Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The compliment Trap

An open letter to the toddlers of the day (Generation X Version N)

The best compliments are ones that are overheard.

For reasons unknown, the above mentioned thing has never happened to me. I however blame it on my low hearing power rather than on people not complimenting me behind my back.

But the above proverb (coined by me… Thank you! Thank you!) is incomplete. “At a high price” or something to that affect should complete it. For, it is my theory that each compliment comes at a high price. Let me enumerate using an example.

When I was a kid, I was bad at studies. Not because I lacked intelligence, on the contrary it was due to the fact that I had and uncommon amount of it. You see, I realized very early, that life was a set of rat races and you better join the “right” race. I saw my class mates slog it out and get 1st ranks. They got complimented to the high heavens for getting first rank.

But, did it end there? Oh no! They went on to the IIT’s and competed with an even superior set of rats. Naturally, they slogged their a**** off just to be in the race. Did it end there? (Hmm… why do I get the feeling that you already know the answer?) Of course it didn’t. They just went on to get their high flying (read back biting) jobs. Last heard, most of the men have gone bald and impotent and the women… well whatever they become under pressure.

I, on the other hand chose the slow moving race. Again, I reiterate… not out my lack of intelligence, but the over-abundance of it. I thus got 50th rank when I could have easily got the 1st. I got into an average college, an average workplace and guess what? I am today a half-nosed king in a land of the nose-less* (Not coined by me, but I am thinking of taking the patent anyways!).

The compliment trap.
Just imagine that for some obscure reason, your mother tells you “you are such a sweet kid”, don’t for a moment be kidded into saint hood. Just tell her “yeah sure, but I won’t repeat it!” I did it and just see where I am today. The lesser compliments you get, the lazier you can be.

The image trap
Another trap that you should look out for is “image”. Sometimes even the dregs of society will have a good “image” back home. End result… a split personality! You go to great lengths to keep your nice-guy-image and in the process end up worse by a hundred beers. Your father would be thinking “how did this imbecile ever spring from my loins? He doesn’t even want to share a drink with me” and you would be thinking “Ah! I have such a nice image in front of my parents…ooh! La la la!”

So here some pointers on successfully managing parental expectations
1) Be lazy.
2) Be a trouble maker at school. It’s a great way to trash your image.
3) Don’t fall into the compliment trap. So, if somebody says you are a good painter.. Abhor the brush from then on. Or they will end up making you the next Picaso!
4) Don’t fall into the image trap. You end up losing your identity.

Once you gain entry into the “hope-written-off” category, things are pretty easy (as if they weren’t from the start!). Show even a flash of mediocrity and everyone around you is all agape with wonder (Think mentally retarded person doing the sums). Show a little concern, a little love and a little mix of other human qualities and it is heralded as the “new beginning”. Of course if you screw up, nobody cares since the “I-knew-he-would-screw-up” psychology kicks in.

But over the years you may lose sight of the path and then, one fine morning you hear that whisper behind your back... the dreaded compliment! That’s when you know its time for a re-evaluation of priorities.

I will shortly be coming up with a book on “successfully under achieving – a guide to lazy happiness”. It will teach you the art of staying lazy yet brilliantly happy the whole of your life. And all this without moving even your little finger...:D (Ok, you got to turn the pages… but that is about it)

*Detractor’s claim that they can’t see my nose either… but then that is why they are called as such!


mathew said...

Plato..Plato...thou arrives the Plato!!;-D

I agree with you..its so much fun to be the underdog!!no one expects us to be good anyways..;-D

Nikhil said...

good one! :)

when you release the book, i want the first copy for my kids.. :) Let them achieve what ever i cannot.. he he..

stillwaters said...

haha.. I totally agree..."Lazy Happiness" is something everyone should aspire for. Nothing beats the feeling of not having to prove anything to anyone but yourself..

Nice one Abe! :)

Karthik Sivaramakrishnan said...

Ironically, the very acting of writing a book on "lazy happy" would make the book a no-go :)

Abraham Menacherry said...

Mathew: Please dont insult Plato!!!
Yeah, the underdog feeling is kinda cool isin't it.

Nikhil: Hmm.. "let them achieve what ever I cannot" meaning that you are a hyper performer and the only thing you never achieved ->laziness be theirs, eh?? da da ahangari!!
by the by, I am too lazy to write it anyway!

Stillwaters: Yeah, you can have such contended life by just lowering your expectations rt...:D Thank you!

Karthik: Bang on target!! I am kinda sad that you kind of spotted anomaly.

Prasanth said...

Wow!!! You are just amazing!
You really have the potential to become a great blogger.
You should quit your job and take up writing full-time. I am sure everybody who reads this blog will agree.
Here's hoping for a bright future for you.

Abraham Menacherry said...

Prasanth: Duh!!! another compliment... now either I have to eat my words or stop blogging...!!!

Badal said...

No man You should not not stop blogging ....if you do ...we will stop laughing... :-)

The Layman said...

"God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts. Who best
Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best. His state
Is kingly: thousands at His bidding speed
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait."

John Milton-te varikal ivide enthu kondo orma varunnu.. :)
Post comedy aano philosophical aanonnum oru dilemma..

PS: Your post is very very mediocre... We don't expect it to be better than this (In keeping with the spirit of the post ;) )

Abraham Menacherry said...

Badal: Thank you...that was the best compliment...:D

Layman: Nice quote! No need for dilema it is a mix of both..
ha ha.. thank you.. now I can continue to blog in peace....:D

N!$#@N^# said...

“how did this imbecile ever spring from my loins?...
this was funny, I could'nt stop laughing...

Pinne you should contact NCERT and publish this as the first chapter in all the course books... may be for this good work the govt. would be forced to choose your b'day as the real childrens day.... :))

Reflections said...

"It will teach you the art of staying lazy yet brilliantly happy the whole of your life. And all this without moving even your little finger...:D "

At last....at last somebody, in this case AM is going to write that book which is in everybody's mind[nobody tried to till today coz we have lift our pinkie's for that, u knw] Well AM is going to make the supremme sacrifice & I predict its going to be a runaway bestseller:-D.

p.s: I'm not going to hold my breath but can we expect it in the next decade atleast?????

Abraham Menacherry said...

Nishu: He he... yeah, lets screw up all future generations...:D

Reflections: Next decade!! now you are being overly optimistic!...:D

Anooja said...

Nice read Abe...Coincidentally my friend and me today were discussing about something on these lines..
We were talking abt our friends who were doctors, s/w engineers - the so called budhi jeevis- and how the had to keep studying all the time, to keep themselves updated and their mechanical life.
Us, the studywise 'average' and common sense wise 'good' people lead better lives ;)

Primitive Lyric said...

Back on the blogging scene after a longish gap! Enjoyed your post as usual. Yes, I want what u've written about, for my son. I hope he'll enjoy what he does and not join some rat race that couldn't possibly make anyone happy!
I hope he enjoys his childhood (naughtiness included)!:)

Anonymous said...

sathyam parayatte, onnnum manasilaayilla, athondu full vaayichilla.. :P

myash again

shyamchand said...

da this time I read it... Probably I was in the cloud of laziness last time that I couldn't complete your this blog on the science of laziness. :P
Good write dear...
guide the lazy gooses around to let them attain the enlightenment being lazy... :P ur just another swami, avirananda...

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