Whenever you feel you cannot, in all honesty, say something complimentary, then by all means, tell a polite lie. Unless you’re a safety inspector for the Bridge and Tunnel Authority or the Nuclear Energy Commission, there is no need for you to point out every tiny defect you happen to spot.

“I think I have the world’s best dog!” (“I agree, he’s one of a kind and should be in the movies!”)……”What do you think of my new wallpaper? (“It’s quite beautiful. I saw something very similar during my White House tour.”)

You’ve just made some people happy. Your compliments will be memorized and repeated often. Isn’t that what we were sent down here for? These merciful fibs will certainly not appear on your heavenly rap sheet.

If a woman is so neglected she has to ask, “How do I look?”, we should realize she knows exactly how she looks, including the location and extent of every faint wrinkle, every trace of a blemish. What she is really asking is, “In spite of all that, do I still look pretty?” Your reply has got to include the word “beautiful”.

The world does not need more amateur inspector generals. You know the type: The guest at your barbecue who spends the afternoon commenting on your crabgrass and maligning your marigolds. After his last insulting remark about your menu, you lather his hot dog bun with “Fernando’s Fuego”, a rather challenging condiment which he attempts to malign but unfortunately, he has temporarily lost the power of speech.

These dedicated fault finders are afraid if they don’t call attention to every flaw and freckle, every smudge and smear, the world will miss another chance to become perfect. “Well, you wanted an honest answer, didn’t you?” they will ask after making one of their devastating remarks.

But most people don’t want a completely honest answer. Like the 1940’s favorite Johnny Mercer sang back then, “You gotta AC-cent the positive, ElIM-inate the negative….”

I once spent a month building a garden shed and in a weak moment, asked a dedicated critic what he thought of it. Instead of saying something complimentary or at least non committal, he felt obliged to say, “There’s no doorway. How the heck are you supposed to get in and out?”

Of course I knew there was no doorway. It was the main bug I had to eliminate. I certainly didn’t need his negative response after my many hours of sawing, hammering, swearing and bandaging. Fact is, I didn’t know how to make a doorway back then. I’d missed “Doorways 101” in manual training class when I had Chicken Pox, but I got a B-plus for my birdhouses and doghouses which don’t need doorways.

I realize now, there’s something ironic about a blog that criticizes critical people, so I’ll stop here. By the way, what do you think of this blog?

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