How does the song go about what the World needs now, is love sweet love?
Hmmmm. Hum a few bars crooned and scribed by Burt from Kansas City at the center stage Yamaha grand piano and you’ll remember the lines. But today the art of left handed compliments. What they are, how they work, why they happen.
The first time I heard the expression I thought about left handed cigarettes.
Those pick, dry, grind and roll your own herbage that are grown way way out back with the saw tooth patterned leaves and buds riddled with THC. But those make you mellow, maybe feisty for the last piece of pizza or cranked to holler using your outdoor recess voice to “turn it up, cause Mister Man, Chummy here comes the good part”.
As you air guitar with the best of them to “Stranglehold”. Or some Canned Heat, Grateful Dead, Phish tune in the back ground of a smoke filled den of inequity.
But left handed compliments can miss the mark and still be well intentioned enough.
Like Yogi Berra utterances. a string of malapropisms assembled to make a profound statement that lives on and on. But most left handed compliments are designed to malign and have literary prickly barbs manufactured to sting.
To draw blood, hit an artery to do the most collateral damage.
The Wikipedia definition of a left handed compliment.
“A backhanded compliment, also known as a left-handed compliment or asteism, is an insult that is disguised as a compliment. Sometimes, a backhanded compliment may be inadvertent. However, the term usually connotes an intent to belittle or condescend.”
Yeah, what the World needs now is lots more of those. Like anything good or bad, there is an art form, a skill with practice makes perfect.
You must know someone that is gifted at left handed compliments. Can you count the number on one hand?
You don’t forget these people when you or a loved one is the red dot assassin’s target painted on the mark as the next in line to receive one or two or three.
Made just for you like a chunk of silver melted down, poured into a bullet mold to cool then slid down the long, narrow rifle barrel.
With plenty of gunpowder and cotton wadding to pack it in wicked good for the ready, aim, fire.
Everyday examples of a left handed compliment might include a comment about your newly painted kitchen.
When observed, nothing is said for a pregnant pause moment or two as just the right comment is formulated just so. And then volumes are spewed beyond just the sentence or two. With “Oh my gosh, look your new kitchen color, is that school bus yellow?”
Or “My, my, that dress color is definitely you, it does such a good job of hiding the layer of fat around your waist. Really it does wonders for you.” And “What a beautiful baby boy, just precious and would you look look at how long his arms are, really, just like a monkey he is. Coochie coochie coo. ”
In the movie Step Mom, the jilted ex wife is asked by her young son while the pair ride horses over hill and dale if she thinks Dad’s new, fun, young girlfriend is pretty.
She deliberates, reflects as the steeds walk and cool off from a trot or canter or hand gallop change in the pace of travel. And then utters “She’s kinda pretty, if you like big teeth”.
To which the young son ponders her remark and makes the sincere offer. “I’ll hate her if you want me to Mom”.
To get better at something, to develop a skill of any type, something has to drive the process. The fire in your belly.
Passion to do good, compliment and lift up, cheer a person is the good carrot and stick. Fear, envy, hatred. Not so much good comes out of those lonely ingredients. What goes in, what comes out is black or white but how sensitive the receiving end of the left handed comment is matters too.
If they don’t hit their mark, if no flinch or blush appears on the scene, you’re deemed no fun by the creator of the one of a kind, left handed comment designed just for you. The quip, dig, bite goes unrewarded. The pleasure is in the squirm it would seem. Uncomfortable for all within ear shot matters not to the orator hell bent on election to prove a point eloquently and with perfect timing. To put someone in their place. To call them out.
Why do they do it, have to be snarky?
And how come if you are not the target of the moment, that Gatlin gun will swing high, wide and handsome to your “you are here” location.
To come around and put you in the critical cross hairs. Unless you run for the hills, high tail it to points unknown to shield yourself from the harsh treatment. Or toughen up. Stop being the target.
Seeing the red flag to wave your white one.
An insult insulated to appear as a compliment at first brush or glance. Yup, you have just been served up a left handed compliment.
Can you spot the left handed commenters in a crowd? The pursed, lemon sucking lips are one clue. It takes a lot of energy sucking it out of others and shows up on the face first.
Is the problem we live in a right handed World? And everyone has to just settle down, adjust, toe the line for peace and harmony? And it does take supreme effort because something deep inside, parked down by the soul just makes it that you, I , others can not help ourselves.
Your resentment once you get a handle on your emotions in a left handed conversation turns to curiosity about how and why they do it.
Maine is the 42nd least dense state and all that wide open outdoors increases our awareness. Helps create the space to get along, to be more connected and to over look faults. Less judgemental and more accepting.
We need each other in small Maine towns for the greater good. Get to Maine. Don’t stand her up, keep her waiting. The fresh air, clean water, all this four season unspoiled pure surroundings does a body good.
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