We all engage in it. That hallway exchange meant to show a friendly gesture, good will and acknowledge some form of social interaction is warranted between you and the person you're greeting. It goes something like this: "Good morning, how are you today?" and the reply can range the gamut but is generally conveyed in positive terms, something like "good and you?". With the fast pace of modern life, you only have time for one more volley before you're out of ear shot (or have to stop and make a real conversation). While the positive response sandwiched in the middle of that short chatter is usually nothing more than a formality, I believe creating a meaningful scale that uses these common responses in a hierarchical manner might help us to convey more useful information in what has otherwise become a rather ritualistic formality.
I propose the following scale
- Never better (this has to be at the top, if there were something better you could use as a greeting at that moment, then this statement would not be true)
- Great (greatness is uncommon in all aspects of life, therefore I think it should be near the top of the scale)
- Ducky (this is where the waters get a little muddy. I think ducky should be better than peachy because, after all ducks are a higher life form than peaches)
- Peachy (refer to the above)
- Good (this is the middle of the road answer. People should generally be good, this is a condition we should all expect of each other)
- Fine and dandy (this could be used interchangeably with "just fine" or "fine" because, in my opinion, "dandy" just lengthens the statement and is a term describing your appearance and demeanor, not your wellbeing)
- A little under the weather (this means you have physical discomfort --perhaps seasonal allergies-- that is preventing you from being your normal cheerful self)
- My day just sucks! (something bad has happened to you, not the end of the world but this is a good warning sign the person trying to engage in chitter chatter should think twice)
- If I were any worse, I'd shoot myself (self-preservation is the ultimate instinct, if you are considering ending your existence, I would say that is the worse possible statement you'd hear at the office, anything below this and you would not be at work)
Conversely we could go to a numeric system of 1 - 9 with 9 being "never better" and 1 being "if I were any worse, I'd shoot myself". That would certainly be more efficient (for you fast hallway walkers out there). For example, today I would rate my wellbeing at a 9. A number of factors are contributing to this feeling, including my imminent departure on a month long excursion to Ecuador, the fact we're having donuts on a Thursday and my overall positive spin on life. Regardless of how you're feeling, the consumption of a donut is sure to bump your wellness factor up a notch or two (in my case, as soon as I consume a donut, I think mine will go to eleven). So come on down and grab yourself that positive energy that will set the right tone for your day and for this upcoming holiday weekend.
Happy F... um, Thursday!