Tricky Fish Episode 6 – The One About Mosquitoes and Solving a World Problem

Tricky Fish Episode 6 – The One About Mosquitoes and Solving a World Problem

Tricky Fish
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In this episode, we talk about Rhiannon’s idea for solving a world problem involving mosquitoes, and Ian throws a proverbial grenade at it.


Announcer: Welcome to Tricky Fish. A conversation between a millennial daughter and her Gen X dad. Here’s your hosts, Rhiannon and Ian.

R: Okay, so whenever you have this bout of existentialism, and you ask yourself, “what can I do to fix the world?” Right? We all hopefully reach this point where we just ask ourselves, you know, John… John F. Kennedy? JF Kennedy?

I: John F. Kennedy. Yeah, JFK “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country”?

R: Exactly. So, if maybe not so patriotic but at least that idea, right? I had come up with a plan. 

I: Okay, I gotta hear this. 

R: Now I do want to disclaimer that I have done practically no research. So, this is purely just hypothetical. ‘If the stars aligned, the way I wanted them to, this would be a dope way to fix the world’ kind of idea.

I: Alright. I do know that when we decide on a topic, we don’t talk about that topic beforehand. So we’re clean what comes in there. So I just want to say that I had no idea how to formulate this topic in a way that allowed me to even do any kind of-

R: Like… prep. 

I: -prep work for it. So this is gonna be completely by the seat of my pants, but hey, it’ll be one of those-

R: As it is for them, though. You’re just, you’re along for the ride with them. 

I: All right. Sounds good. 

R: Okay. So anytime any issue is discussed, budget is the first thing people use to deny or reject an idea. Saying where’s that money gonna come from, right? So, one day, I was thinking about how much I hate mosquitoes. Like, I hate them. So fucking much. 

I: Okay. 

R: And I don’t understand why they exist. Because if you look at any part of the circle of life, the human or animal correlation of any kind; why do mosquitoes exist? Right? People make the argument that it’s a food source for things, but that I did research on. Because that’s how much I hate mosquitoes, I wanted to be able to justify their existence. I wanted to know why they were here, I did look it up. 

I: Okay.

R: Every single thing that eats mosquitoes eat something else as well. Mosquitoes are not a necessary food source, there literally is no fucking reason. This goddamn thing exists. Anything that does eat, it can fully survive off of literally other- every other food source that it has. Mosquitoes is just a ‘Oh, it’s also a bug I can eat as well.’ 

I: Okay,

R: So let’s say, somehow, there is technology because you know, ‘the future is now and whatnot’. 

I: Sure. 

R: That we were able to completely destroy this species. And as a human race, we’ve done this a lot, to many more important things to the ecosystems. So I don’t understand why this already hasn’t been prioritized but if we completely obliterated mosquitoes, malaria would no longer be an issue.

I: Okay, so two things on that. First of all, I think that everything that exists, has evolved for a specific purpose, or purposes. And even if we don’t know what the purpose is, for mosquitoes, there has to be a reason I mean, beyond just being a food source. 

R: Right, but they’re so old. They’re like, prehistoric; if not that old, they have been around that for quite a long time. So maybe the need for them, the reason for their existence, is no longer here. And maybe that’s one of the things that we made go extinct. So now this population goes unchecked.

I: But the thing is with nature, is if nature doesn’t need something, or if a species ceases to be important to an ecosystem, like it eventually will go extinct on its own. 

R: Not necessarily though.

I: So to argue in favor of mosquitoes, okay. And I’ll admit they’re annoying. So like, it sucks. You’re just out minding your own business, you go hiking, and then you come back and you’re covered with welts because these things decided to snack.

R: No, I genuinely think that whatever was supposed to keep mosquitoes in check doesn’t exist anymore, because there is nothing that does properly, currently. But aside from that, we’re totally not even at the end of my point yet.

I: Okay, well, let me just tell you the second thing first. I feel like if we completely eradicate it, we could potentially be upsetting a balance somewhere that we’re not aware of. So I’m just going to put that out there.

R: That’s fair. But like I said, I did do research on that. And as far as any studies have shown- and I did this research several years ago, because I was particularly pissed off after Fourth of July weekend where I was swarmed by them and covered and bites. But all the studies that have been done thus far, don’t show that they are important to any of the current food chains. Or that there would be any kind of detriment to them not being there, they just kind of are. And so with that, I got a whole new layer of rage. Because I was already upset that maybe mosquitoes were pointless, but now I knew for sure that they weren’t that they hate, like, didn’t have to be here, right? So if we were able to completely wipe out mosquitoes, in theory, malaria would no longer be a problem, right? So now the funding issue is taken care of, because instead of having to re budget and reprioritize, that healthcare industry can be absorbed into a different health care industry that’s not necessarily malaria. And I just pulled up the CDC website that says it costs- been estimated to be at least $12 billion per year in US money. 

I: Okay, let me, let me 

R: How crazy would that be to go into any other part of the of the medical field instead of malaria, if we could eradicate the most useless insect that exists?

I: Okay, well on that, another two things. First thing is just because you eliminate mosquitoes does not necessarily mean that you eliminate malaria. Because malaria can as an evolutionary thing, it can develop other infection vectors. Like for example, COVID. I’m not sure where COVID came from but my last known thing was that it came from bats. 

R: Mhm.

