Ever notice that most of the people you know, when you ask them how they’re doing, tell you basically the same thing every time?
Some version of any one of the below, no matter what the season or the circumstances—winter or summer, war or peace, Cubs won or Cubs lost, on the way to the dentist or headed to the whorehouse:
They’re doing fantastic, never better, can’t complain, everything is perfect.
They’re busier than they’ve ever been in their life.
They’re coming out of a funk.
They’re coming down with something.
They have finally had it with somebody.
They are tired.
They’re making’ it rain!
They can’t complain.
They’re frustrated, because they have so much to do and none of it is getting done.
They’re fine, except they’re getting really worried about something in the news.
They’re hanging in there!
They’re sardonically “livin’ the dream.”
It’s a shit show.
They just discovered something that’s going to change their life. (Or at least fix their golf swing.) And maybe yours, too!
You are not going to believe this: [outrage, insult, hard luck]!
You just know, whenever you call this person, over months and years and decades—no matter what’s actually going on in their life, the situation will be framed as a variation on one of the above themes, almost every time.
Whenever you call yourself, too.
Which is a comfort, because it means that every one of our lives is a pretty coherent story, in many acts.
A friend’s mother was known, after daily event, profound or pedestrian—a trip to the mall, an afternoon at the bowling alley, a wedding or a funeral, for declaring in the parking lot on the way out, “Well thank God that’s over.”
I’ve always thought the phrase would be fun to put on somebody’s tombstone.
Meanwhile, hang in there, my friends. I can sense you’re coming out of a funk.
Piper Murray says
And don’t forget our own mother’s standard: “I’m good, but it’s more complicated than that.” Come to think, that wouldn’t have made a bad epitaph, either: “She was good, but it was more complicated than that.”
David Murray says
(Maybe with a parenthetical [MUCH MORE].)
And as she also once wrote:
“Am basically strong sturdy person. Always have been, always will be. Should have this tattooed on thighs. (‘Basically strong’ on left thigh; ‘sturdy person’ on right?)”