Thursday, January 9, 2014

In which there is more griping about the green glass pear

The griping is not from me - it is from Doris.

She is unhappy with the thank you note that I wrote to her.

She does have a point: her complaint is that I didn't actually mention the pear.

What I very carefully did - because I do not want to encourage more presents in the class of Green Glass Pears - was not mention the pear.

Instead, I thanked her for her thoughtfulness in remembering my birthday and I thanked her for sending a gift. Then I segued rather cleverly into talking about Primo, her favorite subject, thinking she wouldn't notice.

But she did.

And she asked Primo why I didn't mention the pear. Primo knew why, of course, but also knew if he told her that I didn't like it that there would be Drama, so he just shrugged and said he didn't know.

What do you do in a situation like that? If I had raved about the pear, she would have thought, "Finally! I found something she likes!" And then my house would fill with glass fruits of various colors.

I had to stop the madness.

I remember an episode of Car Talk where the caller said that when his friend had bought a Saab, he had raved about it because he didn't know what to say and he thought it was the ugliest car he had ever seen.

But it's kind of like praising someone's baby - what possible repercussions could there be? Nobody is ever harmed by saying, "What a beautiful baby!" even though most new babies look a lot like monkeys and are beautiful only to their parents. The parents beam when they hear the words because to them, it is a beautiful baby. You don't need to worry that the mother will thrust the baby into your arms and say, "You take her! You love her more than I do!" You can praise a baby and all your little white lie and following of a social convention do is make someone happy.

This guy had raved about his friend's car. I don't know what possessed him to do it - maybe the friend was so proud and asked the caller what he thought about his amazing new gorgeous car and the caller shrugged and thought, "Eh. What harm can come of this? I'll tell my friend his car is gorgeous." Which he did.

And so when the friend wanted to sell the car a few years later, the caller's wife bought it for him. Because she thought he loved it so much.

That's the reason you never lie about liking cars or green glass pears. It is safe to lie about babies, but it is not safe to lie about gifts or cars. It will come back to haunt you. Which is why I did not lie. But Doris isn't strong enough for the truth.