I’m fine … It’s no problem

I’m fine … It’s no problem
November 27
07:38 2019

By Cindy Argiento

How are you? I’m fine. 

Such is the greeting that’s exchanged for polite formalities. Until recently “fine” was a superficial word that walked the border of our vocabulary. Lately, it’s walked its way into the nucleus of our jargon and the meaning is different for the younger and older generations. 

Recently at the grocery store, the cashier rang up my order, handed me the receipt and stared at me. I took the receipt from her and said, “Thank you.” She replied, “You’re fine.” 

I’m fine? I knew I was fine. I also knew that she should have been the one to say, “Thank you.” 

Another day I was walking on the sidewalk and approached someone who was blocking my path. When I said, “Excuse me,” he looked at me and replied, “Oh, you’re fine.” 

Again, I knew I was fine. He was the one who wasn’t fine. He was in my way and I needed him to move. Looking at the young man, I got the sad hunch that he was unfamiliar with hearing the phrase ‘excuse me,’ which upset me more than his incorrect usage for “you’re fine.”

The phrase “no problem” has become the star phrase of the English vocabulary and one I hope will go away. This seems to be the standard, go-to phrase at restaurants. I asked my server for extra bread. He replied, “No problem.” I asked for a drink, he replied, “No problem.” I’ll tell you what my problem is – why would he think that me asking my server to serve me would be a problem?

But the straw that broke the camel’s back is when I called the pharmacy to renew my prescription and was greeted with a new automated system. When I punched the number to confirm that I did indeed want my medicine refilled, the faceless, nameless robot told me (in what I swore was a mocking tone,) “This is not a problem.”  I flipped out.

Later, looking at the shattered phone and chunks of my hair on the floor, I started to feel better. In fact, I felt just “fine.” 

And getting a new phone should be “no problem.”

Cindy Argiento is a humor writer and playwright from Greensboro and has been a frequent contributor to For Seniors Only for several years. Her new play, “If That’s Not Cheating, Then What Is?” was recently accepted for the 2020 Greensboro Fringe Festival and will be performed during the festival, which runs January to early February.

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