I: Okay, so somehow it jumped from bats to humans. Now I’m not going to talk about whether it was because we ate bats or because we kept bats as a pet or whatever. Like, that’s not the point. The point is, there’s been a lot of different strains of COVID. And this particular strain figured out how to jump- how to make the jump from bats to humans. 

R: Right. 

I: So the second thing is I did look this up because I was really curious. I never thought about this before, to be honest. But according to the National Wildlife Federation’s blog, mosquitoes are pollinators.

R: …oh no…

I: Yes, it says- this is directly from their, their blog

R: I’m so angry. That’s a really important purpose, and I’m so angry about it.

I: So but it says, “Believe it or not, mosquitoes are pollinators. In fact, mosquitoes’ primary food source is flower nectar, not blood. Just like bees or butterflies, mosquitoes transfer pollen from flower to flower as they feed on nectar, fertilizing plants and allowing them to form seeds and reproduce. It’s only when a female mosquito lays eggs does she seek a blood meal for the protein. Males feed only on flower nectar and never bite.”

R: So what’s happening to the eggs? Where are those going?

I: They leave them in like stagnant water,

R: And then they use the blood to do that process. So it’s not involved with my body at all?

I: Well, they’re just taking your blood to help feed the eggs is my guess. 

R: Okay, okay…

I: Which I’m going to tell you right now, now makes me feel incredibly bad. Because you get bit by a mosquito, and then you slap it and you kill it; I’m killing pregnant mothers. That’s horribly depressing. And I’m laughing about it, and I don’t mean to laugh about it, but it is incredibly dark and that’s how I’m handling this.

R: The look on my face is why I thought that we might benefit from filming this with a camera to put on like YouTube or something, so people can see the absolutely traumatized look on my face right now.

I: We’ll upgrade to video later.

R: Oh my god…

I: For our listeners-

R: I am so upset about this. I’m just like, internally processing this because… oh my god, no.

I: We feel that this is very important because-

R: Why wasn’t this brought to me when I did my research, like five years ago? Because I’ve been carrying this rage this whole time, but if I had known that it was pregnant moms who literally did it once, just for the sake of their babies, I would be- I mean I’m still annoyed by it, but I’m less- 

I: Sure.

R: -Vengeful about it. 

I: Well- 

R: But like you said when you kill them, you’re killing pregnant moms.

I: Yeah, and finding out they’re pollinators

R: That’s like- it’s a whole school bus of children just… smashed.

I: Yeah. We were wiping out generations of mosquito babies.

R: I mean, good because fuck mosquitoes. I still stand by that 

I: But no. They’re pollinators now, so-

R: Do you want to know what’s insane? This is actually a great segue to a way that I realized everything about me is a trauma response.

I: Real quick, before we get into that, I just want to say our listeners can totally stop listening at this point and they will have walked away learning something. That’s a success. 

R: That is, that is! I love how optimistic you’re being about that. 

I: Sure. Because I mean, 

R: We’re all coming away from this- 

I: It’s optimism, or it’s breaking down crying that I’ve killed pregnant Mothers.

R: I respect that choice. -laugh-

I: But go ahead, continue on. 

R: Okay, so I saw a post online somewhere. And just give a disclaimer on this conversation. This was a revelation that took several weeks to happen, and each step was kind of furthered along by a different post I saw on the internet. So the first one was something along the lines of “How old were you when you realized that fawning was a trauma response no one told you about?” and I looked it up. And lo and behold, it’s essentially taking emotional responsibility for everyone around you and like, making that your responsibility to try and emotionally manage everyone and keep everyone in a good mood. 

I: When you say fawning, what do you mean? 

R: “Fawning is a maladaptive survival response, the fawn response is an instinctual response associated with the need to avoid conflict and trauma via appeasing behaviors.”

I: Oh…

R: “For Children finding behaviors can be a maladaptive survival or coping response, which develops as a means of coping with a non nurturing or abusive parent.” So essentially, it’s just something along the lines of ‘I noticed you’re upset. So I go out of my way to clean something up so that I am helping to make you happy.’ 

I: Gotcha. 

R: You know, something like that. And I realized that I have that response with everything, even as a grown adult, when I felt sympathy for rocks. Are you ready for this roller coaster? 

I: Okay…? 

R: Yeah. 

I: All right, let’s go. 

R: Okay. The first, like the next post that set this off was “Imagine if rocks are soft until you touch them”. And so I thought about it. I was like, that is a wild concept, because I love hanging out in rivers and lakes and things like that. So I regularly just hang out and touch rocks. But the idea that they exist in a different way until I interact with them, is kind of what started stressing me out. I wouldn’t say stress, it just kind of got the gears turning a little- 

I: Sure. 

R: I was thinking about that for a while. That’s a really interesting concept, hmm.

I: So you’re saying that when we’re not around, the rocks are just going about their own business? 

R: Just being soft, 

I: Just being soft, 

R: Whatever texture, they want to be. 

I: And the moment you touch them, they may become hard-

R: They become rigid. Yeah,

I: -As a defense mechanism. 

R: I haven’t gotten to the defense mechanism yet. But we will get there, so hold on. 

I: I feel like that’s toxic geology. -laughs-

R: Right? Okay, so the first thing is, the rocks or whatever else until we touch them and they become rigid. And so then I thought, like, okay, humans have this direct response against a rock to have that, right. I’m like that’s a little strange. And then in a couple weeks later, another post: it said something along the lines of ‘when you throw a river into a lake, that’s probably the last time it’ll ever be touched by a human’. So then,

I: Wait, when you toss a river into the lake?

