You get off work. It's later than expected when you punch the clock and walk out the door. There are no groceries in the fridge and you've had a take out sort-of drive through week. The late-night super market is an unavoidable realism whether you like it or not. Chances are that you don't.
So you brave the harsh florescent lighting along with the strangest walks of life (possibly known to man) in order to eat. You don't want to be there and neither do they. Once you navigate the confusing layout and anxiety inducing prices, there is the check out. The you-scan is down and you're having to face the clerk who hates this shift almost as much as the rest of their life.
They mutter a 'how ya doin?' or possibly a 'how's it goin tonight?' under their breath as they scan your desperation purchase.
You are now presented with a amazing opportunity. You have been given the chance to completely change the course of history. The next few words out of your mouth could have a deeply important effect on the next few hours of this persons life. So what's it gonna be?
A simple 'alright' or 'ok' will pass the situation, or you could do something very human and brilliant in it's falsity.
You could reply, "Absolutely fantastic, how bout yourself?"
The responses you'll get are surprising. Sometimes it's nothing or a simple 'alright' or 'ok' but every now and then it's not. Sometimes it's "Wow, not that good." Which can make you smile, because you know it's not but for some reason, you sold it. If it makes you smile, it was worth it.
Occasionally there is a very breif moment of nodding agreement as they say 'ya know, not too bad' and their mood seems slightly better. A change in their reflection is made. You manage to prompt a response that actually makes them feel better. This will make you feel good, it makes it worth it.
There is also the rare "Wow, doing that good?" An inquiry which actually requires a follow up. Typically you've put everything you had into just saying 'absolutely fantastic' and there's nothing left for enthusiasm to follow. A plain old 'ya know, hanging in there.' (with a smile, if you can manage) will get you through. There is truth in the statement and sometimes that alone is enough to in fact make you realize you are hanging in there. That's an affirmation and it makes it worth it.
While the idea of replying in such a superlative way seems silly, it is. We don't have enough sillyness in our day. Most things are just as dark as the scene in at the beginning of this page. Most people are just as dim as the description sounded, they could use the brightening just like you could. So give it a shot, you'll be surprised how much it's worth it.