Not Much, Good

JB's picture


How hilariously awkward and awful are pleasantries gone wrong?  There’s nothing worse than this moment.  It’s absolute buffoonery to answer “what’s up” with “good”.  But man, does it happen.  I can’t even watch someone else do it without blushing.  You just weren’t up to the task of that complex question, eh?  But I do it all the time.

“Hey, how’s it going?” 

“Not much, you?”

It’s just awful.  There’s not even a good way to correct yourself.  “Ohhhh, sorry, I’m an idiot” is about the best you can muster.  We all just wanna get that first part of the conversation out of the way because it’s not a sincere question.  Nobody actually wants to know how you are or what’s going on.  We’re all just trying to get to the meat of the conversation. 

And I know you’ve met the person who’s completely oblivious to these social laws.  They’re everywhere, and I cannot stand these people.  We all just say good, okay?  Everyone has agreed upon this, unless the relationship is family, or the word friend is preceeded by boy, girl, or best.

“Heyyy, how’s it going?”

“I fell on the ice a month ago shovelling the driveway and it put my back out so now one of my legs is shorter than the other and it gave me nerve damage so now I have epilepsy”

Jeesh, tough break.  But society has a deal.  We spare other people our miseries, because we all have them.  Maybe that’s not the same as the awkward pleasantries mess-up, but it’s worthy of mention.  I was talking to Bri about this yesterday and she nailed a hilariously stupid conversation mess-up. 

“Enjoy your flight”

“You too”

You don’t even try to correct that one.  The person at the airline counter doesn’t care, everyone knows what’s happened.  It’s not even worth a 15 word follow-up to straighten out.  “Have a good” is usually preceeded by day, not flight.  You rolled the dice, you gambled, you lost, so be it.  Go get an US Weekly and an 8 dollar pint and wait to board your flight.

But you know what’s even more awkward than this?  The bad hand shake.  The knuckles thing has thrown it all off because old white guys do it so much now.  Not that this is a problem, but there’s still a few that don’t chuck the knucks, so you never know what you’re dealing with.  As a 26 year old, I think old white guys assume I’m young so we should do the knuckles thing.  Maybe on the golf course after a good putt or something, I dunno.  We really have to set some guidelines for this debacle.



I think the handshake is perfect, why are we tinkering with the meat of our greeting dinner?  I get the germ-free quality of the pound.  But there’s a mutual respect to the handshake that I love.  What’s even more confusing now, is the people who want to do the upright handshake pull-in thing.  This works fine if the two guys are on the same page, but if you aren’t it’s a complete disaster.  It really does take a split-second evaluation of your relationship with the guy to know if it’s a pull-in shake or not.  You don’t want to assume the pull-in.  But if you go level and the other guy is upright, chaos ensues.



It can taint an otherwise perfect day if it’s left on a bad shake. You need an exit strategy.  I spent a half hour trying to make a chart for this situation, but there’s too many variables.  Excitement.  When you last saw the guy.  How well you knew them before.  I think it’s going to remain troublesome, but you can apply a couple loose rules.

 The high five after a great sporting moment is way better than the pound.  Provided, of course, that you mix in a momentary clasp.  You can’t go beyond the guys hand with the five like you missed, and you can’t mutually push up after contact (whitest move ever).  Do the five, clasp, bring it low, done.  Not gay, not too white, it’s okay. 



The pound should be reserved for the solemn positive moments.  It says: “nice, I knew you were gonna make that putt”, not: “sssiiicckkk 40 foot putt!!!”, pound.  Not the occasion.

If you’re unsure in any greeting circumstance, shake the hand.  No greeting is a solid as the firm, couple second shake with eye contact.  You only go to the upright-pull-in phase if you and the other person share a memory together.  You know, a night at the strip club, a round of golf, that night you drank Cuervo til your wife left you.  Any of those.  Acquaintances don’t do the pull in, okay?  It’s never assumed.

Bri and I were dying laughing about this last night when our cluster$#%& of a goodnight had to be red-flagged and laughed at.  It’s amazing how often it happens and nobody makes the slightest mention that the dialogue just shared was too primitive for cavemen.  Anyways, somebody needs to make some sort of graph so I know how to greet people.  Hell, in New York they mix in the kiss greeting, I’m gonna end up kissing her Dad if I don’t figure it out soon.  So I’m out of here.


“I love you too”