Misery Loves Fried Chicken | With William Jackson Harper
Modern love the podcast supported by, oh, my God dot info. We need to talk about something constipation abdominal pain and bloating if these symptoms come back again. And again, then, it may be time to seek help go to all my gut dot info where you can learn more about your symptoms. Need to unwind a bit kind world is here? Termi- job at all. That's good with the world with stories about transformative acts of kindness. Tune into new episodes, every Tuesday to add some positivity to your life. Subscribe, now on apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. Produced by the island at you are Boston. From the New York Times, and WBU are Boston. This is modern law. Stories of love loss and redemption. I'm your host magnetized birdie. How have you gotten through your worst breakup, Tinder new hobbies cheap alcohol, putting your saddest music on infinite repeat will Mark mcdevitt, writes about a friend who helped him get through a break up in his essay misery loves fried chicken to William Jackson Harper is back to read the piece he stars in the good place on NBC. You can also see him in the new movie, mid Somare this July. Nate was my break-up buddy. We were introduced at scruffy Murphy's Irish bar by a mutual friend who thought we'd like each other. And I like Nate instantly. With his tight crew. Cut in animated features he seemed transplanted from another generation. You can easily. Imagine him as a bit player in a fifties war movie young outlines like, hey, Sarge over here. He's in a whole or shot me mom bleeding. We hung out that summer evening in support of favorite local band. But when our mutual friend, left's Florida for Boston in Nate started seeing a woman are fledgling friendship stalled out. I wasn't relationship then too. She and I have been together for more than two years, and even have begun to talk about marriage, which both excited and terrified us. We were approaching thirties. So it seemed like the logical next step. And then it all unraveled rather suddenly. Leaving me angry. And. Bewildered. It was during this aftermath that I bumped into Nate again. I, I didn't quite recognize him. In the years since I've seen him he'd packed on a good twenty pounds in grown a scruffy beard. Gone were the once animated features zippy, one liners, something about his hollowed out stare and shellshocked appearance told me his relationship hadn't worked out either. No surprise, then that the place we ran into each other was the self help section of Barnes and noble. This time are bonding was instantaneous, and absolute the kind share between shipwreck survivors on a bobbing yellow liferaft, while no model of mental health myself. I leased had a couple of months. Head start on eight for him only weeks after his break up the world was still a minefield of painful, associative is sudden with of jasmine or in innocent radio jingle would produce in him. Bouts of demented, laughter or uncontrollable crying. Over the next couple of months. Our friendship flourished favorite recipes for Chile were exchanged along with Patsy Kline records. We swapped are many self help books, which we refer to titles, like, Minna from Mars women for the birds and cohabitating. No more. I gave Nate the entire collector's edition of the three stooges he gave me a cactus. He's prickly little Basser tough Hombres. He explained just like you we may be in the desert right now. But I'm here to tell you that will get through this. Over time our anger and despair gave way to confusion. Just what happened anyway, where do we go? Wrong. Like a crack team of. F A A. Investigators we scoured the crash sites of our respective disasters. Looking for clues details and timelines were relentlessly hashed over. But the cause of Nate's, mid air explosion remained as mysterious to us as the forces that had caused my own relationship to belly flop into the Everglades like a jumbo jet with the wing sheared off. Are futile. Search for answers only deepened our depression. But the great thing about depression, is that it's not one-size-fits-all but comes tailor-made to suit our particular personalities. For me. It's about insomnia skewed priorities and loss of interest. Food work correspondence. Even the three stooges all lose their luster. The big picture fades as minor details. Assume, gargantuan proportions CDs will suddenly beckoned to be rearranged from alphabetical to reverse chronological order and back again, I simply have no choice. The only real consolation is found in pop music, Leonard Cohen of Costello. The miss a never ending cycle of misery heartache, providing grist for our nil of self pity. Pump music has the amazing ability to make you feel depressed and hopeful at the same time, depressed that you identify with the sentiment in hopeful, because someone feels more miserable than you. For me that someone was Nate. The only brightness to my day was seeing my break-up, buddy and feeling marginally better that he was even more press. Tonigh-. He showed up at my door carrying family size bucket of chicken drumsticks. If I'd lost all interest in food, Nate head gone in the opposite direction, he gobbled up anything that wasn't fastened to the floor. Even so he couldn't figure out his weight gain. I just don't get it. He'd say wolfing down his third cheeseburger. I mean where did all come from? It's like you, turn thirty and boom. You're pumpkin. As just a little exercise. They were tennis courts near department instantly became our habit to play once or twice a week. Neither of us played well, but with a lot of sweating in grunting it proved therapeutic. When I activated in old shoulder injury. Our tennis came to an end after that I didn't hear from Nate for a couple of weeks and I'd assumed he'd found another tennis partner, or become busy at work. But when my phone calls and Email messages, went unanswered, I