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March 4, 2011

Oh You Shouldn't Have

Stories about the perils of giving and receiving gifts: Ones that go over spectacularly well in spite of being in poor taste, and ones that flop even with the best intentions. Including what happens when—surprise!—your whole past gets laid out for a live TV audience.

Rev. Kiyoshi Tanimoto appearing on a 1955 episode of the TV show "This Is Your Life." Host Ralph Edwards is at right.

Prologue

Ira Glass hands off the show to guest host Nancy Updike, via a quick cell phone call, as he heads out of town to report a story. Nancy isn't quite sure how how she feels about being given this new role... ambivalence not uncommon for the receivers of gifts. (5 minutes)
Act Two

Act Two

Nancy Updike follows up on a Haaretz newspaper story about a sting operation against a medical marijuana supplier in Israel—a case where being giving was not the best idea. (9 1/2 minutes)

Act Three

Act Three

Nancy speaks with Nazanin Rafsanjani about the Iranian custom Tarof, which leads people to constantly offer things they may not want to give, and to refuse things they really want. Nazanin is a producer for the public radio show On The Media. (7 1/2 minutes)

Act Four

Act Four

Actor Michael Chernus reads Etgar Keret's short story "What Of This Goldfish Would You Wish?" in which a young man decides to make a documentary about the secret longings of everyday Israelis. But he's not prepared for what he sees in the house of a man named Sergei. Etgar's most recent book in English is The Girl on The Fridge. (13 minutes)