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December 26, 2008

The Daily Asker on NPR!

December 26. Day 179.

I just found out I'm on the radio today!

What: NPR's "Here & Now"
When: Local times vary.
Where: Click for a link to the segment.
If you're new to the site, welcome! You can read about how this project started or learn about the book that inspired it. So far, I've shopped with chefs in Seattle, requested a seatmate in New York to stop yammering, gotten my first raise, and saved wads of cash in discounts and upgrades. I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to drop me a line at thedailyasker at gmail or to subscribe, using the button to your right.
It was my first radio or media interview ever. I taped it a few weeks ago, and I was convinced when I hung up that I talked too fast. Thank God for sound editing technology, or the three valiums I popped beforehand (just kidding -- really. No, really.).

I listen to "Here & Now" whenever I'm in Boston, so how cool to talk to them about this project. Thanks for having me on the show!!


Most of the things I ask for are either impromptu or a natural development from that day's activities. But since starting this project, there are a few requests I've been planning -- either because my life is leaning that way (higher starting salary, new car discount), or because it's something I've long wanted to do (drive a stranger's cool car or see the inside of someone's beautiful home) or because it's a taboo/inhibition/hang up I want to get over (like trying on a stranger's shoe -- not exactly polite dinner party conversation, but what's the big deal, I discovered).

That last category included asking a physician for medical advice at a party. You know, sidling up to that neurologist and complaining about your latest headache, or telling the shrink standing by the stereo equipment about that recurring nightmare you have about that blog post where you can't find the space bar. Curses!!

I'd never want to be that kind of guest. And yet, I do. imagine having the balls to just go up to a specialist and get a free 5 minute consultation? Just to do it, once? Live a little?

Well, I got my chance tonight, since we had dinner at the home of a pair of doctors -- he's a cardiologist, she does internal medicine -- and their other guest was a doctor from Venezuela.

The conversation jumped around from diabetes to Obama, so it didn't feel at all weird when I spoke up about my deep, dark health affliction.

"How many colds do you think is normal for a person to get in a year?" I inquired.

"Here, or where? Depends on where you live," the Venezuelan replied. "Here, people are sick all the time. A lot of times, it's actually allegies -- mold, humidity -- "

"I don't live here.. So for a cold, for an average healthy person living anywhere, is... eight times a year too many?"

"Yes, I would say so. That's a lot."

"Five times a year? Three?"

"Maybe three is more normal."

"Because I keep getting colds," I pressed. "And they're not allergies. It's a recent thing -- the past year or two..."

"Then your immune system must be down. Get your sinuses checked out. It could be something chronic, that makes you more susceptible to getting sick."

Gained: $100 -- value of a clinic consultation. Or $10 -- value of my copay. Or an insight into my health. Or a realization that there are worse things than being the pushy party patient. It's a tossup.
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