Healthier Than Thou


Every once in a while, I run into someone I haven’t seen in a while. Someone who’s around my age. Someone who really means it when asking, “How are you?”

But we both know what that question really means. “Are you holding together as well as I am or better?”

The funny thing about that is most “people of age”—a designation inspired by “people of color,” which strikes me as equally silly since all of us are SOME color and all of us are SOME age—pass up the opportunity to be honest. Probably because they don’t want to chance learning that the other person is healthier.

I’m never as honest as I could be. I mean, I’m not about to say, “I have some cysts that make walking and standing anywhere from uncomfortable to painful at times, and having them removed might not solve the problem.” Not unless I’m talking to someone I want to urge to move on without further discussion.

I suppose I could always say, “Well, I’m able to get eight or nine hours of sleep every night.” No need to add that I normally still feel tired when I get up and nearly always take a short afternoon nap. Sometimes two. Concurrently.

Or should I whip out the list of medications I keep in my wallet? My doctor’s office loves me because that printed list keeps me from having to pronounce the names of my regular medicines and keeps the nurse from having to figure out what I’m trying to say when I mispronounce them.

List-sharing with other people of age would have drawbacks, though. While it doesn’t take any effort at all to get my father-in-law to share his medicine list—and does he evermore have a lot of them—mine looks puny next to his.

Does that mean I’m healthier? I should hope so! But that’s beside the point. He’s twenty years older than me. The fact that he’s still alive must mean that I’m, uh, well, maybe it means HE’S healthier.

Maybe “Good to see you. I’m fine, thanks.” is an honest enough response to “How are you?”

Thanks for letting me share these thoughts with you. Please feel free to leave a comment. What do YOU think about this subject?

Best regards,

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