Wednesday, March 14, 2007

the "how are you" condundrum 4 Cumhu 1 Chuen (assimilation)
The other day it occurred to me that people don't care how you are. They say it, but if you respond with anything other than a platitude, they get annoyed. We have a new guy at work and the other morning he came in and asked how I was. Without thinking it through, I responded honestly: "I have a headache." He was on his way by my desk.
He stopped. I could see his mind churning. Now I have to stand here and talk to her about her headache.
It's as if by answering his question I placed a burden of further response on him that he had no interest in.
But to say "I'm good, how are you?" puts me into the same bind. If I don't care enough about him to tell him the truth about how I am at that moment, then I don't care how he is. I don't care about his headache, his dead dog, his bitchy girlfriend (whatever, making up examples).
I think "how are you" should be outlawed unless the person asking CARES about the answer and wants to invest time in discussing it.
"Good Morning" (and any other "good" greetings and salutations, including "have a nice day") are also stupid. They are mere politeness and have no emotion or energy behind them. Do any of the people who wish things labeled with "good" or "nice" onto me really care? No. They are words.
Let's stick with "hello" and "goodbye" shall we? Then again, some evangelicals want people to say "heaven-o" rather than that horrible other "h" word (hell). And of course, for the atheists to complain about, the original meaning of "goodbye" was "God be with you" so that's pretty offensive too. So what do we say? Sciby? (Science be with you) and Earth0 (rather than get heaven OR hell involved)?
So, Sciby and Eartho to you.

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