Wednesday, October 10, 2007

the mean friend

I just listened to the greatest This American Life podcast. You can find it here. It's called "The Allure of the Mean Friend," and I don't even need to explain it to you because you've almost certainly wondered about mean popular people and why such a person* even exists. (Shouldn't popular and mean be mutually exclusive?)

It's so funny and right-on. I highly recommend it for a distraction as you fold laundry or cut out 120 construction paper pumpkins... or map the human genome or whatever your current project is. (The feminist in me wouldn't let me leave it at laundry and pumpkins).

If you're more in the mood for a heartbreaking yet hopeful story about parents who beat the odds, listen to this one. The second "act" is about a boy adopted from Romania. The first 7 years of his life were spent in a crib, shared with one other boy. He was allowed out of the crib to eat and use the bathroom. Not surprisingly, he has a difficult time with "attaching to" or trusting others. His mother worked with him for 7 years. I won't spoil the rest, but you will be amazed.

*If I could track it down, I would post a picture of one such person from my high school yearbook. Suffice it to say that the photographer had to move back and re-frame the picture in order to accommodate her incredibly HUGE 80s halo of hair. She also had many matching sets of suede skirts and boots. I'm sure she's a great person now and everything, but she was one mean girl back then.


Lindsay said...

I heard both of those shows! The allure of the mean friend was so good. There's a part where the reporter goes around asking his own friends about himself...and it turns out he's the mean friend. I sometimes worry that I'm the mean friend!

And the one about parenting...was it called Unconditional Love? It made me cry. There was another one about the parents of a severely autistic child and the guilt/relief they felt when they took him to a home. That's what I love about This American Life. The stories actually make me cry real tears sometimes. There's another one about breaking up that I heard recently that I didn't get through entirely.

Patty O. said...

I really enjoyed the Mean Friend show. Too funny! I could especially relate to the monologue of the friend who said the opposite of what he meant. I think we probably all know someone just like that. What is it about these kinds of people that keeps us (well, I should say me) from telling them off? I guess it is that whole confrontation thing....