Students in a French language class in Paris try to explain holiday customs to a woman from Morocco, and somehow everything they describe sounds utterly improbable. A true story from writer David Sedaris, recorded before a live audience at a reading for City Arts and Lectures in San Francisco.
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David Sedaris tells a story from his boyhood, when a voice inside his head commanded him to lick every light switch and tap his forehead with his heel. It's from his book Naked.
When David Ellis Dickerson was 12, he got a new bike, and his father decided to use the occasion to teach David a lesson. But the lesson David learned wasn't the one his father intended.
Writer David Rakoff explains how his life was changed—in a single evening—in a room of 5000 chickens.
Some people battle inner demons, but contributor David Ellis Dickerson went one step further. David tells the story of the time he took on an actual demon in his college classroom.
Because of a shortage of math and science teachers, New York City decided to import instructors from Austria. Then the Austrians started to see things about this country that few Americans ever get to see.
When David Wilcox was eighteen, he set about looking for an apartment in Houston. He had no credit and very little money, but he was determined to move away from home.
Robin Epstein talks about her old job, as producer and chief question writer on a game show for teen-age girls called Plugged In. It was one of the first shows to air on the Oxygen network, the TV channel for women created by Oprah Winfrey. Robin had hoped that the show could serve as a role model for young women, showing smart teen girls answering tough questions.
A first-grader explains to host Ira Glass how bullies become bullies. His explanation: They read a book on how to be a bully.
Durrell was a professional musician. He toured Asia, Brazil, Canada, gigs in Paris.
Host Ira Glass talks to Adam Stein about the very real cat-and-mouse game between his friends and the vice principal of his high school that preoccupied them throughout their high school careers.
A Christmas tree story by Chicago playwright/musician Beau O'Reilly.
Host Ira Glass follows the last month of rehearsals of Oak Park and River Forest High School's production of Neil Simon's Lost In Yonkers.
Harry Brakeman University.
Host Ira Glass talks with a bunch of special ed students. By and large, they thought of themselves as regular kids—until each experienced a shocking moment of revelation when they discovered that they were not the same as other kids, and that the other kids already knew that...and had known for a long time.
A high school boy explains how prom is the culmination of his effort to get in with a cool group of people.
A school that has prepared for every Covid scenario faces a problem they never saw coming. Stephanie Wang tells the story of one Indiana school's first day in person.
Reporter Douglas McGray interviews a college student in California with good grades, an excellent work ethic, but no possible way to get a legal job. She's lived in the U.S. since she was little, but her parents are undocumented; and she is, too.
Chana Joffe-Walt spent six months reporting on the rise in people on disability. She spends time in Hale County, Alabama, talking to the only general practitioner in town, the main person who okays so many of the county's residents for disability.
Host Ira Glass talks with Kayla Hernandez, a seventh-grader who likes to reminisce about when she was a child, back in fifth grade. She visits Room 211 in her school, where her fifth grade class met, and looks at her old books, thinks about what happened there.
Host Ira Glass talks with Bennett Miller and Matt Futterman about a campaign for student government that changed the way student elections were done in Mamaroneck High School back in 1985. Futterman, in the waning days of his campaign, tried a radical tactic: A TV ad.
This American Life producer Nancy Updike tells the story of Conrad Crane, the head of the U.S. Army Military History Institute.
A week after starting classes, a Covid outbreak forces a university to send students back home. Producer Robyn Semien takes a tour of the emptying campus.
Here in America, here's how we interact with our political candidates: We dispatch middlemen to the scene, they listen to what the candidates say, they research the candidates' backgrounds, and they tell us what they think is most important. Those middlemen, of course, are journalists.