Friday, February 18, 2005

Mr. Best Ever

Last December, I worked in a cubicle, proofreading junk mail for a junk mail company. (Actually, they called it “direct marketing,” and avoided the phrase “junk mail” as assiduously as actors shrink from saying “Macbeth.”) In this unlikely setting, I met the most joyful person I have ever encountered: Mr. Best Ever, as I shall call him. Mr. B never had a bad day. When anyone asked him how he was, he always said: “I am the best EVER!”

This must be one of the most irritating sentences in the English language. It was particularly galling to the people working in that office. Since their work was often dull, none of them were the best ever. And it was not at all clear why Mr. Best Ever felt so much better than them. He was a junk mail salesman. His job was to persuade other companies to pay the junk mail company to run their junk mail campaigns. He was an ordinary-looking man on the cusp of middle age. He wasn’t in love, in fact, he lived alone. What was his secret? One day someone asked him. Mr. Best Ever paused for a moment then announced:
“Raw food.”
He also claimed to sleep a mere four hours each night, and to meditate for two hours each morning.

It was an impressive regime, but would it make you feel that good? I was suspicious. I felt that either he was lying, or he was simply wrong. He might think he was the best EVER, but I knew better. After all, don’t you need pain to feel pleasure? I accosted him at the company Christmas dinner:
“If all you feel is ‘the best EVER,’ doesn’t that mean you’re simply, well, numb?”
“Not at all,” Mr. Best Ever replied, munching on his special plate of salad. “I am in a state of constant bliss, moment to moment. Right here, right now, talking to you, that is the perfect place to be.”
“Well, if you’ve discovered the secret to eternal happiness, maybe you should write a book about it,” I replied, desperate to ruffle him.
“I am,” Mr. Best Ever replied. “It will be called ‘The Best Ever.’ It will have different chapters, ‘The Best Day Ever,’ ‘The Best Dinner Ever’—“
“The Best Job Ever?” I interrupted. Surely he didn’t think that was being a junk mail salesman?
But apparently it was.
“The best everything,” Mr. Best Ever said firmly.
Whatever I did, he would still be the best EVER, this annoyingly enlightened junk-mail bodhisattva. Even if I force-fed him some Kentucky Fried Chicken and demanded "And how do you feel NOW?", he would reply, through his mouthful of cooked food:
"The best EVER."


Blogger Regan said...

I highly recommend reading this with an English accent (as though Helena was telling the story). It makes it much more authentic and the best story EVER! I absolutely loathe this man, I LOATHE him!

10:31 AM  

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