R: Or a rock into the lake… 

I: Okay

R: Sorry, sorry.

Both: -laughs-

R: Uhhh, so I’m just so hyped to explain this to somebody else.

I: You’re welcome, listeners, for me clearing that up, because I’m sure you were just totally thrown out by that, like what?

R: I’m so sorry, internet. Okay, so-

I: The millennial mind, ladies and gentlemen. -laughs-

R: Imagine- I think I may have ADD personally, like undiagnosed. I am so suspicious of this, so if that makes sense for anyone, then here we are. But anyway, imagine rocks are whatever texture until you touch them. But then whenever you throw a rock into a lake or river, it could be the last time it’s ever touched by a human again. And so then I had this internal debate for weeks, where I was like, would a rock prefer that? Would they want to not ever be touched by humans again? Or do rocks like being appreciated, and looked at, and picked up, and taken home, and things like that? So then my first impulse because physical touch was one of my love languages, I actually shared the post on Facebook, and my caption said, “catch me at the river touching all the rocks.”

I: I saw that. 

R: Yeah. 

I: Now I know what that was. I was like, What?

R: Yeah, because I thought to myself, if someone threw me to the bottom of a lake and never touched me again, I would be dead and sad.

I: Okay let me flip that around, though. What if, as a rock, you get tossed into the lake, so you’re looking at is like, ‘Oh, I’m never gonna be touched again.’ Like, that’s a bad thing,

R: Right, because that’s how I feel. But then I had that exact same question! Go ahead.

I: What if as a rock, you’re like, ‘man, I hate being touched by people.’ 

R: Exactly.

I: So you get picked up and you’re just like, ‘Oh, this again’, you get tossed out in the river or the ocean or whatever and what have your responses not like, ‘Oh, crap, I’ll never get touch again’ but like, ‘Oh, thank God, I’ll never be touched again.’

R: Exactly. And that is when I got to the defense part because I thought about it; and if you look at anything in nature that exists one way and then becomes stiff, rigid, pokey, whatever uncomfortable-

I: Right. 

R: It’s always a defense mechanism. It’s never ‘I just feel like getting hard right now.’ 

Both: -laugh-

R: I’m sorry internet, I’m secretly five. 

I: My inner five year old laughed for sure. 

R: But like, things in nature that become stiff or rigid in any capacity like in the animal world, it’s always a defense mechanism, 

I: Right. 

R: So then I thought to myself, ‘What if rocks don’t want to be touched?’ So now here I am having an almost existential crisis, because I can’t decide for a rock if I should touch it or not. If I should throw it in a lake, if I should not, if I should take them home, if I should leave them where they are, because I can’t ask. It’s a goddamn rock. 

I: Okay. 

R: And then that is when I realized that I had funding as a trauma response because here I am trying to take emotional responsibility to regulate for rocks.

I: What about painted rocks?

R: I mean, that’s a whole other thing too, because they’re rocks. The point of them is to just exist, like it’s nature. We’re on a gigantic rock and it’s a mini version of the thing that we’re on. So technically you’re trespassing because you don’t have expressed consent, but it’s a rock. So you see what I mean?!

I: Since starting this podcast, okay. So you and I have always had really interesting conversations so when we decided to make this podcast and just basically turn our conversations into episodes, like it totally made sense. But like, you take this that you’re talking about, but then you talk about in earlier episodes where you hate stickers- 

Both: -laugh-

I: -and you worry about whether they’re having their purpose fulfilled. It’s like,

R: Update: I have started sticking stickers to things because my car broke down like 5ever. I decided because I’m an adult and no one can stop me, we are now a family of electric scooters, actually. We have one for me and Paul and then we are also ordered one for Scar. 

I: So you got another one? 

R: I’m gonna, I’m going to, yes. So we’re going to have three electric scooters and we’re just going to mob around like a little electric scooter family. 

I: Not to get too far out, I gotta say I saw the scooter that you had and- 

R: It’s dope, right? 

I: It is dope, I’ve been thinking about getting one myself. 

R: So cool and they have a one seater version, but not to get too distracted… Oh, man, I just exactly lost my train of thought 

I: We were talking about the rocks and then the stickers. 

R: Stickers! So my motorcycle helmet, I made sure that we all have motorcycle helmets because we’re going to be in bike lanes so I’m not even trying to risk that. I stuck so many stickers to my motorcycle helmet. And when I get my scooter, I’m going to put a bunch of stickers on that too, and I specifically ordered stickers for it to face this sticker stress.

I: Watch me throw a wrench into this. 

R: Oh no, okay…

I: So you stuck the stickers on the helmet. 

R: Yeah.

I: How do you know that 1) that fulfilled their purpose and 2) that you fulfilled their purpose in a way that the stickers have a good self esteem? Because you put it on the helmet-

R: -laughs- Self esteem of a sticker? This is how you know you’ve been talking to me too long if you’re worried about the self esteem of stickers, but point well made.

I: By the way, any of our millennial listeners: feel free to chime in on our Twitter and let us know if you feel the same way. 

R: And for the record. I do collect pins/enamel pins, because they are like stickers but without the anxiety because I can move them whenever I want.

