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February 1, 2002

Plan B

There's the thing you plan to do, and then there's the thing you end up doing. Most of us start off our lives with some Plan A which we abandon...switching to a Plan B, which becomes our life.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass summarizes the results of an informal poll of about a hundred people, about whether they were living their Plan A or Plan B...and recounts a moment from a short story by author Ron Carlson, called "Plan B for the Middle Class," from his book by the same name. (2 minutes)

It's Another Tequila Sunrise

John Hodgman first encountered Cuervo Man on a press junket to Cuervo Nation, a small island owned by Jose Cuervo Tequila. Cuervo Man was wearing nothing but a Speedo, wraparound shades, and a red cape. Occasionally he'd stick a toilet plunger on his bald head. John was fascinated and eventually got to know Cuervo Man, whose real name is Ryan McDonough. Though the Cuervo act was Ryan's Plan B, it had a special power that John couldn't help but envy. John Hodgman's most recent book is called That Is All. (19 minutes)

Why Talk?

Starlee Kine was becoming friends with a woman named Robin, when they started to encounter a common obstacle people run into when they become friends as adults. So Robin invented a Plan B to solve the problem. (6 minutes)

Kidnapping As Plan B

Ira talks with Barry Keenan, who was living a lot of people's Plan A in the early 1960s. He was rich and successful. But when he lost all his money and got hooked on painkillers, he switched to a Plan B to make money. He decided to kidnap the 19-year-old Frank Sinatra, Jr. (11 minutes)

The Accursed Items

J. Robert Lennon reads an excerpt from his short story "The Accursed Items," in which he demonstrates that even objects can fulfill a fate different from the one for which they were intended. Even inanimate objects can have a Plan B. Lennon's most recent novel is called Familiar. "The Accursed Items" will be published in a forthcoming collection of short stories. (6 minutes)
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