Culture //

Goodbye to hello

There's more than one way to say hello.

Pssst! Over here! Yes, over here. Quickly now, there are eyes everywhere. Eyes and ears which would very much like to get their hands on the many curios I peddle. Why is that you ask? Well, funny you should say.

A greeting is a powerful thing: kings, mountains, and cities may fall before it. A well chosen greeting is like a well honed knife. It can do all sorts of things. But like any knife, a dull blade does very little at all. Saying hello does as much good as a glass hammer. And “hi” and “hey” leave a recipient feeling uninspired. These greetings have been bounced back and forth between generations of people, and while once they might have meant something, now their power is all but extinguished. But with death, comes life. New greetings hold sway in these lands. Greetings of a dark and terrible power. I dare not speak their name — but if I must, I will.

Chief among their ranks: “howdy”. Hailing from the west, over the vast plains of the most northern America, “howdy” is a sharp blade indeed. From the ancient tongue of the Cow Boys (thought to be an evolutionary precursor to our current race, though scientists are divided on the subject), howdy was originally a casual greeting issued from horseback. Certain arcane gestures are thought to have accompanied it, such as the forward angling of one’s hat or the crack of a whip. These are of course not necessary to the greeting, but it is theorised they lend it further power. Today it is used by those wanting to appear cool, casual or country. It is perhaps the most powerful of the ancient greetings.

Beyond the dusty deserts and frontier lands of the far west lies the sea. A vast expanse of water where nothing can be taken for granted…except this. The greeting of choice for all honourable seafaring people is “ahoy”. It should only be issued while wearing a captain’s hat, a blue woolen turtleneck and a black overcoat. Failure to do so will result in plank walking which is thought to be some kind of carpentry challenge. We know that these sea dwelling people utilised a piece of ancient technology called “boatery” which they used to transport bananas across great distances and at the time a bunch of bananas was called a “hoy”. The phrase therefore originated from a captain’s customs declaration where they would claim to be transporting “a hoy” or multiple hoys.

The greetings explored so far have been specific to a certain location or circumstance. “Salutations”, on the other hand, is perfectly acceptable in any situation (or at least we are led to believe this by translations of ancient text found on what the predecessors called “laptops”). This greeting is suitable everywhere and anywhere. It maintains a balance between formality and joviality, which is a difficult thing to do. Not much more is known about this particular phrase as many records of its use were destroyed in the great flooding of the GFC.

These three are but a taste, my complete collection is in the back.

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