I: True. Now the stickers, okay maybe they didn’t want to be stuck on a helmet. Maybe they wanted to be stuck on a car, or a notebook, or a computer.

R: That’s very fair, but that is also granting stickers sentience, which I was going more with like energy, not- 

I: Oh… 

R: -intelligence.

I: Ohhh, I was approaching it from intelligence. 

R: Yeah. 

I: See, it’s a generational thing, I guess. 

R: Well, I’ve noticed humans do that a lot where we compare our… like, the intelligence of everything else to the intelligent- intelligence of humans. And

I: We definitely anthropomorphize stuff, for sure. 

R: Yeah. And so I actually, I tweeted the other day that “I wonder how intelligent animals would be if we stopped comparing them to humans” because we compare like dogs and dolphins and pigs and things like that. But if you look at fish behavior, they are so intelligent when you compare them to other fish- 

I: Sure.

R: -in the realm of things that exist like them.

I: Well, I think we do that because that’s our baseline. That’s our baseline reference: our intelligence.

R: But human experience is not the only one. 

I: -laughs-

R: With your question about the stickers; I don’t know anything about their purpose in life as far as if they would be happy with it. Now the way that I look at it is: if the option is to either hang out in my desk drawer and just occasionally being appreciated when I feel like looking at stickers (which is not very often) or being stuck on my motorcycle helmet or my scooter and eventually wearing off and then getting stuck over, etc etc, I feel like it would still want to be used in some capacity.

I: That way they get to live a life of adventure that maybe other stickers don’t. Sure.

R: I’ve been looking at myself this way to try to modify my self care a little bit in that progress is still progress, even if it’s not what you originally wanted. So with my anxiety about stickers of “what if I find somewhere better?” Like, sure, you could hypothetically find somewhere better but being stuck on this second place is better than never being stuck at all.

I: That’s true. By the way, I apologize on that creek for the- that you hear in the background. This chair is being ridiculously stupid today, for some reason. But going back to our original- 

R: About the rocks. 

I: -topic. No, moving past.

R: Oh, even before that 

I: Yeah, we were talking about ‘let’s just get rid of mosquitoes’ before we found out that they were pregnant mothers and actually have a legit-

R: Ah yes, bring me back to that emotional distraught state, please.

I: And that they’re pollinators. So see? If we destroy them, then we are- 

R: I mean, maybe…

I: In the same way that destroying the bees.

R: Okay, I was gonna say, can we just destroy the mosquitoes and also prioritize the bees?

I: No…

R: Two birds one -laughs- two insects, one issue?

I: I’m gonna say no, because for one, I don’t think bees exist everywhere. I could be wrong on that. I don’t think that mosquitoes exist everywhere, I could also be wrong on that. But even if they all exist in the same-

R: Tricky Fish: We can be wrong, but we’re gonna keep talking.

I: Sure. Well I thought we call ourselves tricky fish. It’s a tricky fish. What if what bees pollinate is not the same thing as what mosquitoes pollinate?

R: That’s true…

I: and you need both of those for the respective pollinations.

R: You know what, Mother Nature? Checkmate, I respectfully withdraw my criticism. Jesus. 

I: -laughs- 

R: I’m upset about it, but I’ll accept it and deal with it.

I: See, look at that. I didn’t even know anything about- to prepare for this and I’m already like shooting down like your whole thing.

R: It’s almost like my childhood.

I: -laughs- OUCH

R: -laughs- I’m kidding, I’m kidding!

I: Here’s that. Here’s that dagger you just put my heart.

R: -laughs- Here, I brought some freshly squeezed lemons. Ps ps ps

I: Oh, that makes it worse!

R: When your daughter gives you lemons.

I: Well, I’m obviously in pain. -laughs- But I will, I will use it to make lemonade through these tears.

R: Maybe that’s the secret ingredient, is tears. 

I: Tears?

R: Yeah. 

I: Maybe.

R: I’ve heard blood, sweat and tears go into a lot of things I’ve heard those are common witchcraft ingredients.

I: Yeah, I don’t know who said blood, sweat and tears is the thing you should be putting into stuff because that’s like, why those bodily fluids? Why not other bodily fluids?

R: Actually not even witchcraft related. But in general, people are like, “I put my blood sweat and tears into this!” Maybe I’m referencing too old of a movie, but I remember in Matilda-

I: A good movie, by the way.

R: -there was that gigantic chocolate cake. 

I: Yeah. 

R: And she goes, “she put blood sweat and tears into that cake. So if you want a piece, you’re going to eat a piece” and then makes him eat the whole thing. And every time I try to eat chocolate cake, and it is an actual just a slice, I can never finish it. So I am so proud of that hypothetical child. 

I: I’m not- 

R: He’s probably diabetic, like extremely probably after that.

I: I am not a big chocolate fan. But whenever I see a chocolate cake, I instantly think of that movie every time.

R: I as a… well I mean, I have female body parts. I do really enjoy chocolate especially around Shark Week related times. And I when I went to Ireland with my mom a couple years ago, we went to this really cute like historical town that also had a little coff… caffee…

I: Cafe. 

R: Oh my god, I’m so sorry internet. A coffee cafe-

I: Do even have those in Ireland? I imagined like everything’s a pub there.

R: I mean, it looks like a small town bakery that just was selling modern day- that had like fridges and things like that. 

