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How are you?

Many years ago, in a previous existence, I was invited to give an economics seminar at a college in small town, Indiana to see if I could be hired as a teacher.

The day began inauspiciously.  I arrived at O'Hare 1 1/2 hours before take-off, only to be informed that my plane had been cancelled.  So I called the chairman of the economics department, and he suggested I rent a car at their expense and drive there.  Unfortunately, at the time, I could not drive.  But the airline gave me another alternave.  There was a flight to Detroit, making about 10 stops, and a plane back from Detroit to this small town, making about 5 stops.

There was nothing for it.  I had to mke this 15-stop-flight.  The plane took off from O'Hare,landed, took off again, landed in some small town, when to my great surprise a gentleman came up to me and said: "Are you the passenger for small town?"  When I said yes, he told me there was a car waiting for me and shoud get off the plane.  The plane took off, and then I noticed another gentleman waiting ourside the tiny airport.  It turned out he had been on the same plane.  I asked him why he had got off the plane,and he said his company in small town had sent a car for him.  My heart sank.  They had made a mistake and pulled two of us off the plane.  So I begged him to give me a ride to small town an he agreed.

I was met by the chaiman of the department, who turned out to be a nudnik of the first magnitude. He questiond me incessantly, not just before the seminar, during the seminar, and after the seminar, but also in the evening at dinner, when I was hoping to relax.  I managed to turn the tables on him briefly when he asked if I had any questions about the department.  I thought for a moment and then said: "What is the state of your computer facilities?" (Remember, this is the 70's, when computers were in a state of miniscule infancy compared to now.) He shuffled awkwardly and admitted they were not as good as he would like.  I saw my moment and pounced.  I insisted that this was a matter of great importance to me (it wasn't) and went on for a while on the subject.   It was the only way could stop him plying me with question after question. 

To my great relief, dinner came to an end, and I took a cab back to the airport.  There I was greeted with the anouncement that the plane back to Chicago had been cancelled.  (Did the planes ever fly, or were they just there on paper?) Fortutely this time there were several other passengers in the same position, who could drive,so we shared the rental of a car and I was droped off at O'Hare.

I got inyo cab, we pulled away from the curb, and then the driver made a great mistake.  He said: "How are you" And I told him.  At great length.  After I finished he lookd at me in the mirror, and said" :You know, when people say 'How are you?' thedon't rely want toknow

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