I remember when I was a kid growing up, I had this friend named Johnny.
Johnny was a genius. I mean, a real genius. The kid always got straight-As. I don't know how he did it, because he never seemed to study. And there I would go toiling for hours to get grades that didn't come close.
So one day I'm with Johnny at his house and he gets his report card -- all As and one B-plus. I remember it vividly because I didn't think it was humanly possible to get a report card like that. His dad comes in and takes a peak at the card and says something like, "What happened in history, young man?"
That's the one Johnny got the B-plus in.
Johnny said something stupid like, "I don't know, dad. I must have screwed up."
The father shakes his head and leaves the room.
I was stunned. Absolutely stunned. Would it have killed Johnny's knucklehead father to say, "Hey, guy, way to go"? If my father had seen a report card like that from me, he'd have probably fainted. I never gave him the chance.
But it got me thinking. Some people have a very hard time saying anything good. They wouldn't know what a compliment was if it hit them in the face. I frankly think they're emotionally constipated. But that's me.
Take the treatment the president's been getting for these markets. They're sinking, you're stinking, seems to be the common refrain.
Another Herbert Hoover, writes The Economist. Like father, like son, beams Newsweek magazine.
Then the markets start turning around -- nothing.
Then some big arrests are made in the fight on corporate crooks -- again, nothing.
Then this sweeping legislation signed into law -- you guessed it, nothing.
I have met Johnny's father and they are all politicians, eager to cut down slow to compliment.
If memory serves me right, Johnny's father was a miserable man. Then again, Johnny's father never served in Congress.
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