Of all the things a person can be asked, this is surely the most vague. First of all, why it is only one to ten? Secondly, what sort of “rating” are we talking about? Thirdly, who really cares? Any time I have been asked that question, I answer the same way: “I rate myself 100.” The asker says, “well, you can’t do that!” I reply, “Says who” And that usually ends it.
Think about it: when asked, are we rating looks? Talent? Honesty? Generosity? Kindness? Ethics? Religion? Happiness? Or does it mean something deeper, such as how good a parent/child/mentor/person you are, how you treat people in general; friends, relatives, the young, the old, the infirm, animals, the blind, the deaf, and so on?
It’s a lot more than a numbers game. If I really want to raise a stink, I will always ask the asker what exactly we are rating. That is usually enough to get them to go away. But if they persist, it can sometimes move to an interesting conversation with some interesting reveals.
I recently attended one of the most fun money raising events I’ve ever heard of; a purse auction. Several purses, some quite high-end; are auctioned off and the bidding is fast and furious. When the winner is presented with her new purse, the auctioneer then asks her to look inside. There can be anything inside from a beautiful necklace, gift certificates to local stores and luxury services, or cash.
While I watched all those purses go up for auction, I could hear women around say, ‘ooh! That’s a <insert well-known designer name here>!” Then I would hear some of them say that this or that purse was a “number 10.”
There it was again–that 1 to 10 rating! Some of the purses they were admiring didn’t do much for me; but my purse needs are pretty simple. Most of my purses follow the same requirements: they should be about 17″ by 12″, with a shoulder strap and a zippered opening, and have many pockets and compartments. I like them to be fairly lightweight (microfiber, etc.), but sometimes I do fall in love with a heavier leather bag. No rivets, fringes, doo-dads, metal gimcracks, etc. And they have to have a sturdy you-can-set-it-on-the-floor type of bottom. For the most part I like them to be black, deep purple, red, lime, turquoise or have a wild design. Most of all, they have to be below $50. A few bucks over that and you’ve lost me. But that’s just me.
So for me personally, a “number 10” bag would be deep purple microfiber, ziptop, shoulder strap and plenty of pockets, all under $50. Under $30 would be even better.
Taking this further, what’s the “number 10” of, say, lobster rolls? I grew up on lobster made with only these ingredients: lobster meat, mayonnaise and some salt and pepper, mixed well. This is the kind of lobster roll upon which I judge all others. There is a little shack in Wiscassett, ME, that sells hot dogs and lobster rolls. The lobster rolls have been praised to the skies by several well-known celebrities, talk show hosts, local news anchors and, of course, regular people. Here’s what that lobster roll is: hot hunks of bare-nekkid lobster meat on a hot dog roll, flanked by a tiny cup of mayo on one end of the roll, and a similar-sized cup of hot melted butter on the other.
MELTED BUTTER ON A LOBSTER ROLL?!?! As Dorothy Parker would have surely said, “what fresh hell is this?” This is a “number 10” lobster roll to many people. For me, it’s a big old number nothing.
So you see where I’m going with this; the whole ‘from 1 to 10, how do you rate <insert whatever here>‘ is ridiculous. How about we start asking people what they like about themselves, and why? If they say that they don’t like anything about themselves, take them out for a nice lobster roll.