Can You Account For Your Actions?

Do you know exactly where you were last Tuesday between 2:00 and 2:21pm? What about where you were on Wednesday at 11:42am? What if those details suddenly became incredibly important to your life….to your innocence?

A week ago, I started listening to the spin-off podcast to This American Life called Serial. It is blowing my freaking mind.

Let’s back up. I’m not a music person. I don’t think I enjoy music as much as others do and it does not distract me or entertain me. Most of the time I listen to podcasts instead.

So back to Serial. It’s definitely the most entertaining podcast I’ve ever found. If you’re a This American Life fan, I feel the same about Serial as I felt about the Harper High episodes of This American Life. I could not stop until I had finished them.

Serial is different from This American Life in that each season revolves around one specific case. So far there are 6 released episodes and a 7th will be released on Thursday morning.

So what is Serial about? Here’s the description, directly from the Serial about page:

On January 13, 1999, a girl named Hae Min Lee, a senior at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County, Maryland, disappeared. A month later, her body turned up in a city park. She’d been strangled. Her 17-year-old ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested for the crime, and within a year, he was convicted and sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison. The case against him was largely based on the story of one witness, Adnan’s friend Jay, who testified that he helped Adnan bury Hae’s body. But Adnan has always maintained he had nothing to do with Hae’s death. Some people believe he’s telling the truth. Many others don’t.

Each episode goes in to elaborate detail about what actually happened the night Hae Min Lee was murdered, where every one was, what their alibi’s are. It also delves in to the two trials that took place to convict Adnan Syed as well as the police investigation. Adnan himself is interviewed frequently via the prison telephone.

I’ve been stunned by how challenging it is for people to remember what they did on a specific recent day. Most people the police interview share details like “I was probably at…” or “I usually…” but it’s actually amazing how difficult it is to account for your own actions. To corroborate your own version of the truth. When I really think about it, I can’t remember what I had for dinner on Thursday. Or what I did directly after work last Monday. But what if suddenly you were asked these kinds of very specific questions? What if remembering was the only thing standing between you and life in prison?

I’ve listened to the first six episodes and I cannot contain my excitement for the next episode to be released. Basically, I really hope I’ve convinced you to listen and if you already listen, I’d love to know whether you think Adnan is guilty or innocent. Leave a comment below and I’ll give you my thoughts too (I’d do it here but I don’t want to ruin it for others). I have pretty strong feelings in one direction.

Do You Listen to Podcasts?

One thing I’ve discovered when I talk to folks about the podcasts I listen to is that I hear a lot of “what are podcasts?” and “how do you find them to listen to?” It’s surprised me because it seems so normal to me but I realize there are lots of people who may not realize that there are tons of FREE podcasts and they are super easy to access.

What is a podcast?

A podcast is basically a radio show that is broadcast on the internet instead of on a radio station. Most podcasts are like TV shows in that they are about a specific subject matter and then release daily or weekly episodes.

How to download podcasts

1 // Go to the app store and download the Apple podcasts app on your phone. It looks like this:

Apple Podcasts App

2 // Open up the Podcast app and click “Top Charts” at the bottom. It’s a good place to start. While you’re there, you’ll notice that Serial is the #1 Podcast right now and that This American Life is #2.

Podcast Top Charts

3 // Click the podcasts you’re interested in. You can subscribe to a podcast and it will automatically download all of the new podcasts as they are released, or you can download individual episodes of a podcast. It’s a good idea to download the podcast instead of streaming it, as it will save you data usage.

4 // Listen and enjoy!

Here are some of the podcasts that I subscribe to:

Podcast Subscriptions

I actually purchased the This American Life app for $3.99, as it has every episode that has ever aired so I access that through the app directly.

Do you have any podcasts that you’d recommend? Are you ready to give podcasts a try?

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