"You should have a goal to be whelmed," Bernard counseled me, his hands busily unwrapping his fourth piece of gum, his advice barely squeezing past the unwieldy wad.
"What?" I countered, my gaze fixed on his mouth, amazed that he could so quickly insert so many pieces of gum in so little time. I expected him to suddenly stop, pulling a jaw muscle and using his big, moist eyes to communicate his distress, wordlessly pleading with me to call 911.
"Whelmed," Bernard said.
"Whelmed?" I repeatedly stupidly. "And what does that mean?"
"It should be your goal," Bernard said. "It should be everyone's goal."
"So you say." I paused, hoping he would volunteer more. But he seemed happy just to work on his half dozen pieces of gum, no longer fumbling with wrappers but merely chewing with what might have passed for a smile if his mouth had not been so distorted by the wiggling wad of Wrigley’s. "And what is whelmed?" I asked, finally taking the bait.
"Whelmed is good. Over-whelmed means that you're stressed. Under-whelmed means that you're bored or unimpressed. Whelmed - that's just right."
"Whelmed," I repeated. "I see."
"The golden mean. The happy medium. Whelmed," Bernard repeated, sagely.
"This from the guy with a pack of gum in his mouth? A pronouncement on moderation."
"I'm nearly 80," Bernard said, looking offended. "You want I shouldn't share my hard earned wisdom with you?"
"No. I want you should share it."
"Whelmed," he said, looking a little offended that his precious advice hadn't been received with more respect. "That's all you're gonna get from me today."