deck is? And you know, I just want to preface this by saying we don’t get any—we’re not getting any yacht money out of this. Andy Cohen is not giving me any—isn’t giving me any sponsorship deals on this. Although maybe, Jesse Thorn, maybe you and I can parlay this into a spot on Watch What Happens Live sometime.

Jesse Thorn: Yeah, Watch What’s Not Happening Live.

(They chuckle.)

John Hodgman: Well, I guess that ruins that. Okay, there we go. We are definitely not sponsored by Below Deck, but go ahead and tell people what it’s all about, Laura.

Laura: Yeah. So, Below Deck is a reality TV show on Bravo and streaming on Peacock, if you’re trying to watch it.

John Hodgman: Oh boy. Okay, okay. Easy. Easy with the plugs.

Laura: I just like people to be able to watch it if they want to. But the way I describe why I like it is that it’s like a bunch of shows in one. So, it’s people who come on to super yachts for like a charter for three-ish days. And the reality show follows the crew of the super yacht while they’re chartering for different groups of wealthy people. So, the super yacht is really fancy, and they go to really pretty places. So, it’s like a travel show, and you get to see that. And then they’re always—there’s a chef, and they’re always like cooking good food, and so you get to see that.

John Hodgman: Right. So, there’s a food show element to it, that’s true.

Laura: Yeah, food show. And then there’s obviously shenanigans with the guests, because they’re kind of a certain set of people type.

John Hodgman: So, Laura, let me break in for a second. So, you’re right, it’s a food show, it’s a travel show. And it’s an upstairs/downstairs kind of show where they follow the lives of the crew members Below Decks—such the show is named—and then the very, very wealthy people who charter these things. And when they cast these people, because they do pick them out; they don’t just randomly assign people to work on these things for television. I would say that the downstairs segment, the crew segment—would you say they’re casting for hotness?

Laura: Yeah, I mean, they’re all pretty good looking, I would say. Yeah.

John Hodgman: Yeah, you know, they’re young people, some of whom have been in the yacht world for a while, some of whom haven’t. And what they’re hoping is that there’s going to be a little bunk romance, perhaps, that’s going to shake things up. That’s the—

Laura: And I also think the like in between—the management, they cast for that too. Like, because they have the captain and then the middle management and then the workers. And so, I think they’re also really casting for like either really good or really bad middle and upper management. And so, it’s like a workplace drama also.

John Hodgman: So, but the Below Deck—so, you have the food show, and you have the travel show, then you have the yachties—the people who are working on the thing. They’re the smoke show. And then would it be fair to say that when they’re casting the wealthy guests, they’re looking for the freak show?

Laura: Probably. Yeah. Yeah. (Laughs.)

John Hodgman: Alright. So, that’s what Below Deck is. Now, Stacey, you also like to watch this show, right?

(Stacey confirms.)

What’s your favorite version of Below Deck? We got Below Deck OG, which is Captain—well, used to be Captain Lee in the Caribbean. Below Deck Mediterranean with Captain Sandy. Below Deck Sailing Yacht with Captain Glenn. Below Deck Down Under with Captain Jason. And then one season of Below Deck Adventure Time or something with Captain Carrie that didn’t really— Which is your Below Deck?

Stacey: Probably original or Mediterranean. I do really like Sandy. (Chuckles.)

John Hodgman: You like Captain Sandy? Controversial pick.

(Stacey agrees.)

Not everyone likes Sandy. What do you think, Laura?

Laura: I do not like Sandy. (Laughs.)

John Hodgman: Whoooa! Here we go.

Laura: Sandy is not my favorite Captain by far.

John Hodgman: Why?! You don’t like how she handled Hannah when Hannah had the valium on ship?

Laura: I don’t remember that storyline, I guess. But I just feel like she always has her like fingers—she’s like a micromanager. And I just—yeah, I don’t know. I love Below Deck a lot for the like management struggles between the different levels.

John Hodgman: Oh, tell me more. ‘Cause I feel you on that.

Laura: I mean, Captain Lee has his—

John Hodgman: Captain Lee, everyone loves Captain Lee. ‘Cause they call him Boat Daddy, and he says things like “I’m madder than a pissed-on chicken.”

(They laugh.)

But here’s where I stand. I first started watching this because I really wanted some sailing content after I broke my brain and my shins learning how to sail. By the way, I don’t do it anymore. Too scary, too painful to shins. Here’s where I’m with you. I love—and this seems cruel, but I love to see people reprimanded on Below Deck by the captains. Not because I love to see people fired, although sometimes that happens, and it can sometimes be very gratifying.


But I am into competency porn, and when someone can’t be competent at their job—particularly when they like can’t call the right distance between the boat and the pier, and they almost have a crash—and someone’s got to talk to somebody else, I’m like—I love it. And I love when Captain Lee gets a little mad, but then he also points out, “Look, you just need to learn this stuff, because I want you to thrive.”

But this comes to you, Stacey. Why should I not fire you immediately from your dream of being on Below Deck? It’s a hard job. What makes you think you can do it?

Stacey: I have a controversial opinion, and I think it’s not a super hard job.

(John gasps.)

You have the skill sets to do it.

John Hodgman: You already have the skill sets to do it. You don’t think it would be a hard job. You would like to be part of the smoke show or the freak show? You’re not going to charter a yacht. You’re going to go work on one in your fantasy?

Stacey: Yes. That’s the argument at hand is I could work on one.

John Hodgman: What position would you like to work?

Stacey: Oh, stewardess. I think you might need a little more like specialty skills to be a deckhand.

John Hodgman: Oh, okay. And the stew crew, they’re the interior crew. They deal with everything inside the boat. They do the laundry. They do the housekeeping. And then at night they serve the food and far too much wine and liquor to Roy Orbison Jr. and the other weirdo cohorts who charted this yacht. And then they deal with them, and then they clean up afterward. That’s what you want to do?

(Stacey confirms.)

Why? Why do you want to do it?

Stacey: Well, the argument isn’t about wanting per se, it’s whether I have the skills and the ability and like the demeanor to do it. And I think I absolutely do.