decided to drive over to his apartment and check up on them. His car was there. But the blinds were drawn. After I pounded on the door for a good fifteen minutes, finally, poked, his head outside, like a giant mastodon awakened from thousand year, slumber. Something about his glassy eyed stare, and the greenish orange hue of his skin told me he taken turn for the worse. Walking into his darkened Lehrer. I understood that Nate head, not found another tennis partner. Instead he had crossed over into just of Conrad territory. He journeyed up the name river into the heart of darkness. Without air conditioning apartment was a good ten degrees, hotter than the ninety degrees outside the at home. Sweat unwashed, clothing. In rotting food hung heavy in the air. A chicken carcass lay on the kitchen floor stripped to the bone as if by Rana. Walking to open a window noticed. There were vegetable peelings all over the floor. Nate appeared moments later from the kitchen mechanically shaving carrot when he finished he chomped on the carrot and started peeling another. What's with carrots? I asked. Nothing. He said, I just quit smoking. And you took carrots. I guess we saw them to do with my hands. I filled three garbage bags with chicken, bones and pizza boxes and took them out to the dumpster, smack in the middle of the living room directly in front of the television was a shiny new bench press in giant barbell, glossy, brochures, bright plastic folders about how to become a real estate millionaire in ten easy. Steps litter, the floor. Gradually picture began to emerge of the man who hadn't slept or washed, in days, spending his time, alternately lifting weights watching late night, infomercials in eating fried chicken. Larmer and anxious. To get out of there is suggested we go see a movie he was game. And after stopping for two bags of carrots we pulled into the theater. The movie of the summer was castaway starring Tom Hanks as Chuck Noland clever chap who washes ashore on a desert island after his plane goes down in the Pacific. As his hope rescue fades. He begins the long battle for survival. More important his sanity. Something about the story spoke directly to Nate in me. Why? I don't think castaway was intended as a comedy. We never laughed so hard in all our lives. It was like watching ourselves of their on screen people audience glare disapprovingly as we laughed in all the wrong places. We have called when Chuck knocked out his tooth with an ice skate. While the rest of the audience sniffles, as he selected the tree from which to hang himself, we clinched our sides with Larry. Hopelessly isolated and lonely. Chuck develops a relationship with volleyball giving the ball face even aim Wilson. It was Wilson more than anything that help preserve his sanity allowing him to mount. A last desperate bid to escape his island prison. I thought about the strange set of circumstances in coincidences that have brought Nate in Mita. Gather. I told myself he was fortunate to have me a friend. And while keeping an eye on him had allowed me to feel charitable magnanimous. I knew my impulse was anything but altruistic in truth Nate was the art stick by which I measured my own progress helping need feel good about myself, and preserve my own sanity. Nate I realized. Had become my Wilson. This. Overweight slightly adult person munching carrots, next to me, was my life raft. With a movie ended we shuffled outside with the rest of the Saturday night date. Crowd handsome, boys and coltish girls dressed in shorts and t shirts. They wandered outside laughing and smiling blissfully unaware of the dangers. They courted. Would they still be happy and smiling in a year's time knowing as we did that to love is to risk great unhappiness? For them. The movie was over. Forgotten like the two large buckets of popcorn left under their seats for us. The movie clung, like a lingering dream state. It followed us into the parking lot and beyond. After getting ice cream eight nine set outside miring the clear night sky, heavy to have company, but. Each secretly wishing he was somewhere else. With someone else. I couldn't even recognize it for the glorious time. It was. Six months later. I finally managed to escape my own desert island by moving to New York. And though I since lost touch with Nate, I often think about them. When I do, it's not the grief of my horrible break-up, remember, but the laughter in friendship, followed. Don't believe me. Just ask Chuck Nolan. Sure he feels the same way about Wilson. That's William Jackson Harper reading, Mark mcdevitt, essay misery, loves fried chicken to we'll hear more from Marc after the break. Modern love is sponsored by own my gut dot info. We need to talk about something abdominal pain, bloating, and constipation. You tell yourself. It's not that bad. You take laxatives modify your diet and exercise routine. But thinking about it all the time is frustrating. This doesn't have to define you, if your concentration and domino symptoms come back again. And again, and you don't know why then it may be time to seek help go to Mike dot info slash podcast where you can learn more about your symptoms. That's my gut dot info slash podcast. Mark mcdevitt essay was published in two thousand five. He says it's strange to reread the piece today this morning when I was coming in here. I thought, oh gosh. I better read the story again. You know, it's been been fourteen years on the ferry coming here, and I'm chuckling to myself, laughing with the benefit of time in hindsight. I can look at it now with a kind of detachment. So I had a lot of compassion for that guy who's sort of confused and reeling and then looking to this other person as sort of a life, raft and glomming onto him in a way that is now very, very humorous to me. But at the time, you know, it felt like a drowning Mark never heard from Nate about the essay. And he's not sure if Nate's read