February 6, 1998

Leave the Mask On

Stories about those moments when someone tries to tell you a little bit more about themselves than you'd really rather know.


Margy's a reporter. When she told her dad that she wanted to write a story about him, he said sure. Then he called back to say that he was "so glad that she wanted to see him without all his masks." She was stunned. She told him she didn't want to see him without all his masks. "Leave the mask on," she said. Her family already talks about all their feelings, what could he possibly come up with? There are certain things you just don't want to know about the people you love. (3 minutes)
Act One

Father's Day

Margy Rochlin sees a new side of her father when, in his seventies, he becomes a monologist like Spalding Gray. Her dad, Fred Rochlin, is a huge hit. He tells stories about his experiences in World War II and enters worlds his grown children never imagined him in. But sometimes Margy finds herself hearing things she'd just as soon not know about him.

Fred went on to compile his stories in the book Old Man in a Baseball Cap: A Memoir of World War II. (31 minutes)

Act Two

Mama, Can You Hear Me?

In which Dan Savage, who makes his living writing a nationally syndicated sex advice column, admits that there's one group of people he does not want to discuss sex with. Ever. Sadly, it's a group of people who have his home phone number: his family. With them, he'd prefer to leave the mask on. (11 minutes)
Act Three

The Unmasking

A story of guys who wear real masks, like superheroes, in their jobs as costumed wrestlers in a kind of Mexican wrestling called Lucha Libre. Writer RJ Smith has them talk about how much smaller they feel, how humiliated, when they have to take the masks off. (10 minutes)