There is an unwritten rule in the social contract that we Americans live by that states:
If you say “Hello” to someone the first time you see that individual on a particular day, you do not have to say “Hello” to him or her again that day.
I live by that rule (as I believe most people do) and I think it is a good rule. However, there are some people who apparently live by another rule that says something like:
Say “Hello” to someone every time you see that individual even if you see him or her a hundred times throughout the day. It is fun because it will drive the poor bastard crazy.
There is an individual at my place of employment — let’s call him Steve because that’s his name — who says “Hello” to me every time we pass in the hallway. I really want to grab Steve by the shirt, smack him in the face, and scream, “You said ‘Hello’ to me this morning, you dimwit! Haven’t you heard that a single acknowledgement of someone’s presence is sufficient for the entire day?” Or something like that.
But I can’t do that because there is another unwritten rule in the social contract that says that we shouldn’t smack and scream at people — especially those who are nice enough to say “Hello.” It goes something like this:
Don’t smack and scream at people — especially those who are nice enough to say “Hello.”
So I have to just take it and smile at Steve and say “Hello” back to him. This, of course, forces me to do things I don’t like to do.
I have to smile (I don’t like to smile); I have to say “Hello” (I don’t like to say “Hello”); and I have to spend the rest of the day trying to avoid Steve (I don’t like to have to dodge people all day). And let me tell you, avoiding Steve is like avoiding Kelly Ripa. He’s everywhere!
Not that saying “Hello” is the worst thing in the world. I suppose Steve could be one of those guys who stops and chats. I really hate the stop-and-chat thing. I mean, the last thing I want to do is try to think up crap to say to someone I really have no interest in chatting with.
I can talk about the weather or the price of gas only so long before I want to scream. The only things I’m really interested in are sports and sex (Anna Kournikova would be the ultimate stop-and-chat for me) and Steve has never shown an interest in any kind of sport other than NASCAR, which isn’t really a sport unless you consider a bunch of rednecks driving in circles a sport.
And I sure as hell don’t want to talk about sex with Steve, so I guess the “Hello” thing isn’t so bad after all.
But getting back to NASCAR, I have a rule when it comes to deciding what is a sport and what is not a sport. That rule is this: Anything that I do every day is not a sport. I walk every day; walking is not a sport.
I sleep every day; sleeping is not a sport. I eat every day; eating is not a sport. I expel waste products from myself every day; expelling waste products is not a sport. And I drive every day; DRIVING IS NOT A SPORT!
Of course, if Ms. Kournikova should decide that a bunch of rednecks driving in circles is indeed a sport, I may have to change my tune.
After all, she is my ultimate stop-and-chat.