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.


Ira 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)

Act One

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 was Ryan. Though the Cuervo act was Ryan’s Plan B, it had a special power that John couldn't help but envy. Hodgman’s latest book due out in October is called “Medallion Status.” (19 minutes)

Act Two

Why Talk?

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

Act Three

Kidnapping As Plan B

Ira talks with Barry Keenan, who was living a lot of people’s plan A in the early 60’s. He was rich, he was 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)

Act Four

A Fate Most Of Us Fear

Jonathan Goldstein took a telemarketing job as a kind of temporary Plan B ... never suspecting that it would be a ten year chapter in his life. Jonathan hosts the podcast “Heavyweight” whose new season starts September 26th. (10 minutes)

Act Five

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 “Broken River.” (6 minutes)