Feb 13, 2009
Of all the 6 and a half billion people in the world, what are the odds that any two people are a real match? Stories from people who know they've beat the odds, and the lengths they've gone to do it. Including an American professor who sings Chinese opera for anyone who'll listen, to get one step closer to his mate, and Mike Birbiglia on meeting his girlfriend's... boyfriend.
Note: This episode originally contained an additional story that we have removed to accommodate a request of anonymity.
- NPR reporter David Kestenbaum tells host Ira Glass about the time, when he was doing graduate work in physics, he and his other single friends decided to figure out the mathematical probability that they'd find girlfriends. They wanted to know what the chances were that there was more than one person in the world for them. And This American Life Producer Alex Blumberg and his wife, Nazanin Rafsanjani, reveal the subject of their first fight: They were in love, walking in the park, when Nazanin asked him if it felt like fate—like she was the only one for him. (Yes Alex, there is a wrong answer to that question.) When you're in love, it always feels like it was meant to be, whether or not it really, statistically speaking, is. (9 minutes)
Mike Birbiglia, photographed by Joan Marcus