Has there ever been a word loaded with more meaning? Seriously, I know there are fifty different ways to say ‘love’, but fine, fine takes it to a whole new level. Multi-leveled meaning lies in the ‘fine’ We say it everyday … how are you, I am fine. I am fine Thank you as mamma taught me. But what could this mean?
That I am. That I may be, under another set of circumstances, or that I am the opposite and you should know better. I am being polite. The tone of voice used when uttering these words, may give an indication of the true emotion behind the platitude, or it may not – some are good at the fleecing of it. But it puzzles me none the less – the power of the word ‘fine’ so often gives cause to argument ‘you are not fine’, ‘I know you don’t mean it, or don’t be sarcastic sort of thing, and then I think, what should I have said?
If you know someone is hanging on the edge of a cliff, don’t ask them how they are – they are most likely going to say, fine. Dangling from the heart is a dagger, poised an inch from their fragile necks an executioners sword and ask them … I am fine. It’s inbred, we are never going to say … I want to die or my heart is in a thousand pieces, thoughts of murder come to mind … that sort of thing, we are never going to say that, so we say … fine thanks. Leave it there.
Accept it when we say fine, rather than elated, exuberant, invincible. You would prefer it rather than have to delve further into the question. How are you? I am mocked? No. I am euphoric? No. What about I am right now contemplating the meaning of truth in our shifting society with a complex tendency to ponder it all? Um, rather not.
Saying we are fine is simply a standard answer. Asked by a stranger, we supply the norm. Asked by someone who knows us well, they should already know the answer. It’s an opening retort to an opening remark.
So why do others get riled when we answer ‘fine’ but mean the opposite? Or ignore the ‘fine’ when uttered through wobbled lips? I think I have said the word ‘fine’ a dozen ways today, each time with a different meaning, depending on the enquirer. I do not know what else to say for wanting to elicit neutrality on the point.
There are days when we are fine, days when we are anything but and days when fine means f … you too.
Love the word, like play dough you can mould it into any meaning you want.
‘ I know when you say fine …’
I do to. Being polite is all.