I won't go into the details, but today I had a day that made me want to smash things -- just exactly like the video below. This is what made it better.

A couple of weeks ago or so, I was contacted by a New York high school teacher. She has a student, Joshua, who wanted to talk to me about manned Mars exploration. I'm an outreach whore, so I cheerfully gave her my contact info for her student to Skype or call me.

The teacher warned me that Joshua might be a little shy -- but I wasn't prepared for how shy. Joshua and I set up a time for a Skype chat this weekend ... and the time came and went with no Joshua. Later, he nervously emailed me, apologizing -- at the last minute, he'd chickened out and couldn't call me. I promptly emailed him back to tell him I was around any time, but I never heard back from him.

Until tonight, when I got a call from a New York number I didn't recognize. I'm glad I picked up, because it was Joshua's mom. She explained that Joshua really wanted to talk to me but was too nervous to call, and then she laughingly put Joshua on the phone.

He was great -- he asked really smart questions, and even though I still had some residual anger from my day, I feel like I handled my end of it as well as I ever do. I could feel my day just melting off of me as I warmed to talking with him, and within half an hour we were laughing like old friends. Well, maybe it wasn't quite that good. But it was pretty good.

When Joshua reached the end of his list of questions, I had one task for him. "OK, I want you to do one thing for me," I said.

"What's that?"

"Go hug your mom."

While I was on the phone, he did exactly that. Thanks, Joshua. And thanks, Joshua's mom.
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