Good Narrative Principles

Backhanded Compliment


Two women board a bus first thing on Election Day to help with the get out the vote effort. Woman A is a multi-tasking professional, with a demanding career and two young children at home. She sits beside Woman B and whips out her laptop, activates the hot spot on her phone and gets to work. Woman B stares at the rolling countryside of her swing state. Despite the anxiety stemming from the possibility that her candidate might not be elected, which is what motivated her to get on the bus in the first place, she is looking forward to tomorrow when ads for Christmas buying will resume their rightful place on the airwaves. She tries striking up a conversation with her neighbor, Woman A, with little success. It’s only on the way back, late at night with the positive news trickling in, that the two women fall into deep conversation. Woman A confesses to Woman B that she never expected a ski instructor to be such a deep thinker. That’s what you call a backhanded compliment.

(Egg Design: Tim Duch)

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