January 9, 2004

Living Without (2004)

Stories of people living without. Nubar Alexanian explains what fish can do for him that his own ears cannot. Sarah Vowell explains the cheerful journalism of deprivation. And other stories.

We made an updated version of this episode in 2011.


It's hard to give things up. Host Ira Glass tells the story of Walter, a three-year-old boy who had to give up his pacifier, and then, wanting comfort, asked all the adults around him to tell the stories of when they gave up their pacifiers. (4 minutes)
Act Two

The Journalism Of Deprivation

Sarah Vowell introduces you to a magazine that—if you're lucky—you've never had to read. A magazine called Living Without. Her story is part of the Hearing Voices project, which gets funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. (6 minutes)

Note: In 2011, we redid this show, replacing Sarah's essay with something else. Her essay is great, but the culture sort of caught up to the idea of gluten-free living and by the time we wanted to rerun the show six years after it was first broadcast, in an era where pizza places everywhere offer gluten free pizza, the story felt like a relic from a more innocent, gluten-ignorant era.

Act Three

The Call Of The Great Indoors

Every week, Chelsea Merz has lunch with a homeless man named Matthew, in the same restaurant. Matthew's been on the street for seven years, but once or twice a year, he housesits for a friend. She talked to him after he was housesitting for 16 days, on the day he went back out on the street. This story is part of a larger project Chelsea is putting together, with help from Jay Allison, the Cape and Island NPR stations, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. (8 minutes)
Act Four

Tin Man

Sometimes it's hard to figure out if you're doing something of your own choice or because someone wants you to do it. Actor Matt Malloy reads "Guilt," a short story by Judith Budnitz.