What if you asked people for advice and actually took all the advice that everyone gave you? As an experiment, writer Sarah Vowell tried exactly that, when she recently solicited advice from many different people about insomnia.
When Brigid starting going blind, she tried to hire someone to drive her around. Only problem was, the guy she hired wanted to carry her groceries, hold her arm as she walked to the curb...he tried to help her in too many ways.
Jack Hitt tells the story of Charlene Riling, who nearly died, and who explains how life near to death can be better than everyday life.
A story by Jay Allison and Annie Cheney, from Jay's Life Stories series. Annie tells a story of eating and not eating, and a life seen through one meal.
The story of a White House scandal from the year 1881. President James Garfield lay dying of a gunshot wound during that summer.
Reporter Hanna Rosen did an investigation of those new antibacterial products—the antibacterial soaps and lotions, the antibacterial pizza cutter and linen and underwear. In her article, she mocked these products as ineffective.
Germs were first understood at the turn of the 20th century and it turns out that the aesthetics of everyday life during this century—the way we dress, the way we groom ourselves, the way we make our homes—are all partly a response to this newfangled idea of germs.
The burden of keeping germs from hurting us in our everyday lives has fallen mostly on women, from the time science fully understood about the existence of germs. After all, women had to keep the home clean, had to prepare food safely.
Reporter, author and apple farmer Frank Browning on how irrational fear of germs means that you aren't going to get good apple cider in your local supermarket this fall.
Sean Collins on the germs within us, the germs that can kill us, and the germs that do kill us. He tells the story of the battle with germs that his friend Christopher lost, and contemplates what the germ won when it defeated his friend.
Deb Monroe reports on how she has been mapping her own body through her sense of touch.
Mary Kay Prucha tells her story about the lies she told herself to deal with cystic fibrosis.
In which we tackle the biggest possible how-to we could think of: how to make your life worth more. And we get answers — real, practical answers — from the people whose job it is to think about this issue: insurance adjusters.
Poet Donald Hall reads about his wife Jane Kenyon, who contracted leukemia, went through treatment, and died. His book is also called Without: Poems.
David Sedaris, on his mother's lung cancer.
Two people who've nearly died in gun battles describe what it's like, getting shot at. They draw opposite conclusions from their near death experiences.
A former addict and a former prisoner discuss the developmental retardation their experiences caused.
Host Ira Glass with Walt Strommer, on Dreams of Disabled People.
Photographer Joel Meyerowitz decided to go on a last big trip with his father, Hy, who has Alzheimer's. Joel also brought his own son.
A hemophiliac teenager who tries to set world records and to motocross.
Mark O'Brien is a writer in California, who lives most of each day in an iron lung, thanks to a childhood case of polio. It's an excerpt from Jessica Yu's Oscar-winning documentary.
Julie throws up.
Ira interviews Bob Helms, creator of the zine Guinea Pig Zero, which is about people who make their living by donating their bodies to science for medical experiments. Bob says he wouldn't do spinal tap studies or psychoactive drugs (he calls the people who do the latter "brain sluts").
Michael Lesy reads.