John Hodgman: What—tell me, pretend I’m Captain Hodge, and you want to work on my dinghy as a Chief Stew.

Stacey: Okay. Well, to start of—

John Hodgman: Tell me what you got.

Stacey: It takes like 20 minutes to clean. Well, I think—

John Hodgman: You don’t know how long it takes to clean my dinghy! My standards are extremely high!

Stacey: Well, okay. Going off that, I think attention to detail is super important. So, I think I have that.

John Hodgman: Why? What experience do you have? Have you ever cleaned a boat before? Have you ever been at sea?

Stacey: No, but I—well, I have been at sea a bit. Yes. But not for stewarding, I should preface.

John Hodgman: Okay. What is your experience at sea?

Stacey: So, I’m a scientist, and I worked on a scientific boat that went out and collected data on a transect of the Pacific Ocean.

John Hodgman: What’s a transect of the Pacific Ocean? I’m a ship’s captain and I don’t even know!

(They laugh.)

Stacey: So, basically they have like this set line that they do every—like, the exact longitude and latitude that they’re doing every single year. And they’re collecting data, and the exact same data points every single year to collect like a large segment of data. So, what I collected in particular was like how productive the ocean was. So, I was looking at—like, I was running through like nutrients essentially to see—

John Hodgman: How productive the ocean is? What, are you doing a semiannual review on the ocean? “Well, we’ve been looking at your stats, and I have to say, we thought you—you’ve not been meeting this year’s goals.”

Stacey: (Laughs.) They were not! The year I went out, it was like not looking good for the ocean.

John Hodgman: Give the ocean a break! Haven’t we done enough to it, that we don’t have to be reviewing it? Giving it a performance review at the end of the year for a 3% annual raise?

Jesse Thorn: At the very least, we should be giving automatic cost of living adjustments to the ocean.

John Hodgman: Given the fact—I mean, if we treat it any more badly, it’s definitely going to turn on us and destroy us, which it’s pretty much aiming to do. And it wouldn’t be wrong. Okay. So, you go on a ship.

Stacey: So, I looked at plankton, I guess. I should make it easy to understand.

John Hodgman: Oh, got it.

Stacey: I looked at plankton and there was some plankton and then more plankton later. (Laughs.)

John Hodgman: That’s basically the story of Moby Dick. There’s probably a plankton chapter in Moby Dick just like that but a lot longer. So, you’re a research scientist, and you’re going on a boat. You don’t want to reveal a lot of details about your career. So, we’ll just call this mystery boat. You’re going on a mystery boat, and you’re measuring plankton.

Stacey: Yeah. And there’s a bunch of other—it’s not just me out there measuring plankton. Like, someone’s like counting birds, and someone’s counting whales, and someone’s looking at fish eggs. Like, it’s a whole crew of people collecting different ocean data.

John Hodgman: A whole bunch of counters.

Stacey: Yeah, a lot of oceanography data.

Jesse Thorn: I feel comfortable saying out loud: she’s obviously on The Voyage of the Mimi on PBS with Ben Affleck.

(They laugh.)

John Hodgman: So, you have your sea legs. How many hours would you guess you’ve spent at sea?

Stacey: Oh, I mean—okay, I’ve spent a lot of time outside. So, that cruise was about 30 days straight, and it was super rocky.


Like, you would sleep and like move in your sleep, because it was so rocky in parts of the ocean. I also was a sailing instructor for a few years while I was in college, so I spent a lot of time doing that. But a lot of our research was based on the Channel Islands. And so, I’ve gone out to the Channel Islands a significant amount of times. I also lived on Catalina Island for a while. I’ve been on a lot of boats. (Laughs.)

John Hodgman: You’ve been on a lot of boats, you’ve been on a lot of islands, you’ve moved around a lot.

Jesse Thorn: Living on Catalina Island qualifies you for a Below Decks golf cart.

Stacey: Well, okay—like, I did—I was around a lot of yachties, and we actually called yachties the rich people who live on the—who like come out to the island. So, I have a very different experience with like yachties. (Laughs.)

John Hodgman: Right, because in Below Deck parlance, a yachtie is someone who works Below Decks as a crew member who takes—you know, who goes on a multiple charters per year. They just spend their professional lives going from boat to boat to boat working. But you referred to yachties on Catalina as the people who owned the yachts or the—right. The pleasure sailors.

Jesse Thorn: Here in this studio, Yachties are guys that collaborate with Big Baby DRAM on the song “Broccoli”.

Sound Effect: Three gavel bangs.

Sound Effect: Three gavel bangs.

John Hodgman: So, you spent a lot of time on boats and a lot of time on islands when you were on your 30-day plankton party out there in the transect of the Pacific ocean. Who cleaned up after you, or did you clean up after yourself?

Stacey: We cleaned up after ourselves.

John Hodgman: Yeah. Did you do a good job, or did it get to be smelly?

Stacey: It was fine. Yeah. You couldn’t bring very much stuff. So, it’s kind of hard to be dirty, I guess, or cluttered or—

John Hodgman: Did you have to share a cabin?

Stacey: Yes. So, it’s 12 hours on 12 hours off. So, somebody who has the night shift is the person you share. So, you’re never in the room at the same time, ‘cause you guys are working opposite shifts.

John Hodgman: Right. I don’t know, Laura, it seems to me Stacey has a lot of actual expertise in this world. Why should I not hire her for my pleasure ding-gee?

Laura: I think if you were hiring her for your scientific research cruise, I would say go for it. No better lady to do the research. But on Below Deck, like one of my arguments is that I don’t think she, as my mom would say, suffers fools gladly. I think Stacey like would really struggle with all of that like workplace drama of it all. And it would just make it so that, you know, she can maybe get on the show, but I don’t know if she would last working with like incompetent people. (Laughs.) And maybe incompetent like middle managers or captains.

John Hodgman: Yeah, I would say, Stacey, that Laura is correct in that both below deck and above deck, when they’re casting these shows, they’re definitely casting for some straight up fools. Some very demanding, outsized personalities. Do you think you can fit in with them?

