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.

Rendering by porcorex on iStock


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Based on the "hints" in your Ghosting post, it sounds like your recent "romance" wasn't quite a Lady GaGa "bad romance", but, well, a frustrating one.


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Interesting comparison, as years ago Gaga revealed that she is drawn to bad romances, but is not sure if she goes after them or they find her. Regardless, my "relationship" ended in the dating stage and never really became a romance. Either when I dated him almost 30 years ago, or recently. Although, this time, I thought it had potential.


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I was amazed that you were even willing to "rekindle" the relationship as you're not exactly a believer in "recycling" relationships, as I think you once phrased it. In fact, I thought you were pretty adamant about the concept of not repeating your mistakes.
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Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

It started when Black sent Red a LinkedIn post about Louis Armstrong, asking her to "connect the dots" (one of Black's favorite things to do). Red knew that he was one of the most distinctive and talented jazz musicians in American history, but it was a complete surprise to learn that he had such a strong connection to a Jewish couple that immigrated from Lithuania and that he wore a Star of David for most of his life to honor them. That alone made it a "truth is stranger than fiction" story. The fact it's also a touching story about kindness and love makes this, at least for Red, even better than fiction.

Black, who prefers the pragmatic aspects of Armstrong's unusual journey – from being an impoverished black boy to an extraordinary career as a musician, singer, and composer – and sees it as a story of overcoming barriers, realizing your potential, and finding freedom (and she discloses an interesting connection between Armstrong and Independence Day).

Our July column, "RED & BLACK … The Sound Of Freedom," connects all those dots and is about so much more than surprising facts about Louis Armstrong. It's also about the power of music, inspiration, and hope, not to mention a very different way of looking at freedom.

Want to read other columns? Here's a list.

Everyone laughs and wants to hear the story when I mention that I was recently "ghosted" by someone I had dated. What I find interesting is that ghosting has become so prevalent in today's society (and is not restricted to dating) that there is a term to describe the sudden "disappearance" of someone who wants to avoid all future contact with you.

Going back decades, I know there have been first dates that, at the time, I thought went well. But, after getting the "I'll call you" line … I never did. As a teenager, I can remember anxiously waiting for the phone (a landline tethered to the wall – and yes, I am that old) to ring, not wanting to go out and possibly miss the call. And, being very disappointed by the silence. Now, I cannot even remember who they were.

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