Transcript

612:

Ask a Grown-Up
Transcript

Originally aired 03.17.2017

Note: This American Life is produced for the ear and designed to be heard, not read. We strongly encourage you to listen to the audio, which includes emotion and emphasis that's not on the page. Transcripts are generated using a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting in print.

Full audio: http://tal.fm/612

Prologue.

Ira Glass

Well, it's This American Life. I'm Ira Glass. And I'm joined in the studio right now by one of our producers, Sean Cole. Hey there, Sean.

Sean Cole

Hello, Ira.

Ira Glass

So Sean, where do we start?

Sean Cole

With Run the Jewels. Do you know Run the Jewels?

Ira Glass

Little bit.

Sean Cole

They're so good. It's a rap group. It's two guys, really-- Killer Mike and El-P. And this is from their latest record.

[MUSIC - "LEGEND HAS IT" BY RUN THE JEWELS]

Run The Jewels

Look like a man but I'm animal raw. We are the murderous pair that went to jail, and we murdered the murderers there.

Sean Cole

So one day, I was looking around for videos of them on YouTube. And there's a lot of videos of them being interviewed, and most of them are like this.

El-p

We make some [BLEEP] that's going to make you want to [BLEEP] tear the rafters out of the building.

Sean Cole

And then there's this one that's different. So just to say what we're looking at. They're sitting in a house together, quietly.

El-p

And we are Run the Jewels.

Killer Mike

We are.

Sean Cole

Looking directly into the web camera and answering the advice questions of teenage girls.

El-p

This question is from Blue and she's 13 and from Seattle. She says, "I think I might be in love with one of my close friends. How do I know if I'm in love with him or just naive?" It's a good question.

Killer Mike

I'll be honest, Blue. To be in love, period, makes you feel kind of naive. You never know. There's no manual that says, hey, I'm in love, and I'm going to tell you--

Sean Cole

It's 17 minutes long and I was spellbound. Within the first minute and a half, El-P realizes he's still wearing his sunglasses and takes them off all of the sudden out of politeness.

Killer Mike

But at about 12, 13 years old, you probably definitely have some of your first loves. I'm not going to say you aren't in love. I'm probably gonna say you probably are. But I'm probably going to warn you that, if you're in love, it's supposed to make you feel better and want to do better. It's not supposed to make you feel bad. So if any love starts to feel bad, definitely pull away from it.

Sean Cole

So this video was part of a series that was originally called "Ask a Grown Man," which is done by the online magazine Rookie, which is mainly aimed at teen and tween girls.

Ira Glass

I have to say I know this series well. Full disclosure, my wife worked for Rookie a few years ago.

Sean Cole

In the Run the Jewels video, all the questions are about love and relationships. This one girl, for example, she's 16 years old. Priscilla in Colorado Springs. She says she's never been in a relationship and never been kissed, in fact.

El-p

I'm worried that this means men aren't attracted to me and that I'll end up an old cat lady. That's pretty funny, Priscilla. You're already good because you're funny.

Sean Cole

And so then she gets to her question, which is, should I tell whoever I end up kissing for the first time that I've never done this before? And Run the Jewels says, yeah, that's probably the best idea. And then Killer Mike says--

Killer Mike

I would be honored to be your first kiss.

Sean Cole

And El-P just looks at him like, the hell?

El-p

If we were your age.

Killer Mike

Yeah, if we were your age. If you're lucky enough.

El-p

Should be specified. Yes.

Sean Cole

I mean, just seeing Run the Jewels do this-- or sometimes very famous TV people, Jimmy Fallon, or Paul Rudd. Ad-Rock does one from the Beastie Boys-- leaving their public persona and doing what is a very sincere thing, actually trying to be helpful to a kid that they don't know, in real time. There's almost never any edits to them.

Ira Glass

And then some of the questions are kind of hard and often, they come up with really good answers.

Sean Cole

And case in point. At the end of the Run the Jewels video, there's this one question which is just-- I think I would be nervous answering it.

Killer Mike

So we're on the last one now.

El-p

Oh, no. This is a real one. Yeah, OK. Go for it.

Killer Mike

I've had a huge crush on an amazing guy for quite a while, but it's problematic because he's in his mid-20s. Makes me feel really special, but I think he has this effect on everyone. Do you have advice for a question on older people? And this is from G, who's 14 and in London.

Sean Cole

And then Mike sort of pauses for a second and then pointedly looks at the camera.

Killer Mike

That's too big of an age gap. And that's not saying that you aren't capable of loving someone. That's not saying you won't love older people when you get older. But at 14 years old, your priorities and world perspective is not at the same place a person in their mid-20s is. You should always do things, for the next few years, that are age-appropriate. Between 14 and 18 years old--

Sean Cole

And even then, Mike has the wherewithal to affirm how this girl feels.

Killer Mike

I can't tell you your feelings for someone are wrong because feelings are just feelings. You can't control them. But if you or this person ever acted on those feelings, it'd put the person that you like behind bars. And it'd probably put you, emotionally, in a place that you don't deserve to be just because you haven't matured to the level that you're going to one day.

Ira Glass

One thing that's interesting to think about, who else could this 14-year-old turn to for advice on this subject? I mean, I guess her friends, right? Though they're not going to know much more about this than she does.

Sean Cole

And it's not something that you'd want to ask your parents, right? Like, hey, I'm in love with a 25-year-old. Is it OK if I date him? I mean, it's just like--

Ira Glass

Yeah. You know where's that's going to go.

Sean Cole

It would go to, you're grounded for the next 13 years.

Ira Glass

This is a situation that needs somebody who's wiser than you are and sympathetic to you. It needs a grown-up. I think that's actually the best way to say it. It needs a grown-up. Somebody mature and thoughtful and nice.

Well, from WBEZ Chicago, our program today is about situations like this one, where you need to step back from the chaos and drama of your troubles and feelings and call in somebody to get perspective-- situations where you call in an adult. We have all kinds of stories this hour, including an enemy of the people trying to make peace with some of the people. Stay with us.

Act One. Are You There, Ad-Rock? It's Me, Margaret

Ira Glass

Act One, Are You There Ad-Rock? It's Me, Margaret.

So here are some of those videos where I'm beeping a couple words in this story here in the internet version of the show. There's a beeped version on our website if you prefer that. It's really interesting seeing the variety of questions and answers on the "Ask A Grown Man" series, partly because the drama the kids are going through is just interesting in and of itself, and partly, like we said, because you see the famous people in such a different light. Here's Sean again.

