The demise of the ‘good morning’ greeting

David Soler

America, and the world by extension, is all about differential factors. We love movies with original and, if possible, sadistic twists – take the Saw franchise for that matter. We are attracted to flashy and never-before-seen-footage of any kind of disaster. Thanks to these factors, the History Channel will never end.

But following this principle, our penchant for the differentials factor is creating a murky twist on our daily lives. As time goes by, the number of walking rude people is increasing because if differential factors are admired, pronouncing the ubiquitous “good morning” or the “hi” aren’t.

Throughout the ages, one could argue mankind developed the “good morning” as a paragon to embolden the uniqueness of awaking every morning and hear the birds sing. Definitively, saying a “Good morning!” with a smile is something healthy. But to the new American kaleidoscope of human efficiency it has a tremendous disadvantage: It’s completely useless. What’s the direct result it produces? None. Zero. More than that, it’s a dangerous anti-differential factor.

Be honest. At the end of a day, who will you remember more: The scores of people who bestowed you the “hi,” or that piece of jerky co-worker who miffed you and looked at the gray concrete while crossing paths? It’s simple, be Nixon, be rude, be ahead. Everybody knows that if somebody denies you a salute, in the American culture of rationality, it’s because of a motive. Let me ask myself: “When do I stop greeting people?” Oh yes, when I have stress, when I have tasked up to my neck, when I had a helluva day. That’s it! The resulting reverse-engineered psychology is: If a co-worker denied me his “hi” it’s because he’s busy. OMG, he might be a workaholic, therefore, a winner, my hero.

But that’s not the end of the story. If it is certain a true Donald Trump could deny you a “hi” from time to time, the Batesian mimicry – or the sheep in wolf’s clothing – is a much powerfully, and less demanding, social equalizer. Batesian mimicry is just applying the following social reasoning: “If denying “hi” is associated with success, then I can just deny “hi” without flexing a muscle and get the same treatment.” And that’s what’s happening. Just offering a “good morning” accommodates nothing, but doing the reverse has the ability to actually improve your social odds! Talk about social decadence. I wonder if this phenomenon already happened in the Roman Empire.

What I am sure didn’t occur is the look-at-my-cats nervous breakdown that comes associated with it. People who have preferred the gray concrete wall for weeks, suddenly one day bring you pictures of their cats – or anything else personal – and they get you in a hysterical frenzy to go together with an overview on them. It’s like they’re pretending to open their hearts with a display of, hmmm, psychotic fakeness? I had a roommate like that. Two months behaving like a ghost and one night she floods me with pictures of her two cats, Fluffy and Nanny. Like the movies we like, it was a never-before-seen-footage in my life: One of those differential factor moments people now adore.

David Soler is a biomedical sciences graduate and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].