This is a preview. The full article appears in Neil's book: Love, Sex and Staying Warm: Creating a Vital Relationship

I remember hearing this tale years ago. I am recounting it here to the best of my memory.

Once upon a time, in a faraway land, there was a village in which everyone acted considerate, polite and friendly toward each other.

Walking down the street of this village, you would be likely to hear one person say “That’s a lovely suit you have on.” and the response, “Thank you. You played so well in the orchestra last night. You’re really good.” Another conversation might sound like this: “I’m delighted to see you today.” and the response, “I’m looking forward to working with you again.”

The people of the village talked this way with everybody. If you looked carefully at them when they talked, you would notice that after each person said something nice to the other, a warm fuzzy was exchanged between the two of them.

A warm fuzzy is called that because it feels, well, warm and fuzzy when you receive one. Warm fuzzies take up almost no room, so you can have many with you at the same time. There is an unlimited number of warm fuzzies, so regardless of how may you give away, you never run out.

One day a grinch moved into town. The grinch was uncomfortable when someone from the village greeted him warmly or complimented him. He had not come from an environment where people did that with each other, and he felt jealous and envious of the other people. So the grinch devised a strategy in order to stop people from giving warm fuzzies to each other.

The next morning, as the grinch walked down the street of the village, a stranger walked up to him and said, “Good morning, Mr. Grinch. My, you seem like an interesting person. I am looking forward to getting to know you better,” and handed the grinch a warm fuzzy.

The grinch put his plan into action. He said to the stranger, “Why are you offering me one of your valuable warm fuzzies? Don’t you know there is a shortage of warm fuzzies these days? You’re going to give all of them away, and then you’ll have none left for yourself. Here, there are lots of these. Take some, and pass these around instead.” The grinch handed the man some cold pricklies. Cold pricklies have that name because they feel, well, cold and prickly to receive.

The man, who had not heard of a shortage of warm fuzzies, took the cold pricklies and left. A few minutes later, when someone from the village complimented the man on his warm smile, he kept the warm fuzzy offered him and handed the person a cold prickly in return by saying: “You’re always saying syrupy, sweet things. You should learn to be more balanced with what you say to others.”

As news of the shortage of warm fuzzies spread around town, people throughout the village ran home and hid their warm fuzzies for safekeeping, and collected large numbers of cold pricklies to use instead.

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