Hello. How are you? I’m fine!

Each time we give that formulaic greeting
we shrink the definition of “I’m fine”:
it used to be “I’m fine” meant things were perfect,
but now it means, “don’t want to bore you; I decline
to mention all the things that happen to me
the aches and pains and disappointments hard
because if I declared all of those heartaches
you’d think I was a failure and discard
the drama of my life as not worth hearing
the failures you would never contemplate
and as I listed each sad difficulty
you’d think each drama just a quirk of Fate.

So all of us reduce the definition
of what in life is patently okay
and answer every soft interrogation
with “Everything is simply fine, today!”

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About riverwriter

Poet, playwright, duplicate bridge player, website designer, cottager, husband, father, grandfather, former athlete, carpenter, computer helper for my friends, theatre designer, backstage polymath, retired teacher of highschool English, drama, art, a baritone singer in a barbershop quartet, who knows what else? wordcurrents is on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wordcurrents/ Doug also has a Facebook page, "Incognitio", related to his novels.
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3 Responses to Hello. How are you? I’m fine!

  1. Doug, I like this. I’ve been thinking about the following:

    When people say,”Can I ask you a question?” don’t they understand they’ve already done that.

    Also….. many people now say,”I’m good.” That is really ambiguous. Good for what?


    • riverwriter says:

      Hi Veronique

      Thanks for looking in. This poem has a back story, as do most of my pieces. In the market, my wife and I met a woman who used to be a close friend of ours. When she asked how I was, I realized the answer had changed: I was not going to answer the question the way I once would have.

      We have so many conventions designed to make social contacts as bland and inconsequential as possible . . . .

    • Tom says:

      Yes, but it is merely the prelude to a personal question. No one ever answers ‘no’ because they want to know the nature of the personal question.

      A colloquealism used when someone, usually accidentally, accomplishes a task in exactly the right manner. There are other connotations. The best rule of thumb is to do only what you do best and leave the rest who the person who is the best at it.

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