#101 : May 1, 1998


During this hour, a special edition of our show: Stories about Niagara Falls, half of them from documentary producer Alix Spiegel, who went to the Falls and interviewed people living there; and half from playwright David Kodeski, who grew up in the town of Niagara Falls.

#100 : April 24, 1998


For the 100th episode of This American Life, a radio show about the pleasures of radio. About what makes radio so great ... and what makes it so terrible.

#99 : April 10, 1998

I Enjoy Being A Girl, Sort Of

Variations on what it means to be a girl and what it means to be a woman.

#98 : March 27, 1998

Throwing the First Punch

Stories about what it means to be a person who throws the first punch ... and how hard it is to give up.

#97 : March 20, 1998

Death to Wacky

An assault on the idea of wackiness. And then, an appreciation of wackiness, and an analysis of wackiness in American culture. Thirteen ways to describe wackiness.

#96 : March 13, 1998

Pinned by History

People who left their private lives and were seized by some huge historical moment.

#95 : March 6, 1998


How should we react to people who are in non-monogamous relationships? What should we think of these struggles with monogamy?

#94 : February 27, 1998

How To

What happens during a "how-to," and what our how-to's say about us. Most how-to's promise that you'll not only learn skills, you'll be transformed.

#93 : February 13, 1998

Valentine's Day '98

Stories about couples that all take place decades after that moment their eyes first meet.

#92 : 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.

#91 : January 30, 1998

Escape the Box

Stories of people trying to escape the box of their own lives, and create new lives.

#90 : January 16, 1998


Stories of who we are on the phone, of things we learn on the phone, and of things that happen on the phone that don't happen anywhere else.

#89 : January 9, 1998

Sibling Rivalry

Stories about people who are destined to fight: brothers and sisters.

#88 : January 2, 1998


Numbers lie. Numbers cover over complicated feelings and ambiguous situations. In this week's show, stories of people trying to use numbers to describe things that should not be quantified.

#87 : December 19, 1997

A Very Special Sedaris Christmas

Stories from David Sedaris's book of Christmas stories, Holidays on Ice, read onstage by David, Julia Sweeney and actor Matt Malloy.

#86 : December 12, 1997

How to Take Money from Strangers

Two stories of how to get money from strangers. In both stories, the money is made by people who make the strangers feel good about themselves and about their nation. NOTE: This episode originally included a story by reporter Stephen Glass, which we have removed because of questions about its truthfulness. This story is included in the transcript only for reference.

#85 : December 5, 1997

Poultry Slam 1997

Humans have turned chicken and turkey into what we want them to be. Which means that chickens and turkeys are a mirror of ourselves.

#84 : November 21, 1997


A parable of politics and race in America. The story of Chicago's first black mayor, Harold Washington, told two decades after his death. Washington died on November 25, 1987.

#83 : November 14, 1997

One of Us

Stories of outsiders who want to be insiders, and vice versa.

#82 : October 31, 1997


Stories of people who are haunted, not by ghosts or phantoms, but by other people.

#81 : October 24, 1997


Americans who love their guns...and the Americans who love them.

#80 : October 17, 1997

Running After Antelope

Stories of people engaged in a battle with nature — a battle they don't stand much chance of winning. Most of the show is Scott Carrier's story of trying for twelve years to chase down and catch an antelope by foot.

#79 : October 10, 1997

Stuck in the Wrong Decade

People stuck in the wrong decade — or simply carrying a lot of the props from another decade. NOTE: This episode originally included a story by reporter Stephen Glass (no relation to Ira), which we have removed because of questions about its truthfulness. This story is included in the transcript only for reference.

#78 : October 3, 1997

How Bad Is Bad?

How bad is bad enough to count? To go to hell?

#77 : September 26, 1997


Can the secular world and the religious world understand each other?

#76 : September 19, 1997


The mob as portrayed in movies, and as it is in real life. And its hold over us.

#75 : September 12, 1997

Kindness of Strangers

Stories of the kindness of strangers and where it leads. Also, the unkindness of strangers and where that can lead. All of today's stories take place in the city most people think of as the least kind city in America: New York.

#74 : August 29, 1997


What happens when people with one common interest gather in monstrous, fluorescent -lit halls for the weekend? Sometimes they drive each other crazy, sometimes they fall in love.

#73 : August 22, 1997

Blame It on Art

The darker side of the art world: petty jealousies, competitiveness, failure. And also what's so great about art.

#72 : August 8, 1997


An idiosyncratic first-person travelogue about race relations and tourism from radio producer Rich Robinson and television producer Josh Seftel. Their radio story is about a trip they took to the new South Africa. Rich Robinson is black. Josh Seftel is white. The interracial pair travel through the still mostly-segregated society and have very different opinions about what they see, especially when it comes to some distant relatives of Josh's in South Africa.