Banter Bites

Did I Stutter? Yes, And Thank You.

Think of stuttering as foreplay for great conversation.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Patience isn’t something that either of us possesses, and Black has been known to question whether it’s really a virtue; but when it comes to someone speaking, or more specifically, stuttering, it’s interesting (but not surprising) how they have very different reactions.

I am running out of patience with your blah-blah-blah. Can you get to the point?

No, that’s not how Black reacted to someone that stuttered, but it’s often how she feels in conversations with Red, and sometimes even tells her that. Because Black isn’t, well, the most patient of people and has been known to finish people’s sentences or interrupt them when she knows where they’re going and wants the conversation to move along quicker.

And then there’s Red … maybe a little more patient because she’s a little more, well, nice. But still, because of her love of the blah-blah-blah, she has a habit of not letting others get a word in edgewise.

So, imagine when coincidence (or was it?) recently led us to each encounter someone that stutters. For Red, it came when she was stressing out about having to possibly disassemble and dispose of a commercial-sized shuffleboard table in our mom’s house. She called a highly recommended company (LoadUp, if you’re curious, but this isn’t a paid ad) and was surprised to find that the customer service representative stuttered,

Something remarkable happened during that call. I went from being incredibly stressed out to being calm and in a good mood. Because as soon as I heard his stutter, I forced myself to “slow down” and just listen.

And Black? Well, it was when she was introduced to the two-man film crew at the taping of an interview for the dedication of the Make-A-Wish building, and assumed that the person who stuttered was the cameraman, not the interviewer, but when she realized her error,

Allowing the interviewer to ask his questions at his pace reminded me of the importance of listening to what he was saying before deciding how to answer. That it was not a race to the finish.

The timing of these two experiences so close together was one thing, but it happened around the same time that Black saw the latest release in the New York Times’s Adapt-Abilty series, a fascinating video, “I Stutter. But This Is What You’re Not Hearing,” with an important message …

The problem isn’t with the stutterer; it’s with the listener.

This is one of Red’s favorite Banter Bites in large part because of Black’s “corny” puns, but also because fresh corn is a summer staple – whether cooked on the grill or in the microwave, whether eaten on its own or as a primary ingredient in refreshing summer salads

This may be one of the corniest things you’ll ever read.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: It’s just a vegetable, so how can it possibly elicit such a strong reaction from Red, while, for Black, it’s more a source of amusement and even, it turns out, admiration?

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Think you can avoid artificial intelligence? Think again …

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Red already fights technology at every turn, preferring to keep her ostrich head in the sand, plus, she finds Artificial Intelligence (AI) scary; whereas Black knows ignoring reality merely postpones the inevitable, so she’s started playing with AI to understand it better …

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A man better known for his death than his life, although Red, the straight-A student and history lover, immediately thinks of the costly and controversial movie of his life. (Well, technically, it was the life of Cleopatra.) Black, of course, focuses on business – leadership lessons, including the power of words, although she surprises Red with some food trivia. But the fact July’s named after him is the perfect excuse to rerun one of Red’s favorite Banter Bites …

Quick! If someone says "Julius Caesar," what comes to mind?

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Almost everyone has heard of Julius Caesar, but how many of us really know much about him, or at least that's what Red starts to wonder when she receives the usual flippant, but still accurate, reply from her sister, after feeling very proud that she knew that July was named after the famous Roman.

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