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Not Cross-Eyed

The brilliant physician and writer Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., and his brother John represent two radically different views on the subject of flattery. Dr. Holmes loved to collect compliments, and when he was older he indulged his pastime by saying to someone who had just praised his work,

“I am a trifle deaf, you know. Do you mind repeating that a little louder?”

John, however, was unassuming and content to be in his older brother’s shadow. He once said that the only compliment he ever received came when he was six. The maid was brushing his hair when she observed to his mother that little John wasn’t all that cross-eyed!

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