May 11, 2001


Stories of people trying to love their neighbors, and failing.


Host Ira Glass talks to the Arnold Abbott, the founder of "Love Thy Neighbor," a Florida charity that's being sued by "Love Your Neighbor," a Michigan ministry and business. "Love Your Neighbor" owns the trademark on the phrases "Love Your Neighbor" and "Love Thy Neighbor;" the attorney for the Michigan business Julie Greenberg, contemplates whether suing a neighbor can fall within the category of loving them as yourself. (5 minutes)
Act One

Mr. Rothbart's Neighborhood

When he was just a kid, Davy Rothbart and his family visited the most famous neighbor in America—Mr. Rogers—at his summer cottage on Nantucket. Two decades later, as an adult, Davy went back for another visit with Mr. Rogers. This time he brought stories from his own neighborhood, stories of neighborly conflict and distrust—to see what kind of advice Mr. Rogers could give him. (20 minutes)

Act Two

The Girl Next Door

What happens when the kid next door wants to be your new friend...and comes over, tries to talk to you, befriends your dog. Are you a bad person if you don't want to accept the tiny hand of friendship? Cheryl Wagner tells the story of her young, persistent next-door neighbor. A version of this story first appeared at Open Letters. (11 minutes)
Act Three

The Ratman Cometh

What happens when a good neighbor goes bad. Katie Davis lives on a block where everyone wants to get along, and they're trying, even though one of their favorite neighbors has dozens of rats infesting her yard and attacking other houses. (20 minutes)