Dec. 12, 2022

Surviving the Holidays, Running in Cemeteries, Using Enormous Napkins, and More

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle surviving the holidays, running in cemeteries, using enormous napkins, and much more.

Etiquette, manners, and beyond! In this episode, Nick and Leah tackle surviving the holidays, running in cemeteries, using enormous napkins, and much more. Please follow us! (We'd send you a hand-written thank you note if we could.)

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  • AMUSE-BOUCHE: George Washington's etiquette book
  • A QUESTION OF ETIQUETTE: Surviving the holidays
  • QUESTIONS FROM THE WILDERNESS: How do I handle a dinner out with people I don't like and I can't decline? Is it rude or inappropriate to run in a cemetery?
  • VENT OR REPENT: Large napkins, Being a lot to handle
  • CORDIALS OF KINDNESS: Thanks for the car help, A nice review







Hosts: Nick Leighton & Leah Bonnema

Producer & Editor: Nick Leighton

Theme Music: Rob Paravonian



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Episode 166


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Nick: Do you believe rumors about George Washington? Do you skateboard in cemeteries? Do you give people oversized napkins? Were you raised by wolves? Let's find out!

[Theme Song]

Here are things that can make it better

When we have to live together

We can all use a little help

So people don't ask themselves

Were you raised by wolves?

Nick: Hey, everybody. It's Nick Leighton.

Leah: And it's Leah Bonnema.

Nick: And let's just get right down to it with our amuse-bouche.

Leah: [singing] Oh, I get so nervous. In an excited way.

Nick: So for today's amuse-bouche, I want to talk about George Washington. So there is this rumor going around that George Washington, first president of the United States, wrote an etiquette book when he was only 15 years old. Have you heard about this?

Leah: I have not heard about this.

Nick: It comes up online. And people have sent me links to it. And actually, a lot of gift shops have a copy of this book. Like, if you walk into the gift shop at Mount Vernon, you're gonna see a bound book that says George Washington's Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation. And what it is is a list of 110 things that you should do or not do to be polite.

Leah: Mmm! I also love the word "Decent." I think it's like—you know what I mean? Like, be decent.

Nick: [laughs] Right? Yeah, you should. And often we say, like, "Oh, Leah. Are you decent?" And hopefully you are.

Leah: I mean, that's another version of the word that I also like.

Nick: [laughs] But George Washington did not write this book. He also didn't have wooden teeth. So let's talk about what the real story is. There were some French Jesuits who wrote an etiquette manual called The Decency of Conversation Between Men. And this manual was translated into English in the 1600s. And so the thought is that this translated version of this French thing made it to Virginia in the 1700s. And so what happened was that when George Washington was a student, his teacher gave him this thing to practice his penmanship. And so it was probably a dictation exercise, it wasn't something he came up with.

Leah: Sneaky!

Nick: Right? So he didn't come up with it, but they are still pretty good rules. I mean, most of them are actually still relevant. So, like, the first rule is that quote, "Every action done in company ought to be done with some sign of respect to those that are present."

Leah: That's a nice one.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, I think that is still relevant, which is like, oh, etiquette is about being mindful of other people. And another one which I like is, "Put not off your clothes in the presence of others, nor go out of your chamber half dressed."

Leah: [laughs] Relating back to decent.

Nick: Yeah. I mean, I think that's good. Yeah, you should make sure you're dressed before you leave the house. This one I think is really relevant. Quote, "Let your discourse with men of business be short and comprehensive." So it's like, please don't send long emails.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: Please don't.

Leah: I think we should do a Nick translation of these. The modern version of that from Nick is "Stop sending long emails."

Nick: Yeah. I mean, I think the idea of people being long winded, I think this is an old problem. I guess this is nothing new. We've been doing this for a long time. Another one I like is quote, "In visiting the sick, do not presently play the physician if you not be knowing therein."

Leah: Oh, good one!

Nick: Which is like, don't pretend to be a doctor. You're not a doctor. Don't give medical advice.

Leah: I love when people always start with, "I'm not a doctor, but ..."

Nick: Right? And he didn't even have TV you could play a doctor on.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: And then another one which is also very relevant is, "Put not another bite into your mouth 'til the former be swallowed. Let not your morsels be too big for your jowls."

Leah: Ooh!

Nick: And I think that's also good advice. Yeah.

Leah: It is good advice. For the modern version, we got to take the word "jowls" out because ...

Nick: [laughs] No?

Leah: Panic inducing.

Nick: No? No one wants jowls?

Leah: Nobody wants jowls. I think the next rule is, "Please don't talk to anybody about their jowls because they'll go home and cry in a pillow."

