Sex & Love

The Ira Glass Infatuation Post/This American Life Roundup: “The Bridge”

This American Strife  This week’s Life started at the very best view of Chicago near the WBEZ offices. Driving down Lake Shore Drive, with the lake to the east and the city to the west, the river arrives under you at … Read More

By / May 12, 2010

This American Strife 

This week’s Life started at the very best view of Chicago near the WBEZ offices. Driving down Lake Shore Drive, with the lake to the east and the city to the west, the river arrives under you at this point at 30-60 mph and beautiful things start to happen: Ira begins to wax poetic about a hole in this drawbridge where a fellow Chicagoan used to reside. 

This humorous story that most of the city’s folk remember from several years ago tenderly introduces a fairly dreary hour. Overall, it’s been a depressing week on TAL, and in the world at large. But, even when life happens it’s okay to tune out and get turned on as best as you can; even sad clowns need lovin’.  

Act 1: I am going to punch you in the face 

Suicide without Hollywood romanticizationwith a communist backdrop.  It’s one of my favorite stimuli actually, but only when there’s vodka in my left hand and Lenin on the wall behind me. But there’s something to be said for the need to be in the mood. It’s kind of like when you turn on a snuff flick absentmindedly when all you wanted was some softcore Skinemax action to take the edge off of your day, but ended up with a whole other bag of worms to deal with.  

While the act’s focus on the corporeal and all the ugliness of life does nothing for my lusting, things turn around when Chen Sah, a man who scouts a four-mile-long bridge in Nanjing for suicidal jumpers and blogs about it, begins to finally open up aftera drink with interviewer Mike Paterniti "loosens the tongue." There’s nothing like taking advantage of your rendezvous with a little canned heat to get the evening going.  

It all turns gonzo/ surreal when Paterniti drunkenly stops one man’s attempt to jump that made the hero "kind of nauseous." Turmoil ensues as Mr. Chen says to the near-dead man, "I am going to punch you in the face." Whatever works. 

Act 2: He’s a lot more worried about his tunnel collapsing than about Israel making peace with Hamas 

In a tunnel between Gaza and Egypt, Lee Marvin-type Abu Mohammad really turned me on. He is interviewed by Nancy Updike about his role as an owner of a tunnel acting as an underground black market exchange. He brazenly sold all his land for the prospect of a better future, sacrificing stability for a walk on the wild side, making risks for fortune. It’s similar to the immigrant experience where severe escapism allows for a pimper life.  

Forget tradition, comfort, and legality-we’re working outside of all that…with Hamas-enforced laws. It recalls Bond-wannabe Russian Chicago mafiosa fleecing their countrymen. Full of Hollywood potential, but tres unsexy.

Act 3: They are pitching tents and camping out by the Julia Tuttle Causeway 

Clash of the bureaucracies raise my heart rate, but not in a sexy way.  

Returning to fun Florida for another unique lawmaking extravaganza, a county orders people charged with sexual assault out of their houses to live under a bridge because it is the only place that complies with angry-father-turned-lobbyist Ron Book’s successfully passed law that requires a residence for such offenders that is at least 2500 feet from schools, playgrounds and daycare centers.  

Can’t these people move to a different, less perilous county? How does turning a bunch of child molesters into outdoor trolls protect children anyway? And who the hell gave Ron Book singular responsibilities over a) vengeful lawmaking that promote homelessness and b) conflict of interest eradication of the homelessness problem in the Miami? Fuck you, Florida. 

The Verdict

"There’s no hope for you here," belts Jack White. And I have a feeling he’s referring to my libido. But not even the Most Interesting Man in the World can win them all. I still love you, Ira.