Three little words that can change your life… Where’s the beef?

April 22, 2014

Sometimes the simplest little things can have big impact on our lives. In this series of posts I examine very short sentences (each just three words long) that can make a difference in your life. If you have a three word sentence that changed your life somehow, share it with me and I will share it with the world.

I must give my wife credit for suggesting this blog topic. You may recall the Wendy’s commercials featuring Clara Peller with that iconic question – Where’s the beef? If not, click here for a refresher. Clara was all the rage for her short period of fame. Let’s look at those three little words in a different context.

In times past, one might spend hours in conversation with someone else or take the time to write a nice long letter to them.  We have more recently become a society enamored of shorter and more vacuous and certainly less personal forms of communications, such as Instant Messages, Facebook posts or Twitter tweets. One can almost imagine Clara looking at some of these so-called methods of communications, especially tweets, and asking, “Where’s the beef?”

blah-blahIn day-to-day life, you may encounter people with whom you can talk for some time and yet not really learned anything important, sometimes not even why you were talking about in the first place. Apparently many of these people seem to believe that you already know what it is that they are trying to say, because the phrase “you know” is thrown in quite often.  I often just want to grab them and say, “I don’t know. That’s what I’m trying to find out.” A discussion with some of these people may be likened to taking a big bite of cotton candy. You just want to scream – “Where’s the beef?”

Of course one who is want to criticize others must also hold the mirror up to one’s own practices. Do I say, “Hey, we’ve got to talk” and then proceed to beat around the bush because I don’t really want to confront an issue? If someone asks my opinion on a something do I give it honestly, but tactfully; or do I hem and haw and spout back some nambie pambie pabulum designed not to offend.  When challenged do I put up or shut up. Is it not fair then to ask of myself – “Where’s the beef?”

young coupleIn asking the question metaphorically that Clara ask in the hamburger ad, one must be careful to define what “the beef” would be in the particular situation in question. In the case of love, for instance, the question may be about the relationship and the “beef” might equate to commitment. One can be in love and in a relationship, but is it a committed relationship? Now, I don’t mean to imply that commitment equates immediately to a marriage proposal; however, one party or the other sensing a lack of commitment on the part of the other party is certainly justified in asking – “Where’s the beef?”

We just celebrated Easter and Christians everywhere are justifiably puffed up about themselves and their faith; but what of next week or next month? Will we still be full of the spirit and out doing God’s work or will our day-to-day lives have once again overwhelmed our Easter-fueled resolve to be better people? “Belief means nothing without actions” ― Randa Abdel-Fattah.  Are we living out faith through our daily actions and the example that we set or are the people around us justified when it comes to our faith of asking – “Where’s the Beef?”

And what about your personal integrity? I wrote about making commitments to others at the beginning of April in the post, I’ve got this. It is important that people believe that you will come through on your commitments. When you say that you’ll be somewhere or do something and make man with talk ballonthe commitment, do people know that they can count on your word or do they silently whisper to themselves – Yeah, right – Where’s the beef?

So today’s post is all about substance over style, substance over fluff, and substance over flowery rhetoric. Well before Clara uttered her famous line, Mark twain said, “Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.” No one will question the person who is busy doing; but for those who spend more time talking than doing it is appropriate bring on Clara and let her ask, “Where’s the beef?”

So, the real answer in life to Clara question is found by examining your actions. Will people find you to be a huge, fluffy bun with a tiny little burger hidden inside, as Clara and her friends found in the commercial; or will your life look like those big juicy burger patties that Wendy’s was advertising, bursting over the side of the bun. At the end of the day make sure that no one can look you in the eye and ask – “Where’s the beef?”