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Archive for February, 2015

02/19/2015

So the second story – it was from Moth.  Here’s the link: http://themoth.org/posts/stories/who-can-you-trust  I was hoping they’d have a transcript, and I need to rehear the story to make sure I got it right.  But that’s sort of defeating the purpose, no?  I wanted to write about what stayed with me and so this is what remains.  This fantastic scientist woman, a prof at Berkeley in the 70s or maybe early 80s, gets dumped by her husband for his student.  Husband and student are going off to Costa Rica, and the woman is left to figure out how she’s going to manage her 5 year old.  The next day her house gets burgled.  She has to get to Washington DC for a meeting.  Her mother had planned to come and help out husband with child during this time.  Woman picks up mother at airport, tells her about the husband and the burgle – mother freaks out.  You were too busy with your career and pushed him away – that is mother’s response.  Mother is too distraught and wants to go back to Chicago.  Woman says fine and calls her mentor to tell him she can’t make it to conference.  Guy says, No way, bring the kid, I’ll watch her.  Next day, she gets everyone to the airport, mother says she needs to be taken all the way to her gate.  Woman tells kid to stay at the ticket counter (too far to walk up and down).  Mother screams, No way.  And then a voice – Emily and I will be just fine.  Woman turns around to see who it is.  Mother screams even more louder – No way you are leaving Emily with a stranger.  Woman tells mother – If you can’t trust Joe DiMaggio, who can you trust? (!!! The audience, incl yours truly, goes nuts here).  Woman gets to DC, attends meeting, this meeting happens to be with NIH for funding for research that would lead to the discovery of BRCA1 (!!! And we go nuts the second time).  What an amazing story – the sense of universe aligning to get this woman to DC to move on the cancer cure is so palpable.  Very similar to that RadioLab story about the snow geese dying in the toxic pond and the toxicity being removed by a fungus being found in their rectum.  Humans make a mess, Universe musters resources and works to clean it up.  And once in a rare while, the veil is lifted and you get to see it.

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Hah! And the interface is changed yet again.

I wanted to record two stories that I would be so sad to have fall off my memory.  The first one is already mostly lost in the mists, but hey, a search on Google for This American Life moose already comes up with parachute as a suggestion – suggesting many people have been similarly moved by it.  Here it is:

A moose is standing in the forest when he suddenly hears a noise. He looks up and sees a plane flying overhead. As he watches, a man jumps out. A parachute bursts open, and the man floats safely down.

The moose goes over and looks at him. “Hello,” says the man, gathering in his parachute. “Hello,” says the moose. “What are you doing?” “Oh, nothing,” says the man, “nothing much. I just jump out of planes every now and then.”

The moose looks up at the sky. “Is it fun?” he says. “Oh, yes,” says the man. “Have you never done it?” “Me?” says the moose. “Oh, no.” “Well, come along with me,” says the man. “We’ll go back to town and get you all suited up, and then off we’ll go. What do you say?”

“I don’t know,” says the moose. “Isn’t it dangerous?” “Dangerous?” says the man. “No, not at all. Well, a little, but hey, isn’t everything?” “I guess,” says the moose, “when you put it that way.”

And after a while, he starts to nod. “All right,” he says, “OK.” “Great,” says the man. “You’re going to love it.” And he claps the moose on the back, and the two of them start off.

When they get to the edge of the city, the moose suddenly stops. “What about the people?” he says. “What about them?” says the man. “Well,” says the moose, “I’m not saying that I’m afraid of them, understand. But they’re always out in the woods looking at me. It makes me nervous. I don’t know what they want.”

“Hm,” says the man. “I doubt they want anything. But OK, here’s what we’ll do.” He takes an extra t-shirt and hat out of his bag. “Put these on. Nobody will recognize you,” he says. The moose looks at the offered disguise for a moment. “All right,” he says, and puts it on.

The man and the moose wander into town. The moose is very, very nervous. “Hey, Tom,” someone says, and a group of people come over. “How’d your jump go today, and who’s that?”

