Thursday, October 25, 2012

Have a Super Superlative Day!


          Hyperbole has long been a part of human nature; our need to impress others with the import of something indelibly permeates our narratives:  the size of the fish that got away, the extent of the damage the other guy sustained from the fight we were in, and so on. But things have gotten out of hand. Way out of hand. Totally.

          We live in a world of casual, ubiquitous superlatives and their pernicious relatives.  You can’t just have a good time; it has to be the best time. You can’t just say a movie was good; it has to be epic. You can’t even just have good sex; it’s has to be amazing sex. Even Taylor Swift is never, ever, ever, ever getting back together again. Like ever. 

          When did our need to embellish get out of control? Is it a result of external forces like advertising and marketing bombarding our lives with constant competition and one-upmanship? Or is it a natural evolution of a need to infuse value and meaning into our lives to stave off the perception that--as the population grows and our Facebook posts and tweets are buried in more of the same—our worth somehow diminishes in our own eyes and the eyes of those around us? 

          In either case, I say stop the madness! Making everything the ultimate experience only diminishes the experience in the end:  if everything is “the best”, then nothing is, because “the best” no longer exists; it’s a self-defeating dynamic. So all the embellishments and exaggerations become white noise and no one believes them. In fact, that has already begun: we already know you didn’t have “the best time ever”. So why say it? 

          Let a nice time be had by all and let it be appreciated as such, without the need to turn it into the event of the decade. Let a movie be a pleasant way to pass the time, without making it into a life-changing experience. And while I wish everyone be blessed with amazing sex at least once, be happy to just get some.  

          We can take back control of our language and our sense of self-worth by focusing on our own truth, our own appreciation of that truth and the honest expression of the experiences of our lives. If we can manage that, I think it would be, in a word, superlative.