Before Listening

This is an unusually intense story about one man’s unsuccessful suicide attempt. It presents a very personal look at what drove him to jump from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Florida, how he survived, and how he looks at his life now.

Producer Rich Halten’s piece makes vivid use of sound: one reviewer wrote that it “seems to live in a strange and much neglected no-man’s land somewhere between journalism and art.”

Listen for these features, which are typical for telling a story in an informal situation:

  • frequent use of “filler” words and expressions like “you know,” “I mean,” “kind of” (pronounced ‘kinda’): “It’s alright, you know, I mean my life is happy.”
  • use of the present tense to give a vivid, immediate tone, sometimes switching between present and past tenses: “So me and the girl get [present] back together and it did [past] work out.”
  • use of “like” to express what somebody said or thought: “And I was like, ‘No, I’m hurt really bad,’ and…”
  • use of object pronouns (“me,” “him,” etc.) for the subject of a sentence: “So me and the girl get back together…” instead of “The girl and I…”