Banter Bites

Is Being Old A Secret Weapon?

With age comes wisdom … and years of hard work.

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: You can't change the facts, but much like the glass half full vs. glass half empty analogy, how one looks at getting older – or at failing – can make all the difference, as Red soon discovered from Black's unexpected reaction to, of all things, a golf tournament.

It all began when Black asked Red if she had watched the PGA Championship, the second of the four "major" men's golf tournaments. Red admitted that she hadn't yet had seen the headlines about Phil Mickelson having won it, which was amazing given that while he's had an incredible career, the last years have been less than stellar. But when she commented that sports, like so many things, favor the young, she definitely wasn't expecting Black's response,

"Old People" – however you want to define old – are on a roll. In 2019, Tom Brady, at the age of 41, became the NFL's oldest quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl. In 2020, President Biden, at the age of 77, became the oldest person ever elected president. Now, Phil Mickelson, at the age of 50, becomes the oldest golfer to ever win a major championship.

That caught Red totally off guard, as Black often laments about having to speed walk instead of running to "save" her knees, and even though Red's the younger (by five years) sister and still feels young at heart, she's also noticed that it's not as easy to do things as when she was younger – whether physically, like working out, or work, in terms of stamina or concentration.

However, it reminded Red of one of her favorite movies, Space Cowboys, and how age might be a physical hindrance but unquestionably provides a wealth of knowledge and wisdom, both personal and professional, that can only be gained over time. Or via a mother's unwavering desire to give her children advice. In this case, it was Phil Mickelson's mom, who sent a text message to her son via Phil's sister,

Text Philip and tell him just to par in. Don't hit bombs or activate calves. Just par. They will have to catch him. He won't listen to his mother so you text him. Hurry.

Phil played his game. The one that got him there. And the rest is history. But what Black found most inspirational about this win actually happened about a week before the PGA Championship began, when Phil tweeted,

I've failed many times in my life and career and because of this I've learned a lot. Instead of feeling defeated countless times, I've used it as fuel to drive me to work harder. So today, join me in accepting our failures. Let's use them to motivate us to work even harder.
Photo by OnTheRunPhoto for iStock


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I keep getting emails about where to go for mocktails. I know alcohol-free cocktails, like Virgin Margaritas, have been around for a while, but I’d never heard that term before. Do you think it has to do with New Year’s resolutions?


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It can if any of your resolutions are to lose weight, save money, sleep better. Or, drink less. Psychologically, January is the month when we “reset”, so a UK-based organization, Alcohol Change UK, started Dry January, where you abstain from drinking alcohol.


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Perfect timing since many people shop, eat, and drink more than usual over the holidays.


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I know you used to drink a glass of Cold Duck on New Year’s Eve, a tradition going back to our childhood, but that hardly counts as drinking. But, I have always wondered why you rarely drink, but never asked.
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If you had to live without hugs … would that make you sad or glad?

BANTER BITE BACKSTORY: How can something as simple as a hug elicit such incredibly different reactions; while it’s not surprising that Red thinks about hugs very differently than Black, it’s very surprising which one of them is supported by science.

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Photo by bhofack2 for iStock

Popcorn! Quite simply, it’s one of my absolute favorite things. Starting when I was a child, whenever I went to the movies, I’d get (and finish!) the largest bucket of popcorn available. And I always thought movie popcorn was far superior to what you could make at home … until a recent trip to visit a close friend in Tennessee, and she introduced me to Great Northern Popcorn (I promise this isn’t a paid ad). Now I’m addicted to it as I can make it on my cooktop. I know Black would be more interested in the science of what makes popcorn pop, but I prefer to just be obsessive about my popcorn …

Popcorn. Just the thought of popcorn makes me smile, makes me want to indulge, makes me happy. And I’m guessing my popcorn obsession makes Black roll her eyes (although she might admit it can be a healthy snack). However, plenty of people must love popcorn as much as I do. Why else would there be a National Popcorn Day?!

Over the past few years, the pandemic posed challenges that none of us could’ve foreseen (and I’ll never forget the dedication of the front-line workers or make light of the sacrifices so many had to make). But part of me has to laugh at the irony because it ended my seemingly easy “escape” from the stresses of life – going to the movies and enjoying the largest bucket of popcorn – when I needed it the most.

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