Sean Cole

You see them in a different light literally in some cases. They're usually on hazy laptop cameras. The sound is terrible. One morning, someone came into my office here at the show and thought I was Skyping with Seth Rogen.

Seth Rogen

Hi! Oop, there's someone behind me. There's people everywhere. There's a head right here--

Sean Cole

And this isn't the point of the series, but often you find yourself even more endeared to the guys in the videos. And one thing that comes up over and over is they're not sure they're worthy of the designation "grown man." Run the Jewels said as much.

El-p

Being grown is debatable.

Sean Cole

And Stephen Colbert.

Stephen Colbert

I'm honored to be considered a grown man.

Sean Cole

These two guys from Vampire Weekend.

Chris Baio

Ezra, do you feel like a grown man?

Ezra Koenig

Not today. Not particularly.

Sean Cole

And occasionally they don't say they're not grown up as much as just provide evidence to the fact.

Hannibal Buress

Hi, I'm Hannibal Buress. This is "Ask a Grown Man." I just figured out how to use the Effects button, so I'm going to have this whole video in the Mirror effect and I don't care what you think about it. I got a s-- oh, no. Oh, man. I got two heads. Rahh!

Tavi Gevinson

I mean, look, we're dealing with comedians and musicians. They're not maybe the greatest grown men.

Sean Cole

Tavi Gevinson is the creator and editor-in-chief of Rookie Mag. "Ask a Grown Man" was her idea, which is ironic because Tavi was pretty much a grown-up even when she was a kid. Rookie Mag grew out of her fashion blog, Style Rookie, which she founded when she was 11. And it got a huge amount of attention. Pretty soon she was being flown around the world to fashion shows, written about in the press.

And then, after founding Rookie Mag at 15, she remembered this advice column she had read in her back issues of Sassy magazine called "Dear Boy." And she thought, why don't we do something like that? Though it isn't really a series she'd naturally gravitate toward herself.

Tavi Gevinson

At least, when I was younger, I didn't really want advice from adults because I was so stubborn and defensive and was like, you could never possibly understand what I'm going through. But sometimes adults have really valuable advice. And if it's kind of presented to you by someone who you think is cool, you're like, OK, I'll take the good advice. There's something really special, too, about like-- I think in one of the Sassy columns, I think a girl wrote in about a guy who was mean to her and Thurston Moore was like, tell him I'm going to kick his ass.

Sean Cole

Thurston more from Sonic Youth.

Tavi Gevinson

And it's like, if someone who you think is really cool says like, I'm on your team, that stays with you.

Sean Cole

Rookie's posted more than 50 of these videos now, and not all of them with men. There's also "Ask a Grown Woman," which many times is aimed at queer readers. So there are videos from entertainers like Tig Notaro, Cameron Esposito, Tegan and Sara, and some straight women, too. These days, they just refer to the series as "Ask a Grown."

But the thing about the grown men videos is that you've got these much older celebrities who suddenly, magically become proxies for teen boys-- the sullen, awkward often confusing boys that Rookie readers are dealing with at school every day. Every grown-up answers four or five questions, give or take, sent in ahead of time. And a good number of them boil down to some version of, so he said this and I said this, and he said this and did this, and I said this and he did this. Does he like me?

Here's a question that was posed to Tunde Adebimpe from the band TV On the Radio.

Tunde Adebimpe

My best friend made me a mixtape and about 99% of the songs on it are love songs. Is he trying to hint that he has feelings for me? Well, if he actually made you a cassette tape and played songs and recorded them onto an actual, physical cassette tape, then he's absolutely and completely in love with you because, who does that?

Sean Cole

So that's an easy answer. But some of "the does he like me?" questions are harder-- occasionally in a zen koan-ish kind of way.

Bj Novak

Does the amount of kisses on the end of a text show how much a guy likes you?

Sean Cole

This is BJ Novak from The Office and a bunch of other stuff.

Bj Novak

I've been texting a boy I like for about three months and he sends five to seven kisses even though I always send four. OK. If you've been texting for about three months and you still have no idea how either of you feels about the other, that is a sign that texting is not telling you very much information. If three months go by, six months go by, a year goes by and you're still wondering what the other person thinks, it does show you that maybe you can inch towards more direct communication, even if it's over text.

So your actual question, five to seven kisses; you always send four. Who knows? Sometimes people overcompensate. So if he doesn't like you that way, maybe he's trying to be very affectionate to balance things out. Always think of the opposite reason that a thing can be happening, because often that's how humans work.

Sean Cole

I feel like this is when the series works best-- when it acts as a kind of handbook for human behavior handed from an adult to a kid. The idea that sometimes people behave in the opposite way from what they're feeling-- when you're a grown-up, that seems like something you always knew. But of course there was a time when you didn't, when just being alive every day felt like being in a country where you didn't speak the language, especially regarding the opposite sex.

Tavi Gevinson

I feel crazy saying this--

Sean Cole

Again, Tavi Gevinson.

Tavi Gevinson

--because I'm like, oh my god, why does it sound like I grew up in a box where I wasn't allowed to ever have contact with another boy or something? But I really do think, if I think really hard back to middle school and high school, even--

Sean Cole

High school which, for Tavi, was about three years ago.

Tavi Gevinson

--it did feel like I needed a translator for what those guys were thinking. Like, a girl's like, why is this guy teasing me? And an adult man will be like, because he likes you. And a guy her own age will be like, because you're stupid. Because it makes sense.

Sean Cole

Apart from that "does he like me?" line of questioning, you can organize most of the other love-related questions into just a handful of subcategories. There are a bunch of questions about kissing. Do you think it's possible to kiss someone and remain just friends? How do you go about kissing someone for the first time, anyway? Still a good question. And there's the subcategory of, how do I meet people that I find attractive? And sub-subcategory, once I do, what's my move?

Jimmy Fallon

How do you flirt with a really shy boy?

Sean Cole

This is Jimmy Fallon.

Jimmy Fallon

Perfect person to ask. I've flirted with so many shy boys growing up. Don't be too aggressive. Maybe he's shy because he thinks that you're going to hurt him in the end or you're going to embarrass him in front of his friends or something.

Sean Cole

Then there's the troubling subcategory of, I feel like I'm too short/tall/fat/unattractive in some way. How will I get boys to like me? And of course, all the grown men are reassuring and say attractiveness is subjective.

