Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sympathy Pains

Author and Comedian Mike Buzzelli 

I have gotten into a bad habit lately. I started feeling sympathy for other people. I remember when I made my first mistake. The other day I asked someone, “How are you?”

Instead of giving me the standard “I’m fine,” this guy unloaded piles of problems at my feet. I suppose he mistook me for “The Undercover Boss.” He must have thought I was capable of giving them $30,000, college tuition and a brand new car to get there. Alas, I am not an undercover boss, and, if I were, I would be more likely to fire him than help him.

Side note: There must be some waiver those secret CEOs sign when they go on that show. They are nice to the most miserable employees.

Meanwhile, I was a little annoyed that I didn’t just get “I’m good” or an “I’m fine” when I asked my seemingly innocuous question. That’s all most of us want with, “How are you?” God forbid, they give you the truth. No one wants that! Unless it’s good news. I’ll take “I got a new job,” “I’m in love” and “I won the lottery” as excellent answers to the question.

It’s mostly context. If I sit down in a restaurant with you, I might actually care about what’s going on in your life, but if we’re just passing each other on the street, I just want an obligatory “I’m fine.”

Mike Buzzelli is an author and comedian. His book, "Below Average Genius," a collection of essays culled from his weekly humor column at the Observer-Reporter, can be purchused here: 

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