I: Ye Olde Cafe

R: It was a whole historical town. Yeah. And it was the best chocolate cake I’ve ever eaten in my entire life, was from that cafe. 

I: You know why. 

R: I have photos too where like, I’m literally moaning into my fork being like, “oh my god”. 

I: -laughs-

R: Kathy’s just taking pictures of me- I’m so grateful that she got it because it was delicious hot chocolate and then that cake and we got a different piece of cake too, we were like sharing them. And that chocolate cake was sooo good. But everything in Ireland was amazing. So, I’m not surprised 

I: They do chocolate a little bit different over there than they do over here. I’ve actually had chocolate imported, not necessary from Ireland, but from over in Europe. 

R: Yeah. 

I: And it is, in my opinion, vastly superior to what we get.

R: Oh absolutely.

I: There’s not a lot of sugar in it.

R: Yeah.

I: There’s not a lot of sugar. There’s sugar and things that we eat- I was eating an Oscar Meyer hotdog the other day.

R: There’s sugar in those too. 

I: Yeah! 

R: There’s corn in high fructose corn syrup. 

I: There’s like two grams of sugar. 

R: Do you remember when you made me watch that documentary about corn when I was kid?

I: I do. 

R: Yeah, I think about corn every time I eat and I’m angry about it.

I: Alright, so I gotta give this-I gotta tell our listeners because they’re like “what?” So back when you were growing up; I personally love documentaries. 

R: I do too, I still watch them all the time. 

I: And there was a documentary that was all about corn and I initially watched it because I was like, how do you make a documentary about corn? 

R: You can make a documentary about anything.

I: Okay, but how do you make it where it’s like- 

R: Interesting? 

I: Interesting that you have learned something or whatever. I’m like, corn is like one of the most boring things ever. I mean it’s, it’s tasty. It’s not like-

R: Some farmers would like to disagree with you, I am certain. 

I: Oh, I’m sure there’s farmers out there like, “What are you talking about? Corn’s exciting.”

R: -laughs-

I:  But, but no, and I was just like, how’s this? And I started watching it and the information that I got off there. I’m like, “oh my god”. So basically the gist of the documentary, because I don’t remember the name of the documentary, but the gist of the documentary was basically that there was a time when our food source was just natural. 

R: Mhm.

I: And we didn’t eat a lot of meat. Cows didn’t produce a lot of- 

R: This was before GMOs were really a thing people were worried about too.

I: This is way before GMOs. 

R: Yeah. 

I: This is also before I want to say World War Two, for sure. But I think it might have been before World War One. But what happened- 

R: No, I mean, we were watching this documentary before GMOs were really a thing. Like, I remember hearing about it a lot and a lot of moms online being upset about them. But this- I think this was when we started, just started becoming aware of GMOs?

I: Which is really funny that people get upset about that, because most of our food- 

R: Everything, yeah. 

I: -has GMOs. And it’s like, you know,

R: GMO stands for: genetically modified… something.

I: I think it’s genetically modified organism or something like that. 

R: Okay.

I: But it is genetically modified. Yes. But yes, we, we’ve done that long before with a thing. But anyway, they found that by feeding corn to cattle, it made the cattle get fatter, and thus produce more meat. So that’s where it started turning where we started seeing more meat on the table becoming more of a staple of our diets versus kind of a more vegetarian leaning diet. And they were linking it with the rise of obesity.

R: Actually, I was just thinking, I remember watching this right around the same time the Supersize Me came out. 

I: Yeah, right around that time. 

R: At the same time as the McDonald’s Challenge. So it was like that same realm, timeline.

I: Right. 

R: Yeah.

I: It really opened my eyes, like about how much corn is in our thing. And they were basically like: so you feed the corn to the cattle and that’s in the cattle, you know, in the meat of the cattle.

R: Right. 

I: And then we consume the meat and now we are also consuming that as well. And then they were talking about how the corn industry, big corn, corn industry. 

R: Corn mafia

I: Yeah, the corn mafia. Like they, they did kind of work it to where you corn when they had to do something with like, “oh, here’s the surplus of corn.” 

R: Here’s the thing.

I: And that’s where it all started.

R: They started making high fructose corn syrup. 

I: Yeah. 

R: Where it’s corn and sugar.

I: Yeah. So corn is basically a sugar, just a sugar and a fiber.

R: It’s a starch. 

I: A starch, yeah, not a fiber. 

R: So there’s, I mean, I’m sure there’s some nutritional value to it, but it’s arguably one of the lesser nutritional vegetables. And it really does more of like a filler, kind of like rice or potatoes.

I: Yeah, it’s definitely not something we should be consuming a lot of.

R: But they turned it into high fructose corn syrup and that was the one that was very common, and like regularly used and things. But they’ve also come up with other versions of that, that are all like called different things. So if you check the ingredients, you’ll see corn starch, corn syrup, corn, whatever is several different ways in one product.

I: Yes, you’re gonna run it like “no high fructose corn syrup”. But in reality, it’s in there. It’s just called something different. 

R: It’s just low fructose like something along those lines. Yeah,

I: Right. But the reason I made you watch that was because the information in it. As much as it was like watching a corn documentary. Which I get as a kid, if somebody made me as a kid sit down to watch a documentary about corn, I’d be like, ‘my parents hate me’. 

