When there is no Stanley Cup playoffs, why not listen to This American Life?

  My curiosity peaked and I decided to listen to the program. Each of the four stories that were provided for me to listen to were interesting and refreshing.


Mr. Bowne

  My curiosity peaked and I decided to listen to the program. Each of the four stories that were provided for me to listen to were interesting and refreshing.

 When you think of May, what is the first thing that pops into your head?

  For some, it’s when the Stanley Cup Playoffs start to heat up and become frantic in ice hockey. For others, it’s when seniors decide where they’ll commit the next four years of their lives for college. But for high school students, it’s when the most magical day occurs: prom.

  Deciding who to take, picking out the perfect dress or tuxedo, and waking up some place you don’t even remember going to. It’s the prom experience and the experience that many teenagers can’t wait for.

  With COVID-19 forcing all of us into social distancing, anything and everything regarding prom has been cancelled. No dancing on the floor with your prom date, no after-prom parties, and no memories being made.

  With prom being cancelled, I decided to go online and search on the internet about stuff regarding prom. I stumbled upon This American Life, which is an American weekly hour-long radio program. Each week’s show has a theme and the latest theme that the program discussed regarded prom. https://www.thisamericanlife.org/

  My curiosity peaked and I decided to listen to the program. Each of the four stories that were provided for me to listen to were interesting and refreshing.

  I’m the type of person who doesn’t like listening to the radio or podcasts in general. But there was something about the program that made me want to listen to more. I was hooked.

  The first story, Tornado Prom, recounts when a tornado hit the compact town of Hoisington, Kansas. While the tornado was occurring, the seniors at Hoisington High School were enjoying their prom. They had no idea what was going on. Even when the lights kept going out and the doors kept opening, the seniors didn’t care. They just wanted to have fun. While they were dancing, the tornado destroyed about a third of Hoisington. Strangely, the tornado only hit the western part of Hoisington. While the western part looked like it was the site of a war zone, everywhere else looked normal. Roofs were torn off, front steps were destroyed, and some houses were just gone. Some of the teenagers actually believed that it was some sort of cosmic horror. One girl believed that she jinxed it and that she’s the reason the tornado happened. Lots of people spray-painted cars, houses, and boarded up windows with references to The Wizard of Oz with peculiar sayings. But even after everything that happened, people were looking forward to rebuilding the broken part of town. They came to the firm realization that anything could happen in Hoisington.

  The second story, Save The Last Dance For Me…Again, host Ira Glass talks with Francine Pascal. Pascal is an author, who has written over 700 books in Sweet Valley High series. Pascal elaborated that the prom is mentioned in about 500 of the books, while the prom itself is a major goal in about 35 of the books. Pascal believes that the prom is the “quintessential glory” of high school and that it’s the moment that comes closest to the romantic vision of life. Pascal said that prom is really important in both the high school life and the teenager life. In addition, Pascal believes that certain prom stores fall into some categories. For example, there’s the “bet plot”, where the boy has to ask the girl to prom because someone bet him to do it. Also, there’s the choices of potential dates, where the boy decides between the attractive, unattainable girl and the smart, funny best friend. Ironically, Pascal never went to her prom because she wasn’t interested and she didn’t like high school in general.

  The third story, Only Two Things Are Certain In Life: Death and Tuxes, captures what the prom usually is like at Taft High School in Chicago. All year long, the students slouch, misbehave, and wear clothing that the faculty find questionable. But at prom, the students are gorgeously dressed and act polite. Some kids don’t even dress up, some just wear a white shirt that was colored with sharpies and black pants. Something that was peculiar was the garter ceremony, where girls were seated in chairs with bare legs with just garters. Boys had to put their hands behind their backs and pull the garters off with their mouths. Teachers aren’t appalled by this and say that it happens every year. After the prom, a group of kids go to a party, but have to wait for someone to make a liquor run. At 1:30 in the morning, the kids decided to drive to the beach and take in the scenery when they arrived. The kids have a run in with the police, but the police only put a ticket on one kid’s car and drive away. After that, the kid’s end up ordering food at Denny’s. That’s the gist of prom for kids at Taft High School. Stay out all night and wander from place to place.

  The last story, Only One Thing Missing, is definitely the most interesting story of the four stories. For seventy years, on the third weekend in May, all the high schools in Racine, Wisconsin hold their proms. After the proms are over, all of the students from the separate proms drive a parade route though town. The students drive in strange vehicles, like limousines, ice cream trucks, and antique cars, to the post-prom party. People set up lawn chairs to watch the party. How could they make it bigger? Simple, by broadcasting it on live television. To the students of Racine, it’s a huge deal for them. There’s red carpets to walk along and cameras to film them. It’s almost as if they are movie stars. The local television studio even says that the post-prom party is bigger than both the Oscars and the Super Bowl. Why? It’s the highest rated event in Racine through the course of the year. Not everyone is a fan of the post-prom, as one girl believes that the prom is an allusion. She didn’t go to the prom and doesn’t feel that prom makes students feel special. But even middle school students and elementary school students watch the prom and can’t wait until they can go. Prom is just a dance, but the amount of hype that is put into the prom makes it an experience that no one should miss.

  Overall, I pleasantly enjoyed my time listening to each of the four stories. They were weird, but they were interesting. If anything, the stories made me upset that I wasn’t able to go to prom. Hopefully, this social distancing will be over by next May.