0195 - Okay - 2021.06.28



Are you okay?

What does "okay" mean?

There is a common misconception that "OK" derives from military jargon, meaning "zero killed", in which case you are "okay" so long as no one around you is dead. This origin is wrong. In fact, there was a trend of humorous misspellings in 1839, and, although few of them achieved immortality, "oll korrect" stuck around. One might consider the phrase ironic, in that neither of its components are spelled correctly.

So... are you okay? Certainly, you're not entirely correct. No one is. But etymology is trivia, not definition, so we must consider how the term is actually used today. When people ask "are you okay?", much like "hey, how's it going?", it's not so much a request for a status update as it is a check to see whether or not immediate assistance is required. Is there currently an emergency?

And, of course, the korrect response is to smile and nod and say something like "oh, it's going, alright" or "can't complain". Possibly, it might be an invitation to kvetch about a doctor's appointment or a flat tire, a crisis that has already been dealt with where the only assistance you need is a momentary sympathetic ear. Saying something like "I desperately need something I'm not getting", or "my lifestyle is unsustainable", or "there is something fundamentally rotten in the core of the world, and I feel powerless to address it", or even "I would like some money, please" is socially awkward at best, openly threatening at worst.

In the past year, I've taken to saying I'm "covid-fine", which means the same thing as "okay". It means I'm not actually fine, because there's a pandemic and the world's on fire, but I am not currently demanding assistance from the person asking. It is, perhaps, as much as can be hoped for.


0195 - 2167/07/06/16:43 - Lee's apartment, living room.
Doc: You can't have nothing in common, you're in the same class. Why don't you tell Caleb why that is?
LC: Oh, uh... I met Zoa yesterday, and it convinced me that I wasn't doing anything worthwhile with my life-
Zoa: ...not exactly how I remember it...
LC: So I said it could enroll me in Rosenthal so I could figure out what to do, but then I changed my mind, but we found out that if I dropped all the classes I'd get automatically evicted, so now I have to go to philosophy class, but I still might get evicted maybe.
LC: And... and I'm still really scared about that, if I'm being honest, because I don't know where I'd go or what I'd do if that happens, and even in the best-case scenario, it might still happen at the end of the semester.
CP: Wh-why would you get evicted? I don't understand.
LC: I don't understand either! I guess it's because this is technically all student housing? I just got in when the rules were different, but then they changed, so I was okay until I did something, but then I did something, so now I'm not okay.
LC: I'm... I'm not okay in a lot of ways, I guess. I thought I was, but I'm actually not, and now I'm.... now I'm trying to be okay.
CP: That's... th-that's something w-we have in common, then.
LC: Yeah?
CP: Yeah. Th-that's what I was when I was in the military. I thought I was okay, until one day I w-woke up and... and I wasn't. And I wanted to be. So I... so I'm here now.
LC: So you enrolled in Mezzer Twofeather's class to learn what the point of life is and how to be a good person too, huh?
CP: Y-yeah, and they won't t-t-tell me.
LC: Ugh, I know, right? It's like... you're the one that knows all the stuff about the meaning of life and how to be a good person, just tell me the right answer already!
Zoa: Might I suggest that the meaning of life might possibly be enjoying oral sex and/or cuddles, possibly simultaneously, in exchange for a very reasonable sum of credits?