Mark Stefan Reinoso
Adjectives and Superlatives
My wife makes chicken almost every week, much to my protestation. It's not that I hate chicken, I just dislike the majority of factory farm chicken found in supermarkets, more on that later. I'm also not a fan of the way my wife cooks portions of chicken, as I think in a former life she must have been British in the 50's(lots of boiling). However, every once in a while my wife makes some spectacular dishes involving that flightless bird, and its something I try to add to my memory...the problem is that my wife never follows recipes, so when she cooks something amazing.....she can never cook the same dish twice.
After yet another unique, never to be repeated, dish, she asked: "how was the chicken"? "Good" I mumbled. "Good?" she said, slightly exasperated. "What does that mean? Like really good? Or just okay?" Okay, fair point. "Good" is such a vague expression in today's society. It doesn't really mean anything. It probably used to, but not anymore. I'm not sure who destroyed that word, but I'd like to think it's the millennials. Good used to be one of the highest compliments, instead "GREAT" or "INCREDIBLE" or "FANTASTIC" has taken it's place. Good just isn't good enough anymore. If you think about it, superlatives have reached an almost nauseating crescendo in the majority of society. In the past, "GOLD" was the highest standard....now that's probably the starting point in awards. With trophies in sports/dance/mileage programs, Gold is given to almost everyone. The higher awards are now Platinum, Platinum Elite, or even Titanium, its ridiculous! Pretty soon, we are going to add "Unobtanium" from Pandora to the mix. We've lost our collective mind. When describing food or experiences, "AMAZING" or "INCREDIBLE" top the list....or even worse, you can get " AAAAMAAAAAYYYYZING". Visiting the reviews at Cheeseburger joints, you get those words, as well as "life changing" and phrases like "How did I live my life without this"....REALLY? some food you ate in 3 minutes and are going to poop out in about 7 hours is life changing? Not the birth of your child, the time you fed the homeless or the time you realized your place in the universe? Food is just feces-in-waiting, let's not elevate it much further. If I could slap someone through the internet, this would be the time. I could ramble on and on, but let's get to the solution part: I'm going to propose a numerical system that takes the superlatives out and provides a clinical description as a baseline for people. It's very simple: a scale of 1-10 where 1 is simply terrible, your life is in shambles, your dog died, your wife left you and you have every type of herpes imaginable. 10 would be the opposite of that. I'm sorry millennials and Gen Z, you no longer get to describe your pizza as "Orgasmic" If you are alive and don't have a lot of health problems, then your starting point is 7. That's an average day, with errands and workouts and dealing with spouses. If you had a better day, like you heard a great song on the radio, or had someone send you a thank you card, then you can be up to an 8. If you are hungover, then you get to go below that, to a 5. Anything under that is reserved for invalids, paraplegics, amputees and very short men. So, how do we start? When you get a mumbled "how are you doing today?" from the 17 year old at IN-N-OUT or the grocery store, simply reply with "a good, solid 8.5"(unless you are a paraplegic) and see what they say. I guarantee they will look up, chuckle and probably respond more than they would otherwise. You can build from there! "Poco a poco" lets make the world a better place, one digit at a time. Let's make GOOD GREAT AGAIN!