1. With an “Ope!” and a counter-compliment.
Ope! Thank you so much, but this sweater is nothing compared to yours! Argyle looks great on you!

2. With a thrifty, self-deprecating Target tip.
I got it from Target for $25. I think the sale is still going on — it might actually be down to $15 by now. Honestly, I should have waited to buy it. I’m a fool! Such an impatient FOOL!

3. With a Chrysler Town & Country idling nearby.
Super nice of you, Jean. And thanks for getting our mail while we’re gone. Do the tires look good, honey? All gassed up? Hahaha, the van, silly. Guess we’re off to Ohio!

4. With a realtor’s license.
I tell you what! If you like my sweater, you’re gonna love the carpet in the kitchen!

5. With practicality.
Well, it’s VERY cozy. It’s double-layered, kind of like a double pane window but as a sweater, so it keeps the wind out. It’s also machine washable and doesn’t wrinkle, so yeah.

6. With hostility smoothed over by creamed corn.
How sweet of you, dear. More creamed corn?

7. With an opinion that won’t rock the boat.
Why thank you. You know, I’ve always thought that defense wins ball games and, boy, do I love the fundamentals! More hustle!

8. With an unsolicited intervention.
Heck, that’s a nice thing to say. Now, it’s time you changed churches. I set up a meeting with you and Pastor Judy this Wednesday — please don’t embarrass me by being late.

9. With a liberal arts education.
Thank you. It definitely calls to mind Derrida and Foucault, but I don’t want to put any strict labels on what my sweater does or does not communicate. I went to the Harvard of the Midwest.

10. With a casserole dish in your hands.
So kind of you, hot, hot, hot, can I set this down somewhere? Yes, thanks, I like this sweater too, but this is a hot dish, hot, please, I’m worried I’ll lose my hands.

11. With a mouthful of seven-layer dip.

12. With a comment about the weather and Ronald Reagan.
Thanks, but I don’t know how much longer I’ll need to wear it. Today’s high was 0, sure yeah, but then tomorrow it’s supposed to be 100. It hasn’t been like this since Reagan!

13. With a button of your child’s face over your heart.
Oh, aren’t you sweet, but just look at my Christopher. Look at him! With that bat and that hat! Go Cardinals!

14. With a story about John Cougar Mellencamp or deer or both.
Enough about my sweater. I saw him at the outlet mall in Edinburgh, the one with the J.Crew, yeah. He was eating a Dilly Bar! And then we hit a deer on the way home.

15. You don’t.
Stop! Gosh! Nooooooo! I’m leaving, I’m on my way out, goodbye!