Nick: Yeah. I think jowls? Yeah, is there ever a time when jowls is, like, not a little provocative?

Leah: When you're talking to a dog.

Nick: I don't think they like it either.

Leah: Oh, I don't think they mind, as long as it involves getting food into it.

Nick: Fair enough. But yeah, I think for people?

Leah: Mm-mmm.

Nick: Jowls? Yeah, I don't think we want to talk about jowls.

Leah: No.

Nick: And then the last one, which I think is maybe not an etiquette thing, but is actually quite poetic, quote, "Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience."

Leah: Ooh, I love that!

Nick: Right? At the end of the day, we should all have a conscience about what we're doing.

Leah: And it should be our celestial fire, our little sparks.

Nick: Right? Keep it alive. So long story short, George Washington did not write an etiquette book, but he did copy one.

Leah: And then he made it popular.

Nick: And that's good enough for me.

Leah: I love it! Also really quick, I think I have more than once said, "I'm not a doctor, but ..." I just want to acknowledge that. But at least when I say it, I know I shouldn't be saying this.

Nick: And George Washington would agree.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: And we're back. And now it's time to go deep.

Leah: Deep and home for the holiday season.

Nick: So for today's question of etiquette, I want to talk about holiday nerves, being anxious around the holidays.

Leah: Yeah, Nick and I thought that we would try to—I'm making a gesture with my hands that is sort of like conglomerate.

Nick: [laughs] You're like molding clay?

Leah: Pushed together.

Nick: Right.

Leah: All the different things that maybe people get anxious around how to handle etiquette-wise during the holiday season.

Nick: And this applies to really any time of year, when you are gathering with groups of people or there's gifts involved or you're with family. I mean, I think this is not limited to just the holiday season.

Leah: Definitely.

Nick: But for today's purposes, yeah, I think a lot can go wrong. So let's talk about it.

Leah: Let's talk about it.

Nick: So I guess for me, there's a lot of aspects that all come together. I mean, there's, like, receiving gifts you don't like, and there's going home for the holidays. And there's dealing with family members in all different stripes, going to holiday parties, work stuff. And I guess for me, it comes down to: remember your training.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: Because we have been talking about putting tools in your etiquette toolbox. We talk about this all the time. And so my hope is that your toolbox is full with all sorts of tools you can use. And this is the time to use them. Like, we have been doing little sprints, we've been doing some 5Ks, we did some walk-a-thons, but this is the main event. This is the Olympics. And so all of your training should come together, and I think it will all help you succeed.

Leah: I love that so much. It's our—it's our Super Bowl, people.

Nick: Right! This is it. Yeah, this is a major event. And I think with, like, the Olympics, I think if you talk to Olympians, they would tell you that, like, once they're actually, like, at the starting line, they go blank. They go on autopilot. They don't need to remember their training—it's just in them. And I hope that all of these etiquette tools are now just in you at this time.

Leah: I wrote a similar thing ...

Nick: Oh?

Leah: ... as remember your training. Because I was thinking about all the traveling you have to do at holidays, and often we're stressed out. People are bustling, people are pushing. Everybody seems to be late. I was like, "For traveling, remember, we are early, we are calm, we are polite."

Nick: Oh, you have a nice mantra. Yes.

Leah: [laughs] I often repeat that in my own head.

Nick: Yes. I mean, I think it is good to just have some mantras that you can remember.

Leah: Everybody's heightened.

Nick: Yes. I think that's the key thing. Everybody's going through this. Everybody's a little on edge. Everybody's a little stressed out. And I think people do sort of commit etiquette crimes more easily when they are in that state. And I think you have to try and remember that, like, oh, maybe it's not personal. But I think, yeah, remember your training.

Nick: So in general, an invitation is not a subpoena. So lots of events, you don't have to go to them. You can decline. You're not obligated to go, most likely. Alternatively, sometimes as an adult, we have to do things we don't want to do. And attending events we don't want to go to? Sometimes it's required, and we don't actually have a choice. It is sort of like an obligation. And so oh, well. Sorry, not sorry. Welcome to being an adult.

Leah: I've definitely—sometimes I'm feeling very—it might shock people to know that sometimes I'm very introverted.

Nick: Right.

Leah: So I definitely regroup by myself, I re-energize by myself, or I feel just very awkward in groups of people, and I sort of tend towards a corner and find, like, a bowl of M&Ms.

Nick: [laughs]

Leah: But what I do is I tell myself, "We're gonna go. We're gonna put—" if we're going, we're gonna go, we're gonna put on a smile. And then I tell myself, "You don't have to stay 'til 3:00 a.m."

