When my daughter was very young, she went through a phase where she would create “clubs” that she would then ask friends and family members to join. These clubs were usually fan related, e.g. the “Hannah Montana Fan Club”, or cause related, e.g. the “Save the Sea Lions Club.” The process of joining the club was usually very simple; all you had to do was sign next to the “x” on her membership list and you were in.
Picture now a November night in 2004. I am in my home office reviewing documents while simultaneously trying to participate in a conference call when my daughter approaches with what I perceive to be her typical club application. As I struggle to manage documents while cradling the phone to my ear, she holds a paper up and whispers, “Daddy, sign here!” As usual, I sign at the “x” and then quickly return to my call.
Shortly after the conference call is concluded, my daughter dances into the office singing, “I’m getting a puppy! I’m getting a puppy!” In an attempt to suppress her enthusiasm, I reply, “You know, your mother and I have had a discussion about this, and I am not sure we can get a puppy this year.” Whereupon, my daughter proclaims, “Yes, I am getting a puppy! You signed a contract!” and held up the paper I had signed which, to my chagrin, clearly stated at the top of the page, “I Todd Cole hereby agree to give a puppy to my daughter for Christmas.”