Manuel Luz has written a great article over at Conversant Life about the time he was cornered over coffee for some feedback on a Christian brother’s play. As I read it I felt a instant connection. Not in a weird “Soul Mates” sorta way, but more of the Tom Hanks/Brotherhood bond having survived a battle or skirmish together. Maybe we didn’t Save Private Ryan, but we’ve both made it through one of the five hardest questions of all time:
“So, what did you think?”
That question is a verbal/emotional minefield and you’re the one wearing NBA Shaq-sized 22 Nike boats on your feet. The question is right up there with “Does this dress make me look fat?” and “Daddy, where do babies come from?” and “If Snickers is really so satisfying, why the King-sized bar?”
Manuel thought to himself:
(EXCERPT) It was one week earlier that I actually sat through his play. I cringed at the stilted dialogue that hung in the air like a boring lecture. I lamented over the one-dimensional characterizations, a hodge-podge of stereotyped caricatures (does the anti-Christian antagonist really have to be dressed like a Nazi?). And I puzzled over the dystopian story arc, what little there was, which seemed simply to exist only for the purpose of asserting Christian dogma upon the audience. It was preachy, condescending, long-winded and poorly acted.
What does he do? (SPOILER ALERT!) Well, Manuel just straight up tells the guy what he thinks. But that’s because he’s a seasoned pro. Sort of an Amadeus of Art Criticism, if you will. And he lived to tell about it. Do not assume you will be so fortunate. In fact, if you ever get any of these questions, here is exactly what you do…
Step 1. Do NOT panic.
Remain calm. Do not whalespout your drink. Statistically you have a 47.9% chance of living through this without anatomical damage. Do, however, take note of the closest emergency exits.
Step 2. Deflect.
Oftentimes, the person’s not really looking for THE answer, they’ve got an answer. They just want to see if it lines up with your answer. And a little heads up, there is no right answer to the fat dress question. Trust me. Instead, by simply replying “I dunno, what do YOU think?” is sometimes all they need to hear. And they start talking and talking and talking while you slip out the back door.
Step 3. Lie
Now maybe you’re over your daily rationed sin-quotient and can’t afford to Lie, I can respect that, so instead you should be very Vague in the direction they want to hear. Again, we’re talking self-preservation here. If the person already has THE answer locked away in their cranium of what they KNOW to be true, nothing you say is gonna change that. I usually go with this old standby: ”I loved it. Better than ‘Cats’. I want to see it again. And again.”
And most of the time, that’s the end of it. People don’t generally want the truth, they want to be reaffirmed.
But occassionally you’ve got someone who digs deeper still and practically pleads with you, “No! I really want to know what you think.”
At that point you’ve got one of two choices:
Step 4a: Point up to the sky and say “Look! Pterodactyl!” then throw a ninja smokebomb to the floor and run out the door, orrrrrrrr,
Step 4b: Tell them what you honestly think.
But in choosing Step 4b, remember the Feedback Golden Rule: “Feedback unto others about their beloved pet project as you would have them feedback unto your beloved pet project!”
Okay, so without delay, head over to ConversantLife.com and check out Manuel’s ARTICLE HERE, because I really did love it. Better than cats. I wanted to read it again and again.
Well, that’s all I got. I hope you enjoyed this little editorial today. No, really, what did you think?