Stacey: Yes, absolutely. I mean—

John Hodgman: Well, you’re lying. I mean, why should I believe you?

Stacey: So, this is where I get to I think more people can do it. Because so many people have worked in the service industry, which I have also done. And I think you put your pride aside a lot. And for all those jobs, I made minimum wage or slightly above minimum wage. And I did all those gross things and like dealt with difficult people. And you get paid so much more to be on one of these mega yachts. And so, I feel like if you didn’t think you could do it before, for the right amount of money, you probably could deal with these fools and make it work.

John Hodgman: Don’t you think your resilience and your ability to put up with and suffer those fools sort of dwindle as day after day goes by of filling up buckets full of champagne and super soakers full of tequila for Roy Orbison Jr. or whatever?

Stacey: Yes, but I also feel like I’d thrive in that environment. I love work drama. Like, my coworkers always joke that I’m like the—I love to like collect the gossip at work. So, like I feel like I would just dig it. And then on top of all of what you just mentioned, one aspect of working as like a field biologist is you work in the field with the same crew for months at a time. And it’s absolutely the same experience where you’re like, “Man, if I have to hear that story about the one time you went to that one place one more time!”

(They laugh.)

So, they start to drive you crazy, but you just sort of like figure it out. And like that job that I’m thinking of was like way more manual labor than being a stew is. So, it’s like you’re way more exhausted I feel like in that setting where you’re like backpacking or something.

John Hodgman: Laura, Stacey thinks she can handle it. Which is just about the level of delusion that I think that the Below Deck casting team would love to have in someone that they’re going to shove into that laundry room. Don’t you think that she could probably get cast on this show? Is that why you’re bringing this to me?


Do you think it’s possible that if she put her mind to it, she would get cast on this show, and you would never see her again? Because she would become a famous influencer?

Laura: Oh god. (Laughs.) I think some of her arguments are compelling, but I don’t think she’d have a good time doing it. And I think she would quit before the season ended. And then I also think that she’s maybe thinking about herself and all these experiences that she did in her early 20s, let’s say, and maybe not who she is right now.

John Hodgman: Well, how do you both know each other?

Stacey: I have a good story about how we met, if you’re interested.

(They laugh.)

John Hodgman: I would enjoy that story.

Stacey: And maybe shows my tenacity, perhaps. So, I first moved to Redding, and I had no friends. And I went to—

John Hodgman: When you showed up in Redding, did you say, “I didn’t come here to make friends”?

(They laugh.)

Stacey: So, I was on the lookout for trying to make any friends that were like-minded, like myself. So, I went to a coral reef talk, which is funny, because we’re not very close to any coral reefs. But it was about coral reef bleach. And there were—

John Hodgman: That’s where I always go when I want to meet people.

Jesse Thorn: People don’t move to Redding to be close to coral reefs. They move to Redding to be close to tax-free car purchases in southern Oregon.

(They laugh.)

Stacey: Exactly. So, it’s hard to make friends. So, anyway. So, I was at this talk, and I saw people, and they had like cool stickers on their water bottle. And then the talk kind of turned into this weird argument about chemtrails. And this poor like PhD scientist was like, “I don’t understand what you’re asking about chemtrails.” And kept trying to like—

John Hodgman: And Laura was the one who raised her hand and said, “How do we know that birds are even real?! I want to talk about the chemtrails and the robotic pigeons that followed me here!”

Stacey: And I was like, “That’s the girl for me.”

(They laugh.)

No. So, they left during that section. So, that was like a clue that I was like, “I bet we could be friends.” So, I chased them out, and I was like, “I just moved here. I don’t have any friends. Will you be my friend?” And they did become my friends, and they invited me out that next week. And I met Laura, because they worked with Laura.

John Hodgman: Oh, got it. Laura, are you a boat person or no?

Laura: I am not an ocean person. I, yeah, lived on the beach once doing some stuff and decided that was not for me.

John Hodgman: Right. So, your saying to Stacey that she can’t handle being on a super yacht has nothing to do with your vast experience working on ocean-going or sea-going vessels or something, or anything like that?

Laura: No, no. Stacey is definitely, in our friend group, the ocean expert. And she’s been on the most boats.

John Hodgman: You’re just a concerned friend who loves Stacey and doesn’t want her to have a dream.

(Stacey cackles.)

Laura: No, I have a friend who—Stacey likes to argue. And so, this is one of the reoccurring arguments that we have. So, just putting to bed an argument. And standing up for—you know, she’ll argue with you and just, you know, beat you down to submission on some of these arguments. So, standing up and saying, “No, this is one that I’m pretty confident on. You wouldn’t be successful on Below Deck.”

John Hodgman: So, this is a recurring argument.

Laura: Yes.

John Hodgman: And you and Stacey’s husband and Stacey’s mom and others in the friend group are tired of it and just want to put it to bed forever.

Laura: Yeah. I think it actually started with Stacey’s mom. So, Stacey was visiting her parents, and they were watching Below Deck.

John Hodgman: I hear she’s got it going on. Is that true?

(They laugh.)

Stacey: Yes, she does.

Laura: And so, Stacey’s mom, I think, said like, “You could never do this.”

And so, then Stacey came back from visiting her parents and was like, “Guys, my mom said this. Can you believe it?”

John Hodgman: Laura, when you submitted the case, you alluded to a friend on your side of the case. Who is Rayanna, and what does she have to do with this?

Laura: Yeah. So, Rayanna is just another one of our friends that probably has contributed to this being an argument that’s kept alive. She really likes to argue with Stacey, whereas I would like to argue with Stacey and then like never talk about it again. (They laugh.) But she’s on my side. She agrees that, you know, Stacey’s qualities—she has many great qualities, but they might not be well suited for Below Deck.

John Hodgman: Alright. Stacey, you’re an adult. You’re married to a person. You have a fairly settled life. About how long ago was it that you were on Mystery Boat counting the plankton?

Stacey: Nine years ago?

John Hodgman: Almost a decade ago. Was that your last big sea voyage?

Stacey: Yes. But I’ve done difficult jobs since then.


John Hodgman: Okay. tell me more.

