One of the podcasts I regularly listen to is Pockets Full of Soup. Hosted by Jared Petty, formerly of IGN, Pockets Full of Soup is a weekly interview/storytelling podcast wherein Jared talks to someone he knows and asks them to tell him about someone they are grateful for. It’s a small beacon of positivity amongst the swelling tide of malice that the Internet is known for, and if you’re feeling down on life, or if you’ve just spent too much time in the Youtube comments section, it offers a brief respite from the malaise of this world. Since I started listening to Pockets Full of Soup the thought has been crossing my mind of doing a writing piece wherein I pretend that I’m one of Jared’s guests on the podcast and answer his common questions. Originally I was going to have this ready to publish on Thanksgiving, which would have been appropriate for that day, but a number of things going on in my life at the time got in the way, and I had writing pieces related to my current employment that at the time demanded to be published. Consequently this writing piece got delayed until today.
For those not familiar with Pockets Full of Soup, the basic format of the podcast is that it opens with Jared and the guest giving introductions and some opening banter, and then it moves on to the main part of the show where Jared asks the guest to tell him about someone they are grateful for. After that the show moves into the Instant Noodles section, where Jared asks the guest a series of lighting-round questions, and at the end the show closes with some final back-and-forth between Jared and the guest, as well as reading some listener mail. Given that this is a writing piece, and not an actual interview with Jared, a lot of the things that would normally come up on the podcast are going to be missing here, such as the extra questions and tangents that naturally come along when talking to another person. I’m also intentionally keeping my story on the shorter side for the sake of brevity. There will be no introduction or conclusion segments—I will just be telling about someone I’m grateful for and then answering the Instant Noodles questions. Here we go.
Jared: Tell me about someone you’re grateful for.
Me: There are many people for whom I’m grateful for, but the one I’d like to highlight today is a friend of mine that I’ve known since around Second Grade in elementary school. His name is Charlie Chambers. To say that I was an unpopular kid growing up would be a massive understatement. I was an awkward child (some things never change) lacking in social skills and anything that would gain me widespread social acceptance. From around First Grade to Eighth Grade I endured a steady stream of mockery from the other children that gradually escalated with each passing year. Those were socially dark times, but there was an extremely small group of people who I could call friends, and chief among them was Charlie Chambers. Unlike me, Charlie was popular with the other kids. I didn’t seek out Charlie; he came to me. To this day I still don’t know why he chose to become friends with me, but I’m eternally grateful that he did. When you’re a young kid with a frail sense of self-worth and in your head it seems like the majority of your peers are treating you like the village idiot, it means the whole world when another person comes alongside you and helps you stand in the middle of the storm. Charlie and I became very close, and I was at his house so often that I became like another member of his family. We played with Ninja Turtles, LEGOs, Transformers, and whatever other toys we were into back then. As time passed, I became undyingly loyal to Charlie, and he never once cheated, used, or betrayed me. He was my best friend, and while I’ve had other close friendships during my short time on this earth, I don’t think I’ve ever had another friendship quite like the one I had with him. After high school our lives took each of us on different paths, with Charlie staying in California for college while I went to Colorado, and later on he joined the Air Force, which separated us even further geographically. Social media has allowed us to keep in touch a little bit, but he’s not an active presence online so we only interact from time to time. On the rare occasion we meet in person, however, I greet him with the biggest, warmest hug. I don’t think I’ve ever properly thanked him for being my friend, and knowing him he would tell me that no thanks are needed. But the fact remains that he helped me through a dark time in my life, and things could have turned out very differently had he not been my friend.
Now let’s move on to Instant Noodles, which is often the final third of the podcast. The questions I’m answering are the ones Jared commonly uses as of the time of the publishing of this writing piece. This section of the show is meant to be the lightning round, so my answers will short, but if I was actually on Pockets Full of Soup, Jared would be giving me follow-up questions based on my responses.
Jared: What is the best sandwich?
Me: Like my burgers, I just want something with cheese and meat. Italian sandwiches with several kinds of meat, cheese, salt and pepper, and mayo are normally winners in my book.
Jared: What’s the first word that comes to your head when you hear the sound of your own voice?
Jared: What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Me: Not totally sure on this, but Denali extreme fudge moose tracks might be it.
Jared: What’s your favorite word?
Jared: If you could travel through time and meet any one person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Me: This question assumes that both myself and the person that I’m visiting can understand one another, and that no time paradoxes are created by our meeting, but let’s leave those issues behind us. In light of next year’s 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation, it might be interesting to go back in time and meet Martin Luther just before he goes to post his 95 theses. Assuming I can somehow erase his memory and make sure there are no changes to the timeline, I’d give him an overview of what will happen in the years, decades, and centuries after this act, and see how he reacts.
Jared: If you could pick a voice to narrate your life, who would it be?
Me: Samuel L Jackson.
Jared: Who was your first kiss?
Me: I don’t kiss and tell.
Jared: What’s the greatest song written in the last 100 years?
Me: I honestly couldn’t tell you. Although I like good music as much as anyone else, music isn’t that big of a priority in my life, and I know very little of musical history.
Jared: If you could pick a soundtrack to play whenever you walk into a room, what soundtrack would it be?
Me: Now this I can answer. The soundtrack from Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is one of my favorites from the past few years, so I’ll go with that.
Jared: What’s the most terrifying creature in the natural world?
Me: There are arguments to be made for spiders, sharks, scorpions, and many other creatures. While not the most terrifying, jellyfish have a high spot on my own list, all because of a TV program I saw as a small child that showed what it a jellyfish sting looks like at the micro level, with thousands of tiny barbs piercing whatever the jellyfish touches and injecting venom.
Jared: Cake or pie?
Jared: What’s one question you want to ask me?
Me: Jared, you’re known for your great knowledge of, and love for obscure Japanese video games from the old NES and SNES days. If you could get one of those games remastered for the modern era, which would it be and why?
At this point the podcast would be winding down and Jared and I would say a few more things before closing the show out. The whole program would have lasted about an hour, and Jared would have gotten a lot more details and tangential topics out of it than what you just read. If the podcast sounds interesting, I’d highly encourage you to check it out on Youtube, iTunes, or wherever else it is available.