Godbey: Thanks for the compliment, I think

Published 2:00 pm Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Jack Godbey


With cold weather on its way, it’s time to batten down the hatches and finish up those summer chores that I’ve been putting off. I won’t say that I ignored my to-do list; however, when I reviewed it, I saw one task was to buy a new Sony Walkman. I may have been putting some things off since 1992.

Email newsletter signup

I had finally gotten around to staining the deck and was wearing the worst clothes I own. You know, the ones that you have to reach way in the back of your closet to find? My wife tried to throw them out years ago, but I told her that I might use them again. She just rolled her eyes as I placed them back into my closet. Today, I pulled them back out, and despite them being two sizes too small, the crotch torn out, and a big hole in the knee, I flaunted around the house in them as if to say, “Ha ha, told you I’d wear them again.”

Right in the middle of staining the deck, I realized that I had grossly underestimated how much stain I would need, so I had to run out to the home improvement store. I didn’t bother to change my clothes as I thought that I’d only be there for a second. Just as I feared, once I got into the store, someone came up to me and said, “Hey, aren’t you that writer guy?” Giving up on trying to be incognito, I responded, “Yes, I am.” The guy looked at me from head to toe and, scanned my hobo look with a confused look on his face and said: “I always feel more intelligent after I read your stuff.” I’m sure he meant well, but what I heard was that I’m so stupid he feels smarter compared to what I write. Gee, thanks, buddy.

I began to think about other so-called compliments people have said to me over the years. I recall when a friend from work came to my house. When they came in and looked around, they said, “It’s so refreshing to see a house that looks lived in. Most people obsess too much about being clean.” I’m like, “Thanks, I’m going for the barnyard feel.”

I went to a party at my work once, and a co-worker looked at the clothes I was wearing and said, “You’re looking sharp tonight. I didn’t know they made such stylish clothes in your size.” What could I say? I just responded, “Thanks, it’s the new Fat Albert collection.” Once, someone responded to a picture I posted on social media, “That picture is so good. I didn’t realize that was even you.” Not sure if that’s a compliment or an insult.

I pulled into a parking lot and saw someone I used to hang out with. He looked at my truck and said, “You can afford a truck like that? It must be nice.” Yeah, Jimmy, it is nice. It’s called having a job. You should try it sometime.

I heard someone try to describe me the other day, and they said, “He still looks good for his age. Plus, he’s got a great personality.” Ouch.

I’ll admit that I’m not above a backhanded compliment myself. I had the displeasure of dealing with a restaurant server recently who was obviously having a bad day. I told her, “Good morning,” and she just rolled her eyes. When I asked for a refill on my glass of milk, she let out a sigh as if I had asked her to go milk the cow herself. I handed her the tip and said, “I hope the rest of your day is as pleasant as you are.” By the time she figures out I tipped her in Canadian money, I’ll be long gone.