Stacey: I mean, I worked in fisheries for a long time, and out here that involves salmon. Which—I don’t know if you’re familiar with like the life cycle of salmon.

John Hodgman: Intimately. But because some of our listeners may not be, why don’t you explain?

Stacey: Okay, so it’s kind of beautiful, and they’re amazing. So, they come from the ocean, as adults.

John Hodgman: Finally, I figured that out. I didn’t—I thought that they came from caves.

Stacey: So, we have four kinds, four runs of salmon. And they’re all named after when they pass through the Golden Gate Bridge, basically. So, like fall run, winter run, spring run, and they all have different life histories.

John Hodgman: Four seasons of salmon pass under the Great Golden Gate. Fall, winter, spring.

Stacey: Late fall too.

John Hodgman: And late fall.

(They laugh.)

The four seasons of San Francisco.

Stacey: So, before I worked out here, I worked on the Merced, Tuolumne, and Stanislaus rivers, which all go through like the Central Valley into the Delta. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. So, on those, we have to do them on these tiny, tin boats. And you have—you’re constantly moving down the river. And so, as you’re moving down the river, you have to collect these dead salmon. And some—they’re at all different degrees of decay. Like, some are really fresh, some are not. And so, you collect them. And when they’re really gross, and they can’t be counted in the survey anymore because they’re falling apart, you cut them in half with a machete.

John Hodgman: TGTC, too gross to count?

(Stacey agrees with laugh.)

Yeah, I gotta say, Laura—if you’ve been collecting dead salmon carcasses, you’re probably in a good position to plunge a dookie out of a golden toilet bowl on a big mega yacht. Wow. This is a wild and wonderful job. You also included some evidence, which is a design for a t-shirt that you would like printed up in case I were to rule in your favor that has a photo of both of you on here, Laura and Stacey, in front of one of the Below Deck ships. Is that a Below Deck ship? I don’t recognize that particular one.

Laura: Yeah, I think so. I think it’s from the like normal, OG Below Deck franchise.

John Hodgman: OG Below Deck. Anyway, this is a design for a t-shirt that, Stacey, you would have me order be printed up, and I presume you would want Laura to wear it around town, that says “Stacey was right” on it.

Stacey: Yes. For the show, we were told to come up with like repercussions, and that’s what I came up with. (Laughs.)

John Hodgman: Well, let me—let’s talk about the ultimate repercussion, which is you actually working on not just a luxury yacht, but on Below Deck. So, I just want to ask you a series of questions. To clarify, you don’t just want to work on a super yacht. You specifically want to work on a super yacht on Below Deck, or does it not matter?

Stacey: The argument was specifically a super yacht, not specifically the show Below Deck.

John Hodgman: Not specifically the show Below Deck, okay.

Stacey: Yeah, it’s like, do I have what it takes to be on a super yacht.

John Hodgman: Right, so this is a hypothetical question, right? You’re not actually thinking about signing onto a super yacht or auditioning for Below Deck, are you?

Stacey: No, no. I’m a scientist. (Cackles.) Although, I would probably make more money working on Below Deck, to be honest. (Laughs.)

John Hodgman: Yeah, the nice thing about the yachties is they make their own money on the show. Like, they’re not making their money from the show.

(Stacey confirms.)

Right. So, you don’t wanna be on the show. You don’t even wanna be on a super yacht. You just want your mother and your husband and Laura to be wrong.

Stacey: Yes, and I—yeah. If I could take a pause on my job just to go on a mega yacht to like prove everyone, I totally would. (Laughs.)

John Hodgman: Why—? But here’s the thing. I’m going to ask you another couple of questions. Why interior department? Why be a stew? Why that, as opposed to deckhand? I mean, you’re out in the world collecting bodies. You really want to be scrubbing toilets?

Stacey: Yeah. Well, for the money, absolutely. Like, I already do that at my house. (Laughs.)

John Hodgman: Good point.

Stacey: And like, I’ve worked at, you know, food establishments where I did that for the public. So, I feel like I’ve done that. And I did that for $7 an hour.

John Hodgman: Yeah, but don’t you think that the—I mean, the deckies get the same tip out as the interior. They’re outside. They’re not—they don’t have to deal directly with the primary charter.

Stacey: Yeah. I mean, I do think I’m particularly well suited to work with the people on the boat as well.

John Hodgman: Well, we do have some—(stammering) you know, I’m not an expert on being a stew aboard a super yacht. So, we did reach out for an expert opinion, and we’re going to share it with you now.

Stacey: Oh boy.

Laura: Oh my gosh.



Aesha Scott: Hello, Stacey! You gorgeous, beautiful, aspiring stewardess! How are you?! Now, I—first of all, I would like to apologize for coming to you in my dressing gown. I am actually going on Watch What Happens Live today, which I’m so excited about. Look, I’m in New York. It’s very exciting. And I’m waiting for hair and makeup to arrive. They’re going to do me up all lovely. And then we’re going to go and film Watch What Happens Live, and I haven’t done it in the studio for sooo long. So, I’m so happy I get to do that. Oh, it’s going to be amazing.

But anyway, I have been talking to your lovely John. And he tells me that you, um, fancy yourself as a bit of a stewardess. You think that if you got the chance, you could step on the boat, and you could become a stewardess. Now, I thought that we could run through a few of the qualities that you have to have to be a successful stewardess.

The first one is you have to be able to function very well on pretty much no sleep. We, during a season—on the show we do two months. A normal season would be three months. You do 16-hour shifts for every single day for two to three months straight. When I’m doing that, you don’t step foot on land. Well, now that I’m the Chief Steward, I do. Because I go on some excursions and things, but generally you do not step foot on land. You don’t talk to the outside world. You don’t communicate with any sort of like life form. You are literally just waking up, working, going to sleep, day after day after day.

And that’s why so many girls quit yachting once they get to like 30, because there’s no way that you can start a family or find a partner or do these things when you were literally just in this boat vortex for months at a time. And then you emerge at the end of the season, and you’re like, “Wow. Oh, there’s a big, bright world to there.” So, functioning on lack of sleep is very important.

