Callie Oettinger

The Key to It All

By Callie Oettinger |

Sherlock Holmes pays attention. His big details are the ones ignored as little. His knowledge of crimes and human nature come from his own experiences and from books and reports. He reads of wrongdoings, scandals, atrocities and the like, in reports from other countries, and he is a devoted reader of The Times’ “Agony” column. Holmes is fiction, but what he observes is not—nor are his sources. The Times did have an “Agony” column. It’s an aged rabbit hole worth diving into. The personal advertisements that ran in it aren’t so far from what’s found in this online world of ours.…

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A Part of Our Lives

By Callie Oettinger |

Boston felt like home. I was in high school when I stepped into Bean Town for the first time, but I already knew Charles St. because I’d traveled it with Robert McCloskey’s Mr. and Mrs. Mallard, and I knew the North Church and Charlestown Shore, because I’d rowed and ridden with Longfellow’s Revere. I knew the city from childhood picture books and history textbooks, books that had been my friends and mentors, offering comfort and instruction. They were a part of my life just as much as any living, breathing teacher or relative. They were a part of me. I…

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The Road Not Taken

By Callie Oettinger |

Exit the main streets of Washington, D.C., and you’ll find yourself driving through narrow chutes lined with parked cars, wishing your ride was a Mini Cooper. The same situation plays out in cities around the world, where buildings were constructed, and inner-city neighborhoods established, long before the rise of the automobile. A few weeks back, my mother visited Washington, D.C. She found herself near Eastern Market, behind a delivery truck on one of those narrow, one-way roads. Just before the intersection, the truck pulled tight to the right and stopped for a delivery. This left Mom with three options: 1)…

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My Secret

By Callie Oettinger |

(I read “this is stupid,” a post by Wil Wheaton, this week. I felt his pain. It reminded me of where I was last year when I wrote the article below. If you’re out there reading this, and think that the rest of us have “it” together, that we’re enjoying every bit of our work, that it all comes with ease, you’re wrong. It’s hard. It’s tiring. Often, all I want to do is head to the beach. But . . . Not even Kahuna stayed on the beach year round. He headed to work like the rest of us, and I’m pretty…

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Spend Your Time

By Callie Oettinger |

I. The patient took the pain medicine as prescribed and didn’t understand why the doctor was upset. Patient’s point of view: He was in pain and followed the instructions on the bottle. Doctor’s point of view: The pain medicine was prescribed by the patient’s veterinarian, for the patient’s dog. II. The drug rep walked into the doctor’s office dressed as the Grim Reaper and didn’t understand why the doctor asked him to leave. Drug rep’s point of view: It was Halloween, he was having fun. Doctor’s point of view: He had patients with life-threatening diseases/illnesses. The last thing they needed…

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Getting to Zero

By Callie Oettinger |

Revisiting a post from almost four years ago, after Shawn’s What It Takes columns reminded me that I’d visited Gladwell in the past, too. Do you know “scat” music’s tipping point—that moment just before it started spreading like wildfire? The short version is that, though artists had been experimenting for years with the form, scat’s explosion in popularity followed the release of Louis Armstrong’s Heebie Jeebies. In the book Louis Armstrong, in His Own Words, he explained: The day we recorded “Heebie Jeebies,” I dropped the paper with the lyrics—right in the middle of the tune . . . And…

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I Solemnly Swear to Tell the Whole Truth

By Callie Oettinger |

In 2006, I was named Time Magazine’s person of the year. Imagine my surprise—especially since I didn’t find out until three years later, in 2009. Around the 2009 period, a blogger entered my world like a fly at a picnic. I noticed him circling a few times, then he seemed to be everywhere—and not in a good way—so I checked out his bio. It said he was Time Magazine’s person of the year for 2006.

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You Have The Power

By Callie Oettinger |

June 12, 1993, presented me with a question. Go anchor or go springboard? Let the day pull me deeper than the Mariana Trench or propel me beyond Hubble’s view? I flip flopped for years.

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Chum or Cream? Asinine or Aristotle?

By Callie Oettinger |

Congratulations Kazuo Ishiguro, on being awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature–and thank you for your stories. Bringing this back from September 2, 2016. In Kazuo Ishiguro’s book The Buried Giant, the dragon Querig is blamed for cursing the land with “a mist of forgetfulness.” With each breath, she exhales a mist with the power to shroud those within her range in amnesia. The mist is an unforgiving thing, wiping out the good and the bad memories. Pain and Happiness exit stage left hand and hand, with Experience and Knowledge joining them. Axl, an old man at the center of The Buried…

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The Pool Is 12 Feet Profound

By Callie Oettinger |

1+3+5+3+7+1+9+23+48+5 will always equal 105. You can add the middle numbers last or add the second and fifth numbers first, and you’ll come up with the same answer. However, it’s different with words. Present the exact same words, in the exact same order, and the exact same format, to different individuals, and you’ll receive a different response every time. That’s the beauty of words. As individuals, and when combined, words carry the experiences of their readers with them. Each individual will leave with a different interpretation. Look to Lois Lowry’s introduction to the now-a-major-motion-picture edition of The Giver: I had always…

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