It’s A Bird. It’s A Plane. It’s A Mission Statement?
What can you, a superhero, and corporate America have in common?
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: If someone said “Superman” to you, we suspect that you’d probably be like Red, who thinks of the comic book character, although a few people might be like Black, who immediately thought of … mission statements. (Really! You can’t make this stuff up!)
Red will admit that she managed to survive the first 40+ years of her life without knowing what a mission statement even was. After all, she was a stay-at-home, self-proclaimed, warm and fuzzy mom, so why should she care about what’s obviously a business concept? On the other hand, she’d love to tell you all about her childhood memories of coming home from school and watching reruns of the black and white Superman TV series from the 1950s starring George Reeves. (She’d point out that it was many years after they were first released, and then mention for those who remember the Superman movies with Christopher Reeve, that the two actors weren’t related and spelled their last names differently).
Fast forward to when Red was going through her “crisis” (her word, not Black’s). Black introduced the concept of mission statements to her – but not in terms of her concept and business plan for Red & Black, the company. Instead, it was when Black was out of town for a weekend racing her Ferrari,
During my years in corporate life, I wrote many mission statements, but it never dawned on me to write a personal one. Until this weekend. And before you ask, a mission statement is a short paragraph, or sometimes just a concise sentence, that summarizes the purpose of the business and what is most important to the company. This weekend, I found myself wanting, not the usual list of racing goals or objectives, but a sense of my reason for being. And a mission statement, if used correctly, does exactly that … it communicates focus and helps keep a sense of direction.
But what’s the connection to Superman? For Black, it was obvious. She remembered that in late 2021, Superman’s “mission statement” was evolving yet again – from the well-known fighting for “Truth, Justice and the American Way” to “Truth, Justice and a Better Tomorrow.” Yes, the change was most likely driven by the fact the Superman character does well internationally, so why restrict it to the “American Way,” although it was also a way to distance Superman from American politics?
Red, the lover of history, was fascinated to learn that Superman’s “American Way” only originated during the 1940s as part of the World War II effort, not as part of the original comic books of the 1930s, but when she thinks of Superman,
For me, Superman is pure entertainment. Not political. Not a business model. Although I can see where he’s inspirational, regardless of the specific slogan or mission statement. And I admit, it could make you think about your own mission statement.
Today’s a national holiday … for a reason. And although it may be a day of fun, festivities, and maybe even relaxation, it’s important to stop and think about the true meaning of the day …
We all “celebrate” Memorial Day differently, but we all should remember it’s a day to honor those who gave their lives serving this country.
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Memorial Day may be the unofficial start of summer, and Red remembers celebrating over the years with family get-togethers, barbeques, and pool parties; whereas Black “celebrates” most holidays by having a quiet day to work uninterrupted, but it’s important never to forget the significance of the holiday.
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the festivities, but as a lover of history, I was fascinated to learn the history of Memorial Day goes back to the Civil War. But what’s most important is that we each find a way to remember that Memorial Day honors those men and women who’ve given their lives for this country.While Black believes,
Today is a day to put aside politics and think about patriotism. It is about gratitude. About sacrifice. About honoring those who paid the greatest price for believing in something that is bigger than all of us.
Think about what the day means to you or read the words of others who pay respect to fallen members of the military (here and here). And join us in observing the National Moment of Remembrance at 3:00 p.m. local time.
If you’re looking for a reason not to mow, there’s logic behind letting it grow …
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: As is often the case, Red hadn’t heard of the latest trend, “No Mow May,” which is all about lawn maintenance (or the lack of it) until Black started sending her articles about it.
Growing up on Long Island, everyone in our neighborhood wanted a lush, green lawn. It wasn’t until we were older that we realized how much time and money it required to achieve it. That it doesn’t just happen. But now, it has become the latest environmental issue.
At first, Red thought that not cutting your lawn for an entire month might be a joke. But then she read a few articles (here and here) explaining how leaving your yard alone could help Mother Nature by positively impacting bees and other pollinators. Plus, giving your lawn a rest from fertilizers, lawn mowers, and leaf blowers is good for the environment.
It made sense to Red, except right now, she’s been working hard to turn a collection of bare patches in her front yard into an “acceptable” lawn,
My yard’s a mess. Weeds so numerous they look like ground cover, just enough grass to suggest there might be hope, and big, beautiful oak trees that insist on “drinking” all the water. Which means I’m having to deal with my homeowner’s association (HOA) and their “dire” letters of warning. (This isn’t an exaggeration, as anyone who lives under a strict HOA knows all too well.)
Red doubted she could stall the HOA with an environmental excuse, but remembered that when she lived in England, she was struck by how yards seemed more natural vs. “perfectly landscaped” – what she thought of as a carefully planned mess. So, she now wondered if the English were onto something way before “No Mow May” ever came along.
Black admits to having a black thumb (seems rather appropriate) and claims she could kill a silk plant, but that didn’t stop her from wanting to know whether “No Mow May” was as beneficial as it sounded,
Of course, there are pros and cons to “No Mow May.” Interestingly, neither side disputes the importance of the underlying logic behind the first two words (“No Mow”), but as an ongoing approach, not a one-month experiment.
If you’ve never thought about May Day, don’t worry, most of us haven’t.
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Red appreciates that some holidays have historical significance, some have ancient traditions, and some are opportunities for one of Black’s unexpected, but often amusing and clever, comments, but May Day checks all those boxes.
As soon as Black mentioned pole dancing, Red, a lover of movies, immediately thought of “Hustlers.” No, not “ The Hustler,” the 1961 classic with Paul Newman as a small-time pool hustler. Instead, “Hustlers,” the 2019 release with Jennifer Lopez about pole dancing hustlers that showed it took more than a desire to make money, but skill and athleticism.
But Red had no idea the significance of May Day Maypole dancing. When she lived in England, May Day was a bank holiday, and she knew it had a long history that went back to the Celts, but that’s all she knew. Until recently, when she learned it’s an ancient and festive holiday filled with history and folklore, started by the Celts who thought May 1st was the most important day of the year as it separated the year into light and dark.
Which explains the beginning of a celebration of spring with singing, dancing, and bonfires that still continues. However, it doesn’t explain how in the late 19th century, May Day became known as International Workers’ Day to celebrate workers and promote labor rights.
And what about the Maypoles? Well, as Red discovered,
It was during the Middle Ages when the now famous Maypoles were believed to become popular, not only to welcome in spring but as a symbol of fertility, as the pole symbolized male fertility, with baskets and wreaths symbolizing female fertility.
When Red felt the need to share all this history with Black, her sister couldn’t help but respond with,
Although this has nothing to do with May Day, all I can say is “ Mayday. Mayday.” Which, if you do not speak French, is based on m’aider and means “Help me.”