Sometime around the age of 10, I suddenly realized that when people asked me how I was doing, they didn’t really want to know. It made them uncomfortable when I responded honestly, because my childhood was your basic nightmare. It was a bitter pill to swallow, figuring out that people, in general, really don’t care.
So I had to come up with a stock response to get through those situations. I couldn’t say “fine,” though, because I’ve never been that good of a liar. So I started saying “Pretty good,” because they could make up their own happy little scenario from there, and yet I wouldn’t make myself sick by blowing sunshine.
“Pretty good” became such a habitual response for me that I began to give it even less thought than the people who did the asking. It was as rote as saying “God bless you” after someone sneezed. It’s what you say to move on to the next thing.
And then suddenly, about a month ago, someone asked me how I was doing, and I said fine. It wasn’t premeditated. It’s just what came out. It startled me.
I was even more surprised by the fact that, upon reflection, I knew I was telling the truth. I’m fine. I’m fine! For the first time in my life, I’m doing just fine.
I’ve been saying fine ever since. And no one except me (and now you, dear reader) has any idea how momentous that is. Which is just fine.
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