Hear the Peanut. Be the Peanut.
Usually, I’m bad about remembering jokes, but there are a few — usually pretty corny — that stick with me. Here’s one of my favorites:
A guy is sitting at a bar by himself when, all of a sudden, he starts hearing whispers saying things like, “Wow, you’re really handsome.” “What’s that cologne you’re wearing? It smells great.” “You’re the best salesman ever.”
He’s a bit unnerved, so he calls over the bartender to ask if he’s hearing the commentary too. The barkeep points to a bowl and answers: “Oh, those are the peanuts. They’re complimentary.”
I have unearthed this chestnut because I think it ties in pretty well with one of the season’s perennial rituals: the New Year’s Resolution. Or, should I say, the inevitable breaking of the New Year Resolution and its attendant waves of defeat, failure and self-loathing.
So this year, my resolution was not to make any resolutions. Heaven knows, the ways I could improve myself are legion, but I really don’t need a written list to remind me of my failings. I pretty much flagellate myself daily about losing my temper or eating the wrong things. And if I am remiss, there are plenty of people out in the world ready to slap me on the wrist for my sins, big and small.
But many, many times there are compliments I almost immediately discount. About my new hair color (“All praise goes to my hairstylist, Heba”) or my house (“Yes, but that busted up driveway is awful”) and especially my work (“We won that contest, but we were in the category for small magazines …”).
In 2014, I will listen to any compliment sent my way. I will stop, take it in, accept it in the spirit it was given and choose one or more from this collection of possible responses: Thank you. That means a lot to me. You’ve made my day. It’s so kind of you to say so. I value your opinion.
And I’m going to take it a step further. I will, in essence, be the peanut. If I see something that strikes me in a positive way, I will once again stop, but this time it’ll be my turn to make the compliment, whether it’s a small thing (“Love that necklace”) or large (“You are one of the most creative people I have ever met”).
And so, Tallahassee Magazine readers, advertisers and coworkers, thank you. It means the world to me that, for the past nine years, I have been the face and voice of this publication and that so many of you enable me to use my talents to help shape a beautiful and lasting vision of our hometown.
I hope the New Year is good to you. But more than that, I hope you take the time to be good to yourself.