Any given week, I will lie forty nine or more times. Don’t shake your head in disgust, these are the same lies I hear told to me on a daily basis. An example of my lies include white lies, lies to avoid hurting feelings, lies about how I come up with the random statistics that I do, and lies to build myself and others up. Anybody who says that they don’t do the same is probably lying about lying.
It is ingrained in us from childhood to give auto-responses to the trigger phrases and words that are part of our cultural greetings, etc. It is also ingrained in us not to be rude and/or tell people things that are considered rude in our society. And now, more than ever before, we have to tiptoe around offending people constantly and being politically correct. In my opinion, this has gotten a little out of hand.
So, am I really living the dream? Which is what I automatically respond to someone who asks me how I am while I’m at work. No, I am not living the dream. That could be no further from the truth. In truth, I am grasping my final shred of dignity so hard my knuckles are white. This alone is preventing a felony charge to head my way.
How are you?
This is to be answered by only, “I’m great, and you?” I repeat, this is the only answer. Do not tell them about your horrible menstrual cycle, your husband’s snoring, or your battle to get your children to care about their teeth. They do not really care. It is really all just a platitude. It is a carefully orchestrated question that means nothing in reality.
How’s your day?
“Living the dream!” is the only reply to this one. Telling them that your day, “Sucks a bag of d786s!” is not appropriate and may even get you written up. Even if you tell them something innocent, such as “I’m going to my friend’s house after work,” they don’t care or even want to know. It was shocking to me when I finally realized that these strangers didn’t really want an honest answer from me.
I don’t know
Without thinking, even while knowing that I do in fact know the answer, I will say I don’t know if I think someone is accusing me of something. For instance, when my husband says, “Who ate my cheesecake?” I might have cheesecake dangling from my bottom lip, but I will stand by my response of, “I don’t know.”
This cannot mean I have great character. I like to find any excuse to remove some of the shame that this makes me feel by saying it is a panic induced response. I hope I’m not really that kind of person.
I’m great. And you?
Let’s clear something up right now. I have been great a total of three times in my life and none of them involved speaking with the public. I am not great. In fact, I am often one second away from a complete meltdown. My life is a clusterfuck. Even so, I love it.
I will always and forever answer, “Great. And you?” when asked how I am, though. Because you and I both know that nobody really wants the honest answer to that question. This is the only other acceptable response to getting asked how you are other than the, “Living the dream.”
If your life is actually great, I’m happy for you. I don’t need to know that though.
However, I don’t believe it is all great for anyone, no matter what anybody might claim. Just saying.
And also, nobody likes a brown-noser.