I can’t say I particularly enjoyed my college experience, but there were a few shining lights in the institutional mist, and the brightest was Dr. McColl, the finest professor in all the land.
He taught art history, and my bent is (prepare for a shocker) more toward the aural arts, but he was so enthusiastic and funny and genuinely excited to hear your thoughts on his subject that I took three electives with him.
So he and I are the main characters in this story. The setting: the end of the fall semester of my sophomore year. The fall orchestra concert was Tuesday. Today is Thursday. I pass McColl on the way out of class.
McCOLL: Oh, Jenn, I really enjoyed the concert on Tuesday.
ME: …………. you did?
McCOLL: [fending off a sudden attack of honesty] I… thought it went pretty well?
ME: Really? I didn’t.
Okay, that was probably a little overly blunt of me. I should’ve smiled, accepted his thoughtful compliments, and kept on walkin.’ (This is a directive I do not follow nearly enough.) In my defense, this was after the dreadful concert with the great Hindemith fiasco, and I my morale was low.
But we can debate whether or not I’m a jerk at another time. My question right now is this: if the concert sucked, what do you say?
Some people are self-deluded enough that no matter how crappily they perform you can tell them they rocked your socks twelve ways to next Tuesday and they will believe you. Most, however, are not that lucky. If you tell them they were good, they will know you are lying. And if you half-ass it and say something sorta nice, like “That was great how you all started together” or “I like how you wore matching outfits” or something, they will still know.
What do you say? I am especially interested to hear the thoughts of teachers and parents on this matter.