Banter Bites

A Senate “Dream Team”?

OK, without doing a Google search, do you know what the Senate Sergeant at Arms office does?

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: What exactly does "doorkeeper" mean, and will it help Red understand why Black thinks the responsibilities of the Senate Office of the Sergeant at Arm are so interesting?

As much as Red loves history, she's the first to admit she doesn't know much beyond the basics of how Congress works and definitely doesn't know how the Senate operates on a day-to-day basis. So, when Black told her this is the first time since it was created in 1789 that the Senate Sergeant At Arms office leadership team was all women, Red thought, "Cool," especially given it's Women's History Month. But the reality was that she had no idea that the office even existed, let alone what it did. (If it hadn't been for Axios, Black might not have even learned about the historic event.)

Are you feeling the same way? Well, it turns out the Senate Sergeant at Arms and her (yes, not "his" any longer) office has an amazingly diverse range of responsibilities (and "doorkeeper" is part of the official description). It's not only the chief law enforcement officer for the upper chamber but "is charged with maintaining security in the Capitol and all Senate buildings, as well as protection of the members themselves," according to the Senate's website. And if that isn't enough, they're also in charge of protocol and administration for most support services, which would explain why the office oversees a staff of over 800 people!

So, once Red had a better understanding of the specific responsibilities of the office, she was impressed, but then started looking at it from a very different perspective,

Keeping the peace, making sure everyone remains safe, being responsible for things not only happening but happening in a certain way, coordinating people and assignments, and recognizing there are different personalities and perspectives. Wow, as a mom, I relate to so much of this, but obviously on a much, much, smaller scale.

And while Black was bemused at Red's description, especially as she often explained to Red that all her "Mom skills" were transferable to the workplace, she couldn't help but think about the "bigger picture" implications of the office leadership now being all women,

Neither Red nor I had heard of the Senate Sergeant at Arms office until now, but the fact it made history brought it to our attention. The bios of the leadership team, who have been in their respective field for decades, are extremely impressive. But, for girls and women, they represent three more role models with so many more to be found. In all walks of life. Making history is important, but leading the way for others is even more important …

Two years ago, on MLK Day, Red learned the power and inspiration of the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And the power of dreams. And as long as there's social unrest and social injustice in the United States (stop and think about the first word … as we’re supposed to be united), the more we can learn from him … as not only did he fight for equality for all, but his approach is proof of the power of peaceful protests.

For most of us, writing and delivering one powerful and/or inspiring thing would be a very difficult task. To be remembered for hundreds is truly amazing.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: There's so much one can say about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who led the civil rights movement from the mid-1950s until his assassination in 1968, and whose leadership was fundamental to the ending of legal segregation in many parts of the United States. But regardless of your position on segregation, it's almost impossible not to acknowledge, yet alone appreciate, how incredibly powerful and inspiring his words were and the impact they continue to have on the civil rights movement. But don't believe us. This goodreads post provides more than just a good read, it's a seemingly endless list of inspirational quotes while a great "refresher" course on Dr. King is available at History.com.

We grew up in New York, where bagels are almost sacred, but even though they may have started as a Jewish food in Europe, they’re now enjoyed by everyone everywhere (including Red and Black, but in very different ways) – why else would there be a National Bagel Day?

National holidays aren’t the time to count calories.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: We both agree that happiness has a hole in it, although one of us may only eat one bagel a year while the other tries to keep it to only one bagel when she does indulge.

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Another year and another National Clean Your Desk Day (yes, that’s actually a thing). So, is Red’s desk any better than the “disaster” it was last year? Well, believe it or not, it may not be perfect, but it’s significantly better. Is it because she finally listened to Black’s advice (see below) or somehow found a “secret” of her own? As it turns out, it was a combination of the two as Red discovered, even if the rest of her life isn’t “nice and neat” (that’ll never happen), she loves walking into her workroom in the morning and starting the day in a (somewhat) organized space, which provides the best motivation for keeping it that way. (Luckily, Black never brought up the science of messy desks.)

A day to clean up your desk?! It will take way more than a day …

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: No one is immune from piles of paper, not even Black, the master of organization, but there’s a huge difference between a desk with a few small piles and some scattered papers (although her laptop’s keyboard needs serious cleaning) and Red’s “workroom” that usually looks like a tornado hit it.

Which is why Red rolled her eyes when Black mentioned today’s National Clean Your Desk Day, as it’d take her significantly more than a day to “clean up this mess,” but then she remembered Black’s advice on how to keep her piles (and piles) of paper under control and felt inspired. Red admits often feeling like she’s drowning in paper, but that’s because she lets the piles get out of control before reminding herself of Black’s very easy, straightforward approach to turning her mountains of paper into small manageable hills. And, significantly reducing stress along the way, because as Black points out,

Sometimes, it is more important to know what you are ignoring than it is to deal with everything in the piles.