Thinks Like Me

Hey, it's MC Frontalot. And Sportsracer Data Vortex. That's right. You are watching A Show With Ze Frank So, this weekend sophisticatedbanjo left a comment saying, "Ze, it's a relief to know someone who thinks like me." It's a simple comment, but it's a lovely thought. The idea that there's relief - relief in knowing that someone thinks like you do. Let me tell you a story. While I was in exile, I wrote a series of songs. One was called The Chillout Song in which a number of us collaborated on a song for a woman who told me she was experiencing a lot of anxiety. It sounds like this: Hey, you're okay It's a simple song, not even that well-made, but it turned out a lot of other people needed the same sort of relief that she did. I've added a link so you can check the project out. But that's not what this story's about. Around the same time, I tried something called The Pain Pack, where I opened a phone line and asked people to leave short messages about something that was causing them pain. I took those voicemails and, with the help of some audio junkies, I chopped them up into a whole bunch of little sounds, like this: (sounds) And then I released those sounds in an audio pack called The Pain Pack for other musicians to download so that they could include those little sounds in their songs. Now in order to tell the story of the project I needed to get permission from a few people to play their original voicemails. Here's one: OK, here's something. I'm not alone, and I am loved, I'm really fortunate. But Sometimes I feel really lonely, And when I feel that way, umm Even the smallest act of kindness can make me cry Like even people in convenience stores saying "Have a nice day" when they're accidentally looking me in the eye. So I gave a talk that included the audio that you just heard, and about a year after that, I received this frantic email. A woman wrote me that she had seen the talk on Netflix, and that she was stunned. It was her voice, her message, but she'd never called the hotline. She even vaguely remembered being in a bathtub when she left it, but the most important thing she wanted to know was how I got the message. So I kind of freaked out a bit. I went back to my email and I found the original person who left the voicemail, and I checked it out until I was sure, absolutely sure, that this new woman was mistaken. It was not her. So I put those two women in touch, and while I was waiting to see how it went, I got another email from another woman who said that the voice was hers, and the thought was hers - she even played it for her son, who said, yeah, it was her voice. So I put her in touch with the person who left the original voicemail too. And now they're exchanging poetry. But isn't it amazing amazing amazing that something so specific can be so resonant. These are the filaments filaments filaments from that Walt Whitman poem. It makes me think that the thoughts that I have in my head that make me feel the most lonely, because I don't think that anyone else thinks them, are also the thoughts that have the most potential to make me feel connected. I just have to get them out somehow, gossamer thread. Maybe you're tired of being nice all the time, maybe sometimes you want to just stretch out and freak out in public, maybe sometimes you think everyone's an alien. How do we let ‘em out? So sophisticatedbanjo, well said. Yeah, it's a relief to know someone who thinks like me. So last weekend I got to spend some time with the amazing illustrator Stefan Bucher, who’s agreed to solve your problems, in a segment called, “Stefan Makes a Solution.” To participate, go to and write in the problem you’d like Stefan to solve. Here’s the first one: Mark writes, "I’m trying to figure out how I can sit in the same spot without having a cigarette and I quit over a year and a half ago." Yeah, my dad’s a life-long smoker, Mark, so I know how painful that can be. Here’s what you do: take these birds that I’m drawing for you, put them up on your screen, and then make sure to touch every single bird at the same time. And the eleventh bird - that’s for your tongue. Problem solved.