I have a friend who's been going through a couple of shitty years. Whenever I call and ask how she’s doing she’ll say, ‘Super Fantastic’.
We’ll talk a bit and she’d tell me about her areshole ex-husband, her crummy job, and how her kid had the flu and had kept her up all night – and then her voice would crack, and she’d say, ‘But I feel super fantastic.’
‘Really?’ I’d ask. ‘Don’t you think that Super-Fantastic is a bit of a stretch?’
Not necessarily. Her point was that nobody wanted to hear her complain. Three years of silly antics from an ex seems just about long enough to hold interest. And those who say ‘how are you?’ don't really want to know that your six year old hasn’t slept in a week, and is rubbing his nose on your shirt.
So, she replies with ‘Super Fantastic’ for two reasons. Firstly, it keeps the conversation alive. Saying ‘I feel lousy’, may cost you your audience. Especially if you’ve been feeling lousy for a long time. One is more likely to be invited out for a mint julep if they feel ‘super fantastic’, than if they ‘feel like crap’, and only want to complain.
And secondly, according to her – if you say that you are Super Fantastic, people will treat you like you’re Super Fantastic. And when you see that positiveness reflected in someone else’s eyes – you may actually start to believe it yourself. One can actually trick themselves into thinking that they are more capable than they are!
My first thought was – ‘lets get ‘er done!’, followed immediately by ‘I can’t go through with this’, then ‘why the f*ck did she wait till the end of Friday to send this message?!’ The office had closed, and I had a whole weekend to mull it over! But I resolved to keep an open mind, and when calling back on Monday, to embrace the idea before making any decisions.
So this morning I made the call. ‘So you have an opening next week!’ I said gaily, 'How exciting!' I opened my appointment book, as though I was a southern belle booking a hair appointment at my favorite salon in Atlanta. ‘Let's see if ah am free!’
‘No’, said the secretary, ‘There was no cancellation. We’re going to see you on June 13th. 8 am. We’ll call to book your pre-op appointment.’
‘A pre-op appointment!’ I said with girlish enthusiasm, ‘Ah’ll look forward to it!’