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What We’re Reading: Medium checking in: How is everybody doing?

Adrienne Gibbs
The Medium Blog
Published in
4 min readFeb 17, 2024


Hey y’all,

“How is everybody doing?”

It was a kind question to ask, and since Elmo is a kind creature, he asked it. That simple inquiry, originally posted a few weeks ago on Twitter/X, traveled swiftly around the world. Elmo garnered responses that covered everything from ragey (“The world is burning around us, Elmo”) to cagey (“How much time do you have?”). But a ton of the answers were angry, or sad or upset — kind of a dumpster fire response to a bit of social media goodwill offered by the folks at Sesame Street Workshop.

While the overwhelmingly (snarky) online response was that folks are decidedly not ok, there is something to be learned from this public conversation. Sometimes you really do need to ask how folks are doing. And whatever the answer, you can just listen.

“If you have the emotional capacity, can you ask someone how they are today and hold space for their answer?”

That’s a question posed by Ali Hall, in a story Hall wrote about Elmo for a positivity and happiness-centric publication on Medium named Spread the Ripple.

Sure, the answer might be a doozy. But encouraging someone to tell their truth could be a boon, or perhaps a kindness worth sharing.

Other truth saying essays that stood out this week include:

What’s remarkable here is the use of the first-person “I” and “My” in each of these tales. These folks aren’t telling you what to think; they’re telling you what they went through. Each essay offers deep food for thought.

Thanks for reading and thanks for writing.
Adrienne Gibbs, Director of Content @ Medium

What We’re Reading

Photo by Gantas Vaičiulėnas via Pexels

To All the Women in Their 40s Who Are Saying Goodbye to Their Fertility

Published by Y.L. Wolfe in Liberty

Something happens to a woman once she reaches 40. I call it the Fertility Audit — the bulleted outline of our story. We travel back in time to that very first period, the beginning of our journey into womanhood, and even if it was a difficult experience, many of us recall it with a sudden sense of nostalgia.

Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash

Orange Peel People

Published by MaryKathryn Conceison

Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to share and celebrate these seemingly small acts of kindness that say “I want your life to be easier.” Does it get better than that? I asked my friends on social media AND my fifth grade students to share personal examples of Orange Peel gestures. Reading these responses made me smile (and some made me tear up).

We are still talking about the Super Bowl, the commercials and the ads for Jesus. Pastor Matthew Best breaks down the foot-washing ad that has everyone talking about the church’s role in buying million dollar spots during a sporting event. It’s a nice juxtaposition against a legacy story by Cards for Humanity, offering a breakdown of why their 2017 Super Bowl ad buy was a flop.

The programming language Python turns 33 in a few days.

Also, you can catch up on all things Lunar New Year via this list.

And the Final Word goes to non-profit news organization The Conversation U.S., which ran a piece in science publication Aha! explaining why it’s so darn hard to find helium-filled balloons nowadays. Turns out that helium is a finite resource and is usually found when we drill for natural gas. The piece is written by Mississippi State University chemistry professor Nicholas Fitzkee.

“Until scientists have reliable, room-temperature superconductors or find an unlimited helium supply, conserving available helium is the best route forward. Fortunately, this is becoming easier to do.

Researchers at Iowa State University began recycling their helium in the 1960s. Since then, this technology has become cheaper, and both the U.S. National Science Foundation and the U.S. National Institutes of Health have funded efforts to install helium recovery equipment in academic research settings….

Read more about how scientists are recycling helium here.

What have you been reading and writing? Let us know in the responses.



Adrienne Gibbs
The Medium Blog

Director of Content @Medium. Award-winning journalist. Featured in a Beyoncé reel. Before now? EBONY, Netflix, Sun-Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe.