Anyone that knows me long ago learned to not ask me why I’m doing a new thing. It’s because I fucking want to, and if you asked about it, I’ll educate you ALLLLL about new thing I’m into. Nowadays my friends just make note of it and move on unless they want in on whatever it is.


As someone who’s been learning the flute since October, I resemble this remark.

ALSO, for those who think transactionally and can’t understand why, I tout the brain benefits of learning musical instruments, especially as The Brain ages


I've been trying to learn the piano for over 50 years. And I get why someone would ask "Why." Because you cannot ever really master it.

I have had some transactional benefit, I've played for weddings at $25 an hour and such, but it's not the reason I pursue it. It challenges my brain and fingers in ways that can be very frustration but sometimes has very sublime results.

Buffaloaf, (edited )

I think most musicians eventually accept that there’s always something to work on, there’s always someone you think is better than you, and the only way to get rich is by playing the keytar.


Hmmm the keytar, eh? I'd like to try that sometime. I remember someone saying, you never really get to make the art you set out to make; there's always a struggle between your idea and the medium you're working in. With painters, for example, you have an idea but the canvas and paint have their own behaviors and what you end up is never exactly what you had in mind.

Your post just reminded me of that. With us musicians, it's the fight between what we want to make with music, and the instrument itself; a piano is a beast with teeth you have to approach from the side, before it decides it's going to eat you alive.

samus12345, avatar

He laughs until that guy learns how to summon teleporting tornadoes.


Everybody when I started learning Norwegian. I dunno, I just felt like learning Norwegian.


A lot of people I know did the same when I bought a guitar and am learning it. “Haha, why are you doing that? Midlife crisis? You have kids!” Maybe because I always wanted to learn guitar and can already play four instruments?

I did notice the same people who mocked me for pursuing interests all like to watch sports for hours on end.


I only realised it later that many people have a transactional view of life. They think everything single activity must have a purpose. And while they not actively seek it, at the back of their minds they expect some sort reward. Like, the dude who scoffed the guy learning to play flute probably only wants to learn new skills if it impresses others, like a girl or something.

RoquetteQueen, avatar

That whole “Why do I have to learn this? I’m never going to use it!” attitude from school. Learning a new skill is the reward. I love learning new skills. It’s my hobby. I’m never going to be an expert in anything, but I get to learn a whole bunch of interesting things.


I have been asked why the things I do are always so hard (implying that probably I just suck). It’s true, I do suck at most things I do, because I seldom do the same thing for a very long time.

Still, that only works so long as learning the skill can be made fun and rewarding. I think school failed at this in many cases.

abysmalpoptart, (edited )

While everything you said is valid, sometimes that question is pure curiosity. “Because i want to” is completely valid, though I’d love to know what the inspiration for that desire was. Did you hear a really cool battle song? Some orchestral piece that sounded great? A friend recommended it? Couldn’t find an ocarina? Jamming to some folk metal?

I swear I’m inquisitive!


Though one should probably not phrase it “Haha! Why?!” if it was out of curiosity.


That’s fair, though I might possibly (albeit unlikely) respond that way, but the reaction would be more in surprise as opposed to disdain.

Perhaps I already played the flute and the individual jokingly gave me a hard time over it, now they’re playing the flute? Why!? You’re one of us now!


I got a lot of “but why?” from other adults for my hobbies. Recently bought a cheap guitar and amp because I want to learn it. Every casual friend adult did a “but why? You won’t be in a band or anything.” Pursuing something because it interests you is outside of the norm for a lot of people.

I also noticed people have wildly defeatist attitudes about hobbies. No, I won’t be as good as Kirk Hammet (Metallica) in a year. For a lot of people that means they should not even try.

I would rather be boring and be able to play the bard music from Skyrim.


Oh for sure. I’m not suggesting that those situations don’t occur, they absolutely do. I’m adding that there’s the alternative possibility that I’m legitimately curious as to the reasoning. I could also see some validity in the you don’t want to be in a band comment, because that person or those people might wonder why the choice was made.

Not understanding something and asking questions isn’t always the same as a personal attack. I think we all need to be a little better about giving the benefit of the doubt sometimes.

