11/18/14

You Really ARE My Favorite . . .

When I first started my job nearly a year-and-a-half-ago there were tons of things in the desk drawers and cubbies and storage spaces of my area that my predecessor had left behind.

Most of it was junk . . . old press releases, log-ins for accounts no-longer used, directions on how to do my job effectively (I'm kidding, 10% of that document was super useful), some take out menus, some plastic silverware, three packets of soy sauce, some old industry publications, a stack of her business cards, etc. etc. etc.

There, among the stuff that I just sort of looked at then junked was a box labeled "Oriental Trading Company". Now - as racist as the name might imply I think (but have never been able to verify) that the company actually has a heart of gold and a love for all G-d's people. Why ELSE would they sell so many amazing party items at such low prices?

What was I talking about . . . oh yeah . . . the box. So I opened it - presuming it would be filled with some random crap that wasn't even from this emporium of delight.

What treat awaited me?! 24 little, tiny, two inch plastic trophies. Gold(ish) with black bases. And what else was in the box? No, not Gwenyth Paltrow's head (say it with me - in your best Brad Pitt - "What'ssssss in the boxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx?"!). A Gold-ink Sharpie (fine point, if you're keeping score at home).

So I did what any self-respecting, middle aged man would do. I started writing random crap on them and giving them away like so many undeserved prizes. What sort of honors did I pass around the office?

  • "Loser of Keys and Life Status"
  • "Dick" 
  • "Happy Maker"
  • "Debits and Credits Keeper" (They LOVE me in accounting!)
  • "Not As Hot As My Mom"
And, the one I made more than any other . . . "Sean's Favorite".

I gave those out like second chances in the NFL. If someone even so much as made eye contact with me, they were eligible for a "Sean's Favorite" trophy. A total of nine, if I am counting correctly, were given out in just three days (the fun wore off fairly quickly - for me (it was instant for everyone else)).

And yet, an un-imagined consequence of my flippant awards was that, at least for some, the words registered and had weight and meaning. I would dare say that the plastic trinkets, still smelling of marker ink (and some smeared to boot) actually meant something to some people.

So I had to sort of put this in context . . . and realize that I say "You are my favorite." about 100 times/day. To family, friends, lovers, colleagues, strangers, vendors, the guy that hands me something, the person that holds the door, the bird that poops on the car NEXT to mine, etc. I just like to tell people they are my "favorite".

And I guess that puts me in the category of "insincere" to some who are more reverent and strict with a word that I have always, since I decided every ice cream flavor was my "favorite" as a young child, sort of presumed was always subjective and contextual.

You can be my "favorite" proofreader. You can be my "favorite" QuikTrip guy. You can be my "favorite" brother (they would not even pretend to fight for the honorarium). You can be my "favorite" parent (it is my father - my mother knows this, we're all pretty open about "favorites" in our family). You can even be my "favorite" favor-doer of the moment.

It doesn't mean I don't mean it. It doesn't make the words hollow or empty. I just means that whatever you are my "favorite" of at any given moment, someone might replace you the next moment . . . in that exact category or one very close to it.

So act right, be present, and hold on to those plastic trophies. They aren't a dime a dozen, but they are $8/dozen (which is cheap enough to not even slow me down).