Nick: Right!

Leah: You just go and you make the rounds, you say your "Hi-s," you say your "Thank yous," and then you can go home. But when you're there, be present. Be polite. "Hi. Hi. Hi. Hi. Hi." And then give yourself a treat, and go back home before it ends, you know?

Nick: Yeah. I think another thing in our toolbox is to remember that hosts and guests both have responsibilities, and that everybody does have their part to play. And ideally, everybody will kind of remember the role that they're playing in this host-guest relationship. because I think a lot of times what happens is, like, one person in that relationship is not fulfilling their obligation, and then it's like, oh, society's breaking down right now. So I think if we can all just remember, like, oh, we all have some obligations, that does make things move a little smoother.

Leah: Definitely.

Nick: And also in our toolbox is just the idea of letting it go. You know, not everything requires us to weigh in or comment. And so sometimes you have to kind of just pick your battles and decide, like, oh, is this the hill I want to die on? And sometimes it is. And sometimes you should. Like, etiquette does not require you to be a pushover. But there are also times when it's like, oh, does this matter? Is this important? Or should I just let it go? And so I think knowing when to pick a battle and when not to, I think is a good life skill. I think this is a great time to practice that life skill.

Leah: Yeah, I was gonna say, there are some things that I think for me are always worth speaking up about, saying something about.

Nick: For sure.

Leah: And that we all have that line of what's important to us. And those things we stick to. Other things that aren't there, we'd be like, "I'm gonna let it go because it's gonna make my life easier, too. I'm gonna just get home," you know?

Nick: Right. Yeah, if you see an injustice then yes, oftentimes you should step in.

Leah: Step in.

Nick: If Grandma's double dipping in the salsa, you know, maybe you might just let that go.

Leah: Just let it go and go get another salsa.

Nick: [laughs] Correct. Exactly. And they're like, "Oh, why do you have your own salsa?" And you'd be like, "Oh, I just like this one."

Leah: "I just have more for everybody."

Nick: "Yeah, I didn't want to interrupt."

Leah: Circling back to the traveling, I used my own advice where I was like, "Remember, we're calm, we're polite, we're early" where I'm traveling mid-holiday season. And I'm always early because the anxiety of being late, I would rather be—I think we've discussed this before. I'd rather be a day early.

Nick: Yeah. No, I don't love being late for an airport. That is not fun.

Leah: Mm-mm.

Nick: And so I don't have that in me. I don't find it thrilling. And I think some people, like, actually find it thrilling. Sort of like, "Oh, I want to go skydiving. I want to be late for the airport." For me, that's just not how I'm wired.

Leah: [laughs] I love that those would be in the same category.

Nick: Oh, for me? Absolutely. No, the idea of, like, falling out of an airplane or being late to an airplane, similar rush in my brain.

Leah: I think I'd actually rather jump out of an airplane. I would be less anxious.

Nick: It feels safer.

Leah: It feels safer. Obviously, at that moment, right before you leave the airplane, I probably would be like, "I want to do the other one."

Nick: [laughs]

Leah: So I went—I thought, "You know what? Everybody's gonna be so stressed. Everybody working at the airport is gonna be so stressed. I'm gonna go even earlier than I would have gone to just leave time to make sure we can all be calm and not be stressed and be polite to people who are rushing past us, and it's gonna be great." So I think, as Nick said, what kind of tools do we have in our toolbox? We can think in advance, "What can I do in advance that will make this easier for me, whatever the situation is, to give myself a little extra padding?"

Nick: Yeah. I mean, you gotta just do what works for you at the end of the day. I mean, there's no one size fits all. Like, you gotta customize it.

Leah: And that's not just with traveling. That's if you're going to a party, maybe there's some—maybe you get nervous talking to people, have a few topics that you think are interesting and you're ready to throw some out if there's some empty, uncomfortable air.

Nick: Yeah, everybody likes talking about food.

Leah: Food is really ...

Nick: Food is universal. We all eat. We all do it.

Leah: And I would say most people enjoy eating.

Nick: Yes.

Leah: I recently went into a conversation about cheese balls.

Nick: What is there to say?

Leah: I love them.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: I want to talk about how other people make cheese balls, you know? And then we all got into it.

Nick: Honestly, I don't know if I've had a cheese ball. Is this like a puffed rice thing that's flavored with cheese, or is this just like a sphere of cheese?

Leah: I don't—I don't ...

Nick: This is a sincere question. I'm not just trying to be, like, clever.

Leah: No, I know it is. This reminds me of the feeling that I felt when you asked me who Gandalf was.

Nick: [laughs] Uh-huh?

