what can brown teach you?

I am all too familiar with the notion that is is not only what  you say, but more importantly, how you say it that matters.  I really need to get my tone in check.

“What does that sign say?”

“It says ‘Cash for Gold’.” (in a perfectly happy tone of voice.)

“What does that mean?”

“It’s an advertisement for a store.”

“What’s an advertisement?”

“A way for a store to get people to notice it.”

“Like in a magazine?  Or on a commercial?”


“Hey, there is another one!  Why isn’t he swinging his sign like that man?”

“One is swinging.  One is steady.  That’s their choice.”

“Why aren’t we moving?  Go after this car.”

“We are at a red light.  We have to wait for a green.”

“Which way is left?”

“This way.” (holding up left hand.)

“How do you know?”

“I learned it a long time ago.  I write with my right hand. So the other way is left.”

“What do you do with your left hand?”

“A lot of other things.”

“Like what?”

“Oh, I don’t know.  I do a lot with my right hand, because it’s my dominant one.  I do other things with my left hand and some things with both hands.”

“What does dominant mean?”

“I think I’m done with questions for right now.”  (Tone has changed considerably from the beginning of this conversation.)

“Mom, this is really important.  I need to know what dominant means.”

“It means the one that is stronger, more precise.  The one you favor.”

“Oh, OK.”

And then the light turned green.  People, this entire conversation took place at one red light. Right before that we talked about starting kindergarten for the 9,435th time; Right after that we discussed the schedule for the rest of the day for the 16th time.

I now understand UPS’s philosophy of never making left turns.


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