When people say, “How are you?”

Or “How’s it going?”

The only appropriate response is:

“Fine.”

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)

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