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BEST BET

July 04, 1993|M.H.

"Powerful Communication Skills"? I could teach them a thing or two.

I heard Mom and Dad talking about it before they went to bed. They're going to a free public lecture on the subject by Deborah Cooper, a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist, from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Westside Pavilion Community Room, 10800 W. Pico Blvd. (310) 470-4900.

History, I know, offers plenty of examples of powerful communication. Adm. Farragut's "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" at Mobile Bay. Gen. McAuliffe's "Nuts!" to the Germans at Bastogne. Hitler ranting. Khrushchev pounding the lectern with his shoe.

But none of it compares to what I did just half an hour ago, in the middle of the night. I simply looked out through the bars of my crib and cried: "Wa-aa-ah!"

I did it in English, but it would have worked just as well in French, Thai, Arabic or Swahili.

A current of electric urgency crackled through the air to where my parents lay sleeping. As it happens, they're just on the other side of the room, but if necessary my cry could have penetrated doors and walls of bank-vault thickness.

They heaved themselves up, muttering. Mom, not completely awake, got me my bottle. Later Dad, almost totally asleep, burped me.

It's pretty nifty when all my physical and emotional needs can be met with two basic commands:

Feed me.

Change my diaper.

And they happen to sound just the same.

You may ask: How does a 3-month-old baby know all this stuff? Easy. Three-month-old babies know everything. That's why, at this age, we can look up at the adults who wait on us and give them such sweetly mysterious smiles.

As we grow up, of course, we'll gradually forget things. School will only accelerate the process. By the time we graduate from college, we won't know any more than a college graduate does.

For now, though, if Mom and Dad want to "communicate more powerfully in words and actions," as Ms. Cooper promises, they'd do well to listen to me--not that I'll give them any choice.

Whoops! And just when they've started to doze off again.

It's time for Command No. 2.

"Wa-aa-ah!"

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