If hyper-empathy is a disease, I have a bad case. It always slaughters my heart to see American Idol contestants’ parents in the audience following their kid’s craptastic performance: the ‘subtly-chagrined-but-endeavoring-positivity-grimmace’ or its cousin, the hyper-empath’s worst nightmare, the ‘naively-gleeful’ look, the latter of which is oft accompanied by customized t-shirts emblazoned with the kid’s face.

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