The old John Belushi movie, Animal House, really has no positive qualities that I can remember. It glorified the worst of college life, complete with all the abuses immature students can dream up. The Dean shares the latest grade point averages with one of the fraternity leaders: “Here are your grade point averages. Mr. Kroger: two C’s, two D’s and an F. That’s a 1.2. Congratulations, Kroger. You’re at the top of the Delta pledge class.”
But there is one line in that movie that has always jumped out at me.
One of the fraternity boys is inviting his girlfriend to the upcoming toga party. She’s trying to convince him he’s more mature than that. But he says, “It’s a fraternity party. I’m in the fraternity. How can I miss?” And in a line of movie genius she quickly replies, “I’ll write you a note. I’ll say you’re too well to attend.”
I know, it’s a phrase that doesn’t roll off our tongue – it sounds funny to even say it because it seems to counter-intuitive. But what is being “normal” getting you?
It seems we can easily use “I’m too sick to go” or some version of that without thinking twice. But what about the reverse? — “I’m to well to go.” I know I can recall how much time I’ve wasted in poorly planned meetings, argumentative and unproductive church “business” sessions, or in attending things that called my maturity into question?
Perhaps you should be “too well” to continue in a job that reduces you to boredom, resentment and frustration. What about being “too well” to join in the gossip around the office? Maybe you should pass on the invitation you get for the after work stopover. What about the recommended evening activities at the convention you’re attending? Maybe your book would get written if you were “too well” to commit to meaningless social events.
Isn’t it interesting how many times we hear someone say, “I’ll try to come” or “I’m not feeling up to it tonight?” We accept those subtle excuses for not participating. Maybe we should allow the honest feedback that is embraced in “I’m too well to attend.”