Photo by Louis Reed on Unsplash

Red, who's definitely not the business half of Red & Black, has heard over the years – especially from politicians and the media – that drug companies are the bad guys. Charging astronomical prices for drugs. Disclosing dangerous side effects or that it's potentially habit-forming. OK, they may be legally required to disclose that information but they do it at either the end of TV commercials in a way designed to make you "tune out" or, once you buy the drug, in the tiniest print. (OK, be honest, how many of you read the little pamphlet that comes with your medication? Red doesn't, and she was the straight-A student!)

Now, those same companies are spending millions and millions of dollars researching, developing, and testing drugs to prevent or treat Covid-19. Red, like many people, is thrilled at the news of seemingly successful vaccines rolling out any day now. However, at the risk of getting an unwanted business lesson on the drug industry, she comments to Black about all those previous conflicting impressions about the drug industry.

Black knows better than to try and explain to Red how you have to amortize R&D (research and development) expenses, or the fact that drug companies are businesses (not not-for-profit) so have a financial obligation to its shareholders. Not to mention, the issue of why manufacturing drugs has moved overseas. At this point, the bottom-line (pun intended) is that without more information you can't determine if drugs companies are going to be the good guys (although there's a financial implication, and accounting entry, for "goodwill") or the bad guys.

Time will tell … but meanwhile it provoked Black to ask:

Does doing good have to be mutually exclusive from doing well?
Rendering by porcorex on iStock

Red's Head

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.

Black's Head Black

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.

Red's Head

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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