D. Randall Faro
Updated: Apr 29, 2020
After taking my order at the counter of a fast food restaurant the order-taker asked my name . . . to be attached to the order. I said: “Randy.” She replied: “Perfect.” Is Randy the perfect name for me? (Please don’t look up the dictionary definition.) Did I look perfect? (If so, thank you very much.) Did she spell it perfectly? (In Norway Randi is a name for gals . . . even for those who aren’t perfect.)
On the phone with an agent to request an insurance quote, the fellow asked my address. I gave him mine and he said, “Perfect.” Did he mean there’s no better place to live? How could he know that my house and yard both need some attention, i.e., less than perfect? Did he like Colonial Court because he’s a fan of historical imperialism?
At a sit-down restaurant I order blackened halibut and the server said, “Perfect.” Meaning what? That halibut is at the apex of all edible fish? That eating them blackened is the pinnacle of haute cuisine? That the chef only knows how to cook them perfectly? That I am the perfectly sharpest customer served in the past five years?
If you get it, sorry, I don’t. I mean the use of the word “perfect” as a response to a question or request. Dictionaries define perfect as: “as good as it is possible to be.” My name, my address, my meal choice . . . as good as it would be possible for any of them to be? Didn’t think so.
You could be thinking: Faro, don’t get your knickers all in a twist over something so minor, so meaningless. OK, I won’t. (Never mind that I don’t own a pair of knickers.) And I admit that the misuse of this word is something like 3,947th on the world-problem list. But it is an issue with me (slight as it might be) because a) it makes no sense, and b) it’s overused. (One grocery store clerk used it 642 times on an eight-hour shift.) You can rightfully accuse me of less than due diligence in researching where said usage began, why it began, and why people use it. But even if I had sensible answers to each of those questions, it would not obliterate my wincing every time I hear “perfect” when nothing is close to it.
Addendum: Some will undoubtedly read this post and appropriately respond – “Imperfect.”