constellations #66: compliments matrix

Hi again. I’m working on a theory of compliments. (Which, I suppose, is a theory of insults in reverse.) Maybe that’s an exaggeration. But I’ve been thinking about what makes certain ones stick. One of the most memorable compliments I ever received came when I was in high school. I was probably in ninth or tenth grade, and I chaperoned my little sister’s middle-school class on an afternoon outing to a local ski hill. On the bus ride back, I befriended a somewhat lonely nerd. We sat next to each other on the way home, and after we had been talking for a while, he said: You talk like an old book. What an absurd thing for a twelve-year-old to say to a fourteen-year-old! But I found it delightful. It really made me feel unimpeachably intelligent.

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