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This American Life

233: Starting From Scratch

People starting over—sometimes because they want to, other times because they have to.

Image from the Puppy Channel network, from the story in Act One.

Host Ira Glass talks to Jorge Just, who thought he’d started over successfully. He’d moved to New York, found an apartment that everyone told him was a great deal, things were looking good. Then a reality television show visited his building. (8 minutes)

Molly FitzSimons tells the story of her father starting over. After 25 years in the same zip code, as an executive in the same company, he moved to Los Angeles and tried to start over in a new life with a new venture: A cable channel, with no people, no talking, no plots, but lots and lots of puppies. (15 minutes)

Mary Beth Kirchner documents one day in the life of a hustler named Joe, who wakes up every morning broke, hustles as much as $10,000 during the day and then loses most of it by the time he goes to bed. What it’s like to start from scratch every day of your life. Some of the funding for this story came from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s Radio Fund. (18 minutes)

Jonathan Goldstein reads a story about the first people to ever start from scratch, a couple named Adam and Eve. Jonathan Goldstein is the host of the Gimlet show Heavyweight. (14 minutes)


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