If ever there was an emotional topic that needed a pragmatic approach … it would be the COVID-19 vaccine.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: It's very frustrating and heartbreaking that so much of the recent COVID-19 surge of serious cases and deaths could've been avoided, but regardless of your beliefs, it's certainly an emotional topic which is something that comes naturally for Red, while Black (in her typical fashion) approaches it pragmatically.


Red was initially apprehensive about the "newness" of the vaccine, but ever since the pandemic had started has done everything in her power to protect her family, admitting at times that she's gone overboard but she prefers to take more precautions than not enough. So, when she and her daughter were eligible for the vaccine, she decided the fear of getting a serious case of COVID-19 was reason enough, not caring which vaccine they received. And although it's been months since they've been fully vaccinated, and Red's recently started to go out to eat and to the movies, she still wears a mask and socially distances as much as possible.

But now, the Delta variant's running rampant, is highly contagious, and causes severe cases requiring hospitalization. Of course, Red was alarmed by all the "news" that the vaccinated can get and transmit COVID-19 until Black explained that you needed to look at the actual numbers and small percentages. But that doesn't change the fact the variant's spreading at a similar rate to chickenpox. And it doesn't stop Red from feeling sad, angry, and frustrated, especially when she hears the stories from moms and nurses about seriously ill people who had chosen not to get vaccinated,

It's heartbreaking. I look around and see people who didn't need to get sick and so many vulnerable people, especially children, that are at risk. I don't understand why anyone would take that chance when a vaccine's available. And why put others at risk? I agree with the argument that everyone has the right to their own body, but at a certain point, doesn't public health override personal freedom?!

Black, on the other hand, although she shares Red's concerns, has a very different (and pragmatic) way of looking at the current challenge of changing people's minds, knowing that unlike herself, most people don't respond to statistics and studies (except when the "news" takes those numbers and "spins" them to make headlines), or being told what to do. Instead, they need something more emotional – or personal – to engage them. Or to get them to at least listen, which is where the power of stories comes into play.

Unfortunately, as the Delta variant continues to spread, hospitals are again becoming overloaded with cases, and deaths are growing week-by-week. Maybe that will help convince some of the people who previously refused the vaccine, no matter the strategy used, to reconsider,

I will not get into the issues of sensationalized headlines and mixed (and unclear) messages coming from the CDC. Or, the politics of it all. Or, that many businesses and organizations are starting to require vaccination, while others fight whether that is even legal. Forget trying to tell people what to do and guilt trips (being raised by a Jewish mother, I am immune to guilt trips). Acknowledge that many people are reluctant for a variety of reasons, and that respecting their right to a different opinion is different from agreeing with it.

Instead, if we focus on the real issue at hand … preventing serious illness and death … the answer is very easy. We all should get f-ing [four-letter expletive deleted] vaccinated.

We're starting to see that not everyone that has refused a vaccine remains steadfast. We're sure there are studies and statistics about why they changed their mind, but the point is they changed their mind and are getting the vaccine. Which means that there's the potential for millions of others who can be persuaded.

Happy Meals. Lasik surgery. A Supreme Court justice. Any idea what these three things have in common?

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Although Hispanic Heritage Month started in 1968 as a week-long event, Red, the straight-A student and lover of history, is a bit embarrassed that she didn't know about it, but the theater major in her realizes they're under-represented (and misrepresented) in the movies. When we talked about the comparison of "In The Heights" to "West Side Story," Black wasn't only focused on the business aspects but also how it reflects the times, and now is interested in the many contributions (including patents) made by Latinx, and the need for inclusion and diversity.

P.S. – We were both curious why the month-long celebration begins mid-month (September 15) and discovered it's in honor of the anniversaries of national independence for many Latin American countries.

Can something be "new" if it's made with "old" ingredients?

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Black's fascinated by the business and marketing aspects of food mash-ups (especially the multi-generational angle), while Red's excited that her beloved Dunkin' has collaborated with Post Cereals and there's now Dunkin' cereal (and both of us love the tag line, "Now you can have your coffee and eat it, too!). Funny thing is that we've all probably been doing our own "mash-ups" for years (ok, maybe not Black).

As the song says, "They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway, they say there's always magic in the air on Broadway" … and now it's all coming back!

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Although we live in Texas, we're originally from New York, and as different as we are, one thing we have in common is a love of Broadway, so we're excited about the re-opening of Broadway, even if for very different reasons.

Keep Reading ... Show less