Lonely? Want to Talk? Call Jeff.
Jason Gots is a New York-based writer, editor, and podcast producer. For Big Think, he writes (and sometimes illustrates) the blog "Overthinking Everything with Jason Gots" and is the creator and host of the "Think Again" podcast. In previous lives, Jason worked at Random House Children's Books, taught reading and writing to middle schoolers and community college students, co-founded a theatre company (Rorschach, in Washington, D.C.), and wrote roughly two dozen picture books for kids learning English in Seoul, South Korea. He is also the proud father of an incredibly talkative and crafty little kid.
Last October, strangely personal fliers started appearing around New York City. They looked like this:
When I first saw them, they really caught my attention. For some reason, I wasn’t immediately repulsed, as was a female friend of mine (her response, when I pointed them out, was something like “ew...creepy.”). At first, the fliers struck me as a disarmingly sincere – an honest, touching gesture with no strings attached. In our guarded, jaded, best-foot-forward world, here was a guy who was willing to admit vulnerability and talk to total strangers about it. Further, the move didn’t seem completely self-serving: Jeff was interested in your loneliness, too. This was an interesting alternative to the psychiatric medicalization of the angst that we all feel at times – an anonymous mutual support line. I’m not all that lonely, honestly, but for a minute there I kind of wanted to talk to Jeff, too.
Then I had a second, less charitable thought. Perhaps, it occurred to me, this is some kind of publicity stunt. And even if it isn’t, even if this is the totally sincere gesture of a lonely and well-meaning soul in an indifferent world, how long will it be before some New York Times reporter calls this guy up, and he ends up with a book deal?
Today, this publicity notice landed in my inbox:
By Jeff Ragsdale, David Shields, Michael Logan
Publication Date: March 20, 2012
Jeff, a lonely, down-and-out actor posted flyers around Manhattan asking people to call him if they wanted to talk. He thought he’d get maybe a dozen calls and he now has received about 65,000 calls from all over the world. The texts and voicemails recorded in this book reveal a sometimes hilarious, but also dark and intimate portrait of the way we live now and the suffering of loneliness.
Which raises a whole new set of questions for me:
Follow Jason Gots (@jgots) on Twitter
It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.
- Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
- These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
- The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.
- Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
- Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
- Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.
- Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
- Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
- Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.