The man turns and looks at the moose. “This is my friend, Lawrence,” he says. “He just came in from the coast.” “Quite a grip you’ve got there, Lawrence,” says one of the men. “Are you bringing Lawrence to the party?” says another.

“Shoot,” says the man, looking at the moose. “I completely forgot about that. You mind coming along to this thing tonight? It’s sort of a shindig for my most recent jump.” “Sure,” says the moose, feeling self-conscious, “Sure. That’ll be fine.”

That night the man and the moose go to the party. It is at the Explorers Club. There are a number of long tables arranged in a square. The man and the moose are in the place of honor.

The moose is having a wonderful time. The food is really very good. Different people make different speeches, and the moose finds the waitress quite fascinating.

But then, suddenly, something draws his attention– heads, animal heads. They’re lining the walls all around the top– lion, zebra, deer, elk, and moose. Fear grips the moose’s heart. “Killers,” he thinks, looking around the room.

“What is it?” says the man, sensing trouble. The moose turns and looks at him in horror. “You’re trying to kill me,” he says, his voice a whisper. “You brought me here to kill me.” “What?” says the man. “Why would I do that? I don’t understand.”

But the moose is too scared to explain. He stumbles backward to his feet. He points a hoof at the abomination on the wall.

The man sees it, then his eyes go wide. “My god,” he says, “I just didn’t think.” He reaches out to reassure the moose, but his hand grabs the t-shirt, and it rips and falls off. And then, to make matters worse, the moose’s hat tumbles to the floor.

Everybody turns. “A moose,” they cry. “Get him. Get him. Get the guns.” The moose takes off. He galumphs out of the ballroom, knocking people over left and right. He barrels through the doors and off down the hall. The members of the Explorers Club are striking the glass on the gun cases. “Hurry,” they are yelling, “It’s a big one, the biggest.”

The moose careens out into the street. He’s weaving in and out of cars. There’s honking and screaming. The moose has never been so terrified.

“Wait, wait,” cries a voice. The moose looks back. It’s the man running after him. “I’m sorry,” yells the man. “I didn’t think. I’m so stupid. I’ll make it up to you. I’ll get you out of this, I swear.”

“Are you kidding?” yells the moose. “Why should I trust you?” Just then, gunfire erupts. It’s the Explorers Club hot on their trail. Bullets whiz past, close, closer. “I can take you to the plane,” says the man. “It’s your only chance.”

The moose thinks. Another bullet whizzes by. “All right,” the moose yells. “Climb on.” The man jumps on, and the two of them charge through the streets. “Turn left,” yells the man, and the moose turns. Up ahead is the airfield, behind, the men with guns, getting closer with every passing second.

“There’s the plane,” the man hollers, and the two dive on board. The man guns it, and the plane taxis toward the runway. Behind them, the Explorers Club lines up in a row. “Fire,” says the leader. “Fire more.”

The plane is hit in 10,000 places, but still, it manages to lift off. Behind it trails a cloud of smoke and fire that is terrifying to behold. “We’re not going to make it!” the man yells to the moose. “We’re going to have to jump.” He turns and looks for the parachutes, but there is only one.

“You take it,” says the man, pushing it to the moose. But the moose just stares at it in silence. “No, you,” says the moose. “I don’t even know how to use it. Besides, I wouldn’t have gotten this far without you.”

The man thinks for a moment. “We go together,” he finally says. “It might work. It might not. Who knows?”

He straps the parachute around them both and edges the moose toward the door. “On the count of three,” the man says. And the moose jumps.

The man and the moose plummet through the air. “Is that the forest,” the moose calls, “down there?” “Yes,” says the man. “Isn’t it pretty?” “It is,” says the moose. “I can see why you like doing this.”

At this point, the ground is coming up pretty fast. “All right,” says the man, “moment of truth.” The two grip the pull cord tightly together. “I hope we can be friends,” says the moose.

It is by Ben Loory and they say the audio is here http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/498/the-one-thing-youre-not-supposed-to-do

Perhaps it is the author reading it, but the last line has stayed with me for years.

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