A common bit of dialogue in the English-speaking world:
Hey, Joe, how are you?
I’m fine, thanks, What about you?
I’m fine too.
Now that the two have gotten the preliminaries out of the way, they can proceed to having a good talk.
I’ve lately been trying to find another way to answer the question “How are you?”; some version of which is heard in just about every meeting of two people. If I took the time to answer the question truthfully it would take twenty minutes and be boring and depressing. Does anyone actually want to know the truth? My niece says she does.
My most recent ploy is to use phrases borrowed from song lyrics. Here are the two phrases I’ve tried thus far.
The first is from Drunk As a Skunk ¹ off the album Griot Blues by Mighty Mo Rogers and Baba Sissoko. The song starts with a one-sided conversation between Baba and Mo, then poses an eternal question, “I’m in love and what can I do?” Another good line spoken by Mo just before the end of the song: “She’s breakin’ my heart, but it’s a good break.” The line I’ve tried to use when asked how I am is:
If it gets any worse, I’ll be in a hearse.
This hasn’t worked so well. It just invites more questions, and I quickly have to admit that I’m not serious, and that I just wanted to use the lyric in a conversation.
The second line is from Ghost Woman Blues ² from the album Smart Flesh by The Low Anthem.
I ain’t no lamp, but my wick is burning low.
This also doesn’t work so well. It just causes worry on the part of the other person and a desire to know more about why I’m so down; not to mention tons of advice on what I should do to fight off my black dogs of depression and insomnia.
I think I need to look for some lyrics that are more upbeat. Maybe something from The Sound Of Music. Someone asks me how I am and I reply
The hills are alive with the sound of music.
I can try it but somehow I don’t think it will work.
¹ Listen to the song here: Drunk As a Skunk
² Listen to the song here: Ghost Woman Blues