triumphant woman boxer, maggie mcreynolds blog

How to Win a Fight without Throwing a Single Punch

Anybody, kid or parent, knows there are all sorts of rules—good ones—to protect kids from cars on school grounds. Rules about where you can pick up and drop off. Rules about where to park. And, above all, an iron-clad rule that you stop if you see someone of any age entering the crosswalk from the parking lot to the school’s door.

On this particular morning, school had already started, and I was arriving late to drop off the lunch bag my son had forgotten at home. As I approached the crosswalk, I saw a woman hesitating at the school side of it. I slowed, and prepared to stop. But instead of stepping into the crosswalk, she made a spasmodic gesture with her hands that confused me. I interpreted the gesture to mean, “No, go ahead, I’m just standing here, waiting for someone,” and so I slowly proceeded.

Imagine my surprise and dismay when she hollered like a banshee, leapt into the crosswalk into the wake of my passing car, and kicked my bumper as hard as she could. Guess that wasn’t what her hand signals had meant, after all.

By the time I’d parked my car, prepared to approach her, explain, and apologize, she was standing outside hers, halfway across the lot, and screaming at me.

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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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