Another Apple for Wittgenstein

Those familiar with Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations will chuckle at the title of this post while they are reading it. Those not familiar will not get it, but they will still enjoy the post.

Wednesdays at our house, at least this semester, are “papa days.” That is, they are the days that I stay at home, all day, with Jane, the rambunctious two-year-old that I’m proud to call my daughter.

This morning we were hanging out in the living room after Ellen left for work. I started going through what we had to get done before it was time for her nap. “We need to go to Trader Joe’s to pick up some dessert for tonight, and then we are going to the Apple Store to pick up a special cable for my laptop.”

You know, of course, that the Apple Store is the place you go to covet all those shiny computers, phones, and tablets. But if you had never been there before, and you had never even heard of such a place, you may imagine that it is a store that sells fruit.

And that is what Jane thought it was: a store that sells fruit.

We hopped in the car and I said, “Where are we going?” She responded, “The Apple Store!”

The whole way there she sang in the back seat (to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star), “Apple store, apple store, apple store, apple store” (go on, try it – it’s adorable).

When we got to the Apple Store her enthusiasm waned. “Here we are,” I said. She looked at me with the saddest face I’ve ever seen. “Where the Apples go?”

It was only then that I realized my mistake. I had spent the last hour getting my daughter excited about going to a store filled with one of her favorite foods. She began to cry, so I picked her up and promised that she could have as many apples as she wanted for lunch. I then offered to buy her an iPad. She said no.

Language is powerful. So is innocence.

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