For the record, i don’t think that’s boring at all, that sounds pretty neat. Jam away!!

WeirdGoesPro, avatar

Everything doesn’t have to be transactional, but there are a lot of activities that will eat away at your time and your life to your detriment. I like getting stoned and goofing off as much as the next guy, but sometimes it is a good idea to intentionally choose activities that add value to yourself or your life rather than ones that don’t.

I have a friend who spends nearly all of his time playing video games and smoking weed. There is no value judgment there, but I know it has caused him to miss a lot of opportunities for romance, career advancement, new experiences, and a lot more. It makes him miserable, but he refuses to acknowledge it is a problem, and acts like I’m a jerk if I try to bring it up.

So I guess my opinion is that everyone is entitled to do as they will, but it also behooves you to keep trying new things, especially when you are objectively not happy with your current situation.


That’s a fair point. But I suppose even with leisurely activities, it could help you improve your other activities, mental faculties and functioning, depending on how you do it or what that activity is. Playing sports is maybe fun but it also improves your ability to work in a team, which is important in a workplace. Depending on the videogame you’re playing, it can also be educational and improve temperament. I learned lots of history and geography playing Hearts of Iron. Also funny enough, at the time, I thought I might be wasting time trying to get past a difficult section in Call of Duty: World at War over and over for at least one hour. But for some reason I thought to myself I won’t be a quitter. Playing that game ironically developed my perserverance.

I think it depends what that “time wasting” activity is if you could reflect on how that would make a positive impact on you. Albert Einstein plays violin when he needs time to think of solutions to a problem. And if you know how he came to the idea of theory of general relativity, it does sound more creative than scientific. He did say imagination is more important than knowledge.

WeirdGoesPro, avatar

I agree, the activity isn’t bad unless it is a factor in your unhappiness.

In my friend’s case, I have watched him use gaming as a distraction from his responsibilities and an outlet for his anxieties. He has actually become a worse gamer because his mental health issues lead him to become obsessed with resource hoarding and endless grinding with no goal in mind. He will die endlessly on the same boss because he won’t use a potion or vary his attack, and this has gotten worse over time.

So rather than learning, he is simply distracting himself and repeating patterns that don’t help him in life or the game. Unfortunately, he is so defensive about it that it can’t be discussed without an argument, so I have stopped bothering him about it to preserve our friendship.

It can still be hard to watch though.


One of my friends is the same. He used to be more outgoing and would invite me to go out often. We used to go on long walks and gym together. In second year of college, he suffered from depression, but it was looking back in hindsight that I deduced he had it without telling us. He was moody and take out his frustrations to people.

He had improved over time but he never finished college. He lives with his girlfriend and working but spends too much time playing videogames, eating junk foods and gained weight. My friend, like yours, just like to hoard stuff and takes videogames too seriously than one should. My friend doesn’t like going on walks like he used to. He doesn’t like going out much to public spaces as “there are too many people”. He uses the Internet space now to socialise than in real life, not that there is anything wrong with socialising in Internet Overall, I fear that my friend is living an unhealthy lifestyle. I think both of our friends have to change their frame of mind.

GlitchyDigiBun, avatar

As someone with ADHD, life is exactly this: negotiating with your brain to do the unrewarding thing by including a reward (i.e. buying a $40 pair of fluffy socks to make laundry end in a pleasant feeling). My “did a good job” dopamine response is hella muted and it makes anything that isn’t an immediate need or spur-of-the-moment whim get prioritized very poorly. Having a “transactional view” may be less about personality and more about mental makeup.


I never thought about it that way before!


Maybe, making fun of people playing the flute, IS what he wants to do…

Just saying

Zomg, (edited )

Maybe not considering that possibility IS what he want to do.

Lol good point though.


Thought it was a knife for a bit


HackerNews is full of these kind of people

Contributor: Hey guys, I wrote this proof of concept in a fortnight that does something fun!

HackerNews: Why the fuck would you do that, you nincompoop?

Contributor: I… thought it would be fun after shitty days at work

HackerNews: You could be spending your time making money or contributing to $subjectivelyMoreImportantProject. Be ashamed

People who can’t accept that some people just want to have fun and do what they like.


