If I had had the foresight to save a dollar for every time somebody asked me how I was, well you know how the rest of that goes. Having absolutely no foresight, I just kept on keeping on with the traditional responses without giving them a second thought (and I’m broke).

It’s touching how every single soul I meet wants to know about my health; the butcher, the baker, the candle stick maker and even the stranger on the street asking directions is interested in my well-being. I’ll admit there was a bit of a lull when I broke my arm a few years ago. People didn’t seem to be asking me how I felt as often as they used to, especially after the second or third time. But my arm is healed now, thank goodness and I’m back on track.

Telemarketers want to know how I feel. They call to congratulate me on being chosen for a chance to win a house. To be in the running I only need to attend a short seminar and listen to experts discuss how I can build up my wealth. It doesn’t seem to put them off when I tell them thanks but I’m not interested because I am already so independently wealthy. When I suggest they could offer their services to the needy, they try to convince me that I could never have enough and that as Michael Douglas once said,’ greed is good’. They sound so sincerely interested in my welfare that it’s with regret that I hang up.

My doctor always asks me how I am at the beginning of our sessions together. She’s warm and caring and there’s no doubt that she really wants to know, but she also knows that I tend to overdo it so she times me.

I don’t want you to think I have a monopoly on compassion. I listen to talk-back radio and no matter what the program or the host’s constant response is, to that question, each caller is anxious to hear the answer for himself or herself.

The French ask comment ca va? the Italians come sta? I seem to have stumbled on the secret to world harmony if we could only harness it, and to a universal empathy that has spanned the globe and all cultures. There’s no doubt about it, it’s a wonderful world.

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