This American Surrender

Dear Ira Glass:

You win.

I hated you in the late 90’s, when your show first went national and it was kind of new and hip.  Your smugly self-satisfied voice.  The stupid little musical snippets you’d thread into interviews and storytelling.  It was all so thunderously irritating that it was easy to not pay too much attention and let all my preconceptions about your show remain intact.

Then I managed to forget about you for much of the Aughts.  I didn’t come across your show in my daily life, so it was easy.  You went up a notch in my estimation when I saw you in Gigantic, but that wasn’t enough to make me seek you out or anything.

Then you got on TV.  Whoop-dee-doo.  Still haven’t seen that yet.

But then I started getting up with the kids on Saturday mornings and then crashing back in bed after my wife got up, so when I woke up a second time (usually after some really weird dream) they were off at the farmer’s market or somewhere and I was toodling around the house by myself with the radio on.  And dammit, you were on right after Wait Wait.  So I started listening again in spite of myself.  And it didn’t suck.

Then came the new iPod and me slurping down podcasts to listen to in the car or at the gym.  And then, this past week:  driving all the way to the Upper Peninsula and back, hours upon hours of open road.  And my clever road trip mix just didn’t do it for me, and all the other stuff I had heard before, so I caught up on every single episode of your show that was sitting on my iPod, hour after hour.  And I loved it.  It kept me going.

What I can’t figure out is, shouldn’t this new pro-TAL phase of my life be accompanied by an attraction to artfully hip music?  The Decembrists, maybe some Sufjan?  But I can’t get into it no matter how hard I try.  Instead, when I wasn’t listening to you I was rocking out to the new Green Day or J. Roddy.  Primal, gutsy stuff.  But I guess that’s the point:  get past the twee little musical snippets — and they do still annoy me — and you are primal.  And gutsy.  Just gotta listen for it.

So, yeah, you win.