Trigger Word

Quinton loves his w-a-l-k-s (sorry, walks, I don’t have to spell out here). Just the mention of the word sends him into a frenzy of excitement. He’ll run around, go to the door, and can’t sit still while we try to harness and leash him. When we discuss if we want to go, we use different words. “Should we go on a stroll?” which has morphed into strolly to further keep him off track. What’s interesting is when he hears that magic word on accident.

We were playing Monopoly one night, the board was left out from the previous nights hurricane activity. One of us landed our piece, and the banker asked if they wanted Boardwalk. All the sudden, the dog is really interested. All he heard was the last 4 letters of that sentence. We didn’t piece it together right away, we wondered if he had heard something. Well, he did heard something, he heard “blah blah blah WALK”. (If you’re picturing a certain Simpson’s episode right now, you’re not alone!)

The same has happened to us with the word adoption. Although I don’t go running around the table when I hear it, I definitely pause and focus when I do. Unfortunately, for every relevant story, there is about three false alarms. Consider this past weekend, these are the three instances that triggered my interest :

On NPR on the way home from work : Don’t forget to adopt…a duck for the duck race

At the grocery store : Adopt…a puppy

On Wipeout: My wife and I wanted a bigger family, so we decided to adopt….a highway. (Henson!)

For every few false alarms though, something relevant comes through. That’s how I stumbled across Scott Simon’s wonderful book Baby, We Were Meant For Each Other, through a story on Fresh Air. That’s how I found out that our iPods and iPhones are the results of a successful adoption (Steve Jobs was an adopted child). So it’s still good to be on alert for those triggers.

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