#109 : August 28, 1998

Notes on Camp

Stories of summer camp. People who love camp say that non-camp people simply don't understand what's so amazing about camp. In this program, we attempt to bridge the gap of misunderstanding between camp people and non-camp people.

#108 : August 7, 1998

Truth and Lies at Age Ten

Two stories of children lying to themselves and others. A woman who'd been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis talks about the lies she told herself as a child. And Dan Gediman tells the story of how he was cast in the public TV show Zoom, which aired from 1972 to 1979, at the age of ten. Then he was cut from the cast before the show ever went on the air. So for years, he lied about it. He let friends believe he was on Zoom.

#107 : July 3, 1998

Trail of Tears

For the July 4th holiday weekend, writer Sarah Vowell and her twin sister re-trace the "Trail of Tears" — the route their Cherokee ancestors took when expelled from their own land by President Andrew Jackson.

#106 : June 19, 1998

Father's Day '98

For this Father's Day, stories in which fathers and their kids sit down and try to have an honest moment together. And stories about fathers who aren't close with their kids.

#105 : June 12, 1998

Take A Negro Home

Two stories of people who try to cross the color line — and why it's still so hard. We hear the story of a failed interracial marriage and the story of a teenager from a poor inner city neighborhood (Cedric Jennings, pictured) who ends up at an Ivy League University — and how he barely survives there.

#104 : June 5, 1998

Music Lessons

What's frustrating about music lessons, what's miraculous about them, and what they actually teach us. This show was recorded in front of a live audience at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, with help from KQED-FM, during the 1998 Public Radio Conference in San Francisco.

#103 : May 29, 1998

Scenes from A Transplant

An NPR reporter leaves her three-year-old son and heads to Omaha—for cancer treatment—a last chance to save her life. After years of covering stories about medicine, Rebecca Perl enters the hospital as a patient. She moves from the world of healthy people into the world of sick ones. What she sees and what she learns.

#102 : May 22, 1998

Road Trip!

With all the American movies and songs and books about the joy of the open road, it's hard for an American to take just a normal road trip without huge expectations.

#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.