Lisa Carver's nine-year-old son, Wolfgang, was born with a rare illness that, among other things, makes it impossible for him to eat anything by mouth. He's fed through a g-tube, straight into his stomach.
For millennia, people have tried to reach a spiritual promised land by fasting. Jesus did it.
David Sedaris wishes he could take back a wish. He's the author of Me Talk Pretty One Day and other books.
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.
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.
Host Ira Glass and his friend Danielle, whose family says they're eating fish when in fact it's turkey or chicken, for an unusual reason.
In which we conduct a little scientific experiment—on tape, with hidden microphones—about whether niceness pays. We wire two waitresses with hidden microphones.
A guy who writes under the pen name Greg Tate wrote a book called 11 Years, 9 Months and 5 Days, which is nothing more than a year-by-year account—one vignette after another—of things that happened to him in his minimum-wage job as a janitor in a fast food burger place that he calls "The Burger Store." Justin Kaufman reads surprisingly riveting excerpts. The book was self-published at xlibris.com.
What's French for French Fries? David Sedaris has been following the diplomatic fiascoes of the last few months from Paris, where he lives. Relations between France and the U.S. have been so horrible these days we asked him how it seemed from over there.
In any family, giving other people what they want becomes fantastically complicated, often because people tend to give others the things they'd like themselves. Curtis Sittenfeld explains how the drama plays out in her family, when it comes to her father's weight.
This American Life senior producer Julie Snyder explains the office politics of street vendors on the corner of Sixth Avenue and Eighth Street in New York City. With her is sociologist Mitch Duneier, who spent years working with the vendors and writing about them for his book Sidewalk.
John Hodgman first encountered Cuervo Man on a press junket to Cuervo Nation, a small island owned by Jose Cuervo Tequila. Cuervo Man was wearing nothing but a Speedo, wraparound shades, and a red cape.
Kevin Murphy is a college student in Idaho who stutters. Using the power of radio editing, he and the production staff of This American Life removed his pauses, stutters and repeats so that he could record a message in which he doesn't stutter at all.
Ira talks with Lee Qi, who came to America from China. He worked in Chinese restaurants in small towns, live in tiny apartments with other illegal immigrants who worked there as well—apartments that were sometimes in the back of the restaurants.
In this act we hear from the rowdier, drunker late-night patrons of the Golden Apple. A guy walks in with two young women, hoping to go home with one of them.
In this act we hear several stories that happened during the daylight hours of the diner's operation. The first is from Nancy Updike, who talks with several early morning customers, including one guy who comes in mornings to play his accordion, and another who at the age of 8 was the youngest butcher in Illinois.
Every year, the Emerald Society, an association of Irish Chicago police officers, flies in policemen from New York City for Chicago's two big St. Patrick's Day Parades.
The story of two young people who, in their search to figure out who they were, pretended to be people they weren't. Both were from small towns; both took on false identities.
The story of a typical American family—imaginary poultry—and a handpuppet.
What happens when a chicken crosses the thin yellow line that divides the animals we eat from the animals we keep as pets. Jonathan Gold, food writer for Gourmet magazine, tells how he accidentally came to adopt a chicken, and what happened to his opinion of chickens afterwards.
Sean Cole visits Chad's Trading Post in Southampton, Massachussetts. One person who works there wears a shirt that says "Chad's Brother;" other shirts say "Chad's Best Friend," "Chad's Cousin," "Chad's Father." Pictures of Chad are everywhere.
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.
Host Ira Glass talks about the role of mealtime in family dynamics.
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.