We Have A Shot … At Getting COVID-19 Under Control
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.
Any Idea What The Ides Of March Is? Or Why You Should "Beware"?
Beware the Ides of March! That sounds scary. But what is it? And is it a myth or the truth? Red knew it had to with (Julius) Caesar, and the mere mention of “Caesar” made Black question if we were talking about a General, a politician, or a salad. But it does reveal the power of storytelling, and how a good story can last not only decades, but centuries!
Is "The Ides of March" the day Julius Caesar was assassinated, a famous Shakespearean quote, or a George Clooney movie?
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: The answer is "all three" but we'll completely understand if "The Ides of March" means nothing to you, or if you think it sounds familiar but you're not quite sure why.
Well, Black knew nothing about the Ides of March, but when she found it had to do with history and movies, deferred to Red. Interestingly, even Red, the straight-A student who loved history, wasn't completely sure of the origin of the Ides of March. However, being a theater major, she knew "Beware the Ides of March" was one of William Shakespeare's most famous phrases. And even then, although she could tell you that those immortal words were spoken to Julius Caesar by a fortune-teller, she couldn't tell you exactly what they meant other than it was a warning that something dire was going to happen. (For those not familiar with the play or ancient history, dire's an understatement as on March 15, 44 B.C. the Roman general and statesman, Julius Caesar, was brutally stabbed to death in the Roman Senate house by a large group of his opposition.)
Those facts alone make for fascinating theater, and Shakespeare was an unparalleled playwright and could tell a story better than most, which explains why his work has stood the test of time. (Not to mention, many of his stories have been "borrowed" as the basis of new stories.) But it took Red doing a little more digging to learn that the term dates back to the ancient Roman calendar, where they used certain phrases to reference dates in relation to lunar phases. Ides, quite simply, just referred to the first full moon of a given month, which usually fell between the 13th and 15th.
But when it comes to the 2011 movie " The Ides of March" with George Clooney (who also directed, produced, and was one of the screenwriters), Red didn't have to do any homework. And although it's about a rising presidential candidate (played by Clooney) and an idealistic campaign staffer (played by Ryan Gosling), it's about dirty politics and figurative backstabbing. So, if you know your history, you can easily draw parallels to the death of Caesar.
It’s easy to think that Girl Scouts are only about the cookies. But in celebration of tomorrow being National Girl Scout Day, take a moment to remember that they’re about so much more – as the organization was founded with the goal of building confidence, courage, and character. And we strongly support them as we believe girls can do anything!
Of course, you can help support your Girl Scouts by buying cookies, as long as you don’t want the new Raspberry Rally, as they’re already sold out!
Let's play word association. If we say, "Girl Scouts," what's the first word that comes to mind? Ok, what's the second word?
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: When Juliette "Daisy" Gordon Low organized the first Girl Scout meeting – hoping to create an organization that redefined what was possible for girls everywhere – there was no way for her to know the difference it would make in the lives of millions of girls and their communities.
Many people's first (and sometimes only) image of Girl Scouts is as cookie salespeople – either selling door-to-door or at a make-shift table at a grocery or other store (or having their parents hand you an order form). But if you've been a Girl Scout (both of us have) or know someone who has, you know that Girl Scouts are about so much more.
So, as we celebrate the Girls Scouts being around for over 100 years, we should celebrate the years of fun and friendships, and for helping girls learn important qualities such as responsibility, courage, strength, and independence. Qualities that are as important in 2021 as they were in 1912.
And what better way to celebrate than to buy some Girl Scout cookies? Guilt-free as you're helping a good cause.
Women ... Start Breaking Things Today!
This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #EmbraceEquity, and although it may sound like a catchy phrase, it’s more than just talk (which Red loves to do) – it’s about taking action (definitely Black’s strong suit). It’s about the power of women to drive change (pun intended, as we’ve seen the effect Black’s racing Ferraris has had on girls). So, since March is Women’s History Month, spend some time learning about and celebrating women’s accomplishments, including these female trailblazers who changed American education.
And even though we talked about breaking the bias last year (see below), we think it bears repeating and rereading …
Pointing out bias may seem negative, but it can lead to positive change.
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Red, as a lover of history, likes that March is Women’s History Month and she’s inspired by all the stories of women’s accomplishments; but Black prefers International Women’s Day, with its emphasis not only on raising awareness but looking toward the future and making positive change.
Red will admit that she first learned about International Women’s Day last year and that the 2021 theme, “Women in Leadership,” made her think about women and leadership skills differently. As did Black’s insight based on her years in corporate management, especially as it was in the oil and gas industry, a field notoriously run by the “good ole’ boys” (or, at least, it was back then).
But when Red learned that this year’s theme is #BreakTheBias, she, well, had to laugh because if there was anyone that seemed not only to break biases, but to approach it as a challenge, almost defying the opposition, it would be her sister,
Black’s always had a strong personality and gone after what she wants. Whether being one of the few women in business school back in the 70s, excelling in a male-dominated industry, or racing Ferraris. But much to my amusement, I had to point out to her that she’s a role model for not only her nieces but many other girls, proving they can do anything. And I’m guessing along the way, she changed many people’s (male and female) preconceived notions of what a woman can do.
Black quickly points out that the first step to overcoming biases or prejudices is to recognize we all have them. That’s why International Women’s Day’s so important – by celebrating women’s achievements, we’re also helping to identify, and hopefully, overcome biases. But sometimes, those biases are where you least expect them,
Besides there being a fascinating phenomenon (well, I find it fascinating) known as “confirmation bias,” I have seen where a bias can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Red, a straight-A student with a degree from a prestigious university, was convinced that she could not “do” personal finance. Which, unfortunately, is a stereotype that many people have about women. Red was not only her own worst enemy but, by “accepting” the misconception, perpetuated it. Until I forced her to face the truth, anyone can “do” personal finance.
So, as we celebrate International Women’s Day, and strive toward women’s equality, maybe we should each identify one bias we think needs breaking and work toward that end goal – either on our own or by joining together with others. Because if we look at today as the start of the process, imagine what we can accomplish