Being able to maintain your composure, because you’re going to get guests that are kind of assholes. And you’re going to get stewardesses that are going to really test you, and you’re going to get provisions that don’t arrive, and you’re going to get a massive workload. And you have to just have the ability to just breeeathe and stay calm.

And then the third one is you need to have a very good eye for detail. We used to detail the boat to such an extreme that my (inaudible) would come around after a whole entire day in one room, and she’d get out her stool, and she’d pull down like an air conditioning vent and run her finger along the top of it and be like, “Thought you said you cleaned in here.” And there’s like two specks of dust on it. So, you have to have an insane, insane eye for detail and really think about every single, little, little, little thing. So.

You also need to be outgoing, confident, you need common sense, which is insane how many girls really don’t have common sense. Not just girls, sorry. That was very exclusive. Any gender that wants to be a stewardess, you’d be surprised how many don’t have common sense. That’s a very big part of it. And my favorite one, you need to have a sense of urgency. Because if you are not doing everything as quickly as humanly possible, I do not want you on the boat. Okay?

So, I’ve got very high hopes for you and your yachting career. I think you’re going to be absolutely amazing. I hope that I see you swatting around the yachts. One day, or maybe it will just stay in your dreams. But either way, thank you so much for watching this show. Thank you so much to Laura too. And your mum, who I know are fans and watch the show. And it honestly means so much to me, because it’s just the best thing that ever, ever, ever happened to me. I love it so much. The more people that watch it, the longer it will go on. So, truly, thank you. So, all my love, Stacey. And to you, John! (Kissing sounds.)


John Hodgman: So, in case you weren’t able to hear it, Aesha’s message ended with her blowing kisses to me.

(They laugh.)

So, that’s very nice. That’s Aesha Scott, she’s the Chief Stew now on the most recent Below Deck OG, I think?

(Laura corrects him to Mediterranean.)

No, sorry. No. Mediterranean, now. Yeah. The one that’s airing right now.

Laura: She started on Down Under.

John Hodgman: She started on Down Under, then she went OG. Now she’s on Mediterranean. She’s on all of them. And boy oh boy, does she have a lot of energy.

(They agree.)

John Hodgman: And I think that’s required! I mean, what do you think, Stacey? Do you feel inspired?

Stacey: Yes. Okay. There are two things I think would be a challenge for me. But everything else I thought was fine. The sleep thing I didn’t know about.

John Hodgman: That’s what I was gonna say. The sleep thing I didn’t know about. Interesting.

Stacey: Yeah, I think that would be a challenge, absolutely.


But I also think, with the money, I would just do it. And I don’t think six weeks is that long.

John Hodgman: You’re saying money solves everything.

Stacey: I just think it would motivate me to finish it out and not quit.

John Hodgman: You’re saying you’re very greedy, and money solves everything, and science is stupid and doesn’t pay you enough, and it’s time for you to leave.

Stacey: No! Well, I’m just saying that like a lot of people do very similar difficult jobs for waaaay less money. So, like—which I have done in the past. Like, that salmon carcass job, I got paid like $12 an hour.

John Hodgman: You would look in Aesha’s face and go, “Your job isn’t that hard.”

Stacey: I think it’s hard. I think people with the select amount of skills—like, I think the attention to detail is a big one. Like, what she was saying about the common sense stuff, I feel like I get that. Sometimes I’m just like—

John Hodgman: You have common sense.

Stacey: Well, sometimes you’re just like, “Oh, I thought everybody knew this. I don’t understand why you don’t.” (Giggles.) So, I get what she’s talking about with that. ‘Cause that’s definitely a relatable experience. And then just like being able to work under pressure I think is also just a trait that some people have, and some people don’t have. And I think I have that. I think being able to like swallow your pride and just like not deal—like, not overreact or not be able to get into a fight, especially when it’s completely unnecessary, and just being thick skinned in general I think is like a really good quality.

John Hodgman: Well, then why can’t you swallow your pride and accept that your mother and your husband and your friend, Laura and Rayanna, don’t believe in you, but you don’t care about the haters because you know inside it’s true? Why don’t you just swallow your pride? Why do you have to fight back? What’s going to happen when some primary guest on the charter says, “I’m afraid you’re no good at your job,” and you know you are? Are you going to fight back then? What’s going to happen?

Stacey: So, this is the other thing that I feel like this is why Laura, Ray, and my husband and mom don’t understand is like, you’re a completely different person in a work setting than when you are with your friends. Like, I can be comfortable complaining or saying whatever I want, you know, in front of my friends. I’m a completely different person at work where I can’t be like, “You’re incompetent” to my coworkers or whatever. You know, like I couldn’t do any—you just like—you’re a different person professionally than you are with the people you’re most comfortable with. And like, of course my husband sees me when I’m most whiny. (Laughs.)

John Hodgman: Right. Laura obviously doubts that you’d be able to go and be a stew on Below Deck or a super yacht in general. Is this indicative of other stuff that she misunderstands about you?

Stacey: Oh, I think she just sees the whinier side of me. Like, this one time we went backpacking, and I hurt my ankle, and I was really upset like the whole last two miles of the trip. And I feel like that one trip is really catering to like—

Laura: Yeah. I didn’t want to bring that up. But—

(They laugh.)

Stacey: But I hurt, and I was sad. But you like buck it up at work. You’re just like—

Laura: I just feel like Stacey says that she’s really resilient and, you know, can deal with a lot of metaphorical and physical poop being thrown around, but I just feel like there’s multiple times we’ve been like backpacking or even just like on like friend trips and, you know, something—there’s a slight setback, and then Stacey’s upset about it, or wants to turn around, or something like that. But I do recognize her argument that maybe at work it’s different.

John Hodgman: Laura, this is hypothetical. Stacey says she’s not going to audition for Below Deck. She’s not going to apply for a job in a super yacht. Which is, I think, frankly, a waste of her life, but whatever.

(They laugh.)

You just don’t want to yes her along anymore. You want her to stop arguing. What would you have me rule if I were to rule in your favor?

