Friday, December 3, 2010

What’s new? And other chilling greetings.

             If you put in “What’s new?” in the Google search box, Google would answer:  “Did you mean how can you get me to hate you?”
            Most of us slog along every day in a comforting routine.  The minute we have children the adjective “uneventful” is often accompanied with “thank god.”  Why then, do many worship at the altar of new?  The person  who greets us with "what's new?"  is signaling that he/she does not want to contribute any calories to the encounter.  They might as well be saying: “You better have something, buddy because I got nothing and I need some entertainment.  Yes, the whole rationale with “what’s new” is a bid at being entertained.  The question immediately puts the responder on the defensive as he/she scours the memory hole to come up with something astounding that has happened in their life.  If nothing comes up, they are momentarily embarrassed to be so dull.  If you actually related something worthwhile:  “I learned to accept my alcoholic parents,“ the inquisitor would make a hasty retreat and cross you off his invite list.
            There’s a hidden codicil in the  “what’s new” contract.   The answer better not be any of the following:  I had my septic tank emptied. Somebody at work got fired.  We had a blackout yesterday.  It should be something that includes a job with gobs of money, a marriage with gobs of money or some event that promises gobs of money in the future.
            You can count on one hand the events that truly qualify for the “new” roster:  I was born. I died.  I was elected President.  Oprah chose my book for her Book Club. Brad Pitt had a flat tire outside of my house and needed my help.
            The phrase that has been invented to circumvent the embarrassing pause after the “what’s new” question is: “Same old, same old.”  Citizens, when you answer “same old,” shout it with brio and pride.

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