Seth Rogen

Wildly subjective.

Sean Cole

You're beautiful the way you are.

Killer Mike

I think everybody's beautiful.

Sean Cole

All the things you'd expect them to say. But then there's this one moment in the video with Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich of Radiohead that is really the platonic version of the answer you would want.

Tavi Gevinson

A girl asks about a scar she has in the middle of her chest. She had surgery. And she says, I'm afraid that no one will find me attractive and they'll think it's ugly. And Thom Yorke points out one of his eyes.

Thom Yorke

This doesn't work properly. When I was born, I had several operations because I was born with this one completely shut. And now it sort of opens, but when I do this, I can't-- so. It's wonky. It doesn't work the same way. When I was your age, I was convinced that girls would think that was really not very nice at all.

Nigel Godrich

That's all right.

Thom Yorke

That's fine. And I worked in this pub and this old woman, she was so funny. She used to come in all the time. She was the first person who really said to me, it's the nicest thing about you. So you'd be surprised.

Nigel Godrich

She was a sage. She spoke the truth.

Thom Yorke

She did, actually.

Nigel Godrich

A bit.

Thom Yorke

So everyone is imperfect. No one has a symmetrical face. No one's body is perfect. Don't worry.

Sean Cole

Not all of the grown men do this good a job. Tavi told me every now and they've had to edit out someone saying, eh, none of this will matter in a couple of years. You're just a kid. What do you know? And then occasionally the guys just don't know what to say, or they say something kind of questionable.

Ruby from England wrote in to ask why porn is so degrading to women and Seth Rogen said, well, a lot of it is degrading to women.

Seth Rogen

But I think there's a lot of pornography that I would say is on the more romantic side of things on the grand scale of pornography. If what you're looking for is that, I would suggest browsing the female-friendly categories of the free porn websites on the internet. Female-friendly.

Tavi Gevinson

Yeah, I would say that's not a good answer.

Sean Cole

Probably the most confident question answerers are the dads, like Killer Mike from Run the Jewels. Also Judd Apatow, Terry Crews, Stephen Colbert. This question clearly pushed a couple of buttons for Colbert.

Stephen Colbert

My dad won't let me sleep at my boyfriend's house and there is no real reason for that. I assume it's because he's very close-minded about sex, but when I try to discuss it with him he gets very angry and refuses to talk about it. I've been with my boyfriend for a year and my whole family approves of him. What do you think is the best way to talk to a dad like this to convince him to let me sleep at my boyfriend's house? Eve, age 19.

Eve, I'm going to disappoint you here. He might have his own reasons, so give your father that much credit. I don't know your dad. I don't know what his reasons are. One reason could be that, while he may not actually be close-minded about sex-- after all, you exist, so he's fairly open-minded about it-- but he may think that sex and a relationship aren't the same thing. And he might be someone who's traditional and wants you to be married or even be older before he is comfortable with you having a physical relationship with a boy or a girl.

When you try to discuss it with him, he gets very angry and refuses to talk about it. Well, I mean, maybe he's embarrassed to talk about sex with his daughter because it's a very intimate thing. And that's not unusual. Your dad's not off the reservation here. And I realize I just made a reference to reservations, which is probably insensitive to Native Americans. OK.

Tavi Gevinson

Yeah, I do think the best ones are when they are dads, so their angle is more paternal.

Sean Cole

Well, it's like, these girls are like almost proxies. The same way that the men are like proxies for the boys that they're having to deal with, these girls are like proxies for their daughters practically.

Tavi Gevinson

Ugh. Yeah. No, you're right. It made it all sound really creepy, but you're right.

Sean Cole

And then there's what might be the most moving moment in the "Ask a Grown" videos, which isn't from one of the guys, nor is it about boy trouble. And it also makes you realize that the distance between what the teens are going through and what the grown-ups are going through isn't always so vast.

Tavi Gevinson

This girl wrote in and said, my mom recently passed away and I feel like I cannot imagine someone ever loving me as much as she did, and now I've lost that.

Tig Notaro

I keep wondering, when someone dies, where does that love go? I just feel completely alone and unloved, which is horrible because I used to be reminded every day that someone loves me.

Tavi Gevinson

And Tig Notaro has-- a lot of her work has been about coping with her mom's death and so we sent her that question as some of the ones she could choose from.

Tig Notaro

Everything seems pointless because the only person who had real love for me is gone and I didn't make the most of it when I could. Is there any way to come to terms with that? Signed, The Letter C.

The Letter C, first of all, I am very sorry about your mother. As far as your mother being the only person that truly loved you, I'm certain other people in your life love you tremendously and that's where the love can go. And a really great gift to give your mother is to truly spend time with good people around you and cherish the time you have with them and appreciate who they are and what they are in your life. That's a really great gift to you, your mother, and other people.

So being present and aware of your time with people-- that's really where the love can go. That's what I'm doing, and it's helpful. I hope this has been helpful.

Sean Cole

Thankfully, the girl who asked that question actually found Tig's video and watched it and she commented on the website. If you go to the page, you can read it. She said, in part, "I sent that question to Rookie about my mother a few months ago. I eagerly, and perhaps naively, clicked upon every "Ask" article that appeared expecting an answer or just an indication that I had been heard. After a bit, my enthusiasm began to wane as my question wasn't featured. I completely forgot about it, in fact, until this video. I am now shaking and crying. The mere fact that someone has replied is amazing, but the enormous deal that Tig Notaro has answered is fucking mind-blowing.

I have been through so much shit and been stuck in this tiny bubble of despair and self-hatred, feeling so small and weak, and the fact that someone cares is crazy and has kind of taken me out of that. So I would just like to say a major thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have no idea how much you have helped me.

Ira Glass

Sean Cole is one of the producers of our program. Rookie is starting a podcast next month. If you have a teenage girl in your life, or you are a teenage girl, I have to say Rookie is amazing. rookiemag.com. The other "Ask a Grown" videos are there.

I made one, by the way, years ago. It was explained to me that I wasn't so well-known to the teenage readers and could I make animal balloons to keep the interest level up. So that's there.

Act Two. The Enemy of The People vs. The People.

Ira Glass

Act Two, Enemy of the People vs. The People.

It's a sign of adulthood that you're actually a functioning normal adult to find yourself asking questions like, what am I doing wrong? Why are you so upset with me? Small children do not ask these questions. These questions are for adults. They're hard, and often you're not going to like the answers. In this next story, a grown-up turns to other grown-ups with just these questions. Here's David Kestenbaum.

