Nubar Alexanian was forced to give up one thing—and then gave up another thing by choice. This story was put together by Nubar and his daughter Abby, with help from Jay Allison, for Transom.org, with funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
The story of what happens to an average American family, when a perfectly normal, rational and funny mom starts spending every day in the company of an ancient Buddhist monk named Aaron, who no one else can see. Davy Rothbart is one of her three sons, and also the reporter for this story.
Brent Runyon tells the story of the day in eighth grade that he set himself on fire...and what led to that. He wasn't a loner, he had friends, his mother was a teacher, his parents took an interest in his life.
Veronica Chater tells the story of her developmentally disabled brother Vincent, who one day quit his job and then quit everything else, mystifying everyone in his life. Veronica is author of the memoir Waiting for the Apocalypse.
At a fairly bleak time in his life, Scott took a job driving all over the state of Utah, interviewing people who were diagnosed with schizophrenia. His job was to administer a standard test, which measured mental health.
Producer Blue Chevigny used to have a job that was all about Moving Day—and people who didn't want to move. She worked for an agency in New York called Project Reachout, part of Goddard Riverside Community Center, that moved homeless, mentally ill people into their own homes.
The story of Jug Burkett, a businessman in Dallas and a Vietnam vet, who years ago routinely started checking the bona fides of anyone in the news who claimed to have served in the Vietnam war. He says he's found hundreds of fakers, and he says that one of the tricky things about the fakers is that they often seem more like The Real Thing than real vets do.
Since the high school shootings in Littleton, Colorado, parents and teachers are looking for warning signs that the children in their lives might suddenly strike out. But the dividing line between normal childhood aggression and social pathology can be hard to spot.
Host Ira Glass talks with his mom—a clinical psychologist—about why people seem to rarely take the advice others give. Then advice columnist Dan Savage, author of the syndicated column and book Savage Love, gives the audience some advice that hopefully might save lives.
It's possible to turn off your emotions and go on autopilot for brief periods with the people you love, and it's possible to shut them down completely. Writer Dani Shapiro reads from her memoir Slow Motion: A True Story.