Leah: And I may have passed out for ...

Nick: Not the little one, apparently.

Leah: Did I just lose consciousness for two to three seconds?

Nick: [laughs] Who is the little—who's the other one I get confused with?

Leah: Gollum. Gollum!

Nick: Gollem. Right. Sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.

Leah: I mean, I guess when you come to Los Angeles, we're gonna have to have a movie party.

Nick: Is that what's gonna be happening? I mean, I can watch them here, but I guess ...

Leah: I don't feel like you would pay attention close enough.

Nick: Oh, is this gonna be like A Clockwork Orange?

Leah: I mean, that's a little violent.

Nick: I mean ...

Leah: I think I would more try to ply you with, like, a good cheese. Now I know I'll make you a cheese ball.

Nick: So back to that. Is this just like I take a melon baller and a block of cheddar and I make balls? Or what is a cheese ball?

Leah: Okay, so cheese ball ...

Nick: Yeah. Sorry, everybody in the audience. I just need to get a little clarification before we move on.

Leah: So everybody does a different cheese ball. That's why it's so exciting.

Nick: Oh, it's exciting?

Leah: How we do a cheese ball is—I mean, in our family we call them a "Stinky cheese."

Nick: Okay. Because it's a blue cheese.

Leah: Yeah, that's maybe a little feed-y.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: So you get a stinky cheese, you get a cream cheese, and then you get a shredded cheese.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: Like a sharp cheddar.

Nick: Three cheeses.

Leah: At least three cheeses.

Nick: Trois fromage.

Leah: Trois fromage.

Nick: [laughs] Okay. And now I have three cheeses. Now what happens?

Leah: And now ...

Nick: I can see everybody in the audience is like, "How does Nick not know this?"

Leah: I know. I hope that everybody sends you cheese balls for Christmas. And now ...

Nick: Okay.

Leah: ... you roll these together. You roll them together.

Nick: I see.

Leah: You mix them together.

Nick: Okay. And I ball them up. Thus ...

Leah: You ball them up. And we're looking at maybe the size of a honeydew melon.

Nick: Honeydew melon? Oh, that's very large!

Leah: It's large.

Nick: Oh, that's enormous!

Leah: Yes.

Nick: How many people eat this cheese ball?

Leah: Ideally, everybody at your party. And then you take a nut, maybe a walnut.

Nick: Uh-huh.

Leah: You chop it up, and then you roll said cheese ball so it has a nice nutty outside.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: And then maybe you throw some crackers around that.

Nick: So how do I prevent the ball from rolling around?

Leah: You smush the bottom of it.

Nick: I see. So we create a little flat base.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Interesting. Okay. So it's a—it's like a soft cheese thing that I spread on a cracker or a toast point or something.

Leah: Yes. Yes.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: Or in the darkest hours of night ...

Nick: Right.

Leah: ... you may just spoon it into your face when you ...

Nick: I mean, hypothetically, I'm sure.

Leah: Looking for a little fromage comfort.

Nick: Okay, cheese—cheese ball. Great. So long story short: holidays, anxiety. Hopefully we've given you some tools that can maybe make this a little easier, but in your travels, audience, I imagine you are going to encounter some etiquette crimes. So we would like you to document these and let us know. Please let us know. We would be delighted to hear about them, and you can vent about them or you can ask questions about them, but we would love to hear about any experiences you've had. So please send those to us.

Leah: And I find, which I think we've mentioned before, but just to reiterate, I find that knowing that I get to talk about it later lets me handle things better in the present because I think this person is so upsetting to me and I wish I could write this situation, but I know nothing I can do to fix it. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna go tell Nick about it.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: And then we'll have a place to put it. So we want you at home to know if something like that comes up, just be like, "You know what? I'm gonna send this to Leah and Nick." And we will publicly talk about these people.

Nick: Yeah, and isn't that satisfying?

Leah: Satisfying!

Nick: [laughs] So happy holidays!

Leah: And bonne fromage! [laughs]

Nick: [laughs]

Nick: And we're back. And now it's time to take questions from you all in the wilderness.

Leah: [howls]

Nick: So our first question is quote, "I have to go to dinner with my parents' friends and their families. I find them to be pretentious and entitled, and I only ever see them when my parents are in town. Despite me making an effort with them, I know that the dislike is mutual. I'm not good at faking liking people, especially over long dinners. How do I best keep up my facade for an entire night when I know I'm terrible at it and not going is not an option?"

Leah: Since they added "Not going is not an option," because as I read the beginning of this, I was like, "Can we get out of this? Can we say to our parents ..."

Nick: Nope.