Laura: Yeah, I just want an answer to the argument and for the answer to be final and to be able to watch Below Deck and talk about Below Deck without this argument coming up all the time.

John Hodgman: Do you genuinely believe she’s not cut out for this?

Laura: I genuinely believe that she would not be happy doing it and wouldn’t last the entire time.

John Hodgman: How does it feel, Stacey? I mean, never mind your own mother. How does it feel when your friend sitting next to you says she doesn’t believe in your dream?

Stacey: I mean, the reason I brought up the whole issue in the first place was because I was so certain that they would be like, “Oh, yeah, of course you could do that.” (Laughs.) So, I am like—I just think she’s wrong. And I just want to like do it so badly just to be like, “See.”

John Hodgman: Because why? I mean, how does it feel when someone says, “No, you can’t do that”?

Stacey: Well, it just makes me feel like you don’t see the skill sets I have. And you think I’m like weak or something. And I’m like—I feel like my work history has proved otherwise.

John Hodgman: Stacey, if I were to rule in your favor, I would be ruling what?


That you are correct. And that Rayanna and Laura have to wear a t-shirt that says Stacey was right.

Stacey: Yeah, just for a day. And then you guys can like work out in it or whatever. (Laughs.) Yeah, and then I would—obviously, talking about it, I’d only brag about it once a month. (Giggles.)

John Hodgman: I am now going to go into my stateroom to consider my verdict, but I’m not sure I’ll be considering my verdict. I think I might be writing to the Below Deck franchise to pitch the new show, Below Deck Science Boat. Sounds great.

Jesse Thorn: You know what? I’m cutting out in the middleman. I’m just going straight to Below Deck Plankton Edition.

John Hodgman: Plankton! I’ll be back in a moment with my verdict.

Jesse Thorn: Please rise as Judge John Hodgman exits the courtroom.

(Chairs squeak, followed by heavy footsteps and a door closing.)

Laura, how are you feeling about your chances?

Laura: Honestly, not great. (Laughs.)

Jesse Thorn: Why is that?

Laura: Stacey makes some really good arguments. And I think the whole like not believing in your friend portion of the argument is really tough to come back from.

Jesse Thorn: Stacey, how do you feel?

Stacey: I feel pretty good. And I do feel like—(giggling) I just like feel it in my bones that I could do it.

Jesse Thorn: Well, we’ll see what Judge Hodgman has to say about all this when we come back in just a moment.

Sound Effect: Three gavel bangs.

Sound Effect: Three gavel bangs.

Jesse Thorn: Watch out, America! Because here comes Jesse and John!

John Hodgman: Why, that’s us! Are you suggesting that we are perhaps going back on the road?

Jesse Thorn: We’re taking this court on the road. It’s road court!

John Hodgman: Tickets are on sale now for our incredible tour this fall. We’re going to New York City, Philadelphia—where we have not been for an age—Washington, DC. Pittsburgh, where we’ve never been! Ann Arbor, another debut. Madison, Wisconsin—we’re coming back. St. Paul, Minnesota—coming back. Burlington, Vermont—very first time. Portland, Maine—you know we’re coming back. Ternus Falls, Massachusetts—Monty Belmonte; you know it’s going to happen. And then—I’m really excited—my hometown of Brookline, Massachusetts, where we’ll be appearing at the Coolidge Corner Movie House, where I used to work as a teenager. Yes. It’s Judge John Hodgman on the road. You can get tickets right now by going to That’s

And if you live in or near those cities and you have a dispute, you know we want to hear your beefs. Submit it now at

Jesse Thorn: The Judge John Hodgman Roadshow is like—if anybody hasn’t been, it is a great time for people whether or not they are listeners to Judge John Hodgman. Bring a friend, because this is a fully featured program. You don’t need to know the lore. You don’t need—it is a blast of a comedy and theatre show for anyone who enjoys going out and having a good time with live cases on stage, live music on stage, us yelling at people in the crowd who have volunteered to be yelled at—not just random people; if you don’t like being yelled at, don’t worry. It’s not gonna come up. It is a great time out. We wear our little outfits.

Look, if you’ve been watching the YouTube of this—and a lot of people, I can see from the comments, like to see the top half of my uniform. Well, if you want to see my uniform pants—you want to see me wearing security guard shoes? I got security guard shoes. Let’s do this thing!

John Hodgman: It’s a great, big, fun show. And you know, not to cast any dispersions, but it’s one of the rare podcasts where the hosts actually stand up on stage and put on a real show. We have a lot of fun, and it’s always really fun to see you. And it’s obviously better when you’re there. Tickets are on sale now. To get them, go to the events page at

And of course, give us your disputes at Let us know you’re going to be at the show. And perhaps we’ll call you on stage to adjudicate your dispute right there, live on stage.

Jesse Thorn: You’re on notice, America. Let’s get back to the show.

Sound Effect: Three gavel bangs.

Jesse Thorn: Please rise as Judge John Hodgman reenters the courtroom and presents his verdict.

(Chairs squeak, followed by heavy footsteps and a door closing.)

John Hodgman: “Life is like a feces sandwich. The more bread you have, the more feces you have to eat,” thus spoke Captain Lee in one episode of Below Deck pertaining, I suppose, to the trouble of having too much money? I don’t know. I just felt like I needed to start with a profound quote from a renowned ship captain, some wisdom from the sea.

There is a person in my life to whom I am married—a whole human being in her own right—who years ago, more than 10 years ago, overheard, or we were having a conversation, or maybe we watched the movie, or it was a friend group convo about the movie Cool Hand Luke. And she said, “I don’t understand what the big deal is.”


“I could eat 50 eggs in an hour.”

(Jesse barks a laugh.)

“I could eat 50 eggs in an hour.” For years, this claim, this brash claim circulated through and energized our friend group as we all, all of us, tried to convince her she were wrong. I dare say we were madder than pissed-on chickens about this whole claim. Indeed, my friend and co-creator of Dicktown, David Rees, made a poster so that he could talk about this incredible claim on stage. And I believe I have the poster here. Hang on, I’m gonna grab it.

