Photo by Wilhelm Gunkel on Unsplash

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I just had a very interesting call with the woman from Alarm Masters.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


Is this one of your usual vents, or do I actually need to pay attention?


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


Actually, neither. My home alarm system's siren went off in the middle of the night and scared us all to death. Luckily, it was just a malfunction, so I called them as soon as they opened to see if they could send someone out. And less than two hours later they had a repairman at my door!


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And, you are telling me this … why?


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io



Because after he left, I called their office to thank them for getting someone out so quickly. They always provide great service, but this was exceptional.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


I bet that shocked them. People typically call businesses to complain – not to compliment.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


Exactly. I could tell that she was very surprised which quickly turned into being appreciative. It was such a small thing on my part, but I think it made a difference in her day.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


And, will probably create a lasting memory. As will this call, as I am used to you calling me to vent – not compliment. Now, is there anything else you need to tell me? Or, can I get back to work?


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


No, that's it. But I guess I could thank you for listening.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


No, save that "thank you" for someone who would appreciate it.

Dear Data Geek, where is my sister, and what have you done to her?

For as long as I can remember, including her entire adult life, my sister has always seemed allergic to numbers. She was a straight-A student, so did well in math, but only because she worked at it. However, she was never comfortable with numbers or mathematical concepts. I, on the other hand, thought math was fun. Maybe it was a self-fulfilling prophecy as growing up our mother would joke that the reason I excelled in math was because I substituted dollars for apples and oranges when doing word problems.

Fast forward to when my sister was 40+ years old and her husband was fired. She was panicked because she did not know the first thing about personal finance and was certain it would take an M.B.A. (she has a theater arts degree) to understand it. I sarcastically asked her if she could add and subtract, and when she acknowledged she could, I let her know she was more than qualified. However, it was my "light bulb moment" because the resulting conversation made me realize it was the financial terminology that was creating the problem, along with the fact she was creating roadblocks in her mind that did not need to exist.

Fast forward … Today, my sister's youngest daughter plays volleyball and loves the statistics – whether hers, her teammates, or the team and where they stand in terms of the competition. Is she a math wizard? Probably no more so than her mother, but her attitude toward numbers and statistics is very different. She loves them because they intrigue her and have a purpose. So much so that, much to her mother's amazement, she voluntarily took a statistics course. Which is something I would have done (actually, I did take mathematical statistics as an elective in college).

So, imagine my surprise when my sister started analyzing the statistics provided by MailChimp on last week's email newsletter – letting me know open rates and click rates, and even comparing them to previous email campaigns. We only started using MailChimp a few months ago (shortly after we launched our new website), creating newsletters to provide our followers with food-for-thought (we have nothing to sell – as we have not even put our bestselling book on the site … yet).

I know that if I had asked my sister to "analyze data" she would have freaked out (that is her default setting), but because the numbers had a purpose and were clearly presented, her curiosity prompted her to review them. Which, besides giving information on our email campaign, provided proof that …

When something is relevant, we seem to ignore the mental roadblocks that we might otherwise have built.
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Black has said, on more than one occasion, that having morning TV shows playing in the background while I work reduces my level of concentration. Although that may, or may not, be true (as a mom I just consider it yet another source of "white noise"), I still keep doing it. And I have to say that this week, I was so glad that I did, otherwise I'd never have realized that my sister, Black, and Dr. Fauci are both Vulcans.

Yes, I know that Vulcans aren't real (watching Star Trek with my dad is one of my fonder childhood memories, although I was never a "Trekkie"), but sometime in the last decade I was at the movies enjoying my popcorn while one of the recent Star Trek movies was playing … and I had a revelation. I realized that my sister, with her non-emotional and highly pragmatic way of looking at everything (and I mean everything – including relationships, if you can believe that) was Vulcan-like. Which explained so much, including why I always have to explain the "mere mortal" perspective to her. For her, emotions get in the way and prevent looking at things logically.

Fast forward to this week and the incredibly tragic news of the U.S. reaching 500,000 coronavirus deaths. Dr. Fauci was being interviewed by CBS This Morning, and I'll admit that I wasn't really paying any attention until I heard the doctor being asked,

Is there ever a moment when you have time to get emotional about this?

At that point, Dr. Fauci had my full and undivided attention. And I just had to laugh, and think of Black, when he replied, without hesitation,

No, I don't. And that's the point.

And then he proceeded to explain that it's not that he's a very cold person, but that you can't let emotions drive what you do. He emphasized the need to be empathic, but that you need to stay focused on the task at hand. By then, although the words were coming from Dr. Fauci, the sentiments might just as well have been from my sister.

And just as I've learned never to question my sister's unemotional, highly analytical approach to everything, I had to smile at the thought that now Black's not the only Vulcan that I "know". And respect.

Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

For Black, Valentine's Day is a reminder, a mindset, and a year-round approach to life. Based on death. Confused? Red was. Until Black explained her "logic", which gave Red a warm and fuzzy feeling as she saw how it could help her become her year-round best – not only for herself, but for others in her life.

Want to read other columns? Here's a list.