David Kestenbaum

Mike Wilson is the editor of the Dallas Morning News, the newspaper, and about six months ago, he started to make a pretty serious effort to try to talk to the people who hate his guts. They were easy to find. Right outside his window holding signs.

Mike Wilson

They said things like, boycott Dallas Morning News, sort of chanting, and obviously upset with us.

David Kestenbaum

Had that ever happened before?

Mike Wilson

Oh, no. No.

David Kestenbaum

The protesters were angry at the paper because the editorial board had just endorsed Hillary Clinton, which was the first time the paper had endorsed a Democrat for president in, oh, quite a while.

Mike Wilson

Yes. It was at least since the Roosevelt administration.

David Kestenbaum

Like 75 years or something.

Mike Wilson

Yes.

David Kestenbaum

Some papers, the readers are largely Democrat or largely Republican. But the Dallas Morning News, there's a split in a pretty serious way. Readers in Dallas tend to be Democrats, but the surrounding region is very red, very conservative. And apparently, now pretty angry with the newspaper.

Mike Wilson

So I went and got on the elevator and walked out there and introduced myself. And I was curious. I wanted to know what would they say about what we'd written, and would they be interested in hearing any of my point of view about it?

David Kestenbaum

The answer? Sort of. He walked up to the crowd, introduced himself, said he was the editor of the paper. There was shouting, then talking. It was civil. It ended with selfies with the editor. Then Mike came back inside, and they kept protesting.

Things didn't get any better after the election. In fact, Mike began to worry that some readers were losing faith in the paper. They weren't just upset with the editorial stance. They were upset with the day-to-day journalism. Around this time, President Trump was tweeting things like, "the fake news media is going crazy with their conspiracy theories and blind hatred." And he called the media the enemy of the people.

So in response, Mike wrote a column, which was lighthearted in parts but also pointed. Quote, "in my job, I oversee about 250 enemies of the people. We have enemies of the people who make maps, cover high school baseball, send tweets about the Cowboys, assign book reviews, critique restaurants, track North Texas home prices, and write profiles of tech entrepreneurs. One enemy of the people spends his days talking to grieving families and carefully crafting stories of the dead." Email responses poured in, like this one.

Mike Wilson

"Please pass the tissue so I can wipe away the tears for the media. President Trump was obviously specifically referring to the political reporting from the mainstream media regarding his presidency. His comment may have been overbroad, but here is the point. The mainstream media, including the Dallas Morning News, are the propaganda arm of the Democratic Party."

David Kestenbaum

There were positive ones, too, but it was a punishing experience reading the emails that morning. And Mike didn't want to just ignore the bad ones. So he decided to write back to that guy.

Mike Wilson

I saw it as kind of an invitation.

David Kestenbaum

It's a bit of an angry invitation.

Mike Wilson

Yeah. He might not have meant it as an invitation, but I tried to take it as one.

David Kestenbaum

So Mike-- who, remember, is the editor of the paper; he's got meetings and stuff going on all day long-- he starts corresponding with a bunch of the people who'd written in with kind of limited success.

Mike Wilson

I'm having a lot of conversations with readers where they say, you're not fair. And I say, am too. And they say, are not. And I feel like that's kind of not working.

David Kestenbaum

And here, Mike does this thing that just seems so rare in situations where people do not agree about something. He invites the other side to come in and talk face to face. I love this as a strategy for healing the divides of our nation. I just don't know how well it works.

The first person he asked said no, but the guy who wrote the "please pass the tissue" email agreed to come in. And so did this other reader who was so upset when the paper sent him a renewal notice that he'd thrown it in the trash. Mike wanted these guys to understand more about the newspaper they were so angry with. He wanted them to sit in on an editorial meeting where the senior staff discusses what goes on the front page. But also he wanted to understand more about them. He wanted to know who they were, not just as angry emailers. As people.

I wanted to know, too, so I went to visit them before they came in. It turns out the two people Mike invited in, they do not think the Dallas Morning News is the enemy of the people. They love the paper. Or they used to. The guy who wrote saying he was thinking of giving up his subscription is also named Mike. Mike Standish. He's 60 years old. Businessman. Blunt, but tries to be polite. Uses the word stupid, then apologizes for it. I asked him how long he'd been reading the paper.

Mike Standish

Oh, gosh. Since I was young. I mean, I remember when the Dallas Morning News didn't show up at 5:30 in the morning, I would literally sit out in a lawn chair, eating my Wheaties, waiting for the guy to show up and then giving him a hard time when he was late.

David Kestenbaum

Before that, when he was a boy, he told me he used to throw the paper, meaning deliver it on his Stingray bicycle, bag stuffed with giant Sunday papers, tossing them at house after house.

The other man is a doctor. His name is Stace Bradshaw, and he is also the kind of reader newspaper editors dream of. He gets the actual, physical newspaper delivered. Reads it after he's walked the dog, before he gets his daughter up for school. Though these days, the newspaper's kind of been driving him nuts. He finds himself writing notes in the margins in pen and also writing that "please pass the tissue" email.

Stace Bradshaw

I admit I was a little snarky at first because I guess I was a little upset.

David Kestenbaum

It felt good to write, though.

Stace Bradshaw

It was a catharsis. It was cathartic to write it and hit send. And I thought it would just go off into the ether and I would never hear anything back from him, but at least I felt good about it. And then when I got a response back--

David Kestenbaum

How long?

Stace Bradshaw

Let's see. What's the time on this? I think I sent it at 9:31, and the first response I got back was at 9:49. So literally 18 minutes later, I got a response. And then we exchanged several emails back and forth. And I was very impressed with that, that the editor would take the time to respond back to me.

David Kestenbaum

Stace and Mike told me they are fine with stories that are tough on Trump. They just feel like the mainstream media coverage of things feels skewed these days. There are stories about protests against the pipeline, but not so many about the argument for the pipeline, or on education.

Mike Standish showed me a recent edition of the Dallas Morning News. The lead story on the opinion section was headlined "Public School Saved My Special Needs Kid." There was a colorful illustration of a little girl with giant butterfly wings. There was an opposing piece below making a school choice argument, but the headline was a lot smaller.

Mike and Stace say, as a whole, the newspaper just feels like it's coming from a particular mindset. They feel like it's put together by liberals who are trying not to be biased but they just have this blind spot, like they have a hard time seeing how the stuff they write can come across to conservatives.

