Food For Thought: Learn How To Park, #&%@head!

My mother, The Split Personality Eater (SPE), has certain limitations with motor vehicles. Years ago, my brother-in-law, unable to drive due to an injury, had to ride shotgun with my mother from New York City to Pennsylvania. That journey so rattled him that fifteen years later he does not permit his children to drive with her.

And parking is not SPE’s strong suit.

But still we were all amazed when she showed us the note that she’d found tacked under her windshield wiper. It said, “Learn how to park, &#%@head!”


IMG_0050Who would go to the trouble to find piece of a paper and a magic marker, to scribble a note, adding the expletive, and then to vacate his or her warm car, to step into the cold, and to tack the letter to a stranger’s car?

Now we didn’t see the park job. SPE claims innocence as the lot was a gravel area with no designated spaces.

But still.

There’s a lot of meanness in the world. Everybody is shouting at each other. The politicians are ranting. Facebook is full of nastiness. Watch the news and you’ll start to believe the sky is falling.

But there is an antidote.

It’s called The Compliment Game and it’s wonderful for Sunday dinner conversation. Here’s how you play: each guest gives one compliment to each person at the table. At first, the game is hard and feels awkward. Why is it difficult to be nice, especially to the people to whom we are the closest? But soon something magical begins to happen. Everybody can’t wait to receive their compliments. It’s fun to play with a group of friends, too—maybe at your Book-Of-The-Month or Dinner Club.

Who knew The Grazer thought his sister, The Well-Adjusted Eater, was a good student and, in turn, that she was proud of her brother’s athleticism? Recently during a long road trip with a dear friend and both of our daughters, I introduced the game to her family. I still pause in the gift of kind words my friend gave me.

It feels good to give compliments—so good that you might want to take it a step farther. Set the alarm on your phone for two times during the day. When the alarm sounds, stop what you’re doing and give someone a compliment. Try this for a week. The world starts to look like a better place.

And the next time you see a really bad park job, refrain. It might be my mom.


Thought For The Week:

Leo Buscaglia said, “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”


Let me know how your family likes the Compliment Game.

* * *

Read the first three chapters of my novel, WHAT THE VALLEY KNOWS, for free HERE. Or just rush to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Black Rose Writing and buy the book. Happy reading!


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