Leah: "'You know they don't like me. I don't like them. Can we reschedule?'"

Nick: Nope.

Leah: Or not reschedule, can we—so, but since that was already added and there's no way to get out of it ...

Nick: Yeah, so we're stuck.

Leah: ... I had two thoughts.

Nick: All right.

Leah: The first one was: can we throw another person into the mix?

Nick: Hmm, buffer.

Leah: Buffer.

Nick: Hmm, I like the buffer idea. That's not bad.

Leah: Our parents are bringing friends. We bring a friend.

Nick: I like that. Okay. Yeah, that's good.

Leah: Just because sometimes when there's another person to talk, it sort of lightens the load.

Nick: Yeah. And of course, you prep that person ahead of time, and you tell them, like, these people are the worst, and then they're on your side. No, it's great.

Leah: My other thought was, which we just mentioned, which I think you could—applies here, which is have some topics pre-planned.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: Some topics that are just benign.

Nick: Cheese balls.

Leah: Cheese balls. Love is Blind.

Nick: I mean, have you seen the latest season, though? Not benign.

Leah: Not benign at all, but unrelated probably to anybody at the table.

Nick: Sure.

Leah: And dogs. I honestly ...

Nick: True.

Leah: ... if you can just talk about dogs, and then just hope the evening goes by quickly.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: And just maintain a polite conversation. And then we exit, go back to our house, eat said cheese ball, watch Love is Blind.

Nick: So I was thinking that in general I think it is a good skill to work on: to be comfortable in chilly situations. Like, this is a chilly situation. There's a chill in this relationship. I think it's gonna be polite and very surface level, and then that's sort of hiding some sort of deeper resentment or whatever is happening between you all. But I think just keeping it surface level and polite and just being comfortable with that chilliness is hard to do, but I think it's an important skill. Because this comes up. We have to work with people, like, in the office that we don't like. There's somebody's in-law that we don't like. There's the new girlfriend we don't like. There's a lot of people we don't like, and we have to be, like, cool with that. And so I feel like I think just learning how to just deal with it, I think is just a good skill. And I know that's not very satisfying because it's sort of like, well, how am I supposed to deal with it? But practice. Practice makes perfect.

Leah: And I think sometimes when you have, like, a goal for the evening, it actually helps to get through.

Nick: Survival.

Leah: So—well, if the goal was I want to get better at being comfortable when I'm uncomfortable, and then you go in and then you have these conversations that are surface-level polite, and then you go home and you, "Oh, I did better this time." That way, it's just—you're just doing it for yourself.

Nick: And I find that when you act comfortable in chilly situations, that actually is very disarming to the other side, because they're like, "How is this person so comfortable right now? Because I don't feel comfortable." And so the calmer you are, I think the greater that effect. And so that's kind of a fun game you can play.

Leah: In this—situations like this, I feel stand-up comedy has really worked in my favor because the amount of times I've been heckled or people have disliked me while other people are watching ...

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: ... me getting heckled and disliked.

Nick: [laughs] Right.

Leah: And then you'll have the audience be like, "Oh, I was so nervous for you." Or, "I was so—" and you're like, "Oh, no. I'm—I'm fine. This is—this has happened.

Nick: Part of the job.

Leah: Part of the job. So it is a—it is a skill set. It develops.

Nick: And then another thought I had was just that in general, etiquette does require all of us to buy into a certain fiction and, like, pretend that something's not happening. And so the thing that's not happening at this dinner is that, like, we're pretending that we don't not like each other. And so we just have to all buy into that fiction for the next hour and a half. And so that would be the etiquette approach. We would be like, "We're just gonna pretend that this is not happening."

Leah: Sometimes I think—I've had to go to things where I didn't necessarily like the people, but the greater good was I'm doing this for my partner, I'm doing this for my friend, I'm doing this for my parents.

Nick: Right. Yeah. No, that's a really good point. That would definitely help you tough it out. The other thing that was mentioned in this letter is that you don't like them, and one of the reasons maybe is that you feel that they are pretentious and entitled. Which is sort of fun. And I find that when you are encountering pretentious people—and I've been called pretentious, which I disagree with, because pretension is about attempting to impress, and I'm not attempting, but I think for people that are attempting, one of the most disarming things is to not be impressed. To not feed it, to not give into it. So if somebody is like," Oh, they just switched the champagne in Qantas again," you can be like, "That's neat. So I'm doing this this weekend." And just, like, let it go. You don't have to, like, indulge it. You just, like, don't engage with it.

Leah: Yes, I love that.