R: You know, what’s so funny. Is now I have a rule of Scar, where during school hours, especially right now that we’re doing homeschool because of COVID. She can watch TV when she’s not actively in class, as long as it’s educational before 2:30pm because her last meeting is like one something like 1:30. 

I: Right, as long as they’re learning.

R: Yeah. So the whole point is that with this agreement, all of her homework has been turned in all of her assignments have been done, she went to all of her meetings. So if she wants to watch TV before school would normally be over, then it has to be something educational.

I: That’s good. I hope you’re paying attention because there’s a lot of stuff out there that’s like teaching kids that dinosaurs and humans lived together which is not true at all.

R: Ahhh, I hate people so much…

I: -and it’s not called The Flintstones. It’s called something else, but creationism or something.

R: We actually have specific things she’s allowed to watch; either the documentary section specifically, like that section of Netflix, or Hulu because they had documentary sections, too. But we also approved Drunk History. -laughs-

I: Drunk history is actually pretty good. I’m surprised that some of the- 

R: She loves it.

I: I have not watched all of them. But some of the ones that I have seen I did fact check-

R: They’re good.

I: They’re good. I was surprised. 

R: Even though they’re drunk as hell, they’re good. 

I: Yeah. So it’s not bad.

R: But so I instituted this role of she has to watch educational stuff during school hours and you’re- and I remember being so annoyed that you’re like, “Okay, time to watch a documentary about corn”. And it was not the band.

I: It was corn- c not k.

R: I would have been okay with the other one, like I would have been down for it. And then I was horrified because corn is in everything and now it’s gross and it haunts me to this day. 

I: Yes. But let me ask you this: With that knowledge, does that not also help you make better choices in what you consume?

R: Absolutely not. I still eat a bag of funyuns in one sitting.

I: I failed as a father.

Both: -laughs-

R: I mean if my diet habits are where you failed as a father, like yeeeee.

I: My whole plan of being a successful father, hinged on that corn documentary.

R: Like real talk, though, I was actually thinking like, ‘every parent causes some kind of trauma to their child, it’s inevitable’. 

I: Sure, 

R: From healing through your own trauma and working through that stuff, it’s inevitably going to happen. I think-

I: And especially like with us, there was a good chunk of your life where you were dealing with a mentally ill father, that had not been diagnosed. And we are dealing with mental illnesses that are not diagnosed, you don’t have any way of like-

R: of knowing or having the language. 

I: of knowing or how to- Yeah, you don’t have the language. You don’t have the tools to deal with it. Like, I feel like if you took me at the point when I was diagnosed, which is when you were in high school, so a lot of the damage already been done. But if you just were somehow able to edit my life and take me knowing about those illnesses, and just reinserting me into a younger time in your life- 

R: Yeah. 

I: I feel like you would have come out much better. 

R: I mean, -laughs-

I: I mean, you still have your- 

R: What’s so funny is I’ve had that same thought so much.

I: I wish I could edit dad’s life and make it better.

R: No! It- honestly, because there have been times when we were- when we were both younger, obviously. That you talked about how several times in your life, you thought about running away to Seattle. And I always, sometimes when I was particularly upset with- 

I: And taking you with me! 

R: Well, yeah, but I mean, like running away from the life that we had, and like you and I just going to Seattle, being there.

I: I just want to make sure our listeners aren’t going “oh my god, he’s gonna get deadbeat dad!”

R: And told me about it. No. No, so I remember you just telling me like, after-

I: Hey kid, I’m going out for milk and cigarettes, and I’m not ever coming back.

Both: -laugh-

R: I mean, that’s not something to laugh about but imagine getting something like- oh man, that’s so terrible. For anybody that that’s happened to, I want to give you a hug. 

I: For sure.

R: But yeah, the point I’m trying to make, I remember you and I were talking about the divorce after you and Kathy broke up. And you had mentioned how several times in both of our lives you just thought like how life could have been different if you had relocated us to Seattle, just us. Now, I used to ask myself, like, once you told me that I used to ask myself all the time, like ‘what could life have been like if that had changed?’ And so when I kind of had that realization that we have to make choices based off of the information we have at the time- 

I: Right. 

R: We can’t like, beat ourselves up for not knowing what we know now. We had no way of knowing what we know now. 

I: Right. 

R: Unless we experienced it, right? So there have been times where I just asked myself, like, if you had gotten any kind of help sooner, if Kathy had gotten any kind of help sooner, if any of my therapists had actually been helpful, if any of the teachers at school had noticed anything. You know, like if anything had been different, what could have been different?

I: Well, the thing is, I did go to therapists, I was seeing therapists, none of them diagnosed me

R: Yeah but they weren’t helpful. 

I: They weren’t helpful, yeah.

R: None of mine in my childhood were really that helpful either.

I: Yeah. So I mean, in a kind of Disney Cinderella fantasy kind of thing I imagined that we would have gone in our life would have been really great. But the realistic viewpoint here is that being undiagnosed, I still would have ended up in another place, just undiagnosed, and there’s no guarantee.

R: And it would have been just me and you.

I: Yeah. 

R: Who knows what could have happened

I: Yeah. So I mean, there’s certain things I know I wouldn’t have done.

R: Yeah, but it’s Seattle. Like Seattle is expensive as fuck.

I: It used to not be that bad; gentrification happened. Yes. But like, the things I know for a fact would not have happened. I would never have killed you.

R: I mean, that’s comforting. As a parent, I can’t say the thought hasn’t crossed my mind. 

