Hi! How you doing?

“How you doing? ”
It’s a greeting that rolls off our lips without thought or hesitation.
“Fine.” Is the answer we expect. Again without thought or hesitation.
Lawrence Gushulak always replied, “Terrible.”
It was unsettling. My automatic reply of, “That’s great!” caused me a great deal of pain as I managed to bite off and swallow it. I obviously was being set up to see if I was listening to him. But I fought back.
“Hey, you’re looking great, Lawrence,” was my greeting next time I climbed into the chair for a cut.
“Terrible! How do you want it cut?” replied Lawrence.
“A little more off the top and less off the sides, than last time,” I answered.
Lawrence proceeded to cut it exactly the same as he had for the previous 15 years. He wasn’t listening either.
It’s amazing the automatic responses we issue, through habit or training without paying the slightest thought or heed to the responses.
“What would you like for dinner?” quizzes my wife, the Pearl of the Orient on a semi-regular basis.
“How about a nice stir-fry with rice,” I reply absently without pulling my eyes away from the computer screen.
“Do you want mashed or baked potatoes, with the pork chops?” she asks back.
“Yes, and gravy with the roast beef, would be great,” I add.
We enjoyed the poached eggs on whole-wheat toast.
“Did you find everything you were looking for?” is a favourite at the checkout counter.
A response of “No…” often as not will result in a blank stare and, “That’ll be 15.99. Plastic or paper?”
On a rare occasion you might get an, “Oh! What can I help you with?”
An excellent opportunity to drop a preprogrammed wisecrack. But beware!
“Strength and inspiration,” is a favourite response of David, the proprietor of Fresh Coffee and Hot Beignets (are they ever good!) in Panama City Beach.
The blank stare and dropped jaw are occasionally replaced by, “I’m sorry we’re out of stock,” or “Perhaps some Preparation H would do. Would you like a 4 oz tube or a box of suppositories? You obviously need some.”
Moe’s best response is, “No, I can’t find that $20 bill I dropped here yesterday.”
“One sharp clerk replied, “Oh yes, I found it. I used it to buy lunch. It was delicious. Thank you so much.”
So, how’re ya doing anyways?

Originally published July 09, 2007