Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Arbitrary Compliment Experiment #2: Target Ray Bans

Open yourself to compliments and they will come. Wow, this really works.

Just last week I posted about the 3 compliments I had received in the past 3 years. Yes, 3! I explained that I was going to rectify this situation by paying marginalized people (panhandlers) to compliment me. It was pretty simple: I give them a dollar and in return they pay me a compliment and allow me to take their picture.

Walking down Eddy Street to work, with a Diet Pepsi in my left hand, Netflix envelope in the right and an orange Jack Spade bag over my shoulder, I wasn’t expecting or prepared for a “free” arbitrary compliment. My camera was in my bag (not in my back pocket, where it usually is when I go out hunting for compliments) and my early reconnaissance of the street yielded no signs of panhandlers. I wasn’t prepared for the Arbitrary Compliment Experiment.

While waiting for the light to change, I bent over to pick up the DVD that fell from the Netflix envelope. From behind me, a large man in dark shorts, shirt and socks, wearing sandals and sporting an unruly beard said something that was directed at me. At first I thought he was a European tourist (shorts, dark socks and sandals are usually a dead giveaway) that stayed at one of the multiple low-to-midlevel hotels that frequented the local hotels. Upon closer inspection, it looked more like the cement was his home not the Comfort Inn.

I looked back at the bearded mand and said, “Excuse me?” The morning traffic was heavy and I had no idea what he said. He repeated it and this time I shook y head and put my hand to my ear.

Walking back to the curb, a bit confused and perturbed that he was so intent on me hearing what he had to say, I yelled, “What did you say?” A bit perturbed that I didn’t hear what he said, he yelled back, accentuating every word, “I said your glasses look like they’re 3-D.” I thought, “All this for that?” Jesus!

Not knowing how to respond, I smiled, nodded my head and crossed the street.

“They’re very retro. They’re funny.” He said, changing his initial opinion in an attempt to get a response out of me. “You know, they’re funny,” he added. I got the feeling that he was back peddling, afraid that he might’ve offended me with the “funny” comment. Being very hard to offend (unless you’re insensitive about my wife or kid. That’s a warning, people!), I responded to let him know that everything was OK: “I like funny, funny is good.”

Looking back as I neared the far curb, he yelled, “Funny, ha-ha, ha-ha.” It didn’t go down as he had planned. I smiled and took it as a compliment.

Compliment: “I like your glasses.” (Well, kinda)
Cost: Free
Rule Change: I’ve been thinking about the rules. For now, I will pay anybody that solicits me, even if they don’t agree to the terms (I don’t want to be a dick). If I approach them, I will not offer money unless I feel they need it. And, all free compliments are welcome, but I probably won’t have my camera with me.
Thoughts: This could end badly

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