Monday, June 22, 2015

Lifelong Compliments

There are compliments that one will remember for life, possibly because they are so far afield of what you think of yourself.  Someone has seized on something good about you that you never would have expected.

I have had three such compliments in my life and currently I'm 75.  Sadly they were given me in the '70s (and none since) and I was in my 30s back then.  Clearly I peaked early and haven't done anything noteworthy since.

Ah, well.

First:  I worked as a secretary for East/West Network which published the magazines found on airlines.  I wiggled my way into non-secretarial jobs (wrote the PSA coming events column and shot the first Long Beach Grand Prix) which is neither here nor there.

I stopped at Reception one fine day and in conversation with Audrey,  said receptionist, we got into some kind of conversation that came to a conclusion when she took my hand and told me, "You've got soul" which, since she was of mixed race, really tickled me.

Second:  I worked for a Jewish lawyer in Beverly Hills and one day he looked at me and said, "Goyisher punim; Yiddisher kupf."  I looked puzzled.  He laughed and said, " Gentile face, Jewish brain" which I thought was so notable that I've remembered it to this day.

He later blotted his copy book when I came back from lunch, prancing and strutting around his office to show off my white, brand new London Fog raincoat.  He studied me, laughed and tossed about a paragraph of Yiddish on me.  "Huh" I gaped?  He said, "Only a slob buys white."  I think that may been a curse because ever since that remark, I have never worn white that I didn't spill on it.

The third:  And I kind of think you had to be there - I was a word processor for Daum/Johnston, a commercial real estate firm with some 27 salesmen so a second woman was hired and we shared an office.  We got along immediately;  we socialized - we were close. 

One fine day, we were working away and she asked me to hand her something or do something for her - can't remember - and I stuck out my forearm and said, "Does this look black to  you?" (and the compliment was) that she exploded into laughter.  And thereafter, if I asked her for something, she would wordlessly stick out her forearm and look questioningly at me.  And we'd roar all over again.

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