Some reflections on our first ever "Pick Up the Phone and Call Day."
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Host Anna Sale and the logos for Death, Sex & Money and WNYC Studios, all on a beige background.

We did it together: the world’s first Pick Up the Phone and Call Day!

It was last Friday and we’ve heard some wonderful stories about what happened when you set the intention, picked up the phone, and just reached out. I made three calls to people I love but otherwise wouldn’t have randomly called during the workday, and let me tell you, I felt so grateful for those conversations. Read on below for another story from a listener who picked up the phone—it's great.

Another thing that happened on the holiday was I hosted the live WNYC talk show All Of It. Regular host Alison Stewart was out, and thanks to the magic of technology, I got to talk via broadcast towers all over the New York City metro area from my back bedroom in California while wearing slippers.

One of my guests was comedian (and former Death, Sex & Money guest) Chris Gethard, who has become a connoisseur of the phone call, through his podcast Beautiful/Anonymous and his new celebration of all things in his home state, New Jersey Is The World. He told me about one time that he just picked up the phone and called, when he was just leaving a therapy appointment where he’d talked about the guilt of missing the funeral of a buddy’s father because his depression at the time made it too difficult to go. So, years later, he called to apologize. His friend’s response: I wouldn’t have gone either if I didn’t have to.

The other thing Chris and I did to celebrate the holiday? We invited callers to join us in a singalong of “I Just Called To Say I Love You.” We really did. Listen here, starting at 22:00.

We’re always here if you want to reach out to us. Say hello, or tell us what’s going on in your life, or tell us you need to hear next, by sending a note to

—Anna and the Death, Sex & Money team

Your Stories: Pick Up the Phone and Call Day Reflections
Almost 500 of you signed up to take part in our "Pick Up the Phone and Call Day," and quite a few of you told us it went better than expected, including Minda, who planned on calling one friend, but ended up reaching out to someone else. While it didn't go like she thought it would, the phone call she had was even better than she expected:
“I called and said, ‘Hi, I was thinking of you and wanted to check in and tell you to have a good day.’ And it just evolved. The next thing I knew, we had been on the phone for like 45 minutes and she had to go because she had a Zoom meeting. But the best part of the whole conversation was at the end when she said, ‘Thanks for calling. I have missed you, and I actually got up out of bed and brushed my hair while we were talking and that’s because of you making me want to get up and do that.’ Makes me want to do it again.”
—Minda, 50, Arizona

Listen to This: Audio We Love

A red square with a white speech bubble made of a smaller white square and stripes (like the American flag) and the words "This American Life from WBEZ" in white text. "This American Life" is in a white serif font, and "from WBEZ" is in a white, sans serif font.
The podcast art for the show Spectacle features a long haird person in a pink shirt and dark pants giving a confessional while seated on a black stool. A video camera in the center right records them talking. The walls of the room have pink, orange, yellow, and green panels, with a backdrop of a blue wall with eyes on it. The word "Spectacle" is in white all-caps with blue shadows, and "An Unscripted History of Reality TV" is in pink capitalized letters with a sans serif font.
It’s college admission season—but this year, many universities dropped their test score requirements for applications due to the pandemic. This American Life looks at how this could revolutionize college admissions in the U.S., and open up access to elite schools to students who may have been excluded based on test scores before—especially lower income students, who historically have fared worse on standardized tests. But how will those students do, once they get to college? The recent episode focuses on one UT Austin freshman who was admitted based on her class rank—not her SAT scores—and follows her ups and downs through her first semester calculus class. 

Spectacle: An Unscripted History of Reality TV dissects reality television one show at a time. There’s insight on all of your favorite guilty pleasures, including Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Queer Eye, and The Bachelor franchise. But episode one goes back to how it all started: An American Family, filmed in 1973. It was a first-of-its kind show that captured a couple’s intimate moments, from opening the mail (yup!) to conversations around divorce. It was a time when the show reflected American culture back to itself. 
"This podcast is informative and inspirational. I've found it to be a solid comfort during these very isolating days. Please, keep up the great work!"
—Jayne, Illinois

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