Wednesday, 6 January 2010

When I was very small, the worst word I knew was “hate.” I could get smacked for us­ing it too freely or in­ap­pro­pri­ately. Later, I was taught the typ­i­cal tru­ism “if you can’t say any­thing nice, don’t say any­thing.” Once I’d processed that by be­ing re­quired to sit in a chair and think about man­ners a few times, I then be­came con­fused about the dif­fer­ence be­tween a com­ment and a com­pli­ment. I un­der­stood per­fectly well what a com­pli­ment was, but a com­ment was a co­nun­drum. Apparently a com­ment didn’t have to be com­pli­men­tary. So to my tiny bi­nary mind, this cer­tainly meant that com­ments were not some­thing that was good.

It’s tod­dler logic, like the time I asked Mom to name every­thing that be­gan with the let­ter m. Hey, Mom be­gins with m doesn’t it? She must know every­thing else that be­gins with m then.