Nick: And for that, then they have no power. It's like the labyrinth. It's like, you have no power over me. And so I think if you keep that in mind, don't feed it. It actually could maybe solve the problem.

Leah: I love that very much. And then seventh option—because I think we've thrown out six—is ...

Nick: Keeping track?

Leah: ... we just stand up. We say, "Hey, how long are we keeping up this ruse? Nobody here likes each other." And then we attempt to pull the tablecloth out ...

Nick: Oh!

Leah: ... without ever moving the stuff on top of it. Which I've seen in a lot of movies. And then we just walk out of the room.

Nick: Oh, dramatic!

Leah: [laughs] And that last one, I would say, don't do that. But I like to throw out all the options.

Nick: I mean, I guess if the relationship were different—I mean, this is like once a year this sounds like this is happening. If you were gonna actually see these people more often, it does feel like trying to maybe repair whatever happened would be worthwhile. But I think because it's so infrequent, I guess we just ...

Leah: Yeah, but also sometimes two people just don't like each other.

Nick: That is also true. That could just be the reality. Yeah. You don't have to like everybody. Everybody doesn't have to like you. And actually learning that lesson? That makes you an adult.

Leah: And I would love to know how this went.

Nick: Yeah. Letter-writer? Let us know. How did this dinner go? Keep us posted.

Leah: Please.

Nick: So our next question is quote, "Is it rude or inappropriate to run in a cemetery?"

Leah: When I read this question, I thought of every movie that I've ever watched with the rain scene. It's raining and someone's running in a cemetery.

Nick: Yeah, classic scene.

Leah: Classic scene. I think it's—as long as you're not running on the graves.

Nick: Yes. I mean, that was definitely the first thing I wrote is, like, "Oh, let's stick to the paths."

Leah: Stick to the paths. And I wouldn't be playing loud music or anything.

Nick: Right. Yeah, I think we don't want to be playing loud music. But then I was thinking like, oh, I don't think I want to be bike riding through a cemetery, right? That feels a little different.

Leah: That feels very different.

Nick: And I don't want to be skateboarding through a cemetery.

Leah: We are not skateboarding through a cemetery.

Nick: Right? So then I was like, oh, what is it about those things that's different than running? And is it just wheels?

Leah: It's a great question. And the idea that it would just be wheels makes me giggle, even though it's a somber topic.

Nick: Because, like, rollerblading, that's not good.

Leah: Yeah.

Nick: Right?

Leah: Well, people walk. Let's just follow this down and we'll try to figure out what the difference with wheels is. Because they're not necessarily louder because it's on dirt.

Nick: Right.

Leah: But there's something more aggressive about them.

Nick: Yes, it definitely feels more recreational.

Leah: It does feel more recreational. People walk through cemeteries all the time. They're pondering. They're visiting somebody. They're taking it in.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: Maybe they went to visit somebody, and then they're thinking about it. I think it's that it feels like running feels like how a lot of people process things.

Nick: Oh, so it feels contemplative?

Leah: Doesn't it?

Nick: Yeah, I can see that.

Leah: Whereas skateboarding does not feel ...

Nick: Okay. Not a lot of self reflection happening on a skateboard?

Leah: I mean, maybe there is, but it feels more like you're focused on ...

Nick: Not falling.

Leah: Not falling.

Nick: Interesting. Okay.

Leah: And it seems like it would be less disturbing to the people around you. I feel like running is not disturbing to the people around you, people visiting relatives, friends.

Nick: And I think that's a key detail. I think we have to do it in such a way that it's not disturbing people who are there for mourning or other purposes. So I feel like if we're running through a cemetery, I think we'd actually want to avoid any services that were happening, and I think we'd actually want to probably actually stop running if we were going to be passing anybody, and be actually a little more respectful and not, like, run past a ceremony in progress.

Leah: Definitely. And the thing about running, one of my thoughts was well, people take tours of cemeteries. They take walking tours.

Nick: Oh, that's true. Okay. Yeah, if it was sort of like a historical tour.

Leah: Because cemeteries are very historic.

Nick: Yes, that's true.

Leah: So running sort of feels like an extension of that.

Nick: It also feels like you have to run alone. I don't know if I want you running with somebody else, right? It feels like it needs to be solo running.

Leah: This is solo running.

Nick: Right? I don't want a walk-a-thon.

Leah: This is contemplative running. This is not a group of people walking fast for their ...

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: ... getting their steps.

Nick: And I feel like it also has to be a relatively large cemetery.

Leah: Oh, we're not running in ...

Nick: Like, this is not just like a graveyard doing laps.

Leah: That would be very odd.

Nick: Right. Okay. So there is a certain size requirement.