And if you’d like to see what it looks like, you can go to our YouTube channel. And my wife—who is a whole human being in her own right—would look at this poster and for years would say, “I would—I don’t care. I would just eat one egg, and then another egg, and then another egg, until there was 50.” And I would get so upset!

I would say, “You could drive a straight pin up my butt with a ten-pound sledgehammer!” I wouldn’t say that; Captain Lee would say it. I’d be so upset by this. And I’d be like, “You don’t understand the cumulative effect of eating one egg after another within an hour.”

And she was like, “I don’t know. It’s just like, I could do it. It’d just be like eating 50 heads of lettuce.”

“You can’t do that either!” I wanted to scream. But as the years went on, I realized what are we gaining from this? She’s never going to try to eat 50 eggs. I mean, if she really were—right?—then I might have a leg to stand on. But since she wasn’t, to quote Captain Lee again, I felt like a one-legged man in an ass kicking contest. I didn’t have a leg to stand on, because it was purely hypothetical, Laura. Purely hypothetical. If she were going to do it, I would have that leg to stand on, and I would have to say, “Please, I love you. I want you to live. Don’t do this. Because you will get sick. It could be very dangerous. It was in a movie. That doesn’t mean—not even Paul Newman could do it. Like, I don’t want to step on your dreams, but I also don’t want to have to drive you to the hospital with egg poisoning or whatever.”

But over time, I realized what do I gain by trying to talk her out of this? What does it do to our relationship for someone—whether it’s a loved one or a friend or whatever—say, “I believe I could do a thing”, to say to that person, “No, you can’t.” If it doesn’t matter, and it’s never going to happen, I don’t think convincing the other person that they’re wrong about their own dream—whether it’s to be a stew on Below Deck or to eat 50 eggs in an hour—is worth the effort compared to, I think, the challenge that it puts on their relationship. And this is especially true in this case, because… and this is especially true in a case like Stacey’s, where it’s completely hypothetical. Like, she’s not going to leave her husband to go on Below Deck or to go on a yacht. I mean, you’ve gone on the boat for science, now can’t you do it for money?

And if it were the case that I agreed with Laura that Stacey couldn’t do it, or that it would be dangerous if she were to even try—and it seemed like she was going to try—then I could almost understand the argument. But as I have met and gotten to know Stacey and her salmon carcass collecting ways, I’m like, yeah. There are very few people who are more qualified than Stacey to go on a reality show right now. I mean, this is an obvious yes.

(Stacey laughs and “yay”s.)

Like, if I were, doing—now, I don’t do casting for Below Deck. But if I were, I would be like, “Yeah, let’s give this person a try! What’s the worst that could happen? You know, I bet they could probably do well.” Now I do think—do I agree with you to a certain degree, Laura, that there is the cumulative effect of day after day of 16-hour days of exhaustion that would take a toll on someone who, you know, isn’t as young as we all used to be? I mean, the same thing that gave Stacey herself pause when she saw the video from Aesha about, you know, the sleeplessness. I mean, you know, sleep deprivation is really, really dangerous. You know, it’s not only dangerous physically, but it’s also dangerous to decision making. Do you know what I mean? Like, I could see that it could be a little bit more than she bargained for.

But overall? I don’t see why this wouldn’t work in some way or another. It could be her 50 eggs, but I don’t think it’s so dangerous that I would feel compelled to stop it. But I am not your friend, either of your friends. I am your judge, both of you.


And my judgment is clear. Like, yeah, she would probably—she could probably get hired and would probably do a good job. And I hope that she would have a good time. And I think that’s really where you need to be as a friend, Laura. I’m happy to quash the argument, but not for the reason that you like. Not for the reason of like convince her she can’t do it. Because why? Why would I even do that? I’m not a cruel person. You know what I mean? Like, she’s chopped up dead salmon on a moving boat and got salmon guts in her face. I kind of feel like she can do anything. And I kind of feel that she deserves to have your back and her husband’s back and I would say her mother’s back.

Because it’s very, very unlikely that she’s going to even try. And if she were to try, I think she’d be—unlike eating 50 eggs, I don’t think it’s 100% likely that she’ll regret it. I think there’s a possibility that this could turn into 50 eggs for her, but I don’t know that that’s necessarily true. And it’s her life. So, obviously I find in Stacey’s favor, and I do order you to wear the t-shirt on one day.

Stacey: And Ray to order the t-shirt? To wear the t-shirt?

John Hodgman: And Ray also has to order—you know, here’s the thing. I like the t-shirt design. But what I’d like you to do, Stacey, actually, is get some boat uniforms, like the whites—what they call the whites, which are the white shirts with the epaulets that they wear whenever they’re ushering these lunatic guests onto the boat or off of the boat. You know, where they have to look their most formal. It’s like black slacks and this white sort of naval style shirt. Right? And I want all of you to get them.

And you know, on Below Deck, if you’re Chief Stew or First Stew or Second Stew, your epaulettes have different stripes on them, designating your rank. I want you to line up your friends maybe on the back of a nice boat, if you can get out on the water for a weekend. And I want you to, instead of the t-shirt that says, “Stacey was wrong”, where their name would be, it just says—where the name would be embroidered, it just says, “Stacey was wrong” on it. And then what I want you to do is you want to walk down the line and your friends have—and your friends and your mother and your husband have to say, “I’m sorry, I was wrong.” And you just tear their epaulets off and throw their epaulets in the sea or fire them Captain Lee style or something.

And then once that’s done, I want you to let it go. Because you love each other. You all love each other. And if a friend in your friend group or someone you love has a dream that they might be able to do something impossible, you gain nothing by pooping on their dream. So, this is the sound of a gavel.

Sound Effect: A loud boat horn.

John Hodgman: Judge John Hodgman rules, that is all.

Jesse Thorn: Please rise as Judge John Hodgman exits the courtroom.

(Chairs squeak, followed by heavy footsteps and a door closing.)

Stacey, how are you feeling?

Stacey: Good. I do want to defend Laura, though. I brought this upon myself and asked them. So, they weren’t like—I don’t know. They’re good friends. (Laughs.) But I do feel really, really good about this. Especially because it’s been like so many years in the making.

