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 …
Of course, there's Mother's Day and Father's Day. But National Siblings Day? Really?
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Could there be a more perfect day for Red & Black than National Siblings Day, except maybe National Sisters Day (that's the first Sunday in August) – but who creates these days anyway?
We'll be honest. We had no idea there was a Siblings Day until Black, who typically never celebrates holidays, decided she at least should know when holidays occur and found Holidays Calendar. There she learned the history of National Siblings Day (it was begun by Claudia Evart in honor of her siblings – both of whom died tragically), but continued her research and ultimately sent Red a Fact Sheet, who found the facts interesting but was genuinely touched by the first bullet point,
Siblings Day follows the spirit of Mother's Day and Father's Day – a great family tradition and celebration of family values. It is an uplifting celebration honoring people who have shaped our values, beliefs and ideals.
Because for all of Black's sarcasm and no-nonsense pragmatism, Red genuinely wouldn't know what she'd do without her sister. Yes, she took Red's crisis and turned it into a book, a brand, and a business. Yes, she's the first person to stop Red's seemingly endless warm and fuzzy, blah-blah-blah (this is Red's description of herself). But Red also knows that no matter what, Black has always been there for her, and always will.
On the other hand, Black has always taken the approach that she can say (or even do) whatever she wants to Red, that's a sister's prerogative, but heaven help the person who tried to do anything to her "baby" sister. And although Black may not "volunteer" niceties about her sister (she prefers the role of big sister explaining how she had to "rescue" Red at the age of 40+ because she was, to be blunt, financially clueless), Black will admit that Red sharing her "crisis" (Red's word, Black prefers "life experience") with others to help them avoid making the same mistakes she made, has made her sister her hero. Which, for those who know Black, is really saying something.
So, whether you and your siblings are as different as Red & Black or have a lot in common, remember that today is the "official" day to let them know how you feel about them!
P.S. – Check out our Honoring National Siblings Day … What Are Sisters For? Animation teaser!
Emotions are powerful. Combine them with facts and you have a compelling case.
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: We may react differently to the Derek Chauvin trial, we may have different viewing preferences, we may remember other cases that touched upon similar issues, but it's probably safe to say that we want to see justice served.
Red never planned to watch the live streaming, not even in the background, as she knew the trial would be highly emotional, simultaneously heartbreaking and infuriating. But she never expected the feelings of remorse and guilt … from the witnesses.
Black, who's always been fascinated by "all things legal" knew better than to "bore" her sister with a conversation about the legal "positioning" and the importance of juror selection, but did mention the pros and cons of live streaming,
Full coverage certainly allows the public to see how justice is (or is not) carried out. But the downside is some witnesses may be made very nervous by the cameras, possibly impacting their testimony and/or harming their credibility; trial attorneys may grandstand for the camera; and the large assortment of trial "sound-bites" does not necessarily mean an accurate reflection of the testimony or facts.
That reminded Red of the Rodney King beating by the police in Log Angeles in the early 1990s, followed a few years later by the infamous O.J. Simpson Bronco chase and subsequent trial for the murder of his ex-wife and her friend. They, like this situation, had been "perfect storms" where significant public interest on "bigger" social issues intersected with a greater appreciation that the public's access to testimony is critical to understanding what and why things happened.
And although we may look at things very differently (emotionally vs. pragmatically), we agree that,
We now live in a society where, for many people, social media has replaced traditional "news" outlets, and everyone's carrying around a video camera (in their cell phones). Coupled with the increased attention to police brutality, white supremacy, and the Black Lives Matter movement, it's no surprise that the Derek Chauvin trial for the death of George Floyd is such a major event. And if that's not enough, layer in the pandemic and the restrictions that places on courtroom attendance, and you have an unprecedented demand for the full and accurate coverage of a highly emotional trial.
What do the Liberty Bell, spaghetti, and April Fools' Day have in common?
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Even if you don't "celebrate" April Fools' Day, hopefully, you're careful not to be taken in … yet, for some reason, Red's always on "high alert" when it comes to her sister, Black.
When Red thinks of pranks, she thinks of teasing someone or trying to "fool" them in some minor way, nothing elaborate or serious. More the kind of harmless, juvenile pranks that kids might do to each other.
She never really thought that a prank could require significant planning until Black suggested it could, so decided to do a little digging and discovered some incredibly complex, but also amusing and very clever pranks, or rather, as the article called them, the 15 best April Fools' Day hoaxes. Even though it was from 2012, many of them could still happen today, and Red struggled with whether her favorite was the one about the Liberty Bell or the spaghetti story (it's hard to imagine the BBC pranking people).
Red could only imagine the pranks Black might have played but when questioned whether she'd confess to any, Black told her about this week's Volkswagen prank that didn't go well, and then gave her a history lesson instead.
Did you know back in the days of the Roman Empire and the Julian Calendar (named after Julius Caesar), the New Year used to start around April 1, and it was centuries before it was changed to January 1? Well, many people did not "get the news" and continued to celebrate on the original date, and people who considered themselves "in the know" made fun of those people and referred to them as April Fools.
Well, that explanation made sense to Red. But the more she thought about it, the more she began to question whether Black was playing a simple prank on her, so had to check out the history of April Fools' Day.