Evidently there is only one way to learn the alphabet as a small child in your stereotypical American home. You take the letters, set them to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and then impress your other four year old friends by rattling them off as fast as possible as many times as possible in one playdate. This speed memorization by rote process of learning the English language had two side-effects.
1) It took me about 10 years to figure out that the tune of the “Alphabet Song” was the same as our favorite celestrial nusrey rhyme.
2) For the longest time, I thought “LMNOP” was a letter all in itself.
Obviously, once I started reading I figured out that there were in fact 5 distinct letters. Yet I think we still have a tendency to sing-song our way through conversations. When I see someone I know, we always sing this little diddy.
Maybe its not to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, but it may as well be. To give myself some credit (since I’m writing this and I can) I genuinely do care about how someone is doing and if I ever got an answer that wasn’t “Greathowareyou?” I would be more than willing to continue the conversation in that direction. Yet I can count maybe three times that I have given a non-positive answer to that question myself and feel like that is the case for most people.
My friend and I were talking about a different question you could ask. Her thought was to instead ask “How’s your heart?”
At first, I thought this was a neat, if not mildly intrusive, idea. Yet I kept thinking about it and tried to play out a scenario where I would ask someone that and it terrified me. Am I really ready to know what’s on someone’s heart? Do I secretly take comfort or at least rely on the fact that no one will really share their heart so that I don’t drown in the depth of others?
I hope that isn’t the case. More likely, I’m too afraid to inquire after the condition of someone’s heart because I don’t want to have the questioned turned on me.