I am a HUGE fan of Public Radio International’s “This American Life,” hosted by Baltimore native Ira Glass, produced at WBEZ in Chicago and aired on your local NPR station. I have the show downloaded to my iPod, so I can listen at my leisure.
So I’m riding in on the train to work April 29, and the theme of Episode #429 is Tough Room. It’s all about “people speaking their minds in very tough rooms.” While all the stories were interesting, it was Act 4 — The Contrails of my Tears — that really hit home.
I’m going to reveal a travel secret — I always cry during anything that’s aired on an airline’s inflight entertainment system. No matter what the movie, TV show or commercial, I always manage to shed a few tears. And I thought I was the only one. Until I heard Act 4 of Tough Room.
You can upload the episode onto your iPod via the iTunes store, or you can play it directly from the website, here. Once you do that, scroll to the 45:06-minute mark, which is where the story begins. The piece is 11 minutes, and it changed my life. Commentator Brett Martin, a correspondent for GQ, talks about how IFE on planes makes him cry, no matter how ridiculous — or bad — the programing is. I can’t tell you kids how much better I feel! Can someone pass me some tissue?
And I would be remiss if I didn’t make two plugs. One, Ira Glass is coming to Baltimore for a fundraising event for my significant other’s non-profit, CivicWorks. The event will be held at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland’s Doyle Hall & LeClerc Auditorium. Tickets are $50 and are for a good cause.
If you can’t make the Baltimore event, please consider making a donation to This American Life. They do great long-form journalism and storytelling (something that is harder to find these days), and even though it’s free to listen, it does cost money to produce. Ira told me (well, on the radio), how $10 dollars would be a great help, so I did it through text messaging on my iPhone. But you can also donate here. Thank you!!