Host Ira Glass reads famous last words from Bing Crosby, Oscar Wilde, W.C. Fields, and talks about what we want from people's last words.
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Sarah Vowell tells the story of Page Smith and Eloise Pickard Smith. They were married for over five decades, and died a day apart.
Forty-five people read Luc Sante's story The Unknown Soldier, in which we hear about people's final moments, final thoughts.
Writer Greil Marcus explains what rock fans use dead rock stars for.
We go through transcripts from those black box flight recorders recovered from airplane crashes to see what people say. One pilot declares "I love you" to someone, another is doing his job like always and suddenly says, "uh-oh." It's an interview with Malcolm McPherson, author of The Black Box: All-New Cockpit Voice Recorder Accounts of In-Flight Accidents.
Writer Tobias Wolff reads his story "Bullet in the Brain" from his collection of stories The Night in Question, about a bank robbery and a man who's shot, and what he thinks about before he dies.
Sean Collins on the germs within us, the germs that can kill us, and the germs that do kill us. He tells the story of the battle with germs that his friend Christopher lost, and contemplates what the germ won when it defeated his friend.
Mary Kay Prucha tells her story about the lies she told herself to deal with cystic fibrosis.
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.
Reporter Scott Carrier does a story about Harvey "Job" Matusow.
Poet Donald Hall reads about his wife Jane Kenyon, who contracted leukemia, went through treatment, and died. His book is also called Without: Poems.