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Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks with a guy who hit the road after his mother's death, hoping for some experience that would change him and shed light on what had just happened. This never happens to him, or to most of us.

Prologue

More than England, or Japan or Israel.... When we think of South Africa, it's a more interesting mirror of the United States than nearly any country, because we glimpse a distant echo of the most frightening parts of American society — and the most inspiring.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass goes to the Federal Express hub at Memphis to watch 1.2 million pieces of overnight mail get sorted in one night and to talk to the adrenaline junkies in the FedEx Command Center.

Act One: Travels in Hyperreality

Host Ira Glass uses Italian author Umberto Eco's essay Travels in Hyperreality as a guidebook to American simulated worlds. Eco says that the urge to create these miniature simulated worlds is a very American impulse — a significant American aesthetic — and one that's not often discussed.

Act One

After he goes to Jerusalem and sleeps on what is supposedly the very spot where Jesus was crucified, Kevin Kelly has a revelation: that he should live the next six months as if he would die at the end of them. So he gives away nearly everything he owns, and tries to live each day as if his death is imminent — which turns out to be a great challenge.