"Hey, how's it going? Really? Oh. Um, that's not good.
Yeah... uh, I'm sorry to hear that. No, really, there's no need
to descr—oozing pus, you say? Doesn't sound very comfortable.
Wow. Yeah. No, really, that's okay! Oh. You're actually—you're
actually showing it to me. That—uhhh... looks pretty serious. I
don't even know what those are. You have to sit on one of those
inflatable ass cushions, huh? Yeah, you cry in pain when you
have to 'squeeze one out', do ya? Yeah. Yeah, I'll bet you do.
Right, well, ummm... I hope things get, uh, better for you. I'll
see you later. Yeah."
There really are few phrases in the English language more hollow
than the meaningless greeting questions "How's it going?",
"What's up?", or "How ya doing?". I couldn't help
but be struck by this the other day when I was buying a CD, and
I made the terrible mistake of asking the one and only employee
in the store, a bored lethargic high school student how he was
doing as he shuffled over to the counter in an annoyed manner.
He looked up at me, sighed a lot, and proceeded to tell me just
how he was doing, and how tired he was, and how bored he was,
and what a long day it was, and how his pussy hurt, and
everything else. And I wanted to shout "Jesus, kid! I don't
really care how you're doing! I was just being polite!
Now sell me the goddamned CD!" but I didn't because I was
still trying to be polite and so I just stared at him and
secretly wished to myself that this would be the time I'd
finally be able to shoot lasers out of my eyes but that didn't
happen so I just kept quiet and left.
I really hate the fact that I fall into the trap of asking a
question that I really don't want the answer to, but it's become
a common and annoying habit for many of us. There are really
only two acceptable answers to that question, and many of us
understand that. The first appropriate response consists of no
more than two words, such as "Pretty good!" or "Not
bad!" The second correct way to respond is with another
question. If someone asks you "How's it going?" you respond with
"What's up?" and that way both of you give the illusion that you
actually care without feeling obligated to answer the question.
However, many people don't understand that the question is a
matter of simple politeness, not an invite to unload all of
their problems onto you. But if you ask that question, you're
opening the floodgates and inviting all manner of annoying
strangers and acquaintances to waste your time by telling you a
bunch of shit you really couldn't care less about.
So the next time you're greeting a coworker, store clerk,
acquaintance or someone else whose personal life you're not
really interested in, you can try out one of these alternate
greeting questions instead:
Instead of the ever popular "How's it hanging?" you could
ask "What is the current condition of your penis and
testicles?" The ladies particularly love it when you ask
"I don't care about you, but how are your pets?"
"Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?"
If you're shaking someone's hand of the same sex, gently stroke
their wrist with your index finger and ask "Have you ever
done it gaywise?"
If you're talking to a college student, you could say "What
level is your MMORPG character?" and they probably won't
only know what you're talking about, but they'll probably give
you a long and excruciatingly detailed answer. On second
thought, better not ask that one, unless you hate yourself.
"Do you know where I can unload a healthy newborn baby for
some quick cash?"
If you're shaking someone's hand and your name is Max Burbank,
you could ask, "DID YOU KNOW that if my hand actually SMELLED
like urine, you'd be able to detect that I just PISSED ALL OVER
IT? IT'S TRUE!!!"
"What exactly would it take to trigger a Vietnam flashback?"
"How's your sex life?"
While shaking someone's hand, ask: "Do you have any antidotes
for a contact poison?"
If you're shaking someone's hand of the opposite sex,
gently stroke their wrist with your index finger and ask "Have
you ever done it gaywise?"
"How do you know when you meet me that I'm not one of them?"
"Do you support the party?"
"Do you think I look like a terrorist?"
"Okay, so I'm a halfway-there transsexual. Guess which sex I
started as! Come on! Guess!"
If you're meeting someone for the first time: "Hey, I
recognize you! You're in all those videos on the internet! You
do know about those, don't you?"
"Are you ready to meet your maker?"
While shaking someone's hand: "So which hand do you
"Have you seen 'goatse'?"
Ask someone "One lump or two?" and then punch them in the
face the appropriate number of times.
"Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and
If you're greeting a male, ask: "How about that big game?"
Preferably in between major sport seasons, so you can really
confuse them and watch them flounder around and lie to you about
having seen it in an effort to prove their "manliness".
"How many domesticated animals have you eaten?"
Ask, "Did you get the stains out?" when there are other
people around to hear it.
"What did the doctor say?" (this is best asked to a total
"Do you regret anything?"
"Do you think I'm going to Hell?"
"If a train leaves Cleveland for New York at 45 miles per
hour and another train leaves New York for Boston at 60 miles
per hour, how the fuck are you?"
So there you go, a small sample of greeting questions to try out
the next time someone says "hello" without actually
saying hello. These are questions you probably also don't really
care about the answers to, but at least by asking some of these,
you'll derive some entertainment out of the normal salutation
If you enjoyed this piece, be sure to check out:
Public Restroom Etiquette