She was one of my favorite radio personalities, and I miss hearing her voice and her common sense advice.
Joy Browne was a psychologist whose long running radio program featured calls from people with problems to discuss with her. Dr.Browne’s thoughts about managing them were always to the point.
If I had known that her life would be so short, I would have paid more attention and made more of an effort to remember advice that she gave her callers.
I do remember a fairly prevalent question regarding life choices. Someone would call and say, “I’ve always wanted to be a (name any profession), but now I’m ( name an age). It’s too late to train for that position . It would take at least four years of school to qualify.”
Her answer was always,
“And how old will you be in four years if you do NOT go back to school?”
Always encouraging, always looking for a different way to look at a problem.
A common question had to do with running away from problems.
“My life is miserable. I hate my job and don’t have any good friends. I think I’d be happier if I moved to a new community in a new state. To this, Dr. Browne always answered,
“Don’t forget: no matter where you go, you take yourself with you!” She clearly didn’t think that running from problems worked very well.
Interpersonal relationships were always hazardous.
She frequently took calls from people who were angry with someone and wanted to insult and fume at them; a fellow worker, an old friend, or a relative. “If you tell him what you really think of him, you will gain the great momentary satisfaction of telling him off. And that will feel good. Is that momentary satisfaction worth destroying your relationship with that person?”
Instant gratification vs. long term strategy. The old “Count to ten before saying anything” strategy.
One of the interesting ideas Dr. Browne told her radio audience was the “Obituary Party.” She felt that nobody will never know the things that are said about you after your death. Wouldn’t it be nice to know those things while you are alive? At an obituary party, everyone would have the opportunity to give an obituary speech about you so you know the things that people appreciated and admired.
I hope Dr. Browne gave herself an Obituary party, because she would surely be pleased to hear from some of the many who were grateful for the help she gave them. She turned many lives around and made them tolerable.
I hope she knew how much her audience valued and cared for her.