I: -laughs-

R: Like, in a fantasy way, never really.

I: Yes. Like all parents, whether they want to admit it or not, there are times that they think that their kids are just like, “Ugh, I’m gonna kill my kid.”

R: Like Scarlett – if she ever someday hears this, she knows that I love her. But like Jesus Christ; children are so difficult sometimes.

I: Well someday, she might have kids of her own and then she’ll be giving you that call, like, “Mom, you’re right.”

R: I totally get it. I never wanted to be that person. I was like, ‘I’m never gonna call my parents and say that’, but fuck no, it’s happened. The sass.

I: I remember what you called and told me that I laughed so hard. I’m like, Yes, that’s every parent though. Every parent gets that call, like, ‘Oh, Mom, Dad, you’re right’. Like HA! I told you. But, um, but no, I know that I would not have killed you. 

R: Okay, that’s good. 

I: I remember used to telling you like, I would break your fingers? 

R: Yeah, 

I: Like I would not actually break your fingers. 

R: Hang you by your toes. 

I: But yeah, stuff like that. But

R: just threatened mild torture. 

I: But yeah, but I mean, it was not anything. 

R: Something about the geneva convention

I: What I’m saying is in that it’s like, those are the absolute I know, would never have happened. Yeah, that I can say 100% would not have ever happened beyond that, though. In the way that you were treated. There are specific instances like the salami that bullshit salami sandwich thing that would not have occurred. 

R: Yeah. 

I: Okay. Cuz that’s, that’s, I think, an incident specific to…

R: I honestly feel like a lot of the elevated things was… Because I remember after arguments where she, like, the other person would come and argue that you didn’t punish me enough, or that you punished me too much. 

I: That’s exactly what it is.

R: And so if you have to constantly strive for a moving target, and you never hit it-

I: That’s what it was- it was a moving target. 

R: -then what are you gonna do? 

I: Yeah. 

R: And so while I like, I don’t make excuses for it, because as a parent, I’m like, I can’t do shit like that to my kid. Oof. But I also understand that I have way more support than you ever did when I was younger, when it came to like, family support. And mine is not even necessarily actual family. Like most of my support comes from Hailey, her family, like the adoptive family I’ve built. 

I: Yeah, right. 

R: But we were so isolated when I was younger. I remember like you and mom both didn’t really have any friends. And it didn’t help me move to Aberdeen of all places.

I: Yeah, no, that’s true. But like, you know what? Part of not having the friends is, I’m an introvert- 

R: Yeah.

I: -by nature. So doing a lot of social stuff is just not in my wheelhouse. But whenever I would make a friend, she would accuse me of cheating. And then it’s like he just after a while of being accused of cheating. And it wasn’t necessarily because I made friends that were girls – women. They could be- I could go ahead and want to go hang out with a guy. But because I went, ‘Oh, you must be cheating’. Like, what? And then-

R: That also speaks to insecurities and mental things that haven’t been addressed on her side and things that she really should have worked on as a person, on her own. And then you had those exact same things where you had your situation- 

I: Sure

R: -and it was just like a perfect storm of competing mental illnesses and competing egos and no communication.

I: That is a perfect summation of that whole situation. 

R: Yep. Lately, TikTok has been calling me out by telling me that I can’t logic away my trauma. 

I: Me.

R: And I’m like, “fucking try me.’

Both: -laughs-

I: Okay, so going back now that now that we talked about mosquitoes, and you find it, so: is there any way that you can say the world without wiping out mosquitoes?

R: I mean, I have some ideas for what I would do if I became like the ruler of the world. But as far as any solid ideas on how to fix things currently, not after completely shutting down my mosquito idea.

I: I think we’ll save the ideas for ruling the world for another episode, because I have fantasized about that and so I can talk about that. 

R: Okay. Hell yeah, 

I: But solving today’s-

R: I’ll think about it more. Every time I’ve written anything on that list, it’s been very, like a nonsensical thought in my head. I’m like, ‘you know, what, if I was the Empress of the world, this is what I would do.’ And I think most people would agree. I do have one that I know would be like, very controversial, but I don’t give a fuck.

I: I’ll be honest, I’ll see something happening in real life. I’d be like ‘If I was in charge, desire to do’ and also my brains off for the next like, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 

R: Just daydreaming.

I: Just, now, I’m setting it up like ‘okay, in order to do this, I would have to do this and then I’d have to do this to make sure this happened.’ And my brains like planning this out and then eventually go, I’m not in charge of the world. Why am I spending so much time on it? But um, we’ll definitely do an episode on that. I can talk to that.

R: Okay. It’s been an emotional roller coaster of an episode and I’m so sorry.

I: No, it’s okay. So no, in a way, I’m sorry that I logged a missile into your idea. At the same time,

R: Welcome to my life. This is what it’s always been like,

I: You guys are getting a clue as to how- 

R: Every time I get an idea, something comes out of left field and I’m like, I’m like ‘okay, well, now that I have new information’, but a motivational thing, not necessarily motivational, but TikTok I saw that was very helpful to me was that “you’re not stupid for not knowing something already.“

I: That’s true. 

R: And because a lot of the time if I’m learning something new, and I don’t immediately just have the information, I apologize for asking questions. ‘I’m sorry, that’s a dumb question.’ And people are like, ‘No, it’s okay. ask all the questions you have’, you know, because you don’t already know. And I always still feel guilty that I have to ask for more clarification, or I have to, that I need more to understand.