Just before 3 o'clock last Tuesday afternoon, Stace and Mike both arrived at the Dallas Morning News building. And just a quick note about the building. The entire middle section, the main architectural feature, is what looks like an enormous stone tablet 3 stories high, with a quote on it from the newspaper's founder in giant letters. It's as if Moses had brought back a second, lesser-known set of commandments for journalists. We crane our necks back. Mike Standish reads the last line.

Mike Standish

"Acknowledge the right of the people to get from the newspaper both sides of every important question." They need to circle that one. That last part. Uh-huh.

Mike Wilson

Hey, I'm Mike.

Stace Bradshaw

I'm Stace Bradshaw. Good to meet you.

Mike Wilson

Hey, Doctor. Nice to meet you.

Mike Standish

Mike Standish. Mike.

Mike Wilson

Hey, Mike, nice to meet you, too. You guys want to come in for a few minutes?

David Kestenbaum

When they meet with Mike Wilson, the editor, everyone is on their best behavior. They immediately talk about the one part of the paper they all agree is truly excellent, the sports section.

Stace Bradshaw

Especially football season.

David Kestenbaum

And then Mike Wilson leads the way to a conference room for the front page editors meeting. There are worn-out chairs, a long table, and about a dozen people. Everyone sits down and the meeting starts.

Editor

Well, any thoughts on the paper today?

Editor

I really appreciated the--

David Kestenbaum

The editors of the various sections go over the stories of the day and the ones they think could run on the front page. There is a story a reporter had uncovered about a secret executive retreat that Toyota was building up in the hills, complete with a private racetrack. They had aerial photos of it.

There was a story about the fire and police pension fund. One about a theater director who had been shot through the mouth but was returning to the stage. Wire stories about the WikiLeaks CIA document and the Republican health care bill. And then there was this one.

Editor

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly was in town today. We really didn't know what he was going to talk about. It was kind of an unannounced meeting as he was making a swing down toward the border. He talked about a lot of stuff that we couldn't use. But then he confirmed what he confirmed to CNN yesterday that the Department is looking at a plan to separate children from their parents at the border as a way to kind of deter refugees from trying to come into the US.

Essentially, it's kind of a plan that uses fear as a deterrent. So there's a bit of irony in it because a lot of the families that are coming up here obviously are trying to flee extreme violence. A little bit of fear is maybe not going to work with them.

David Kestenbaum

I looked over, but I couldn't get a read on how this was all playing with the two visitors. The editors voted on what they thought should go on the front page. Mike would make the final decisions later. And the meeting broke up. I pulled Stace Bradshaw, the doctor, aside. He told me that story about how the US might start separating children from their parents at the border, he worried about how that might get portrayed in the paper.

Stace Bradshaw

I'm thinking there's got to be a lot more behind that. That sounds terrible. That sounds very nefarious and I find it hard to believe that that's really what it is. There's got to be something a lot more that's out there being misinterpreted. But I'm sitting there thinking, OK, I can see what kind of articles and what kind of headlines this is going to generate. And it's probably going to be with incomplete information and probably not fair.

David Kestenbaum

But overall, he said the meaning seemed surprisingly boring. He meant that in a good way, like professional.

Stace Bradshaw

I was just struck by how ordinary, matter of fact it was. You see that they don't have horns and they're not out to be sinister.

David Kestenbaum

Did you really think they were?

Stace Bradshaw

Well, again, I've had visions of them all sitting around the water cooler and ripping on Republicans and ripping on Trump. And also, it's good to talk to people one on one and realize that they don't even realize necessarily what you're thinking.

David Kestenbaum

Stace went in to sit down with Mike Wilson, the editor, in his office. Two people trying to talk through this thing our country seems to be wrestling with. Is the mainstream media biased? They started with smaller stuff. Where are you from? Do you have kids? And then Mike Wilson brought up their email exchange.

Mike Wilson

So let me ask you about how our conversation began. I started. I wrote this article about defending my people against being called enemies of the people by the president. And I got a lot of letters about that. Yours struck me because you started with a pretty, I thought, funny line. "Please pass the tissues so I can wipe away the tears for the media."

I spoke to a lot of readers during the campaign who said something similar to what you're saying, where they felt like the coverage was slanted against Donald Trump. And one of the things that I used to say in response was, this is a very unconventional candidate who makes a lot of news. The nature of news is something you've never seen before. Something that's unprecedented. And so from his very early statements about the Mexicans coming over the border to the Access Hollywood video that made so much news--

Stace Bradshaw

He sucks the oxygen out of the room. There's no question.

Mike Wilson

I was just wondering if you felt like-- he made so much news that it was impossible for us to not keep reporting it. But was it just that that you were reacting to? Or did you feel like, above and beyond that, we were after him?

Stace Bradshaw

What I've identified to myself personally is what I look at, and I look at three types of bias. And one type of bias is what I call story selection bias. And a good example of that is there was a piece that was covering the stories and lives of illegal immigrants. And I thought those were good articles. There was a good piece. But then I'm thinking, I've lived here since 1995. I've never seen anyone select to do a story, an investigative report, on how does illegal immigration impact DISD-- Dallas Independent School District.

David Kestenbaum

Mike, the editor, told me the paper has reported on this stuff. It comes up all the time in stories they do on the school system and how it's struggling to serve students. But he told me they hadn't done a separate article about the economic effects of illegal immigration. And he said it sounded like a fine idea.

Stace brought up another kind of bias he sees, which is just the choice of headlines and the particular wording used in the story. He'd brought in the newspaper from the day after Trump had given his big speech to Congress. Stace had circled parts in pen and written notes next to this one news analysis story. Headline, "A Challenge to Think Big, with Few Details."

Stace Bradshaw

--that I had says, "A Challenge to Think Big--". Well, just stop. You don't have to have the comma and "with Few Details." That makes it a negative. This type of speech was-- they never have details. They're not intended to have details. And it's like he couldn't help himself. He had to have that in there.

Mike Wilson

I should speak to this because, if we're looking to find common ground in our conversation, we just found it. It should've just said, "A Challenge to Think Big". It's the president's speech to a joint session and he deserves to have his moment and that would have been a fine headline. And what the article explained, whether there's details or not, it doesn't have to be in the headlines.

