I remember it like it was yesterday. It was not yesterday. It was 1990.
I stopped at the project secretary’s desk in the double-wide construction trailer where we were building a huge new addition for a specialty chemicals company in Shreveport, Louisiana.
I flashed one of my everyday smiles and said, “Good Morning, Betty.”
“Hello handsome,” Betty replied.
I turned to look and see who might be standing behind me, and was surprised that no one was there.
As I turned back to Betty, she said, “You don’t take compliments well, do you?”
“I don’t get them often,” I replied.
“I don’t believe that,” Betty said.
I went on to my office with a little spring in my step and soon forgot Betty’s words.
Years later, I remembered this conversation. Still no-one else had used the word, “Handsome,” in reference to my looks, not even my wife.
Because I wore super thick glasses in my earlier days, some friends called me, “Mr. Magoo” after the lovable, but nearly blind cartoon character brought to life by the voice of Jim Backus. Before that, a few called me, “Four eyes.”
Oh, don’t feel sorry for me, I didn’t take offence hearing such comments. I had enough friends, and I learned to take good-natured kidding, even if was not meant in kindness. I knew I was average and accepted it. Average intelligence, average athletic ability, and average looks. Typically, average served me well. I could easily fade into the background and become invisible in nearly any setting.
I told this story to someone recently and received this response, “She was just flirting.” My interpretation of this lady’s comment; She didn’t mean it literally. So, not even once in my life had anyone called me handsome and meant it.
Well it felt good for 27 years, but that was snuffed out a few weeks ago.
After hearing me refer to this encounter a while back, my wife stated that she would not have fallen for an ugly person, and, in fact, she did believe that I was, “Handsome.”
Thank you, beautiful lady.
Wayne Brady 6/13/2017