Last week a publicist emailed, pitching some book on how cognitive science helps us tell stories, or stories help us do cognitive science, or some similar for-profit load of hooey.
The publicist led off the email,
"How are things? Hope all’s well!"
I happened to be bored at the moment, so I replied.
How are what things?
This is an expression used between people who are familiar with one another, and thus familiar with one another's "things."
It really makes no sense to ask someone you don't know how my things are, when you obviously don't have the foggiest idea what my things are.
What if my things include an intense sexual interest in spider plants and also a side job as a part-time booger taster?
Well, damned if the publicist didn't come back five minutes later.
You’re not wrong! Alas, I, too, am a part-time booger taster, but as the hourly rate isn’t what it used to be (as I’m sure you’re aware), I’ve been forced to take this middling publicity job and send mock-friendly pitch emails as an attempt to stay afloat.
In all seriousness, apologies for bothering; I’ll remove you from our databases.
And just when I was getting to like the guy.