'Nashville' has right idea for the greeter good

Greetings. What howlingly unnecessary things greetings are.

Most rational thinkers would agree, though to really nail this social absurdity down hard and prevent it from ever escaping, I should explain I am talking of a Greeting Without A Reply, a Gwar.

I am regularly assailed by Gwars, and it is driving me round the twist.

To be sure, when two people crash against each other in the main street, some semantic noise has to be made to get the conversation going.

Yet why not abandon the time-wasting Gwar and start straight in on intelligent conversation, as in - ''Aristotle - LOVED your piece in Readers Digest on Olveston's porcelain snooker balls last week!''

But you don't get that, you get - ''Aristotle! Whaddya Know?''

Aristotle, as we all know, knows a heck of a lot.

He might wish to go straight into how he invented the three-act formula as the basis of all movies.

There's a topic that makes being crashed into on the main street genuinely worthwhile.

I am no Aristotle, but if I get Whaddya Know in the main street, I could really venture off on quite a few tangents.

Would my inquisitor like to know the name of every NBA basketball team in 30 seconds? I can do this after a couple of drinks.

Though I could never do that Nine In Ten thing on the generally wretched Paul Henry Show.

Nine countries starting with C in 10 seconds - that was one a couple of weeks ago.

Sounds dead easy.

But not for me, that one took me six days.

But yes, Whaddya Know.

There is no reply to this. A classic Gwar.

Are You Behaving Yourself?

Nobody, and I mean nobody, could ever answer this one.

Because none of us ever behave ourselves.

Some people are even worse than that.

Man carrying big bag crashes into a mate in the main street.

Mate asks him if he has been behaving himself. Would man, who has just held up the Octagon Amcal Pharmacy and filled a huge bag with nail polish, say this?

No he wouldn't.

And when his mate set off again, he would say Don't Do Anything I Wouldn't Do.

The inverted Gwar.

How Are They Hanging?

Good grief.

I think I have been asked this more than 11,000 times.

Am I meant to check?

Remember, me and him are in the main street.

Am I meant to peel down my Levis and fake Vietnamese Calvin Klein underwear, furl my brow for a while, and then report back that the one on the left is 2cm lower than the one on the right?

Will he then say, well, I am sorry to hear about that, perhaps you should see a doctor.

No of course he won't.

He will just stare at me as if I am a crazy person. Replying to a Gwar can bring no other response.

And note I have said my main street greeter is a he.

This is because the Gwar is the exclusive domain of the male, it is utterly gender specific.

I asked a number of close personal woman friends to give me one single Gwar that resides in their greetings bag, and none of them could summon a single word.

And sadly, the only conclusion that can be drawn from this is that, once again, how much more of this can we take, man is the inferior gender.

A man greeting another man in the main street with a Gwar is effectively saying, I have virtually no brain, and if you address the tiny remaining piece of brain that I DO have, please do not paralyse it with detail.

Which leads me back to the bilge television that is Nashville, recommended three weeks ago, I have to insist - there have been angry phone calls - only for its music.

When the tragic ageing no-taste-in-men heroine Rayna James greets anyone, either gender, she has the perfect replacement for the dreaded Gwar.

''Hey!'' says Rayna.

And the reply is always - ''Hey!'' And then they sing a song.

Life in a nutshell.

Roy Colbert is a Dunedin writer.

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