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April 25, 2014

Death and Taxes

It is a peculiar feeling to know with certainty that something big is about to happen to you. This week we watch people go right up to the edge of inevitable change. We hear from preteens about the terrifying knowledge that puberty is about to happen...any minute now. And true to the death and taxes saying, we found it unavoidable to include a story about each one of those things.

Note: In the Internet version of Act One, we leave some curse words un-bleeped. You can find a bleeped version here.

Prologue

When you are a preteen you walk around every day with the knowledge that your body is about to change. You don’t know exactly when or how. All you know is that it will happen and you will come out the other side a different person. We hear from kids who are reluctantly facing puberty … any minute now. (4 1/2 minutes)

Death

This American Life producer Nancy Updike takes some personal questions about death and dying to a place where they're happening all the time. (36 minutes)

Taxes

Al Drucker used to work for the IRS doing tax enforcement. One thing he found really helpful in the job was when someone from the public would give a tip on who he should look into. So when Al retired from the IRS five years ago, he created taxsqueal.com, a website where you can anonymously rat out your neighbors, exes and friends to the IRS. (13 1/2 minutes)