How are you? Alternative answer

Graphic rendition of a Shakespeare state of mind“Like to the time of the year between the extremes
Of hot and cold, he was nor sad nor merry.” (Antony and Cleopatra 1.5)

Tips for use. How many times in a day are are we asked, “How are you?”- the quintessential conversation opener even if the inquirer couldn’t care less about our mental or physical condition. This is especially true when someone phones to sell you something. Memorize the following lines in reply, “Like to the time of the year between the extremes of hot and cold, neither sad nor happy.” You will induce a measure of (well deserved) embarrassment or at least perplexity in the inopportune caller. As you can see, the exchange of ‘happy’ for ‘merry’ (in the original quote) does not alter the tone or the impact of the quote.
In “Your Daily Shakespeare” you will find multiple options to answer the same question. I also have prepared a DVD enabling you to memorize over 400 Shakespearean quotations easily and effortlessly. Actually, you can watch the DVD on your TV set while exercising on a static bicycle or similar. Multitasking at its best, for the mind and for the body.

In the play. Antony must travel to Rome on business and temporarily leave Cleopatra in Alexandria (Egypt). Cleopatra asks a maid in waiting (Alexas), to observe and refer back to her on Antony’s mood before he departs. By Alexa’s response Cleopatra discovers or deduces that Antony he neither happy (to leave Cleopatra), nor sad as he must go to Rome to fulfill a duty. In fact on hearing Alexa’s report Cleopatra exclaims, “Oh well divided disposition!” And, as we know, Cleopatra was temperamentally quick to come to conclusions. Incidentally, “Oh well divided disposition” is an elegant answer if the hosts asks your opinion about the arrangement of the guests at the dinner table.

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