Thursday, July 28, 2011

What part of “fine” don’t you understand?

“We are getting into semantics again. If we use words, there is a very grave danger they will be misinterpreted.” -H. R. Halderman

Oh, semantics! After my post yesterday about feeling less than thrilled after being told I’m competent, I received a text from Andie who said it reminded her of when she asks me how she looks and my reply is “fine.”

Andie and I have disagreed for years about how to interpret “fine.” Andie views “fine” as substandard, okay, just barely passing, whereas I only respond with “fine” if everything is a-okay (big difference between okay and a-okay in my book if that makes sense), looks good, no-issues, it’s-a-go fine.

So, when Andie wants outfit approval and asks me how she looks, if I say “fine” Andie might shrug, go back to her closet and start over. But I really mean, it looks fine, head out and have a good time!

The “fine” dilemma isn’t entirely over attire either. Andie might ask me what I think of a new guy she brings over or new cookie model she bakes. I guess if I am thinking “fine,” I need to learn more effusive language to get a more positive message across. Although with Andie now headquartered in Menlo Park, we’ve had fewer debates over implicit meanings of the word “fine.”

In a somewhat related topic, Anitabanita, who is practically my only non-family blog reader (wait, that’s not completely accurate since first of all, Anita IS family and secondly, occasionally Anna and Vicki might glance at the blog too, but I digress) ...anyway, Anita gave me some encouraging info on competence. Apparently, competent, comes from the Latin root competere, which is also the root for competition. In order to be competitive, one needs to be extremely competent. Whew! Good news all around!

So, yes after Anita’s reassuring email, I am feeling just “fine” about being “competent.” :)

“Whatever you say it is, it isn’t.” -Alfred Korzybski