Don't ask me how I am


Okay, this is a personal thing; that is, it's something I myself find highly annoying. You may or may not find it as excruciating as I do, but tag along anyway if you care. Today's issue is that question that people like to ask you some times: "How are you?". It has a number of hideous cousins, including but not limited to "How are things?" and "What are you doing?".

Stop asking those questions. They're silly. How am I? Well, what part of me? My arms? My legs? My head? Perhaps you meant to ask if I'm feeling happy or sad? What do you really want to know? If you want to know if my leg is feeling all right, then ask "How's your leg feeling?". If you want to know if there's anything at all wrong with my body, ask "Does any particular part of you hurt at this instance?". Virtually every question in the world is clearer and better than "How are you?", a question so insanely vague it's impossible to know what the asker wants out of you, and it's highly annoying.

"What are you doing?" or "What's up?" is another such question. For one thing, I'm constantly doing a multitude of different things at once, and well, suffice to say that if I was doing anything I suspect you might find interesting and I wanted you to know about it, you would know already, because I would have told you. Nevertheless, should you some time wonder, "I wonder if he's doing anything that might interest me", then that's the question to ask: "Are you doing anything right now that might interest me?". No other question.

Here's a brief guide for those considering asking such a question: Stop and consider what you actually want to know. Do you want to know if I am happy or sad? Ask that. Do you want to know if my throat still hurts? Then ask that. Do you want to know what the weather is like, or if I have enough paracetamol at home, or if I happen to be sitting on a chair or on my bed? Then those are also valid questions. Figure out what you really want to know, and go straight to the point.

For future reference, anyone knowingly asking an above listed vague question after having read this will be keelhauled. Thank you.

In what condition, pray tell, is your coccyx today?

Exuberant but largely unnoticed.

I see your point, but have you considered the possibility that the question is not to be taken literally but rather used only as a pretext for conversation? If you have but are still unsatisfied (because maybe you don't like desultory conversation), perhaps there's a beauty to the question you're overlooking: it can be answered in any way that you see fit.

I have, and yes, I'm unsatisfied by that explanation exactly for that reason: Conversation without a topic or clear direction is a useless one and is merely a waste of everyone's time.

Besides, if someone really wanted to have such a conversation, they could just say "Hey, let's blabber on about nothing" instead of masking it behind some attempt to ask about my condition. At least then I can answer "No".

Careful with Smalltalk. Practicising it with female women of the opposite sex might result in sexual intercourse, which could be a source of all kinds of infections.

We don't want that happening, do we?

Well, Smalltalk is an object oriented language, so I doubt that would result in any kind of infection.

You find these questions difficult because you have been busy re-training your Vulcan mind. We ask these type of questions because you are also part human.

I think I speak for everyone when I say: What? You're not making any coherent sense, man. The questions are still annoying.

It's from Star Trek IV, man. :)

Hail Eris.

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