Stace Bradshaw

And then in the same article, sentence number two talks about-- first sentence, "President Donald Trump challenged the nation to think big Tuesday night, to set aside divisions and fend off terrorism, poverty, criminal, and unfair trade deals." Fair enough. I think that's great. But then he throws in a one-sentence paragraph. "But the divisions he's sown made his pleas for unity a hard sell in his first address to Congress," as if there were no division in the country. Everybody's happy and getting along. There was no division with Obama. But now Trump's come on the scene and he's sown division throughout the land. And I'm thinking, that's ridiculous. Donald Trump is a product of the division we have, but you're hanging it on him.

Mike Wilson

A product of the division? Or hasn't contributed at all to the division?

Stace Bradshaw

I think he's contributed, definitely, but I also think he's a product of a division. But I don't think he started it.

Mike Wilson

That's a good criticism.

David Kestenbaum

There was less common ground when Mike Wilson, the editor, sat down with Mike Standish, the businessman who had said he was thinking of dropping his subscription to the paper. Standish's main advice was to remember that there are two sides to every story. Wilson felt like they were pretty careful to get both sides to every story. Half of your potential customers are probably conservatives, Standish said. As a business, you should keep that in mind. You need us as customers. I do, said Mike Wilson, the editor. But, he added.

Mike Wilson

I cannot change the truth that's out there to tailor it to any advertiser or any reader. And you know, it's funny. We're in a business where, probably unlike you, we sometimes know that we're going to alienate our audience with an article. It's a strange business to be in, where you think, well, probably a lot of readers won't like hearing this, but that's what we have to tell them tomorrow.

Mike Standish

I get that. I get that.

David Kestenbaum

I have to apologize here. I messed up the recording, so Mike Standish is a little hard to hear.

Mike Standish

But as you write it, always remember there's two points of view. And even when no one wants to hear it, try to shoot at both of them. Try to say, where's the other side to this?

Mike Wilson

So Mike, as we sit here, are you a subscriber to the Dallas Morning News?

Mike Standish

I am right now.

Mike Wilson

You think you'll stay one a little while and see how it goes?

Mike Standish

I'll probably decide over the next few weeks.

Mike Wilson

You know, what I really appreciated about your email back to me was you said, if we don't have these conversations then we're lost. That we need to be having these conversations.

Mike Standish

Our country really needs this. We're so divided right now. It's awful. And I'm probably part of the problem.

David Kestenbaum

And that was it. The two-- for the moment-- newspaper subscribers went home. Mike Wilson said he was glad that they came in.

Mike Wilson

Yeah, I feel really good. I feel great.

David Kestenbaum

Why?

Mike Wilson

Because I've been troubled by the extent to which readers have been saying kind of the same things-- the things that they were saying.

David Kestenbaum

But do you feel better now? Because you didn't convince them.

Mike Wilson

Yeah, somehow I do feel better.

David Kestenbaum

That's the funny thing about talking stuff out. Even if no one changes their mind about anything, sometimes everyone still feels better. Maybe because you listen. Or maybe it just feels good to make your points.

Mike Wilson

Maybe, having heard me out, they'll read stories and they'll hear my voice. They want me to hear theirs. They want me to read it like they do. Maybe they'll read the stories and sort of hear my voice in there and see my attempts to be fair-- our attempts to be fair.

David Kestenbaum

The next day's paper did include that story about immigrants possibly being separated from their parents at the border. The headline in the print version was "US May Split Kids, Parents," but online, the headline was "Imagine Being a Migrant Mother Separated from Your Child." Mike, the editor, said he thought that was fair since most of the article was from the other side-- the perspective of the administration. Stace, the doctor, thought it was a little loaded, though.

And Mike, the businessman, went further. "Pathetic," he wrote to me about the headline. "Meant to tug at heartstrings and to think how mean we are." His email wasn't all thorns, though. At the end, he asked me to forward it to Mike Wilson at the paper. He said the last couple of days, he thought the headlines had been pretty fair.

Ira Glass

David Kestenbaum is a producer on our program. Coming up, what I'm really, actually, truly thinking about this week. Never mind any of the stuff we've talked about so far today, and no disrespect to that stuff. That's in a minute from Chicago Public Radio when our program continues.

It's This American Life. I'm Ira Glass. Today's program, "Ask a Grown-Up," stories of people seeking answers from other adults. We have arrived at Act Three of our program.

Act Three. Ask My Grown-Up Kid.

Ira Glass

Act Three, Ask My Grown-Up Kid.

So we had this idea putting together today's program that it would be interesting to find some parent who had a question for their kid that they could only ask their kid now that the kid was grown. Maybe something that would've been hard to talk about during all the drama of taking care of them when they were younger. And we recorded a couple of these with different families. And the one that was the most interesting was this one.

Chris Gethard

This is weirdly-- I'm very nervous about this, Dad.

Ken Gethard

I am too to a degree.

Ira Glass

This is Chris Gethard and his dad, Ken Gethard.

Chris Gethard

Because you and I don't really like-- we have a really good relationship. We don't sit down and have personal conversations that often, though.

Ira Glass

Chris has been on our show now and then. He's a comedian. And his father wanted to talk to Chris about Chris' depression. Chris has depression. He's talked about it on stage and in his podcast. Which makes his dad feel bad, partly because Chris is talking publicly about stuff that the two of them have never really discussed. Chris didn't reveal his depression to his parents until he was in his early 20s and had an incident where he nearly died. And then a friend more or less forced him to tell his family. And his dad had questions about all that.

Chris came into the studio having no idea what his dad wanted to ask about. And they sat down and, I don't know. Maybe we should have expected this. His dad didn't just jump right in with the stuff that he wanted to talk about. That was too heavy.

Ken Gethard

Well, the first one's actually a question from Mom.

Chris Gethard

Oh, OK.

Ken Gethard

Do you pray?

Ira Glass

Ken asked Chris about pro wrestling. He asked about sports.

Ken Gethard

Why are you such an NBA fan rather than a pro baseball fan?

Ira Glass

They talked about their old neighborhood in New Jersey. Ken told Chris how much he hates celebrity endorsements. Would Chris ever do a celebrity endorsement? Would Chris ever do a sex scene in a movie? A nude scene in a movie? This continued for an hour. And then finally.

Ken Gethard

Hey, listen. There's a couple questions I definitely do want to hit, so let's go to them. I don't want to run out of time.

Chris Gethard

Sure.

Ira Glass

And then Ken brought up Chris' depression. They wanted to know why Chris took so long to tell his parents about it.

