Red wonders if we can blame it on Bruce Willis or maybe Robert Downey, Jr. Blame them for what? The popularity of action movies over the last decades – ranging from normal people demonstrating almost impossible feats of bravery and skill (yes, she's thinking "Die Hard") to super heroes conquering the day no matter the odds (like Marvel's "The Avengers") – that has greatly influenced our idea of what's a "hero". (Black defers to Red when it comes to movies, unless you want to talk about the business aspects of the industry.)
Until we stop and think about it.
Then our idea of what's a hero changes to who's a hero, and is much different than those in blockbuster movies. Instead of it being larger-than-life figures, it becomes someone who displays courage, someone we admire. In reality, we've always been surrounded by heroes, they're just more noticeable during a crisis. During the pandemic, first responders, front-line healthcare personnel, and grocery-workers have become some of our most vital and appreciated heroes.
But heroes can be everyday people who merely go out of their way for others. Maybe a neighbor who checks in with the elderly couple next door. Or, the person who calls someone they know is lonely. It may not seem "heroic" to you, but it does to the recipient. Quite simply, heroes come in many different forms, whether they make the front page of a newspaper, trend on social media, or are only known by one other person.
Last Wednesday at the siege on the Capitol, as government officials and their staff were quickly moved to safety, we saw many nameless heroes. Most would probably say there were merely doing "their job" but in our opinion that doesn't make them any less courageous. However, there's an image that stood out amongst all the horrific ones – the ceremonial Electoral College ballot boxes that were rescued by quick thinking congressional aides. While some people may wonder why the staff would risk their own safety to save a few wooden boxes and pieces of papers, we see those boxes as symbols of American democracy. So, when we think about those aides, we see courage, patriotism, and a commitment to something that's bigger than themselves. Bigger than all of us. And, to us, that makes them heroes. True American heroes.
When Black came up with the idea of daily Banter Bites, Red thought it was conceptually great, but a bit unrealistic. At first glance, having to come up with a short comment from Red (ok, keeping it short might be a challenge), followed by a quick response from Black (no problem there), seemed like an easy task. But Red was concerned about keeping it current and relevant to readers – whether something happening in our lives, current events, or something that Black found in her non-stop reading and research, and told Black:
I'm not sure we'll have enough material to be able to post every day.
Rather than argue or debate, Black humored her sister, and suggested they do it a few days a week instead of every day. Meanwhile, she found it ironic that Red, the self-proclaimed queen of blah-blah-blah, was concerned about not having enough topics to discuss. But as with most things, when given a little time, Red often crosses to the "Black" side of things. We soon were coming up with more potential material than there were days to post and expanded Banter Bites to six days of the week (we believe Sundays shouldn't be spent on gizmos, although that doesn't stop Black from working).
We had gotten into a rhythm of daily Banter Bites, and then it was suggested to expand the posts as readers wanted to know more about the topic including what inspired or prompted it. Black immediately came up with the idea of adding a "Banter Bite Backstory" to each post.
So, how did Red react this time? Instead of being reluctant, Red embraced the idea:
It's so much fun being able to share with our readers the backstory of each Banter Bite. It's funny, because most times we're just spinning on a dime and reacting to things that happen – whether current events or in our lives. But isn't that what we all do every day? Add to the mix that Black and I usually see things very differently, and you end up with no shortage of things for us to say.
I drafted this post weeks ago, but it seems fitting to post it today. Sometimes we need days to officially remind us to help others but for some people it seems to come naturally. Yes, today is National Day of Service in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and is the only federal holiday designated as a national day of service to encourage all Americans to volunteer to improve their communities. But, that's not what I want to talk about.
This might not seem much to you. And I know it was truly nothing to Black. Just a quick reply on Twitter that she tossed off without a second thought. But to me it showed how, to some people, charity in the purest and best sense of the word just comes, well, naturally.
The details of where it started really isn't important, but it was a personal comment made in response to one of our "Words & Banter" posts and had a ripple effect as it ultimately involved a company mentioned in the post. The individual let us know that if replying to our post resulted in the company helping resolve their problem, then they'd send Black a bottle of red or white wine. (OK, I probably shouldn't disclose that Black's the one behind our tweets, but anyone who knows us would know that.) Most people, I suspect, would have thought, "Wow, that's a very nice offer" and then would have replied with their preference.
But not Black … she simply (and sincerely) replied:
Fingers crossed … but no gift necessary. Instead make a donation to a favorite charity.
It was like any other weekday morning, a tumbler of hot coffee on my desk and the morning news on the TV in the background, as I brace myself as I open Outlook. Computer issues? Nope, especially now that I have a new computer. Instead, it's the daily onslaught of emails generated by Black as she seems to do her best thinking while the rest of us are sleeping.
Well, the subject line of one of her emails, "Crazy idea?", stands out and I open it to find an image of a Good Humor truck and a leading question: