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Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Verbal Quandary

The other day our management team holed up for a day in a strategic planning meeting. At one point we were discussing the age-old issue of customer loyalty.  (Not to worry - I won't go into details of that tantalizing session here.) Suddenly, there was a word I wanted to use, disputing the theory of customer loyalty. But it wasn't coming to me. The word, I mean. The definition was clear in my mind. "The refusal or inability to act."  But the word? A complete blank ________.

As a matter of fact, we had moved on to many other topics and the mysterious word still befuddled me. It haunted whenever my mind found a chance to creep back to that moment of customer loyalty versus _________. ACK! What in the heck? Isn't the study of words my hobby? Don't I consider myself somewhat of a verbivore?

Word. Word. Is it....."complacent"? No, it's a noun, silly. A noun..."Complacency"? No. Not it.

On the way home from the strategic planning session, something scary occurred to me. "So, this is it. Alzheimer's begins." Then I started to think about physics. The word. It involves physics! Once step closer.

By supper time (still bothered by this elusive word), I asked Alex if she has studied any physics. "Nope." she replied. "What's physics again?"

Finally, I went to my PC and googled "physics" and "state of inactivity." Within thirty seconds I had my word: inertia.  Yeah, pretty heavy stuff, huh? Stephen Hawking would be impressed it took me all day to think of that one. (Anyway, the point I was going to make that often it's not really customer loyalty that keeps people from changing brands; it's usually inertia. )

So, this morning as I was reading through Cole's homework, imagine how delighted I was to see my son learning about Newton's First Law of Motion! And in capital letters (wouldn't you know?) Cole had neatly defined that amazing inactive state of stasis known as...inertia.

I could've just asked my nine-year old...gheez.

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