March 22, 2011

The problem with "You're problem" isn't my grammar, Dr. Katz explains it

New Year: Social Blunder: Full Denial: Clean Slate

Thank God for the New Year, because you can wipe your slate clean, or at least pretend to by denying yourself the default mode of guilt and shame and diving into full denial instead.

My last social blunder for 2010 was “You're problem”. Turned out, it had nothing to do with my grammar, but everything to do with Dr. Katz.

Dr. Katz and the "Other" Head

Dr. Katz explained it better, or the patient who went for his therapy session rather. The patient talked of this “other” head inside of his that always told him to do something else, even when he was right in the middle of what he had already intended. For instance, rather than telling his guests to “Take Care", he blurted out “Take…luck" instead. In his desperation to save face, he endlessly rambled, thus making the already awkward situation even worse. And all because this “other” head told him to say “Good luck” at the last second, which his mouth immediately obeyed right after already having uttered “Take”.

Chocolates + Thankful Stranger = No problem + You're welcome

My family had given out chocolates at this event as Holiday treats. At he end of the night as we said our goodbyes, a man suddenly appeared out of nowhere and stood right in front of me. He was way closer than arms length and well within my bubble, grinning from ear to ear as he thanked me. My mind went blank that instant, but automatically replied, “You’re welcome”, while the rest of me tried to figure out just what exactly he was thanking me for during that split second that seemed to stretch forever. When I finally figured out the subject of his gratitude, from the mention of “chocolates”, I knew just what to say: “No problem!”—except that there was a problem: I had forgotten that my mind was still on default with the arguably more proper response, “You’re welcome!”

You're Problem!

The man stood silent for a moment, looking confused after hearing me say “You're problem!” Then he chuckled in amusement at my unusual response, perhaps to make light of the situation. I managed to pull myself together and quickly explain “You're problem!” away with a more logical reasoning, that my mind had been on overdrive due to the holiday fuss and that my mouth was desperately trying to play catch up; the last thing I wanted was to bring up my "other" head. He seemed to understand, or tried to, at least. After all, the New Year was about to ring in.

Lighten up

Luckily, I was able to laugh along before my denial wore off and shame returned to pound on me for that year-end faux pas. It did end my 2010 in good spirits, if only momentarily.

So for you to get all worked up from being told “You're Problem!” after expressing your gratitude to someone, please remember that person’s “other” head. Get it or lighten up. Seriously.

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