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Define "Fine."

Updated: Apr 25, 2021

The Wine: Charles Shaw (aka Famously known as “TwoBuckChuck” that now costs $3.99)

The Winery: Trader Joe’s “Finest” (aka Cheapest, Not to be confused with High Quality)

The W(H)ine: Define “Fine” (aka Society’s Favorite Four-Letter ‘F’ Word, What’s Yours?)

When “fine” china breaks, is it still fine?

When my daughter responds annoyingly to momma’s intrusive phone inquiry after learning her puppy almost died and her apartment flooded, “How are you, honey?” with, “Fine.”

What does fine truly mean??

When my ex reports his condition post liver transplant with a, “I’m fine, how are you?” And I say, “I am fine, too.”

Are we both proclaiming the same fine condition? Surely not.

Per the usual, I consult Mirriam-Webster’s for clarity, and find myself confounded, and not FINE.

Firstly, as an adjective, “fine” means, “of high quality,” but also, seemingly not of high quality, “thin,” of a person’s hair or a thread.

This appears totally up to the interpreter, yes?

As a noun, “fine” describes, “very small particles found in mining, etc;

As an adverb, “in a satisfactory or pleasing manner, aka very well indeed;”

And finally, as a verb (yes, “fine” finds itself acting out, truly), “clarify beer or wine by causing the precipitation of sediment during production,” (okay, now we are talking Lisa’s Language);

And also, “make or become thinner,” as in a human being losing weight. You lost me, Miriam.

Certainly, nothing of this fine matter is settled now, is it?


Here’s my point, exactly.

For all my three decades of education in theology, psychology, philosophy, and clinical practice, I heard a new term this week: Toxic Positivity.

WHAT??????????? Oh, I know the experience, but never heard the term put forth so, brilliantly.

Please, define “Fine.”

Dr. Susan David precisely informs, “Toxic positivity is forced, false positivity. It may sound innocuous on the surface, but when you share something difficult with someone and they insist that you turn it into a positive, what they’re really saying is,

My comfort is more important than your reality.”

F(*%*&^Y*. The other fine four-letter F word.

No wonder when asked, people respond, “I’m fine.” Who wants to venture into that unsolicited, trauma—inducing territory?????? Not me. Not you.

I suppose we collectively want our Jack Nicholson moment from 1992’s film (another 4

-letter F word, just sayin’): A Few Good Men.

“YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH.” Specifically, you cannot handle MY truth.

Let’s stay on the superficial surface of surviving, shall we then?

Here’s Where W(H)ine and Wine collide:

There is NO effing way a Charles Shaw 1) would be drunk by me, unless all I want is to get drunk, vomit, and make a show of it openly (already did that, shamefully at my sister’s wedding), 2) would substitute as “fine wine” on any planet, of this I am certain (not even with defining “fine” as “okay,” but some say I am a snob), or 3) would ever satisfy the palate of one seeking, what did Miriam’s call it, “high quality”?????? Um, Hell NO.

It’s not even satisfactory on any Vino’s spectrum. And neither are you. Or me.

So, why the allowance for responses such as “I am fine,” “It is fine,” “All is fine.,” when clearly, nothing of high quality, no okay-ness, not one iota of ‘very well indeed’ exists on any plane????

Why do we declare we are OKAY, when we are anything BUT????????

And, that’s a big-ass BUT. When we are NOT okay, it must be okay to SAY SO.

I believe humans originate from the Highest Source, Divinity. It doesn’t get Finer than that.

So what are we when we break? Still Fine? Finer? Refined? Definitely not okay. But undoubtedly, still of humanistic and holy high quality.


In my previous practice as a behavioral health therapist and licensed clinical social worker, I encountered the “Fine” response often at the start of oh-so-many sessions, a glaring red Flag my presenting client was deFINE-itly not okay. I wish I had also earned a dentistry degree, because what inevitably occurred next I compared with pulling teeth. “Tell me more…” “Sounds like a quite a week…” “How’s ‘fine’ working for you?” Or some version of, “I sure as F#*(& do not believe you are ‘Fine’ so let’s cut the crap and get down to the dirty, dark spots in your soul, and not waste each other’s time.

While I think “Fine” is a Fake Front we wield to get out of Facing Feelings that are, quite Frankly, Fearful and Ferocious to conFront.

F#*& that.

I launched my show, told my story, and invited a host of others to shamelessly share theirs, because the TRUTH is the only thing that Truly Sets Us FREE. That’s the Four-Letter F Word we seek.


Releasing the pent-up “F(*&$” is often necessary (you are welcome!), Responding the superficial “Fine”“when the audience cannot handle our truth is most appropriate (boundaries are a THING), and Replacing the fully-felt “Fear” from brokenness, breakdown-ness, or some other scared position, in order to be “Free” might just be the Finest W(H)ine ever offered, ever received, ever presented.

Here’s to FINE W(H)INE ON THE VINE. #wetoo #shamelessstorytelling #whineonthevine #free

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