Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Here's what others are saying about Hulles:

“...a shining example of irreverent, innuendo-filled, satirical say nothing of his comely female readership” – JC, The Hague, Netherlands

No, I didn't make that up – he really said it. And he doesn't even owe me money. I very much don't want to know if there was sarcasm involved, nor should you if you happen to be a female reader. But I think he was sincere, and JC, thank you very much for the huge compliment. Since this blog doesn't have a dust jacket, I want to display the blue part above prominently in the sidebar. So far I have been prevented from doing this by two things:

  1. a certain reluctance to indulge in what is sure to be viewed as shameless self-promotion, and

  2. I really need at least two “Here's what others are saying about Hulles”, preferably three, and so far I only have one.

Now, if you people will quit snickering and listen, point (1) above is really true. However I'm sure you'll be relieved to hear that I am striving to overcome this character flaw. In this blog eat blog world, self-promotion seems to be the name of the game. And since I want to be a player, I'll eradicate the last vestiges of shame in my personality and get on with it. Give me until next Wednesday.

As for (2), those who have read me for more than one post know that I seldom let a dearth of facts stand in the way of my writing. I could pull a couple fake reviewlets out of my ass quite easily:

  • “razor-sharp wit...breathtaking prose...a sure bet to win the Sardonic Postmodern Humor Blog of the Year Award!”

  • “If you have Internet access at your workplace, a ten-minute dose of Hulles will make you forget that you have a dead-end mind-numbing job for at least three or four of those minutes.”

See? It's a gift. Well, maybe not that last one so much.

The thing is, sticking a made-up blurb or two in “Here's what others are saying...” would detract from the loveliness of JC's real comment. I like the nice things that he said -- who wouldn't? It makes me feel all warm and fizzy inside. (I know I derailed you with “fizzy”, but feeling fuzzy inside is a sensation I can't begin to imagine.) I don't (mostly) get paid for this shit, so when I do hear something flattering I want to put it up on the mantle and not have it sit next to an Oscar I made out of aluminum foil. I want someone else to make one out of aluminum foil for me.

There, I think I successfully talked myself out of it. That first made-up blurb was starting to sound pretty good.

But this isn't all about me and my ego; in fact, this isn't even a good start (rim shot).

In my role as Curmudgeon-in-Chief around the Hulles blog, one of my more pleasant duties is explaining things to you at great length that you already know. This is one of the benefits of being related to the owner. I get to pretend that I have somehow gained priceless wisdom over the years that you young turks are desperately eager to partake of. It's called being delusional, and I like it lots and I'm good at it.

Today's lecture – look at me when I talk to you -- is going to be about taking compliments graciously. It seems an appropriate topic since I just got one, and it's always bugged me that people don't know how to receive a compliment.

It's really easy to accept a compliment graciously. Here's all you do:

  • Smile warmly.

  • Say “Thank you.”

See how easy that was? Then how come no one is able to do it?

I think there are a few things that may be going on with a person who can't take a compliment, and they all exist because that person hasn't taken the time to think about what's really happening. I'm going to talk from now on as if that person is you, because chances are it is.

Thing 1: You don't want to sound arrogant by accepting the compliment.

As this blog's foremost authority on arrogance, I have to say that you are wrong. The fallacy here is that you think if you respond with anything but a scowl you are tacitly agreeing with the person: “Jeez, I really am beautiful!” Nope. You're merely acknowledging that the other person thinks that. That's why you thank them. Who cares if they need medication? Who cares if you think you're a warthog? It's still a nice thing to say, and the person who said it probably believes what he or she said. Respect their opinion even if you don't happen to agree with it.

Thing 2: You don't want to be beholden to the person; i.e. you don't want to have to (for example) tell them something nice back that you'd be uncomfortable saying.

Well, that makes you the kind of person who also resents being given a gift because now you'll have to reciprocate. That in turn makes you a very shallow person. Just accept the gift in the spirit in which it was probably intended: a gift. Free. Nothing expected in return. If you think about it, you'll realize that if you do accept it as something you were given without any strings attached, and if the person giving the gift (or the compliment) offered it just because they wanted something in return, it makes them shallow, not you. So there, dammit.

Thing 3: The person is being flattering because he/she wants to get in my pants.

If you're a woman and it's a guy complimenting you, yes, he does want to get in your pants, flattery or no flattery. If you're a guy and the complimenter is a woman, dream on. But almost no one lies when they compliment someone – it's too hard to do. It's hard to truthfully flatter someone, let alone make shit up. Try it. Go up to a complete stranger with lovely eyes and say “You have lovely eyes.” (Do not do this in the workplace. You will face a lawsuit before the sentence is out of your mouth. Do it somewhere else.) Did you do it? No? Why not? No one in view with lovely eyes? Liar. You just chickened out. So if you chickened out, do you think it was really that much easier for the other person to do it? Nope. So the “flattery” is most likely sincere. Deal with it.

So enough Things. Those things should be enough to convince you. Now let's review what you do when a person says something nice to you:

  • Smile warmly.

  • Say “Thank you.”

Being able to do these two simple things makes you a gracious person. This is not a bad thing to be.

-- Hulles


Claire said...

Hulles, so gracious! Love it.


Stephen Blackmoore said...

You should really work on that shame problem, or at the very least make sure you have something worthy of shame. Make it big. As Hunter Thompson said:

Have no small wrecks. If you are going to loop out & hit something, hit it hard. Never mind that old-school physics bullshit about Irresistible Force & the Immovable Object.

I'd have quoted Proust to appear even more pretentious, if such a thing were possible, but the best I could find from him is something about lost time. Or something. I'm really not sure. It's in French. Or maybe it's Portuguese. For some reason I always get those two mixed up. Must be my cross association with French women and Brazilian waxes.

Anyway, shame is over-rated. It leads to gallstones, mullets and an unceasing desire for gefilte fish. Plus it makes one ugly. And you don't want to be ugly, do you?

I don't know how any of those are related, but it's true. Just ask your doctor.

Jay said...

Hi, Long time reader, first time commenter. Speaking of flattery, I thought I'd finally throw in a comment with my personal review of your work to date.

The world is a slightly better place since the essence of what is known as "Hulles" is now being captured in words. "Hulles" can best be summed up as "I'm so funny I even make myself laugh", and I for one, am thankful for that and I look forward to reading the latest Hullisms everyday (except weekends and holidays).

Hulles said...

Claire, you define gracious. Thanks lots.

Stephen, if I had known it was shame that caused all that shit I would have given it up long ago and be a lot healthier today. Plus try finding gefilte fish in Minnesota. All they have here is lutefisk.

And French women and Brazilian waxes make me cross as well, when I can get them.

Jay, yikes! Thanks lots! "The world is a slightly better place..." Now that's a nice Xmas present. And nice summary, BTW: I do crack myself up. On a good day. Again, thanks, high praise indeed.