Maybe Ma Bell Had it Right…

I had planned to write this post last night, but I got home and decided that MaryBeth and I needed an evening in which neither of us spent time on the computer.  Instead, we spent the evening together, in each other’s arms.  So I hope those of you who have told me that they read my blog daily, I hope you will understand.

Yesterday, not only did I get up and workout (and by the way, after 6+ weeks, what seemed like a relatively easy workout apparently was not, as my muscles are quite sore today with the promise of more soreness tomorrow), but I also went and helped teach a karate class in the evening.  It was nice to be active again, though, as I said, I fear I will be sore tomorrow.

During the day, however, my “blue” mood (from Tuesday evening) persisted, until I got a call from a friend.  Two years ago, I was at the biennial conference of the International Society of Research on Aggression in Minneapolis.  (As an aside, in 2006 I found out that the conference this year was scheduled for Budapest, Hungary.  I lobbied for 2 years to get my division at CDC to send me.  I submitted two proposed talks that were subsequently accepted and I was jazzed about going to Budapest.  Then I got cancer.  <sigh>  Cancer really does suck!)

At the Minneapolis conference, though, I met a colleague who works at the Research Institute on Addictions in Buffalo, NY.  Now, I’m not sure what makes people ‘click’ — when they meet someone whom they recognize as a kindred spirit — but Kathy and I clicked.  Perhaps it was the fact that she was a smart aleck like me…or had an odd sense of humor like me…or that her research interests were similar to mine…or a confluence of those and other things.  Nevertheless, over the past couple of years, Kathy and I have kept in touch.  We have commiserated with each other about the joys (and challenges) of having young kids; of health problems; of working in the area of violence; and we have developed, I think, a pretty good friendship both personally and professionally. 

So yesterday, as I sat in front of my computer, trying to puzzle out a particular analysis, Kathy called; not so much because she wanted to check up on me or had some professional question, but because she just wanted to say ‘Hi’.  As the old Ma Bell slogan used go — Kathy just felt like “reaching out and touching somebody” (me).  Kathy listened to me vent; commiserated; offered suggestions; and generally made me smile with talk of her four-year old, or her husband’s photographic skills, or her (accurate) perceptions of my really strong support system.

Her call just emphasizes how important it is that folks not worry about saying the “wrong” thing.  It’s more about reaching out and (re-)connecting with me than it is about saying the “right” thing.  Whether you are calling or Emailing or writing (do people still use the postal service?? ;-) ), I most appreciate that people care enough to make that contact.  Something as little as a note or a phone call really DOES make a difference — and can change a ‘bad day’ into a ‘good day’ pretty darn quickly!



  1. AMEN! it does make a world of difference some days. Then you know that your “friends” are really there and are real friends!

    See ya Saturday!!

  2. Just checking in on you to say HI! AASECT was pretty good in New Orleans and as it turns out, I will be going to SSSS (we lost the baby). It won’t be the same without you! However, I’m so glad to read that you haven’t lost your wit and humor–two my favorite Merle qualities!

    Hope today is sunny and bright!
    Sending well wishes your way,

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