12 Hours of Giving & Receiving

Published: Thursday, January 29, 2004 at 4:27 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 29, 2004 at 4:27 p.m.

Giving makes you feel powerful. Maybe a little cocky. When stroking someone just the right way, a delightful response is all the payback a benevolent Giver honestly needs. If the Receiver doesn't automatically return the favor, no worries, cause we immediately get to score major points with them.

Wednesday was National Compliment day. Somehow the university did not seem to think the occasion merited a day off to connect with people.

I'll use this day to tell everyone I love some of the reasons I think they're so keen, thought I, putting down my Bobsey twins book. And I can talk to lots of strangers with the backup plan of snarling,"Happy National Compliment Day to you, too! Asshole," in case they don't eat it up. Nice!

But fate got in the way. If only, if only I had another chance, I'd do it right.

I think a lot of nice things/jealous things about my friends and nighttime acquaintances, but most of them don't ever get past the ol' chomper. As if coveting thy neighbor's iPod/perky bosom isn't heinous enough, I am a compliment whore who expects a certain level of daily, honest, audible respect.

Like many people, the right sort of unexpected, off-kilter compliment that stems from more than a mere appreciation of my accessorizing skills can endear a soul to me forever (unless it is a pickpocketing distraction) and send my weighty, buttered-up head into a flash of hot, milky delight that dulls my connection with the surrounding earth. Boys, if you can pick foster and then pick up on this moment, your chances increase tenfold.

But then I wean myself off of the drug and force myself to snap out of it already. "ohhh? yeah?" sounds retarded, unless it's coyly delivered while unbuttoning.

I usually splash water on my face and sputter out a bright-eyed thank you, careful to not resemble a dimwitted horse-girl getting a compliment about her recorder-playing skills from her older sister's polite boyfriend.

The Giver always expects some form of appreciation, even when it's a graciously genuine sentiment given from a pure heart. A thumbs up, a smile, profuse blushing, spitting up milk and then choking on it, whatever.

Desperation is a stinky perfume, they say.

I was so hellbent on delivering on quantity, but in hindsight, quality should have been priority one.

For example, upon seeing a dear friend, I remarked in a slight ringmaster's voice how beautiful she looked.

"What do you want?" she deadpanned.

"Nothing," I said, deflated. Friends know when something is hidden up your ass.

Throughout the day, I tried approaches such as, "If you just had a cigarette, you'd look really cool," and "You guys are doing a really stand-up job," and "I really like your hair straightened," all to no response, grunts, or tirades about why I couldn't remember about the hair last Saturday at some party. Sorry everyone, I was just trying to give honest, sober compliments.

Safeguarding one's integrity is always paramount, so lies were not in order. Sadly, I couldn't manage to say "What sexy stubble you have," or even, "Nice ass," to a skipper of a pal of mine.

My faith in humanity has not wavered in the least, though.

Walking down the sidewalk that afternoon, I heard a peculiar clinking sound. A goofy kid wearing a beanie was riding a tall, cartoonishly elongated bicycle. He was steering the thing right towards me.

"Nice bike," I said.

He smiled. "Thanks."

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