I would like to say that an NPR program called to interview me because I had just received the Nobel Prize for Literature, but that would be only half true. An NPR program did call to interview me, but actually, that’s only half true, too. 

An NPR program called, but only because I called them first.

Here’s what happened. When a coworker and I talked about the phrase “back like a bad penny” in the break room one day, I knew I had to call Martha and Grant from “A Way with Words” to discover the source of this interesting phrase. “A Way with Words” is a public radio show about the English language. Co-hosts Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett take calls about grammar, idioms, etymologies, and, of course, old sayings that we don’t quite understand.

I called on a Saturday thinking that I might get to be on National Public Radio live, right then as the show was airing. Wrong. Apparently, when you call most “live” radio shows, you never talk live. Instead, I left a message describing my question, and a few days later, the producer, Stefanie Levine, called me to arrange the taping.

So they called me, but really I called them. But hey, either way, I was on National Public Radio! The show aired on Saturday, May 5, and you can listen to the light-hearted exchange among Grant, Martha, and me below. (Just fast forward to 2:30 if you want to get straight to my part.) 

And as it happened, the call took place in Ann Kroeker’s living room just minutes before she and I left for Calvin College’s Festival of Faith and Writing. So, she snapped my picture while I was talking.

Really, it’s a word nerd’s dream come true!

Photo by Ann Kroeker, used with permission.