“That’s fine with me.” What’s with that?


Have you ever noticed how often the word “fine” is used as the default response to some of life’s most significant situations? 

“How are you doing today?” “Fine.”

“I’m moving out.” “Fine.”

“How are you feeling about losing your job?” “Fine.”

“Would you be OK with my mom staying with us for a month?” “Fine.”

When what you are really wanting to say is more like:

“How are you doing today?” “I feel like shit. My bank called to tell me I’m $500 overdrawn, the dog vomited all over my bed and me while I was sleeping, and some pecker-wood keyed the side of my new leased BMW.”

“I’m moving out.” “Sure, go ahead and run away like you always do, dickhead. And while I’d really like to tell you not to come back to rid myself of your demeaning treatment, I’m weak and you know I’ll take you back for more of the same.”  

“How are you feeling about losing your job?” “Well, this is the third time I’ve lost my job. I feel snake-bit and a complete loser. I’ll never find contentment. So, how the hell do you think I feel?”

“Would you be OK with my mom staying with us for a month?” “I’d rather stick a dull pencil in my eyeball than be trapped with your judgmental, mental case of a mother who has never accepted me as a viable human being, let alone someone good enough for you.”

Maybe our frequent use is exacerbated by its many meanings: 

“Whoa, you are looking really fine today.” (Less frequently used these days as this leads to #metoo targeting, scorn, and banishment from society).

“Now, Billy, use the pencil sharpener and put a a really fine point on your pencil.” (Less frequently used these days because 1) little Billy is inclined to put his eye out, 2) stick little Suzie in the arm with aforementioned fine point, and 3) pencil sharpeners are only found in history museums in the ‘Rare Artifacts’ section).

“There’s a fine line between your desire to paint and being a valuable contributor to society.” (Less frequently used these days after attempts at heavy medication to stem movements of unproductive citizens: “dreamers and others with overly active creative minds.” This leading to a systemic outbreak of rampant innovations, bold freethinking, and lifted voices crying out, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore”).

We need to stop and reflect how fine things really are before we simply blurt it out. How about a new acronym instead? Frustrated. Insecure. Nervous. Edgy. 

That’s fine with me. 

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