Leah: Not only that. That would be suspicious. I would call somebody.

Nick: Right. Yeah, so I think the idea that you're allowed to run in the cemetery, I think as long as it's done in a respectful way, that feels—that feels fine.

Leah: I think it's a good question, and I wonder if other people would have strong opinions to the contrary.

Nick: Yeah, I'd be curious to see what other people think about this. So audience, if you have thoughts, let us know. And if you have questions for us, also let us know. You can let us know through our website Or you can leave us a voicemail or send us a text message: (267) CALL-RBW.

Nick: And we're back. And now it's time to play a game we like to call Vent or Repent.

Leah: Vent or repent!

Nick: Which is our opportunity to vent about some bad etiquette experience we've had recently, or we can repent for some etiquette faux-pas we've committed. So Leah, would you like to vent or repent?

Leah: I think that you should go first.

Nick: [laughs] Okay. So I have a vent, and I think it's ridiculous. And I wonder, like, is it me? Am I the problem? And so here's what happened: I'm in a brasserie, and I sit down. And this is one of those fancy brasseries that the waiter comes to you with the napkin and sort of, like, drapes it across your lap so that it's there. There's no self-napkining happening. It is done for you.

Leah: [laughs] Self-napkining.

Nick: So the napkin is now in my lap, and I'm sort of unfolding it to get it sort of situated. And this napkin is the world's-largest napkin you have ever seen. It is probably four feet by four feet.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: It feels like a Snuggie. There is more fabric hanging off my body than on my body, that there's gravity pulling at this fabric. It feels like a weighted blanket. It is so heavy! It is so heavy. And as I try to use the blanket, I have to grab it like a bedsheet to hoist it up to my mouth. I have to, like, gather all this fabric to get it up a couple feet. And all that friction against my body makes it very difficult. It's actually creating heat. I could feel the warmth of this napkin. And I actually had to get up during the meal to use the restroom, and I left it on my chair. It looked like I had a comforter on my chair. There was billowing fabric. It was just like, what is happening? What is this enormous napkin? And you want to be like, oh, clearly they just gave me a tablecloth instead of a napkin. No, everybody had these enormous—everybody's napkins were touching the floor. Everybody's napkins were, like, on the floor. Pooling puddles of napkins on everybody's floor. Even tall people! Everybody. And so I guess this is just what this brasserie does. They're just like, "We want to make sure our guests are fully covered in Snuggies. And that's what we're doing. That's what we're doing." And so I found this problematic. And so I'm sharing this with you.

Leah: I love the idea that there was a meeting and they were like, "We want to be the big napkin place."

Nick: I mean, it's distinctive. I will never forget it. And to be fair, I did not spill anything on my clothing. So achieved. [laughs]

Leah: That's a great visual.

Nick: Yeah, it was wild. It was so wild. So Leah, would you like to vent or repent?

Leah: I'm gonna vent. And this is from the archives, but it is ...

Nick: Ooh!

Leah: Yes. In my comedy career, this one has really ...

Nick: Stuck with you.

Leah: Risen above the rest.

Nick: Okay. I mean, and there's been a lot. So I'm curious.

Leah: I was booked on a gig well in advance. This was like a—I was booked a year out.

Nick: Wow!

Leah: There was a contract. What I could and couldn't discuss was signed. It wasn't just like a—I had already agreed to all of these things.

Nick: Right.

Leah: Because for some private parties or corporate gigs, they want clean material. They don't want certain topics.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: You agree. So that was all agreed upon.

Nick: Great.

Leah: A month before the gig ...

Nick: Mm-hmm?

Leah: So the guy who booked me called me. Apparently there was a comic who was also a female on the show who struggled with the audience.

Nick: In a previous month?

Leah: Yes. And he wanted to call me because he felt that as she was a woman and I'm a woman, probably we're gonna have the exact same set. And I will also struggle, and maybe it's not for me.

Nick: Oh!

Leah: And so I casually brought up any time a man has trouble, does he call all the other men?

Nick: Uh-huh?

Leah: Which the answer was no to that. He does not.

Nick: [laughs] No?

Leah: So then he said—which I will forever remember, he said, "Hey, a woman talking for 30 minutes is just a lot to handle."

Nick: [gasps] What?

Leah: I was standing. I will—I will remember I was standing in my—between the kitchen and the living room in Queens, and I gripped the door so hard.

Nick: Yeah!

Leah: Because I was like, "I will choose my words so carefully."

Nick: Um, 30 minutes!

Leah: "A woman talking for more than 30 minutes is just a lot for people to handle."

Nick: Um ...

Leah: And I felt this week that that deserved to come out ...

