A Lesson From “Supertrain”

In my downtime sorting out some difficult break-up emotions, I’m spending a lot of time on one podcast in particular: Roderick on the Line. It’s basically a phone call between two friends, they just riff on what’s going on in their lives and whatever their imagination dreams up. It feels like eavesdropping on a great conversation.

Something in Episode 25: Supertrain, really knocked my socks off. For the longest time, living as an Australian in America, I felt the need to reduce the amount of culture shock for the people that I meet. I thought it’d be a good idea if I felt more familiar and understanding to them and what it really boiled down to was a certain insecurity but also conceitedness that made me do this. It was fascinating to hear that John Roderick also felt the a very similar need.

This ties back to my first post about Dan Harmon and his advice to Stay Put. To be this known, consistent entity that feels perfectly comfortable in the way that he expresses and presents himself.

None of this advice is particularly earth-shattering but it has come along at the right time in my life where I’m ready to feel it.

At 21 minutes, 7 seconds:

John Roderick: I was talking to this guy, it was upstate New York. It was at Cornell. And he was a smart kid at Cornell but he was from the Bronx. He was one of those smart kids from the Bronx, where he had street smarts. And I was telling him about all these places in West Virginia, Alabama, Tuscaloosa that I had been and how I was trying to communicate with these people in their native dialect.

And he looks at me and he goes, “What are you talking about? Native dialect? I just talk to people like I talk and then they understand me and then they respect that I’m speaking in my own language.”

I was like, “What are you talking about? You don’t want to talk to people around America in your weird accent, you want to try and get inside their minds and get inside their culture and seem like you’re from there.”

“What? You’re never going to fool anybody that you’re from there. You just talk like you talk and they know who you are.”

And he blew my mind. At the time, that was a heavy, heavy lesson I learned from this kid.

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