it didn't stick it under his nose, nor did I hide it. And we fell out of context after after we broke up. We didn't talk for many years, and then reconnected. Facebook, as many people to we shared some very nice notes memories. And then we kind of winter separate ways again. And more thought Nate was a fascinating character, one of the qualities that I like to bet Nate was that he was an open book in it was he was defenseless in other words, and we all have our armor that we go into the world with right. You know, look at me. I'm so together. I'm, I'm so polished, and he was just a mess. And he didn't disguise that and it made me love him. I think what we're looting, too. Alluding to is, is depression, and male depression, and different men will we'll deal with that in different ways. And I think in his case he stopped taking care of himself. And perhaps, you know, he might not like to be reminded of that, you know, the, the carrots or the forgetting to shower for, for days at a time that kind of thing, some people don't want to remember that. I understand that. Mark got through his own break-up by getting deeply involved at his work, and new life in New York City, and eventually, he met his wife through his uncle who he says, kept pestering marked, call her. I had no interest in meeting, anybody. And certainly not anybody that my family was going to recommend to me, but, but he became such a nuisance. Any becomes such a pass. Okay. Fine. I'll meter and when we did meet it was like, oh, okay, now, I see now, I see what he was trying to tell me. But Mark says he was a little hesitant to take the risk of getting into a new relationship. We just took it slowly. At least I did. I took it very slowly. Maybe she would've liked that we got married quicker, but I Myers, you know, ten year engagement is not unusual. So the break-up Mark writes about in his piece was his last, but he remembers clearly that when you're in the midst of break-up it can feel like there's not much. That's worse, the only advice I would say his don't isolate. There's a great tendency. At least there is for me to draw down the curtains and call them to the covers and listen to this. And kind of go into the into the dark place. Sometimes it's by dint of will you have to force yourself to get out the door. You're not even in the mood. But you just say I'm doing this. And he says it's important to remember that things will get better. Eventually you're going to move through that, that period, you'll come out the other end and you may even look on with warm affection, even the misery of my break-up, you know, with me, and we, we, we had a good time we're going through something. So it was very hard to, to see it for that in the moment. But I look at it now with great tenderness and Fundus, especially for Nate. Mark mcdevitt. He's a writer and screenwriter living in New Jersey, with his wife and son more after the break. The fact that in two thousand nineteen where having this debate about measles, vaccine, makes my head want to explode, which is tennis. Strange really strange place in the only people speaking up the parents, endless thread, the podcast from WBU are Boston's NPR station and read it brings you a special series on the history of vaccines in anti Bax subscribe on apple podcasts, or wherever you listen. Here's Daniel Jones editor of the modern love column for the New York Times modern love the column may be mostly about romantic love and probably secondarily about family, love and family bonds. But we do have, you know, really interesting pieces about friendship. But in this case, I just love their connection. I love the sense of humor about it was just a really funny funny and touching piece about how much friendship can really mean to you and get you through hard times. And here's William Jackson harbor. There's like a. Commiseration misery. And like living in New York for me. Like sometimes that's the thing that is that I miss the most is that sometimes things just suck. And you look at that other person across the train having that same, sort of experience, like this sucks. Yeah. This also we all in this together and it just sucks. And, you know, like that, which I sort of I find really comforting. And it's also. There's something about how depression sneaks up on you. When I've had my moments, it's like just a cloud like the way describes his depression. Everything loses luster and food doesn't matter. You can't sleep is just sort of it for me. It's not even like a it's not an active like sadness. It's more just everything feels pointless. And sometimes in the midst of that, when you have a person that's also going through something that's similar. There's something about the relationships forged in those times, which feel like they can be really lasting so specific and felt like, oh, no. I I I've been that guy. I know that guy. Thanks again, to William for reading this week's piece you can see him on NBC's, the good place, which is back this fall. Modern love is a production of the New York Times and WB. You are Boston's NPR station. It's produced directed and edited by Caitlyn O'Keefe original scoring and sound design by Matt read. Iris Adler is our executive producer. Daniel Jones is the editor of modern love for the New York Times and adviser to the show special thanks to Samantha Hennig on your streaming and mealy at the New York Times the idea for the modern love podcast was conceived by the Tobin the digital music, courtesy of APO magnitude wordy cenex week. Modern love supported by xfinity. Some things are hard to control like over caffeinated co workers other things are easy to control. Like you're in home wifi with xfinity, X fi, set wifi curfew, change your password, and create user profiles over the x fi app. Another reason why xfinity is simple easy. Awesome go online. Call one eight hundred xfinity or visit a store to learn more. Restrictions apply.