I: I think asking for clarification is good. I also think that the only dumb question is the one you already know the answer to. So I know two plus two is four. So if I go-

R: I still use a calculator for it to be sure because sometimes I don’t trust myself.

I: You never know in this day and age, but no. So if I asked you what two plus two is, and you say, four? That’s a dumb question.

R: You know, it’s interesting though, that’s operating off of the assumption that every single person has the same base knowledge. 

I: Okay. 

R: But again, if a human has never been taught that two plus two equals four

I: See, that’s always gonna say a toddler comes up and asks what two plus two is- 

R: Or an adult. 

I: – he has no basis. Okay, how did you make it to adulthood not knowing two plus two is four? 

R: 3rd world countries! They don’t have school and early access education.

I: Fair. That was me and my-

R: Imagine you’re talking to someone like you’re on vacation somewhere, and you’re talking to a native who hasn’t gone to school, and you’re like, what’s two plus two, and this guy, and this human just looks at you like they have no idea what you’re talking about? They don’t know they’ve never been taught. It’s not that they’re stupid. They just simply don’t have that information.

I: If they say, ‘I don’t know, I’ve never been taught that.’ I can totally respect that. But if I go, ‘what’s two plus two’, and they go, ‘the gods will give us rain’. I’d be like, see, no. I’m not respecting you-

R: Who would answer a math question with that?! 

I: Because you didn’t know the answer and you tried to BS me, that’s what that is. So no. I mean, if you’ve never been taught two plus two is four, maybe, maybe you try to supply an answer and the answer is God supplies rain. 

R: Okay… -laughs-

I: I mean, maybe on another planet? That’s the answer. 

R: Yeah. 

I: Maybe two plus two equals four only applies to Earth.

R: You see, that’s what- I I’ve actually been thinking a lot about alternate universes and like parallel universes. And that’s also part of the reason why I always use a calculator, even if I think I know. Because I’m like, ‘What if I somehow magically end up in an alternate universe where numbers work differently?’ Because again, everything that exists in this world was made up by humans. 

I: And we’re gonna do 

R: -and agreed upon by other humans.

I: Sure. And we are going to do an episode about alternate universes. 

R: Oh, it’s gonna be so existential 

I: I actually have an experience with that. But yeah, it’ll be fun. We’ll put it on the list. Okay. Anything else you want to…?

R: I guess just stick stickers to things. I don’t know where we landed about the rocks. I personally have been working on that trauma, and trying not to make myself personally responsible for other people’s emotions. And I still collect rocks. I don’t think that’s ever going to stop.

I: Do you see a therapist?

R: I actually, you know what? 

I: I’m not saying this. Like, to be- 

R: I know. At the end of March, I had a session with my therapist, and she actually told me that she’s like, ‘I think you’re good. I mean, unless you feel like you need something or need help. I think you’re good. You don’t regularly need to see me.’ And then literally, two days later, Gus died. 

I: Okay, 

R: I’m like, that’s great timing. I haven’t talked to her about the whole rock theory. But yes, I did talk to her about that. And we did talk to her about fawning because it’s a symptom of PTSD for me.

I: I think maybe when she tells you that, she’s just being nice. She’s like, ‘You’re way too crazy for me.’

R: I asked her. 

I: Just uh…

R: I directly asked her and she laughed, and she said, ‘No, I think you’re wonderful. And I love the way your brain works.’ 

I: Nobody wants to tell their- 

R: I mean, that’s fair.

I: Patient they’re effing crazy and,

R: I would really like it if you did not change the narrative in my head that my therapist likes me, let’s just keep it the way that it is. -laughs-

I: I’m sure your therapist likes you. I’m sure it’s okay. But it’s also me just being like, maybe 

R: I think she’s pretty cool. 

I: She just doesn’t want you to come up, shoot up her office. That’s why she’s being so nice. 

R: It’s all been video chat. I don’t know where the hell she is. 

I: People can find out that information these days. I hope your therapist, 

R: How would I find her?

I: I hope your therapist listens to this and can breathe a sigh of relief. 

R: You know what, I might email her about it and be like, ‘hey, so I mentioned to you in episode whatever this is And we talked about therapy…’

I: You know what’s really gonna happen? Your therapist, if she chooses to listen to this episode is gonna listen to us and she’s just gonna be like, ‘your dad has issues’.

R: Or she’s gonna be like, ‘oh, all the things Rhiannon told me make sense.’ -laughs-

I: Like, uhm, give your dad my number. I’d like to set up an appointment with him before he decides to shoot up a McDonald’s. 

R: So yeah, uhm…

I: Which is not something to joke about. So yeah,

R: No. So to recap, don’t do that to McDonald’s. Don’t shoot up anything unless it’s a gun range and you’re being safe. Be nice to rocks, stick stickers to things, be kind to yourself, be patient, and I hope you have the week you deserve.

I: Also, don’t kill pregnant mosquitoes. 

R: Eh, I’m still out on that one. 

I: All right. Well, that’s it. Have a week. This has been another episode of tricky fish. If you enjoyed what you heard and want more of it, you can follow us at Apple podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts from. Please leave us a review as that really helps us out. You can find us at tricky fish podcast .com, as well as on twitter @ tricky fish pod.

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