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Prologue

Ira Glass talks to Sam Ashner, whose debilitating fear of spiders was ruining his life. So he opted for an extraordinary treatment — the nuclear option — to deal with it.

Prologue

Ira talks with comedian Rob Delany, who suffered the worst kind of loss a parent can endure — the death of his two-year-old son, Henry. Rob describes what his grief has been like and what he’s learned from it.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass goes to a block in New York City where, over a year into the pandemic, neighbors are still clapping for health care workers every night at 7 p.m. (7 minutes)

Prologue

You can’t get herd immunity until you deal with the herd, and get enough of them moving together in the same direction. That’s been difficult this past year, in a way it’s never been during any other epidemic in our history.

Act One

Reporter Paul Tough and Host Ira Glass look at the biggest change in admissions this year: colleges no longer requiring the SATs. Paul speaks to a student whose SAT score determined her future.

Act Four: Boiling Under

Lots of things go unspoken between family members, sometimes for years. We searched for a parent who had a question for their kid that they’d never been able to ask before.

Act Three: There’s a German Word for That

Ira Glass talks to journalist Jochen Bittner about a political lie from 1920s Germany and the lessons it holds for 2020s America. His op-ed about this ran in the New York Times. Bittner’s one of the people who runs the Opinion section of the German newspaper Die Zeit.

Prologue

Linda Lutton and her eleven year old daughter Pirecua explain what happened the year Pirecua begged for a gift that she turned out to be allergic to. Linda is a reporter at our home station, WBEZ Chicago.

Act Two: Deer in the Footlights

Ira talks with Connie Rex about the deer she and her sisters kidnapped and ended up putting into their school’s Christmas pageant in Woodruff, Utah, in a starring role.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks with Georgia Democrats who went out to “cure” ballots in a state with some of the closest results in the country.