It is amazing how quickly good intentioned practices become mere cliché. Greetings do this. “How do you do?” is not so much an enquiry as to someone’s well being as it is a formal hello. The response of “Quite well, thank you,” is the expected retort, as the asker does not genuinely want to know your life story. “Howdy,” while less formal, still generally expects no deep response, though a rustic “Fair to middl’n,” seems an appropriate response. While some in the USA might actually care to hear how someone is doing, the British are far less eager to hear. “How are you,” should be greeted with an “Okay, and you?” or an “All right.” Lately however this has morphed into an “Allright?,” which is responded to with an “Allright.”
Another thing that has my hackles up a bit is the insistence of many Americans to thank Veterans for their service. While the acknowledgement of service is appreciated, it become cliché when it becomes a constant, as a by rote exercise rather than a statement of true appreciation.
Heartfelt gestures are always appreciated by me, and I am sure this is true of most people. But please say what you mean, and mean what you say; and if you mean to be mean, then just don’t say anything.