This was nothing like your interaction though. Asking why doesn’t mean they don’t acknowledge the other person doing it for fun, it’s just that they are curious if there’s a reason.

-Haha, why?

+Found it cool and felt like it.

-That’s cool, I used to play X when I was younger but…

It can also just be a conversation starter, nothing wrong with asking why.


You don’t think there’s a difference between “Why the fuck would you do that, you nincompoop?” and “Haha, why”?


I do, which is why I said that your example is not like the one of the comic.


I think the face in the comic convey quite well that “haha why” was not a “wow, I’m interested” but “the fuck you doing, bro?”. Especially since it’s literally prefixed with “what the hell are you doing?”.

Just because I type LOL doesn’t mean I’m LOL

ApathyTree, avatar

Fun thing about that video: laughter is a social signal.

Most people when they watch or read funny things alone will not laugh nearly as much (if at all) as when they see the same thing in a social setting, even if they are just as amused by it.

Because laughter is a signal that we get the joke (In a social setting where the laughter reaction is appropriate).

That’s why there are more nuanced labels, like “this caused a sharp exhalation through my nose” or “I chuckled in public and people are looking at me”. And we mostly all recognize the significance of that, because it’s rare we bust a gut solo in inappropriate settings, too.

But you can’t say “that’s really amusing” or similar, even when it is, because that’s hurtful to people as it’s phrasing often used derisively. So we pretend to have extreme reactions for hyperbolic reasons, I guess, and this is what happens.

Humans are really fascinating context dependent entities.


Some people read “why?” as incredulity rather than curiosity.


Judging by the name alone, you’d think that HackerNews of all places would understand doing things for shits and giggles.


Hacker News is the least ‘hacker’ any webpage has ever been…

Viking_Hippie, (edited )

Ah, sorta like how Newsmax has a minimum of actual news?


Well, I’d actually even go so far as that it’s actively non-hacker. The original meaning of ‘hacker’ is someone who’s good at problem solving, but often especially used in the context of free/open-source software, so always with an air of anti-capitalism.

Well, Hacker News is hosted by a Venture Capital firm. They also inject their own “news” onto the Hot page.

Well, and that’s also then reflected in the kind of users that hang out there. As it turns out, they should have called it “Techbro News”…


“I get all my crypto pump and dump news from TechBro News MINUTES after my virtual wallet becomes worthless again!”


I’ve been tempted recently to pick up a pocket trumpet to pick up my skull from high school. I’m always just worried about annoying the neighbors lol.


Just use a mute!


I saw nuke at first lmao


A nuke would also prevent their neighbors from being annoyed

Zachariah, avatar

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him.

Holyhandgrenade, avatar

Do it! Just get a mute and play. Playing an instrument is a lifelong joy.


Yes. It would be good to play regularly without, though. And at serious volumes, too. But playing an instrument is great in any case. And trumpets mute really well. A flute like in the comic, for example, doesn’t unless you box the whole thing somehow.

I really like the Yamaha silent brass system, too. It’s stupidly expensive, but works nicely and the headphones are a neat option.

Holyhandgrenade, avatar

There are some digital breath controllers out there that can be used to play any virtual instrument. If I played any brass or woodwind I’d definitely check it out.

RoquetteQueen, avatar

I recently picked my guitar back up for the first time in like 15 years. I still remember what I learned! Not that I was ever good, but you don’t need to be good to have fun.

Holyhandgrenade, avatar

Hell yeah! Just knowing a handful of chords is enough to impress people at a party 😁 I’m slightly more ambitious than that, but any reason to play an instrument is a good one.


pick up a pocket trumpet

Are you absolutely certain this isn’t a weird euphemism for masturbation? Because it sure seems like one!

pick up my skull from high school

Were you in a very faithful production of Hamlet or did you just collect bones? 🤔


Haha! Why?!


I’m just trying to carry the conversation forward.


You are succeeding

ininewcrow, avatar

lol … you’re also not aware of the fact that I really don’t care what you think.

How you think of me is none of my business.

unreachable, avatar
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