‘The man was obviously depressed. Dressed in mismatched shoes, his face and demeanor suggested that he was not having the best of times. His clothes were dirty and his mismatched shoes were dusty. Hair uncombed, people stared at him but he didn’t notice or couldn’t care less as he dragged his Okada along the road. He had a lot on his mind as he felt as if the whole world were on his shoulders.
As he got to the junction, a guy he had attended school with who was strolling and whistling suddenly saw him. “Joe! Joe my man! How far na! How you dey?” Joe stopped and tried to smile in reply but couldn’t find the strength to. “I’m fine Morris. Good afternoon.” Morris was having a good day and was in the mood for some good cheer. He noticed that Joe was downcast and depressed and knew he should inquire what the matter was but he didn’t feel like spoiling his good mood. So he just went his way. That night Joe committed suicide.’
Most times we just say things because we feel like saying it. It feels like it’s the proper thing to say or that people expect us to say it. At other times we feel like we have an obligation to say those things even though we don’t really feel the way we should feel by asking or saying those things. I’m just saying.
When u meet a person, one of we ways we exchange pleasantries is ‘How are you’ and most times the other person replies ‘fine’. It’s funny because most times the person asking does not really give a flying hoot how you are feeling at all. The person couldn’t care less if you were passing through the most difficult time of your life, or passing through financial difficulties (of course, nowadays nobody really wants to know if you are, for fear that you’d expect them to help you), or marriage troubles. Wetin concern dem? Dem no send you na.
On the other hand, the person replying ‘fine’ might not actually be fine. Far from being fine, the person might be facing some pretty big challenges. It could be financial (trust me, nobody wants to know this one. Say it and see the way the other person will just vamoose), career, marriage, health and the list goes on and on. The person might even be sick at heart. But he says ‘fine’ when he knows that he wouldn’t recognize ‘fine’ even if it bit him on his fat ass. Why does he say he’s fine when he’s going through crisis? Is it because he feels that the person might not be in a position to help? Is it because he doesn’t want to burden another with his problems? Is he being secretive? Or is it because he knows that the person just does not give a damn?
Come to think of it, why would a person with his faculties still functioning well, ask another person who looks like he has the whole world on his shoulder, ‘how are you’? Isn’t it obvious that he definitely is not fine? You see a person looking dejected, hopeless with slumped shoulders and wearing each of a different pair of shoes and you ask that kind of question (Dem fence your eye? You know say you no send but you still dey ask. As some people would say, na wetin dey him mouth you dey find?). Why not ask, ‘what’s the matter’? Sometimes the person says ‘fine’ and the other person walks away without asking further questions.
There’s a particular saying, ‘salutation is not love’. If you really do not care about the other person, then there’s no need pretending to. Simply say have a nice day and walk away. Or say something inspiring and encouraging. Or say ‘e go beta’. Salutation might not be love but it definitely is not by force!