Dear People Who Ask Me to Say Hello to Someone for Them

Dear People Who Ask Me to Say Hello to Someone for Them,

I didn't... and I won't. I didn't even intend to at the time I told you I would. I know you asked me to, and I know I said I would, but I was lying. Oh, there have been times when I really meant to say hello, but deep down in my heart of hearts I knew it was a lost cause from the moment I accepted the assignment.

I've already got a thousand different alarms going off in my head every week.

- Don't forget to pay the credit card statement

- Finally track down Namibian prince who promised me a cut of his fortune in 1998

- Pick up a gift for Sandy's birthday

I simply can't afford to set another one so I remember to say hi to your uncle the next time I see him. It just isn't a priority. I have enough stress and anxiety in my life as it is. I already wake up with a nervous eye twitch and the wide-eyed, harrowed look of the hunted. But even if I didn't have another care in the world aside from passing your personal greetings along like a one-man Pony Express, I still wouldn't. Stop putting the onus of your salutations on me. If you can't be bothered to invest the fifteen seconds it takes to dig into your pocket, pull out your phone and compose a five-word text to your old roommate, then maybe it's time to take a long, hard look in the mirror, come clean with yourself, and admit that you need to let this listless, zero-investment relationship finally die. God only knows how many pallid acquaintanceships are kept limping along indefinitely, hitching a sad, miserable ride on the backs of vicarious hellos.

And people know this. You aren't fooling anybody. A second-hand greeting is the death knell of a friendship. "Andy said to say hi, huh? That's interesting... 'cause I see him active on Facebook all the time, and yet he's never sent me a message... or written a word of congratulations on my wall when I've had my birthday..." That's why whenever someone tells me that someone else says "hi," I tell the messenger to reciprocate with a hardy "Fuck you." Either that or I drive straight to the originator's house and throw a brick through the window with a note tied to it that reads, "Mr. Brick would like to tell you that I said hello."

Passing along well wishes via gullible, third-party friends stopped making sense around the time the telegram was invented, and yet it continues. It really shouldn't nonplus me anymore; after all, I've been smiling and telling people that I'd pass on their greeting while secretly reveling in the knowledge that I would not for years now.

But like having sex in an elevator, my little deception is only such a thrill due to the accompanying fear that I may be caught someday. The stress is starting to get to me. I can't keep living like this- lying to people's faces and then wondering if someday my victims will get wise to my subterfuges and bring this whole house of cards crashing down. Sebastian Braff- finally caught in his own tangled web of salutational lies. And for reasons I have already made clear, I also refuse to actually start passing on these second-degree greetings. Please stop asking me to do it.

Sebastian Braff


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