Did you ever realize how many people ask “how are you?” and never wait for an answer? And when you ask “how are you?” do you really want to know? “Not too well, thank you. I have a headache and my wife is cheating on me.” So, who is responsible for these polite greetings we use, anyway? Didn’t they know that an answer usually follows a question?

Here’s another one: “You look great today!” Thanks a lot. Does that mean I looked terrible yesterday? You seem awfully surprised that I look great today. And then there’s “good to see you.” Yeah, right! It’s not bad enough we have to work together everyday, disagreeing on almost everything, up to here in angst. You come in and say “good to see you” as some sort of testament of your ability to lie with a straight face. “How’s the family?” is another great polite greeting. Why not just say “You know, I forgot your wife’s name and don’t remember your kids’ names (if you have kids) but I don’t want to miss this chance to make you think I care and that I can relate to you, so, how’s the family?” A polite society, indeed!

(originally published circa 2000)