When people say, “How are you?”
Or “How’s it going?”
The only appropriate response is:
Nobody wants to hear about
What happened yesterday at the airport
Or how you waited in agony by the phone.
They don’t want to know about
The truth you had to learn too late
And from a third party,
Or what came in the mail.
Likewise, the problem at home,
The misunderstanding at work,
And your recent emotional upheaval
Are of no interest to people
And are beyond their comprehension anyway.
To answer a simple greeting with complete honesty
Is an inexcusable breach of etiquette.
(This poem originally appeared in No More Masterpieces, Vol.1, April 1985)