There are two phrases that I have understood, but what I could never understand was why they have been used so much.
“New and Improved”
I looked up the word “grand” in the dictionary, and the synonym for “grand” is “magnificent.” I cannot speak for anyone else, but for me, to get to “magnificent” is a pretty high bar to reach. Just because a restaurant finally got rid of all the cockroaches in the bathroom, this does not make the reopening of the restaurant magnificent. Just because the restaurant finally got rid of the mice in the kitchen, this does not make the reopening of the restaurant magnificent. Just because the toilet finally flushes properly, this does not make the reopening of the restaurant magnificent. And just because the restaurant finally got the sign “Condemned by the Department of Health” removed, that definitely does not make the reopening of the restaurant magnificent.
I lived in Nyack, New York for many years, and at least once a week I went to the local Chinese take-out place to get Chinese food for dinner. This tiny whole in the wall was in Nyack forever. However, they always had a huge “Grand Reopening” banner in front that you could not miss when you walked in.
Finally, one day, I had to ask the owner why he kept the “Grand Reopening” sign up for so many years. Surely, at some point, you should not be able to advertise “Grand Reopening.”
The owner pointed to the sign that said “Hours of Operation.”
“What time does restaurant close?”, he asked me.
“Twelve AM”, I replied.
“What time does restaurant open?, he then asked.
“Twelve PM”, I answered.
He then said to me, “Twelve PM. This is the Grand Reopening.”
I guess he had a point.
The other phrase “New and Improved” is a phrase that I have even more problems with. First, we are all getting “Old and Slowly Decaying” so it only makes sense that when I go to the store to make my purchases, I should just be sent to the “Old and Slowly Decaying” section.
Of course, the bigger problem is that they never really tell you exactly what is new and improved. I bought the “New and Improved” toothpaste, and took it home with me. I looked on the box to see what the “Active Ingredient” is. That is another term that gives me trouble, “Active Ingredient.” As we all know, the “Active Ingredient” for toothpaste is fluoride. I took a look at my old tube of toothpaste, and read that this is the active ingredient. Of course, when I looked at the “New and Improved” toothpaste, it had the same one “Active Ingredient”: fluoride.
So, if the “New and Improved” toothpaste is “New and Improved” because they may have only improved all their “Inactive Ingredients,” please explain to me how this toothpaste is now “New and Improved.” I certainly can understand if they would explain to me, “You know that ingredient that was inactive for so many years? Well, we finally figured out to turn that inactive ingredient into an active one!”
Why should any product have so many inactive ingredients put in there in the first place? I think that some marketing genius should put a big label on their packaging “Made with only Active Ingredients.”
Those “100% Active Ingredients” products would just fly off the shelf.
There is only one thing in the entire universe that you can actually use both phrases “Grand Reopening” and “New and Improved”. They are not actually a thing, but they were a musical group. I am talking about the Beatles.
The 1970’s consumed my grade school and high school years, and that was the time that I was getting into music. The Beatles already had broken up, but I heard about them, and I saved my allowance to first buy the “Red Album” which was their Greatest Hits from 1962 to 1966.
I listened to it constantly. It never left the turntable. I then saved up some more money, and bought the “Blue Album” which was the Beatles Greatest Hits from 1967-1970.
It was even better. It really was both a “Grand Reopening” and “New and Improved.”
I can mention another band that had a “Reopening”, and it was “New.” However, I personally cannot say it was both “Grand” and “Improved.”
I am talking about the “Peter Gabriel” Genesis, and the “Phil Collins” Genesis. Now, the “Phil Collins” Genesis was way more popular, had many more hits, but I am sorry. Yes. It was a reopening and it was new. Maybe, this just has to do with my own personal taste in music. However, I just cannot say this was both “Grand” and “Improved.”
While I do think the both the phrases “Grand Reopening” and “New and Improved” are quite overused, I do believe that these phrases can be perfectly appropriate when we try to think of “Effective Crankiness”, and our CrankaTsuris Method.
In “A Grownup Guide to Effective Crankiness,” there is the Chapter that is titled “CrankaTsuris Diet.” This tells of the story of my journey towards losing 85 pounds in five months. I talk about changing our “normals” in that Chapter. We should always try to look for healthy “Normals” to replace those “Normals” that may have not worked out so well for us.
However, if we want to get to “Grand Reopening” and “New and Improved,” we cannot confuse the word “normal” with the word “habit.”
“Habit” is a word that is more temporary. You could develop a good habit, and then slowly revert to your old bad habits. It sounds like a diet, and it is why diets rarely works.
A “Normal” is something that is permanent. Think about this conversation that could never really happen:
Worker comes in to the office, and is greeted by the Boss.
Boss: Did you forget something today?
Worker: I do not think so. Why do you ask?
Boss: You are completely naked.
Boss: Tell me if I am wrong, but didn’t you always come in to work wearing clothes?
Worker: Yes. Yes. I did wear clothes. I just thought that if I changed my habit of wearing clothes to just going naked, I can get in to work much earlier, and be much more productive.
Boss: That is what I call taking initiative. I will tell you what. I will give you a promotion and a raise. Hey, maybe now, you can even afford some clothes.
“Normals” are permanent. If someone came into work naked, do not be too surprised if there is someone that will tell you that this can be characterized as “abnormal.” There may even be somebody to take you off to the Funny Farm.
So, please remember that the word “habit” is not a word that we use in the Grownup Guide to Effective Crankiness. It is not part of the CrankaTsuris Method. If we become mindful to adopt our better normals, we can then finally have our “Grand Reopening”, and declare that we are both “New” and “Improved.”
And you may be even able to turn an “inactive” ingredient into an “active” one!
PS. By the way, when the pandemic is finally over, all those restaurants should put up the “Magnificent Reopening” signs. We will even need to invite the roaches and mice to the party!