Ken Gethard

Well, you know, when you finally told Mom, and that was, what, towards the end of college?

Chris Gethard

Yeah.

Ken Gethard

I guess that was?

Chris Gethard

Yeah, I think that was--

Ken Gethard

Absolutely floored us. We had zero clue.

Chris Gethard

Yeah.

Ken Gethard

And on one hand, we're like, the guilt. We've got to help protect you. Why couldn't we see this? But on the other hand, it's like, why didn't he come to us? Even now you're like that, Chris. There was something on the web a couple of years ago. It was something-- this is what I look like on a bad day or when I'm feeling depressed.

Chris Gethard

Yeah.

Ken Gethard

And you said something to the effect, I'll tell my wife, I'll tell my brother, but I'll never let my parents see me like this.

Chris Gethard

Yeah.

Ken Gethard

And that was after we've known. Even now it's sticking out there.

Chris Gethard

Yeah, I don't know why. I don't know. I guess it would make me feel like I was letting you guys down in some way or failing in some way. I don't know. I don't know.

Ken Gethard

Yeah, but Mom and I would be the first two there to help you and do whatever it took to protect you.

Chris Gethard

I know. I don't know why I've never been comfortable with you guys seeing me like that or knowing that side of me so well, but I just felt like it was a thing to hide. I don't know. I don't know why. I don't know why.

Because you guys did-- as soon as I told you, it was like everyone went into this mode where I was so supported. And I had always assumed that if I ever told anybody about it I was going to be on my own, whereas when I kind of hit rock bottom and started talking to you guys about it, it was like instantaneously the safest I ever felt.

Ken Gethard

Well, I'm glad you felt that way, but I hope you understand where I'm coming from on this.

Chris Gethard

Yeah. No, I wish I talked to you guys about it sooner. I wish.

Ken Gethard

And you did a fantastic job of hiding it from Mom and I, which I'll have all amounts of guilt over till my dying day.

Chris Gethard

No, you don't have to. You don't have to have any guilt over that. I mean, I was so good at hiding it. So good at hiding it. And I don't know why. I don't know why I never let you and Mom know about that. It's just not my instinct. My instinct is that that's going to worry you guys so much and you're going to have to sit around and then be scared about me, and I don't want you doing that. And I always figured maybe I could push through it or it would pass. Even I felt like maybe I'm just a moody kid.

Ken Gethard

If you're feeling bad and you need help and stuff like that, Chris, I would like you to come to us at any point in time. But I'm not a professional. I don't know what to tell you. I don't know if I'm making sense. I want to be there, but I don't want to tell you something wrong, either.

Chris Gethard

Yeah.

Ken Gethard

That's always in the back of my head. It's like, oh, god, if he comes to me, you know--

Chris Gethard

[SNICKERING]

Ken Gethard

[LAUGHING] Am I going to tell him something and all of a sudden he's going to be worse?

Chris Gethard

Yeah.

Ken Gethard

I'm scared. I don't think I want you coming to me, Dad, I'm upset. I need you to talk to me. I wouldn't know what to say. That's what you have a professional for. Does that make sense anywhere there?

Chris Gethard

Yeah. No, because I know that. I know that's the truth. I know that's the truth. I know you're not the guy to talk about that. It's part of what made it very hard to say it. But it doesn't-- I think I let that fear make me not talk to you about it. Whereas what really happened is exactly what I should have known you would have done, which was, you're not the guy to talk about it, but you're certainly going to make sure that I find the person--

Ken Gethard

I'm going to get you the right person.

Chris Gethard

You're going to get me there. That's one of the things I regret the most. Like, you were never going to be the guy who I could come to and say, Dad, I'm really sad and I don't know why. You weren't going to know what to say. But I should have given a lot more credit to knowing you were going to run through a wall to get me where I needed to go.

Ken Gethard

Yeah.

Ira Glass

Chris Gethard and his dad, Ken Gethard. Thanks to them for agreeing to have this conversation on tape. Chris, by the way, talks about his depression in a one-man show that's going to be on HBO in May.

Act Four. Ask A Very Grown Woman.

Ira Glass

Act Four, Ask a Very Grown Woman.

A few days ago, my friend Mary Ahearn died. Mary was 89. For the last 10 years, I've talked to her nearly every day. She and I met in the dog park and we organized our lives to meet there at 10:00 each night, which took a little more organization for me than for her. She'd been retired for years. I had a job. I traveled for my job. She'd had many very old-fashioned New York City jobs. She was a telephone switchboard operator and then the switchboard supervisor at Altman's Department Store for years, when both Altman's and telephone switchboards existed. Lived on a pension from a union in a rent-controlled apartment.

When I traveled and when her health eventually stopped her from going to the park, we'd talk on the phone every night. OK, this is a very personal thing to say on the radio, but my wife and I separated a few years ago. And so for years now, Mary has usually been the person who I talked to last before I'd go to sleep. That's not a part of your day you let just anybody into, but I've never had a friendship like my friendship with her, where you just check in every day.

Mary is the person who I would watch presidential debates and election results with. And so most nights, she and I would catch up on the news. And we would talk about my day. And then she and I would talk about what happened that day with her and with John, her developmentally disabled cousin, 73 years old, who she cared for and housed for over four decades. Mary cooked dinner for John every night. Pot roast and mashed potatoes kinds of dinners. Dinners she did not eat herself.

John's conversation style was to walk into a room and make a bitter pronouncement on some subject, often something he saw on the news. In the last year, he's become convinced that there are bedbugs in his room. Or some kind of bugs. Something that is biting him in his sleep. And although there's nothing there-- really, there's just nothing at all; it's all in his head-- he got obsessed. And he would haul shirts and pillow cases into the dining room to show Mary, insisting that the little dots in the fabric are living creatures and not just like the design of the cloth.

And for months, I'd been telling Mary like, this is a new turn for John. He was always incredibly bullheaded, but now he had crossed over into something new. This just seemed like delusion and seemed sad in this whole new way. And I just thought we should have the exterminator come in and put on a big show and pretend to spray for bed bugs and put John's mind at ease. And nobody in this world had more compassion for John than Mary, but somehow this bedbug thing was a bridge too far for her. She did not want to indulge him on this one. She felt like if she started spending money on that, what was going to be next? It just seemed like a slippery slope.

