How would you describe video games? Fun, entertaining, competitive, addictive, escape mechanism, time-suck? Or "all of the above"?

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Video games are played by all ages, ranging from kids to senior citizens, but that doesn't matter to Red, who has never been remotely interested in them, while Black is fascinated with them – from a business perspective.


Red knows very little about video games nor had any desire to learn about them, let alone play them. Although she remembers Pac-Man being a very popular video arcade game when she was in college and the introduction of Nintendo's portable gaming machine, that's the extent of it. She admits that she was a geek in school, but she's never been a techie, and considers her computer a necessary evil and can't imagine using it or her phone to play games.

I don't get it. Or, maybe I'm old-fashioned. But if I have any spare time (ha-ha-ha), I'm going to grab a book and find a quiet place to escape and read. Not spend more time on a computer (or other gizmos) doing something that requires me to pay attention and results in me being "rewarded" with noises and flashing lights, or whatever video games do! Luckily, neither of my daughters is into them, which may explain why I'm so clueless about video games. In fact, I only know they're big business because Black has told me so.

Actually, Black has told her more than that, but because Red wasn't interested, it didn't stick with her (funny how our brain does that). Black didn't expect her to remember the various statistics she found fascinating or the details of how Pac-Man expanded the video game audience from being predominately adult males to include women and children, and has stood the test of time. Or, even that many of the skills needed to be a successful gamer (ranging from critical thinking to problem-solving) have real-life applications.

But Black did think Red might remember the article she forwarded (if she read it) about how the U.S. State Department announced its' video game diplomacy program as a fun and effective way to bring together students from the United States with students in Israel, United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain – to jointly develop and create social impact video games, while also learning more about each other's respective culture and beliefs.

Of course, Red, while intellectually appreciating all the things that Black finds so interesting about video games, still wasn't "sold", so Black decided to take a slightly different approach,

I recently read an interesting article that said that video games "need more badass middle-aged women." Although I am more sarcastic than badass … as we explore what direction for Red & Black to take next, what about a video game with its central characters being a super nice, warm and fuzzy mom "doing battle" with her sarcastic, racecar driving, sister?

Now that got Red's attention!

Ok, let’s be clear (pun intended) … Communication is critical. Whether in your personal life or in business, not to mention communication skills are transferable between the two (Black even suggested Red hold family “business” meetings). And what better time to work on how we communicate, and maybe even have a new attitude toward vocabulary and “50-cent words” (Red loves those, but terminology scares her!?), than during Effective Communications Month.

Talking isn't the same as communicating. And hearing isn't the same as listening. Think about it.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Being an effective communicator, whether in our personal lives or at work, is a critical skill but one-size-doesn't-fit-all as we each use very different methods and styles … ranging from lots of words and talking stuffed animals (Red) to bullet points and racing flags (Black).

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Most workaholics can rationalize working all the time. At least to themselves.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: “Gizmos” already blurred the lines between the workweek and the weekend, but the WFH (working from home) “revolution” caused by the pandemic has destroyed the line; except for people like Black, who have always treated every day as a workday.

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We all “celebrate” Memorial Day differently, but we all should remember it’s a day to honor those who gave their lives serving this country.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: Memorial Day may be the unofficial start of summer, and Red remembers celebrating over the years with family get-togethers, barbeques, and pool parties; whereas Black “celebrates” most holidays by having a quiet day to work uninterrupted, but it’s important never to forget the significance of the holiday.

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