We have no words of wisdom, only sadness and embarrassment.
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: It's becoming almost a daily occurrence, but our reactions to it, although strong and condemning, are also a reflection of our different perspectives.
As a mom, Red finds it both incomprehensible and incredibly frightening, as she fears that with each passing day, there's truly no safe place for her children, for her loved ones, her friends, herself. There's always been the possibility of random acts of violence, but by using a combination of common sense and doing the "right things" there was a lot you could do to avoid putting yourself in harm's way. But it seems everything has changed.
The recent shooting in Boulder, Colorado showed that just going grocery shopping could prove deadly, just as prior events – from attending an outdoor concert in Las Vegas or a nightclub in Florida to even going to a movie, again in Colorado – made us realize that routine activities are no longer immune from the horrors of gun violence. However, most would agree that the very worst (not that any loss of life is acceptable) are the deadly school shootings across the nation, too numerous to mention.
Gun violence is an epidemic in America. But we should not accept it. We must act. … Too many Americans are dying every single day from gun violence. It stains our character and pierces the very soul of our nation. We can, and must, do more to act and to save lives.
Black, of course, agreed with Red, and then reminded her that it was less than a month ago that we addressed the question, Another mass shooting! How do we make these stop?, and that there's no simple answer. And then we started talking about how all gun violence is being "lumped together" – domestic violence, targeted shootings, and random mass shootings – and making headline news. Of course, any lost life is tragic, with the heartbreak and ripple effect no less so in one situation than another.
Always driven by statistics and numbers, vs. emotion, Black found a website that provides near-real-time data about the results of gun violence. She also looked at how gun violence in the U.S. compares to the rest of the world (including a BBC article with great graphics). The more she thought about it – the more she realized that the specifics related to any gun violence point to a bigger problem … that needs to be addressed on a bigger scale.
As Black explained to Red … it isn't just about gun control, it's about leadership (or, perhaps, the lack thereof). Gun violence shouldn't be political – yet there's so much political rhetoric that seems to condone violence. Full stop. Then, she became more emphatic,
When will politicians start taking responsibility for their words and actions (and inactions)? And, when will we all start taking responsibility to hold them – and ourselves – responsible for who we are – and what we represent? Because, quite simply, we are better than this. As individuals. As a country.
Two years ago, on MLK Day, Red learned the power and inspiration of the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And the power of dreams. And as long as there's social unrest and social injustice in the United States (stop and think about the first word … as we’re supposed to be united), the more we can learn from him … as not only did he fight for equality for all, but his approach is proof of the power of peaceful protests.
For most of us, writing and delivering one powerful and/or inspiring thing would be a very difficult task. To be remembered for hundreds is truly amazing.
We grew up in New York, where bagels are almost sacred, but even though they may have started as a Jewish food in Europe, they’re now enjoyed by everyone everywhere (including Red and Black, but in very different ways) – why else would there be a National Bagel Day?
National holidays aren’t the time to count calories.
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: We both agree that happiness has a hole in it, although one of us may only eat one bagel a year while the other tries to keep it to only one bagel when she does indulge.
Red admits that although she knows bagels aren’t a healthy choice, she’ll occasionally treat herself, not only because they remind her of growing up in New York when almost every town on Long Island had at least one bagel shop, but because she loves whipped cream cheese almost as much as the fresh, squishy bagel on which she smears it. And while she was a fan of both cinnamon raisin and onion bagels as a kid, the introduction of the “Everything” bagel was a turning point. However, her all-time favorite is technically not a bagel, as it’s a bialy.
On the other hand, it only takes one look at Black’s “selfishly svelte figure” to know that she has the willpower to resist bagels (including her favorite, sesame) as well as all the other carbs that she loves, but when it comes to National Bagel Day and the “health” issues of bagels, she has an interesting perspective,
Bagels are one of life’s true culinary pleasures, often tied to wonderful memories, so you cannot always measure their value in terms of nutrition. But, when it comes to healthy eating, it might be interesting to remember that bagel-cutting injuries are common and result in thousands of people having to go to emergency rooms or urgent care centers … so, celebrate carefully.
Another year and another National Clean Your Desk Day (yes, that’s actually a thing). So, is Red’s desk any better than the “disaster” it was last year? Well, believe it or not, it may not be perfect, but it’s significantly better. Is it because she finally listened to Black’s advice (see below) or somehow found a “secret” of her own? As it turns out, it was a combination of the two as Red discovered, even if the rest of her life isn’t “nice and neat” (that’ll never happen), she loves walking into her workroom in the morning and starting the day in a (somewhat) organized space, which provides the best motivation for keeping it that way. (Luckily, Black never brought up the science of messy desks.)
A day to clean up your desk?! It will take way more than a day …
BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: No one is immune from piles of paper, not even Black, the master of organization, but there’s a huge difference between a desk with a few small piles and some scattered papers (although her laptop’s keyboard needs serious cleaning) and Red’s “workroom” that usually looks like a tornado hit it.
Which is why Red rolled her eyes when Black mentioned today’s National Clean Your Desk Day, as it’d take her significantly more than a day to “clean up this mess,” but then she remembered Black’s advice on how to keep her piles (and piles) of paper under control and felt inspired. Red admits often feeling like she’s drowning in paper, but that’s because she lets the piles get out of control before reminding herself of Black’s very easy, straightforward approach to turning her mountains of paper into small manageable hills. And, significantly reducing stress along the way, because as Black points out,
Sometimes, it is more important to know what you are ignoring than it is to deal with everything in the piles.