I’ve been binge-listening to the WTF podcast, hosted by Marc Maron. If you haven’t heard it yet, you should.
Today’s episode of Where We Live on the need for inter-generational relationships reminded me of an exchange that Marc had with humorist John Hodgman on becoming an adult in New York City.
Marc Maron: When I lived in the Lower East Side and I was starting off as a comic – I did nothing. I would drink coffee, smoke cigarettes, maybe smoke a little weed and then make these rounds around the Lower East Side – to the record store, to the guitar store just to sit and talk to the guys in there about whatever. And you know, you’d have these real discussions about movies and you liked to be there. It would be the way you’d spend an afternoon if you could.
John Hodgman: You would learn about stuff and you would learn about people’s lives and you would learn about jokes.
MM: And grown-ups!
JH: You would learn how to banter – and grown-ups too!
MM: That was the real appeal. I’m here, in this place that’s grown-up where people understand things that I don’t and they’re allowing me to hang out because I must have what it takes to hang in and that’s how I learned anything.
JH: And it was sort of like an apprenticeship in grown-up culture…and in popular culture, and in humor culture and whatever it was.
MM: For me though, I really think that – and this is probably going a little deeper – but I definitely sought out male role models who were not my dad because my dad was limited. And there were these times where I’d be like “Why can’t my dad know this?!” And then at some point you cross a line where it’s like, “Well he just doesn’t so you’re just gonna have to hang out with these guys who can teach you other things.”
This is the benefit of mingling with people who are at different stages in life – and living in a city where these types of interactions are possible.
I definitely don’t have these kinds of discussions in my suburban town so I just go online to figure stuff out instead. Unfortunately, I frequently just end up in a WTF black hole.