So every night, I would hear the latest with John and the bedbugs and the various relatives. Maureen and her kids in Washington state. John's brother, Neil, who I've never met, but I know all about his years on the NYPD and his pension and what booze he likes, his recent surgery, his recovery from the surgery. I have relatives of my own-- lots of them-- I don't know as well as this man, Neil, who I've never met.

Mary and I were good enough friends that we would bore each other, which you only get with your family and your closest friends who you spend so much time with. Some nights I would be aware that she was ushering me off the phone. She would say to me, you must be very tired, which I knew was the signal for she'd had enough of me for the night.

Mary lived her whole life in one spot in apartments on the same two blocks of New York City. This is 9th Avenue between 20th and 22nd Street. She died two blocks from where she grew up. She saw the neighborhood change over the years from longshoremen who worked the Chelsea Piers to gay men in the 1970s-- the YMCA of the song YMCA is just a couple blocks over on 23rd Street-- to rich people today. She seemed to be constantly writing checks to help out various nieces and their kids who needed the help. John basically showed up at her door in the mid-'70s. Nobody else in the family would take him.

Her friend Gene came and lived with her for years. Red was a homeless guy she took in when he got his life together. Now he's a nurse. Beau needed a place when gentrification knocked him out of one of the last cheap apartments in the neighborhood. Her cousin Tom stayed during a rough patch. Everybody knew Mary was a soft touch for strays needing a home. Dogs, cats, people.

She and I would do the New York Times crossword puzzle together. She had a dark sense of humor, was quick with a fatalistic joke. When we'd go to plays and movies, she was fine if it was a comedy but always preferred something sad. She said it was the Irish in her. Three years ago, I was invited to give a speech in Ireland and Mary went with me as my plus-one. Though her house is decorated with little Irish sayings and knickknacks, this was her first trip to the country, and we visited the church in Kinsale where her father was baptized in 1889, before he left for America.

She was not somebody to turn to for relationship advice. She'd never been in love. As well as we knew each other, and as much as we talked, I could never bring myself to ask if she had ever kissed anybody-- boy, man, woman. I'm fairly sure the answer was no, and I didn't want to make her say it out loud. The only crush that she ever admitted to was a boy she knew back when she was a teenager and got tuberculosis and lived in a TB ward uptown. He was smart, soft-spoken. And if I remember right, he also had TB, though he didn't survive it.

So she knew about as much about being in a marriage as I knew about running a 1950s-era telephone switchboard, which meant that if I had a bad day with my wife, Anaheed, and that's all I was thinking about, Mary was not a helpful person to talk to at all. For one thing, she was entirely and uncritically on my side in any dispute. Even disputes where I knew I was in the wrong and I told her I was in the wrong, she would come back time and again to a kind of Depression era view of marriage as a kind of practical arrangement that was not necessarily about happiness.

In her view, I was making most of the money in the family. Anaheed was comfortable, living in a nice apartment, could buy stuff she wanted. Why would Anaheed complain? Why wasn't she grateful? She had it so easy. I would try to explain to her the things that I was doing that rightly disappointed Anaheed. Mary would shake her head. I don't see what she has to complain about.

Today's radio show is about asking a grown-up for advice. I am fully grown up. And I'm older than I sound on the radio. I just turned 58. That's basically 60. That's old enough that, last week, when I read something by somebody in their 30s who said, well, of course nobody ever fully feels like a grown-up, I wanted to say, no, I actually feel like a grown-up. I feel like a grown-up. I feel my responsibilities. I feel the weight of them. I know when I have lived up to my own ideals for how I want to be in the world and treat others around me, and when I haven't, I feel it. I feel tired in this way that I definitely did not when I was younger.

And I'm talking about Mary here on the radio right now because, frankly, it's hard for me to think or talk about anything else this week, but also because this week's theme about asking advice from a grown-up. When you get to a certain age, you realize each grown-up is good for advice but on certain subjects and not on other subjects, and you have to be picky and choose the right grown-up for the right subjects. And then, I think I'm learning this week, when you get to a certain age, there aren't many grown-ups older than you to ask advice from. The ones you love die off.

And then-- and this is a total unforeseen pisser-- you miss their crappy, bad advice. You really miss it. Because even the worst advice from a friend comes with a second message. And that's just I got your back. Mary gave me some really useless marriage advice, and I gave her completely unwanted and unheeded advice about her cousin's non-existent bedbugs. And we each ignored the other's advice. But we did heed the other message. She had my back. I had hers. Which in the end, of course, was more important, anyway.

[MUSIC - "SCOTLAND THE BRAVE"]

Yes, I know it's incredibly corny to be playing this music right here at this spot, but this is Mary's cousin, Sean, playing for her in her apartment on St. Patty's Day a couple of years ago.

Ira Glass

OK. Ready to go?

Mary Ahearn

I thought you were starting.

Ira Glass

All right. I'll start. I'll start.

Mary Ahearn

Oh, hi.

Ira Glass

Hi. I'm Ira Glass.

Mary Ahearn

I'm Mary, Ira's friend.

Ira Glass

This is Mary recorded a couple years ago when she and I shot a video explaining to older listeners how to download a podcast, which Mary knew how to do.

Ira Glass

I don't need to give away your age, but is it safe to say you are an actual older person?

Mary Ahearn

I'm on the dark side of 85. How's that?

Ira Glass

OK. [LAUGHING]

Mary Ahearn

[LAUGHING]

Credits.

Ira Glass

Our program was produced today by Stephanie Foo. Our staff includes Elise Bergerson, Elna Baker, Susan Burton, Zoe Chace, Dana Chivas, Sean Cole, Whitney Dangerfield, Neil Drumming, Karen Duffin, Kimberly Henderson, Chana Joffe-Walt, David Kestenbaum, Seth Lind, Miki Meek, Jonathan Menjivar, Robyn Semien, Alissa Shipp, Christopher Swetala, Matt Tierney, Nancy Updike, Julie Whitaker, and Diane Wu. Music help today from Damien Graef.

[ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS]

Our website, thisamericanlife.org. This American Life is delivered to public radio stations by PRX, the Public Radio Exchange. Thanks, as always, to our program's co-founder, Mr. Torey Malatia. You know, whenever he acts weird or says stuff like this, I have to remember he was homeschooled.

Tavi Gevinson

Oh, my god, why does it sound like I grew up in a box where I wasn't allowed to ever have contact with another boy or something?

Ira Glass

I'm Ira Glass. Back next week with more stories of This American Life.

John

Wonderful. Wonderful.

Mary Ahearn

Isn't that great?