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: ... and take a little walk into our vent and repent category because what a thing to say.

Nick: Yeah. So if 30 minutes is too much, then what is the correct amount for this gentleman?

Leah: I'm sure for this gentleman the correct amount would be zero.

Nick: Zero.

Leah: I think in his mind he's like, "Why are we letting women be heard? I thought we were doing see not heard." But it was handled. I will let everybody know at home that I handled this.

Nick: Yeah.

Leah: I got apologies.

Nick: And did you show up, and did you—did you do the gig?

Leah: Yeah, I did the gig. He was FSR and garbaggio, which I made very clear. But we had a contract, I blocked this time off for a year, I was relying on that work. I would never work for him again, which was also made clear...and I will say he has asked. And I was like, "No."

Nick: Good!

Leah: And I have a great story to tell.

Nick: Great story!

Leah: "A woman talking for more than 30 minutes is a lot to handle."

Nick: Yeah. "I guess let's take you down to 15. I think that's probably the right amount."

Leah: "Can you do, like, maybe three to five?"

Nick: Yeah. Or 90 seconds?

Leah: Oh, then it was like—"I just mean, like, about women's stuff." And I go, "Oh, you mean at least 50 percent of your audience?"

Nick: Oh. Well, I'm sorry this happened to you.

Leah: Now it just rolls off.

Nick: Great! I mean, what a great place to be.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: So Leah, what have we learned?

Leah: I learned about the guide for decency that was attributed to George Washington not George Washington.

Nick: Not George Washington.

Leah: So I actually learned there was a guide, and that's not who it is attributed to.

Nick: Well, because you're very decent.

Leah: Thank you.

Nick: And I learned all about cheese balls!

Leah: Which I'm gonna ship you one if I can figure out how to do that.

Nick: [laughs] Please do not ship soft cheese to me.

Leah: [laughs]

Nick: Send me a recipe and I'll make it here.

Leah: If you like, I'll send you a recipe, and you will make it so much more exciting. Because I know you put crème fraîche in your mashed potatoes.

Nick: Well, who doesn't?

Leah: Well, out of this conversation, 50 percent of the people don't. [laughs]

Nick: [laughs] Well, thank you, Leah.

Leah: Thank you, Nick.

Nick: And thanks to you out there for listening. If I had your address, I'd send you a handwritten note on my custom stationery.

Leah: He would!

Nick: So for your homework this week, we want you to go to our website and click on "Monthly Membership", and see if that's something you'd like to do.

Leah: Give it a little look-sees. We're having fun over there.

Nick: And we would love to have your support. So please do that, and we'll see you next time!

Leah: Bye!

Nick: Bye!

Nick: All right, Leah. It's time for Cordials of Kindness, the part of the show that you make us do, but I only give you 30 seconds to do it. Ready, set, go!

Leah: So I would like to thank Charlotte at the AutoZone. This is very specific. I can't even tell you.

Nick: [laughs] Okay. Wow.

Leah: I was having tire problems, and it just kept getting worse throughout the day. And it was like late at night, I was flying into a panic and I was cold.

Nick: Oh!

Leah: And Charlotte at AutoZone in Big Bear, and the sweetest angel of a man who worked at ampm.

Nick: Uh-huh.

Leah: Which I didn't even know was a place. Ampm, it's a gas station in Big Bear.

Nick: Oh, I know. That I know. Cheese balls? No. Ampm? Very familiar.

Leah: I didn't know, but I—oh, I wrote them a thank-you letter. [laughs]

Nick: Okay. [laughs]

Leah: They both pulled me out of the depths.

Nick: Okay.

Leah: And helped me figure out what was going wrong with my car, and got me safely back on the road.

Nick: Oh. Well, that's very nice!

Leah: So nice! I mean, literally kept me from emotionally falling apart.

Nick: That's worth something.

Leah: [laughs] Oh! Oh!

Nick: And for me, I want to read a nice review we just got, which is quote, "These hosts are like my younger but somehow way more refined siblings. Well, I wish they were my siblings anyway. They have amazing chemistry, make my brutal rush-hour commute fun, and often I learn something. It's the only show my teen will take his AirPods out and listen to when in the car with me. I love these guys!"

Leah: That is so sweet!

Nick: Very nice. Happy to be your sibling—younger or older.

Leah: Happy to be your sibling. I also love the idea that we're refined.

Nick: [laughs] Well, I don't know if that's referring to all of us.

Leah: It seemed like it was referring to all of us. I know it's referring to you, but I feel included in it. And I love that.

Nick: Well, thank you. This really makes our day.

Leah: So sweet!