TriggerTrigger was the name of Roy Roger’s palomino horse and does sound like a horsey name. But the word spells out trouble. Once you press the trigger, that’s it. There’s no going back. No undoing the deed.
Words can be as harmful and quick as a bullet. Once I open my mouth and discharge my trigger-tongue, I can’t take it back. Contrary to the refrain, I’ve never been able to eat my words. Tongues, unlike pencils, have no erasers at the end. If I try to take back a lie, my traitorous red face gives me away.
At first glance, writing appears safer. I can always delete – except when it’s an email. I check my words and to whom they’re directed, before I click on SEND. I don’t want to send an erotic joke to my great-aunt Mabel. Carelessness can trigger an undesired response – an explosion of anger, damaged feelings, a broken heart. I read once that one should never break off with a boyfriend by email, not that I’ll ever find myself in such a situation now. There have been times when I’ve wanted to shoot you-know-who. Luckily for him, I’m not a trigger-happy Annie-Get-Your-Gun.
Writing out my thoughts is definitely the safe way to go. Anything written in haste can be repaired, edited, tweaked or rewritten. I miss the days of lengthy letters, written on sheer stationary, the licking of the envelope and the placing of a stamp. Seldom now do I have the slow pleasure of slitting open a hand delivered letter, brought to me by Cristián, my cartero, riding his red bicycle. I have a choice of letter openers crafted in bronze, silver or wood. If the envelope bears a commemorative stamp, I cut it off and slip it into an envelope with others. I save them for grandchildren, along with my old stamp collection, combined with those of my sons and their grandfather. Stamp collecting – a by-gone, slow, thoughtful activity.
Letters were once delivered by horse and rider. Trigger would have been an apt name for a Pony Express steed, and I’ll bet you Trigger would have been faster than our present day mail system. “Yippee-ki-yay. Git on, Trigger.” Quick as a flick of his tail, he’d be off like a bullet.