A Brief Chat About “S-Town”

Make a will!

Megan: I finished S-Town last night, finally. Let’s not be cute and just call it what it’s supposed to be, which is Shit-Town. There we go. I finished Shit-Town last night!

Nicole: I finished it about a week ago? I made it the top podcast on my list and didn’t listen to anything else until I was done. It was fascinating!

Megan: It really was! There were so many twists and turns and I like very much how it ended up being a story about something other than what you thought it was going to be. Though, I was expecting a little more about THE GOLD and THE TREASURE, given the amount of takes I saw when it first came out.

Nicole: Me too. It was like, come on, where’s all this money? I do think that maybe the biggest lesson from this podcast is “make a will.” There are some other lessons here too, but if John B. had made a will, the whole thing would have gone very differently.

Megan: Yeah, I mean…there are lots of other takeaways that we can get into, but halfway through the thing, I found myself exasperated at the fact that this man had NOT made a will and that his cousins were like, rifling through his dead body to maybe steal his nipple rings. Make a will! Make a will.

Nicole: How much are nipple rings worth? Is it just that any amount of gold is valuable, no matter how small? Should I be melting down my earrings? (Do I even own any gold earrings?)

Megan: Great questions and ones that we are woefully unprepared to answer, because I don’t think I’ve ever seen a gold bullion in my life nor will I ever. Yet if you believe what the podcast said, John B. had them in spades, laying around in shoeboxes and potentially buried somewhere?

Nicole: Are we supposed to infer that Tyler found the gold, during that one conversation he requested to remain off the record? I’ve seen other people say “of course, that’s what happened.”

Megan: Oh shit, I didn’t even think of that. I assumed that that conversation had something to do with the extremely personal shit he had discussed re: “church,” but if we’re going to throw ourselves head first into rampant speculation, that’s very plausible, too.

Nicole: But the build up is, like, Brian Reed saying “I’d love to know if you ever find the gold, but you probably shouldn’t tell anyone because you would have committed a felony to get it,” and then Tyler is all “turn that tape recorder off.” So….GOLD TALK?

Megan: Ah, yes you are right! My memory is faulty, but that rings a bell now. I think I was also so fascinated by the church thing that it keeps rushing to front of mind. I mean….maybe Tyler found the gold. Maybe someone did the smart thing and got a metal detector like we’d talked about and just FOUND THE TREASURE. That would’ve been my first instinct if I was involved in this mess, even though I guess it would’ve been a felony. I don’t know.

Nicole: Or maybe there was no gold. Maybe John B. was full of SHIT TOWN.

Megan: HIGHLY LIKELY. He was a fascinating character, though, and if you take into consideration the 11th-hour WebMD assessment that maybe, just maybe he had mercury poisoning, there was no gold at all. Or like, a single gold bar as opposed to Scrooge McDuck levels of coin.

Nicole: Or a bunch of dimes turned the color of gold. Who knows?

Megan: Any theories posited now are speculation — half the fun, I say. But! The lesson that really did stick with me was the one about a will. Make a living will. Make a regular will. Do you have a will?? I don’t but I guess I will now.

Nicole: I never felt like I had enough stuff to warrant a will. My family would get it anyway, right? They’re the people I want to have any money that may exist after my death and the cost of the funeral.

Megan: I certainly don’t have enough stuff to warrant a will and I’m pretty sure my net worth is in the negatives due to debt. I assume that my family would get whatever there is after I shuffle off this mortal coil, but I really don’t know for sure. Something to think about now or maybe in a few years when I ideally have things that are of more value than just books and a bunch of watercolor pencils.

Nicole: I promise that if I ever become wealthy enough to own gold bars, I will make a will.