Tuesday, April 22, 2008

This American Life

There's a lot of good entertainment out there. Way, way too much for anyone to sample even a thousandth of it. But if I had to recommend just one podcast it would be "This American Life". This last weeks program, as usual, had a couple of different segments, but the largest one was about this guy named Bob Nelson. So Bob is stuck in traffic one day when he hears a public service announcement about a Cryonics (I always get it wrong and say cryogenics) meeting. He thinks that's pretty cool, but that he probably won't be even allowed in, with all the scientists and other luminaries he expects to be there. This is back in the late 60s so the field was definitely in its infancy.

So he goes to the meeting and it's just a group of hobbiests so not only do they let him in, but they elect him president. Well initially they decided that absolutely no freezing would take place until they knew the science better. But before you know it people in the Cryonics Society start dying (the membership is heavily skewed towards people who are close to death anyway.) So the question is what do you do? Well the obvious thing is to mourn them and move on, but these are their friends their comrades in arms so to speak. And Bob doesn't feel like letting them down, despite the fact that they have no money. So he puts it to a vote, and all the members agree that these people should be frozen. But what they're really saying is that "Sure, we're fine if you freeze them, as long as we don't have to do anything." And of course it turns into a nightmare. As you can imagine trying to keep dead bodies frozen 24/7, with no money, in an industry with extremely immature technology, in Southern California, is ridiculously difficult.

I don't want to spoil the ending in case you want to listen to it (it's available for free download at the moment from the website I linked to above) but basically Bob ends up in a lot of trouble, as you might imagine. And while I think the narrator tried to end it in such a way that you felt sympathy for both sides, or possibly even where you end up blaming Bob. For me I totally identified with Bob. I mean I felt some sympathy for the other side, but from the moment things started going wrong I was on Bob's side. I mean basically the same thing that happened to Bob has happened to me a dozen times. (Obviously not on the same scale.) To give you just one quick story:

I was on my mission, and the sister missionaries and two of the four elders came up with this idea of doing a BBQ for the ward. his other elder and I thought it was a horrible idea, but it went forward anyway, once it was going forward it was obvious that the others weren't going to do anything about it, they were the idea people. So the choice was to let the whole thing collapse after it had already been announced, or for me and the other elder to step up and make sure it happened.

To make a long story short, they had only budgeted for the meat, nothing else. So me and the other elder paid for everything else out of our own pocket. We cooked all the meat, we cleaned up, and of course, you can see where I'm going if you've ever been in a situation like this, by the time it was our turn to eat all the meat was gone. Now, in this one instance, there weren't any complaints after the fact, but if there were who do you think they would have been directed at? The people who came up with the idea and then did nothing to execute it or the two people who hated the idea from the beginning, but worked their butts off to make sure it was pulled off? If you answered the former you still have a lot to learn about the way the world works.

Clinging to guns and religion for obvious reasons


Anonymous Anonymous said...

i could not stop laughing at his use of limited resourced. i am not sure where 'this american life' get this people. Its hilarious.

8:15 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home