Jesse Thorn: Laura, how do you feel?

Laura: I think it was coming. Yeah. So, I’m not surprised. I do think Stacey could do it if she put her mind to it, but…

(Stacey “yay”s.)

Jesse Thorn: How are you going to feel when you see your friend on Bravo being transformed into a weird caricature of herself?

Laura: Yeah, Stacey on Bravo would be, uh… fun to watch. (Laughs.)

Jesse Thorn: Well, Laura, Stacey, you’re both heroes to me. Thank you for joining us on the Judge John Hodgman podcast.

(They thank him.)

Sound Effect: Three gavel bangs.

Jesse Thorn: Another Judge John Hodgman case is in the books. We’ll have Swift Justice in just a second. But first, our thanks to Redditor u/Magpie_ for naming this week’s episode. If you wanna name an episode of Judge John Hodgman, join us on Reddit at Or if you just wanna check out other people’s dumb puns, ’cause they are truly a joy.


Evidence and photos for this episode are posted on the episode page at as well as on the Judge John Hodgman Instagram, which is You can also watch video of this episode on TikTok and YouTube, @JudgeJohnHodgmanPod. Follow and subscribe to see our episodes and video-only content.

John Hodgman: Yeah, and thank you to Cuppy Colburn over on Apple Podcasts for your very kind review of the Judge John Hodgman podcast—the one you’re listening to right now. Cuppy says, “I started listening to the show on my first solo cross-country road trip. Not only does it remain one of my favorite podcasts of all time, but to this day, every time I hear the gavel drop, it gives me a sense of nostalgia for that very first trip. But not in a toxic way.” And then Cuppy, Jesse, adds three heart emojis! Three. Three heart emojis, but five stars, which is really, really lovely. Thank you so much, Cuppy.

And speaking of road trips, we are heading into the summer travel season. It’s a great time for you to load up your device with podcasts to listen to, maybe as you’re heading to the beach or whatever you might be doing, or to recommend the podcast to anyone you know who’s going on a road trip or an airplane ride or a hot air balloon journey or a zeppelin voyage. Or maybe it’s just something you’d like to listen to when you walk around in the cool of the morning, before it gets too hot outside. Please recommend Judge John Hodgman if you like it. Your reviews on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcast, your shares on YouTube and Instagram and on TikTok and even Facebook—they really do help people discover the podcast, which helps us keep bringing it to you. So, thank you.

Jesse Thorn: Judge John Hodgman created by Jesse Thorn and John Hodgman. This episode, engineered by Eric Allen and Mark Miller at Black Box Sound Company in Redding, California. Our social media manager is Nattie Lopez. It was nice to see Nattie in real life! Nattie came and visited the office. We had lunch at Antojitos BB, and Nattie—

John Hodgman: I know, I heard about it.

Jesse Thorn: Nattie brought some cookies that she made with her dad in West Covina.

John Hodgman: Nattie’s a real person. Not a myth. A real one. A real one. And I’m very—I heard about that lunch, and I’m very jealous. I can’t wait to get back out there to California to have some food with you and maybe serve some justice with you. Stay tuned.

Jesse Thorn: Yeah, John—look, we could be eating baleadas right now. That’s a type of Honduran bean egg quesadilla thing. Anyway, this podcast, edited by A.J. McKeon. Our video editor is Daniel Speer, with whom I also had lunch this week! He and I had lunch at La Abeja.

John Hodgman: Why do you keep bringing up these lunches? It makes me so jealous!

Jesse Thorn: I love lunch! Yeah. Our producer is the ever-capable Jennifer Marmor.

Now, Swift Justice, where we answer small disputes with quick judgment. Jennifer—who is not Jennifer Marmor—says, “Someone in my home uses a knife to turn a burger in a pan and not a spatula. Please stop them.”

John Hodgman: I mean, sometimes you got to turn that burger over, and sometimes you got to do it real quick. You may not have planned, but all of a sudden—you know, ‘cause burgers cook quick. So, I get it, but here’s why you don’t want to use a knife. With a spatula, you can pick up the burger, and then—as best as possible—lay it down relatively easily away from you, so you don’t get splattered with hot grease the way I did yesterday when I was making this halibut. With a knife, you’re really—that flip is going to be a lot less gentle and a lot harder. And that means whether it’s you or your backsplash, you’re going to get covered in hot grease. And unless that’s your thing, you don’t want it.

So, that’s an actual, genuine, non-joke answer to that dispute. Jennifer—not Jennifer Marmor—whoever it is in your home who’s using that knife to turn a burger, they’re wrong.

We talked about Below Deck, speaking of TV. Which is both a reality television show and a workplace drama. I would like to hear about your workplace dramas and disputes. Does your cubicle mate have terrible taste in decor? Is there hot beef between the produce department and the deli counter at the grocery store? There better not be hot beef in the produce department. That would be bad. Did someone take your yogurt from the shared fridge yet again? Send us your workplace disputes at And by the way, if your workplace is a super yacht, absolutely send them in. I want to hear about them.

Jesse Thorn: Yeah. No matter what your dispute is, send it into your favorite messy boys that live for the drama at Because big or small, we settle them all. And remember that if you are a member of, if you’ve gone to, we will answer your question.


Whether it is here on the main feed or in the members only monthly membo mailbag that we have been recording every month exclusively for the members of Maximum Funnn.

We’ll talk to you next time on the Judge John Hodgman podcast.

John Hodgman: Bye!

Sound Effect: Three gavel bangs.

Transition: Cheerful ukulele chord.

Speaker 1: Maximum Fun.

Speaker 2: A worker-owned network.

Speaker 3: Of artist owned shows.

Speaker 4: Supported—

Speaker 5: —directly—

Speaker 6: —by you!

About the show

Have your pressing issues decided by Famous Minor Television Personality John Hodgman, Certified Judge. If you’d like John Hodgman to solve your pressing issue, please contact us HERE.

Follow @judgejohnhodgman on Instagram to view evidence from the cases tried in court.

Get in touch with the show


How to listen

Stream or download episodes directly from our website, or listen via your favorite podcatcher!

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