Critical blood shortage comes with first days of summer, says the -meric-n Red Cr-ss

A puddle reflects the late spring sunset in a parking lot across from the Columbus Government Center. Friday will be the longest day of 2019 as the summer solstice arrives.
A puddle reflects the late spring sunset in a parking lot across from the Columbus Government Center. Friday will be the longest day of 2019 as the summer solstice arrives. tchitwood@ledger-enquirer

In the summertime, when the weather is hot, you can stretch right up, and touch Monday Mail.


That opening is from the 1970 hit song “In The Summertime” by Mungo Jerry, because the summertime is coming, astronomically.

Some people mark June 1 as the start of summer, meteorologically, but celestially it begins with the summer solstice, when the tilted Earth in its traipse around the sun tips its top until the sun touches the Tropic of Cancer.

That precise moment will be 11:54 a.m. Friday, the longest day of the year.

Bloody holes

America’s critical blood shortage now is so dire the American Red Cross is butchering words.

The agency has mounted an ad campaign that removes from the text all the blood-type letters, such as A, B, O ...

Is that all? I can’t remember if we have a type X or Z or if those are just generation labels.

Here’s a Red Cross explanation:

“During the campaign, iconic corporate and civic brands, celebrities and influencers will remove A’s, B’s and O’s – which make up the main blood groups – from signage, websites and other public-facing platforms to illustrate the critical role every blood donor plays. When the letters A, B and O vanish from everyday life, the gaps are striking. And when A, B, O and AB blood types are missing from hospital shelves, patient care could be impacted.”

The Red Cross says only three of every 100 Americans donate blood, yet someone needs blood every two seconds, so the supply lags dangerously low.

I would write a sentence with those letters missing, but it would be hard to read, and kind of “-nn-ying,” too, if you can’t tell that word was “annoying.”

To donate blood, you can schedule an appointment at or call 800-733-2767, or just go to the Columbus donor center at 7490 Veterans Parkway noon-8 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday; or 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.

Dog lips

In the email comes this message regarding a May 19 graduation speech parody that cited some advice from a school superintendent, who told graduates to stop along the road of life to relish the little things, to smile at a stranger, and “smile at a dog.”

Also memorable was a local principal’s advice, “Think of education as a verb,” but that doesn’t sound as profound:


I hate to criticize (actually I LOVE to criticize, but if I didn’t say that I hated to criticize, people would criticize me!), but I’ve learned over the years that you don’t want to smile at a dog that doesn’t know you.

By smiling, you are showing your teeth, and a dog feels threatened when someone shows their teeth to them, you can get bit. Unless you’re one of those people that can smile without displaying your teeth, then it’s probably OK to go ahead and smile. Just saying.

As always,


Dear David:

I don’t think any of this graduation advice is very well vetted, actually.

Thinking of education as a verb probably isn’t a good idea, either.


Also in the email came messages related to a May 6 column about the Columbus Government Center.

What I did not know, when I got the emails, was the print edition of that day’s paper had columnist Chris Johnson’s photo on my column. I hadn’t seen the paper, so I just assumed these were referring to what I wrote. And maybe this first one was; I’m not sure:

Whatever it is you’re drinking, I’ll have some!


Dear RJM:

Just blood, sweat and tears, man.

Here’s the other email:

Why are you masquerading as Chris Johnson today?


Dear Jennifer:

I thought for sure you were alleging I copied Chris Johnson’s writing style, until someone told me his picture was on my column. So, thanks for trying vainly to bring that to my attention.