Arts & Culture

The Ira Glas Man-Fatuation Post: Living Without

Never leave us again, Ira Glass. Read More

By / September 22, 2011
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This week on This American Life, we learn to live without, and probably, the more maudlin of us thought briefly about what life might be like without Ira.  We cried, and we sobbed, we felt like a baby without a nipple, a smoker without a cigarette, a junky without his junk.  Luckily, we all know, that will never, ever happen.

Act I told the story of a toddler giving up his pacifier.  He stridently tosses the thing in the garbage and feels proud, arrogant almost.  Then, he can’t sleep and oddly the one thing that makes him feel better is asking his parents to tell him about when they gave up their pacifiers.  What does this teach us?  Is AA a product of human nature?  Or is alcohol and drugs a more complicated form of the breast?

Act II was the story of a guy who constantly has a weird tone playing in his ear at all times, but it I could hardly listen to it because it hurt my ears.  Then it turns out that his daughter has hearing loss.  Essentially, this story was a bummer.  But in the end, he realizes that he can’t imagine living without his difficulties, or maybe the moral some kind of family thing, where he ultimately spends more time with his daughter.  Maybe it was that you shouldn’t stand too close to the amps at shows.

Never mind, the last story wasn’t that depressing.  This story puts it to shame.  A guy is a baseball player, it’s all he wants to do until one day he realizes that he’s not good enough to play anymore.  It’s not that he didn’t try hard enough, or didn’t love it enough, he just wasn’t good enough, so he becomes a stockbroker.  Unavoidably, this made me think about being a writer, which is kind of like baseball (or so most athletically-challenged nerd writers will attempt to tell you) at least in the respect that a lot people would love to do it and you’ve got to be good to be able to make a living at it.  I don’t want to live without writing though.  I could really use a pacifier right about now.

Everybody got their major, reoccurring fear.  When you’re a kid it’s something kind of ridiculous, then when you grow up its usually slightly less ridiculous.  When I was a kid I read that book 1000 Paper Cranes and became deathly afraid of nuclear war.  Now, I’m afraid of becoming homeless.  In Act IV, we have no idea why this guy is homeless, only that he is, and he doesn’t look it.  The guy is intelligent and well-spoken as he describes what it’s like to sleep in a bed after sleeping on the street for so long.  The guy is so smart, he even references Les Miserables. How the hell did this guy become homeless? Ira??

I’ve had this ongoing question about whether or not TAL accepts fiction.  It seems they do on occasion but it’s hard to tell what makes the cut.  The final act is a fictional story about a guy who donates his heart to his dying mother.  The entire time I listened to the story I thought, “This should be entitled Jewish Guilt.” Turned out it was simply entitled, Guilt.  In the end, his heart ends up being no good, and they shoot him full of preservatives, which ends up being the line they use on that Tory Malatia joke at the end of the episode.

So, there’s a laugh at the end of this episode. But you might want to listen to Poultry Slam ten or so times before bed, so you don’t cry yourself to sleep.