The word “fine” can mean a lot of things. It can refer to high quality wine, or limp hair, or the fee that comes with speeding or parking in a handicapped spot.
The word “fine” never means that things are okay.
I should explain.
Yesterday my husband came home from work and the first thing he said was “How are you?”
I said, “fine”.
I wasn’t. I had just got some disappointing news about a screenwriting competition (I didn’t win). I was tired. I was hungry. I was a little down on myself because I hadn’t accomplished much on my to-do list. I was also crazy anxious because I had too much coffee. I was feeling pretty bad and should have said so, but instead I said, “fine”.
“Fine” is the go-to answer like “vanilla” at Baskin-Robbins, or “sure” at the hairdresser when she asks if you want bangs. You don’t really want to think about it, and you just want them to stop talking to you (so you can read People magazine). Yes, you might regret your decision later and wish you had said something different, but then again… you can always pin them to the side until they grow back.
I don’t know why “fine” is our automated answer, because it is never the truth. “Fine” is a passive-aggressive statement that means you don’t want to deal with your issues/real life and you are a social cripple. It doesn’t give people the opportunity to help, or write you a prescription.
People are never “fine”. People are either good or bad. There are only two options. Yes, there are varying levels of good and bad – but your overall mood can always be categorized as either: “good” or “bad”.
Yesterday, I was bad – but only about 4/10 (scores are out of 10 and the higher the number, the more troubled you are*). Obviously, I had some bad news and cried for five minutes, but it wasn’t as though I went bankrupt (9/10) or got a speeding ticket (6/10). So, yesterday I was Bad 4/10.
More bad than good.
Today, I’m good – but only 3/10 good (scores are out of 10 and the higher the number, the happier you are). I’m still good, but not as good as I’d be if I won the lottery (8/10) or found out I was related to Princess Diana (10/10). So, today I am Good 3/10.
More good than bad.
I encourage y’all (I’m not Southern, but I like the lingo) to be honest with yourselves, and with others. When someone asks you how you’re doing or how your day is going DON’T SAY “FINE”… Answer them using my new (ingenious) system.
So… how are you?
*There is no zero.