Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

2 June 2009

Superfantastic

Both Krissy and I say the word "Superfantastic" a great deal. I'll let you in on a little Carrol insider dirt. As Inigo Montoya once said, "You keep saying that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

Many years ago, I had a friend who worked at a Canadian Big Box style store just as it was exploding across the country. Before the front doors opened everyday, the entire staff was asked to stand in a circle holding hands. One person had to take the lead and shout out "What kind of day are we all about to have today?". At that point, EVERYONE in unison had to respond with a rousing, "Superfaaaaaaaaaaantasic!!!!" Then the team had to put a large shiny happy smile on their face and act Superfantastic. The day my friend's grandmother died was the day he quit... because the store wouldn't let him go out on the sales floor with anything less than a superficial Superfantastic attitude.

I really don't like being asked how I'm doing to be honest. It's quite likely the biggest sham of a human interaction we all regularly engage in. My mind immediately starts spinning about how to really answer the question and not be trite or smarmy. It's considerably easier just to say, "Superfantastic", flash a plastic grin and move it along.

Erin: Hi, guys. How you doing?
Dwight: Erin, how many times do I have to tell you? It is not necessary for you to ask us how we are doing every time you interact with us.
Erin: Right. I'm sorry.
Dwight:
[sighs] Now, how can I help you?





Maybe Dwight is right (under the right circumstances). I hate being "superfantastic" honestly. More than almost anything I hate phoniness. But how are we supposed to respond to a drive-by "How are you doing?" I'm not going to go into the parts of life that are questions, hurtful, puzzling, thought-provoking, painful or joyous in 15 seconds between sips of coffee... because

  1. Most people don't really want to hear because caring has habitually become "in passing" and superficial
  2. There isn't the time for a conclusion to that interaction. Anything worth talking about takes time.
  3. Honestly... what's going on isn't always fit for public consumption

And so "Superfantastic" (
or "fine" as normal people would say) becomes our default. The answer actually found by having real relationships. I don't think we SHOULD just spill how we're really doing all the time. We'd never get anything done! But we SHOULD make sure that we have people in our life that never get our "superfantastic" response. People who we can spill our guts to, blow off steam about other people's stupidity to (yep... I think that's OK), people who we can be totally silent and just sit with because there aren't any real words to say.

Doing that keeps life grounded I think. At least it does for me. Having actually worked through how you're doing with someone... allows us to legitimately say, "fine" and it be true instead of a Superfantastic cover-up.




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