Do you all love This American Life with Chicago Public Radio’s Ira Glass as much as me?
Rhetorical questions aside, I think TAL is a fabulous bit of journalistic story telling and am always thrilled when my weekend schedule serendipitously plants me in the car, all alone, on a Saturday at noon.
Today, while driving home from a public film showing of Orgasmic Birth at the Bozeman Public Library, I caught the last story of This American Life–a short story read by author Shalom Auslander, from his book Beware of God.
The story caught my attention immediately. It is about a teenage Jewish boy who, having attended Yeshiva school for many years, lands a job as a Shomer, a “watcher” of dead Jewish bodies between the time of death and burial a day or two later.
The story is touching, hilarious and surprising. (Who’d think a dope-smoking, former Yeshiva student would maintain such a job–at $85/night–for the promary purpose of saving up enough money to buy a 1982 Ford Mustang?)
The story, too, caught my attention as the issue of deploying a shomer to watch over the body of the deceased appears in my forth coming book A Heroic Survival, An Abysmal Truth: The Story of Dallon Whittaker.
A Christian myself, while researching for my book, I found the idea absolutely fascinating: having a same-faith person watch over a loved one’s dead body, for the primary purpose of easing the process of departure for the deceased person’s soul.
If you didn’t have a chance to catch the This American Life episode that feature’s Auslander reading his story, you can find it here.
Better yet, go on out and buy Auslander’s book, and read the story (along with a host of other short stories) yourself.