What We Have Here, Is Failure to Communicate

Couple Seated Back To Back, Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis; maggie mcreynolds blog

Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

It’s an old joke: the four-year-old asks, “Mommy, where did I come from?” and Mom, fervently wishing this had happened on Dad’s watch, launches into a lengthy and somewhat euphemistic ramble about mommies having eggs, and daddies having sperm, and that in some sort of vague but definitely married way the two meet up and form an embryo, which grows in the mommy’s tummy and then eventually the baby comes out through a special place between the mommy’s legs.


“Oh,” says the kid. “Jimmy comes from Albuquerque.”

The punch line’s cute, but don’t let it obscure an important point: Mom didn’t really hear or understand the intent behind her son’s question, and so she gave him information he wasn’t asking for and didn’t need.

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