Tuesday, 8 July 2008

How Are You?

In my capacity as a wholly owned subsidiary of NigeCorp, I often get phone calls from keen young thrusters in the PR business - tho never, alas, from Selena Dreamy... They invariably begin with the apparently heartfelt, even concerned, inquiry, 'How are you?' How is one supposed to respond to that? For myself, I have to suppress two urges: one is to bark 'Yeah, like you care. Cut to the chase will you?' The other is to treat them to a minutely detailed runthrough of my state of health, mental and physical, listing any interesting symptoms that might have cropped up since last we spoke. However, in the end - like, I suspect, most people - I just grunt 'Fine' and this seems to suffice. Maybe it would be more polite to say 'I'm fine, thanks, how are you?' but this would be to spin things out unnecessarily, and to maintain the pretence that the initial 'How are you?' was actually a question. There are, once again, no easy answers.
If only we'd stuck to that meaningless, wonderfully English greeting 'How do you do?' Nobody ever pretended this was a question. The correct response was to repeat 'How do you do?' After this exchange, it was straight down to business. The perfect solution.


  1. "keen young thrusters"

    My phrase of the day, Nige. You win an official Appreciation Society badge.

  2. Oh dear, some of my daughters girl friends are in PR, somewhere in Lunnen, you'd know if you met C...., she would say "hows it all hanging guys", there is absolutely no response whatever to that.

  3. The traditional Chinese greeting between friends was "Have you eaten yet?" The correct response was "Yes, and you?" It meant nothing, unless the responder said "No, I haven't," in which case it was now the questioner's responsibility to feed the answerer.