David Rakoff died on August 9, 2012. He’d appeared on This American Life 25 times, first in 1996, during the third month of the show; his last appearance was just a few weeks before he died.
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A man who believes he's turning into a cockroach reaches out to a world famous doctor for advice. Except the doctor will only respond in rhyme.
David Rakoff tells this story, about the invisible processes that can happen inside our bodies...and the visible effects they eventually have. David died three months after this performance, in August 2012.
David Rakoff tells the story of a contract between a son and his visiting mother. David Rakoff is the author of several books including Half Empty.
David Rakoff demonstrates—in rhyme—how to make a wedding toast for people you never wanted to see married in the first place. Rakoff is the author of several books, most recently Half Empty.
David Rakoff tells the story of a contract between a son and his visiting mother. David Rakoff is the author of several books including Don't Get Too Comfortable.
There's a famous William Carlos Williams poem called "This is Just to Say." It's about, among other things, causing a loved one inconvenience and offering a non-apologizing apology. It's only three lines long, you've probably read it...the one about eating the plums in the icebox.
Jonathan Goldstein's story about trouble in the Town of Bedrock. One day, when he's backing out of his driveway, Barney accidentally runs over and kills a dinosaur that belongs to his neighbor and best friend, Fred.
Writer David Rakoff explains how his life was changed—in a single evening—in a room of 5000 chickens.
This American Life contributor David Rakoff, who swore off TV in college, returns to it in dramatic fashion: He attempts to watch the same amount of television as the average American—29 hours in one week. David is author, most recently, of the book Don't Get Too Comfortable.
A Christmas poem from David Rakoff, about holidays in The Big City. Rakoff's the author of, most recently, Half Empty.
For millennia, people have tried to reach a spiritual promised land by fasting. Jesus did it.
David Rakoff tells a story from when he was a kid, about the day he realized the he would inevitably be viewed a certain way by his classmates, no matter what he did or said.
Author David Rakoff worked at an advertising agency, and could see exactly where its technology was going.
The men and women on staff at This American Life decide to get their testosterone levels tested, to see who has the most and least, and to see if personality traits actually do match up with hormone levels. It turns out to be an exercise that in retrospect, we might not recommend to other close-knit groups of friends or co-workers.
David Rakoff discusses the world of birthdays and other holidays, as they're celebrated on the job... and what happens when you call yourself an editorial assistant but the editor you're assisting calls you a secretary. He read this story before a live audience at Town Hall in New York City, during a This American Life live show.
David Rakoff tells the story of the day that used to hold the record as the worst disaster in New York history: June 15th, 1904, when the steamship The General Slocum, caught fire and sank in the Hudson river, killing 1,031 passengers. Almost everyone aboard was from one neighborhood in New York, and by all accounts, that neighborhood was never the same again.
Contributor David Rakoff visits his dream job: In the crafts department at Martha Stewart Living magazine.
David Rakoff tells a story about an actual pursuit—a scavenger hunt—that takes hundreds of hours to create ... done for the sheer pleasure of it.
David Rakoff goes in search of the only existing mementos of a year-and-a-half of his life when he nearly died from Hodgkins Disease. The missing relics are his own pre-chemotherapized sperm — which reside somewhere in a Toronto lab.
Building everything that comprises modern life—constructing cities and suburbs both—means trampling nature. And that bothers some people.
David Rakoff takes us inside the world of a Greek family-owned ice cream parlour, and what he learned about the husband and wife and son who owned it...and what he didn't figure out until later.
Because of a shortage of math and science teachers, New York City decided to import instructors from Austria. Then the Austrians started to see things about this country that few Americans ever get to see.
Writer David Rakoff travels to a place where everyone seems to be looking at him, a place where no one follows the customs people follow back home in New York City, a place called...New Hampshire.