Think about this. You meet a friend on the street, or maybe an enemy, or possibly an ex-husband or ex-wife. It could be your gastroenterologist, your pastor, your lawyer, your banker, your baker or your barber. \u201cHow\u2019s it going?\u201d you ask. That\u2019s a simple question to which there are several possible responses: \u201cOK,\u201d \u201cSo-so,\u201d \u201cFair to middlin\u2019,\u201d \u201cLousy,\u201d \u201cGood\u201d and the unlikely one, \u201cGREAT!\u201d When we ask someone \u201cHow\u2019s it going?\u201d most of us don\u2019t really care how it\u2019s going. We ask to be polite. Sometimes, we\u2019ll dive into deep waters and say, \u201cHow about those Yankees?\u201d or \u201cHow about this weather?\u201d or \u201cHow\u2019s the family?\u201d And if you want to get personal, you\u2019ll ask, \u201cAre you married yet?\u201d or \u201cYou get divorced yet?\u201d or \u201cAre you still dating that guy?\u201d Those are questions that require longer answers than most of us want to hear, especially if we have something important to do like go to Costco for free samples of hickory smoked bacon or to Starbucks for a double mocha matcha meringue macchiato \u2014 or whatever they call those sickening drinks. Sad to say, most of us are more interested in ourselves than another person\u2019s trials, travails, tribulations or triumphs. (Did you like that alliteration?) \u201cJust the facts, Ma\u2019am,\u201d as Sgt. Joe Friday would say. When someone asks me how I am, I usually respond, \u201cEvery day\u2019s a struggle.\u201d That immediately raises eyebrows and incites a person\u2019s curiosity. They want to hear more because as a species we take more delight in someone\u2019s misery than in someone\u2019s pleasure. Be honest, wouldn\u2019t you rather hear someone complain because they lost money in a bad investment than how their kid got a full scholarship to Harvard or they won Powerball? When a person is miserable, it makes us feel better about our own life. When I tell people, \u201cEvery day\u2019s a struggle,\u201d they feel good about themselves for the first time in months. Another favorite response is \u201cfair to middlin\u2019\u201d which I first heard from an old-timer in Georgia. It\u2019s a term commonly used in the South. Fair to middling cotton is an average grade, so saying you\u2019re fair to middlin\u2019 means you\u2019re generally OK. I usually avoid asking people \u201cHow\u2019s the family?\u201d because their response can take all afternoon and evening, and by the time they finish, Starbucks will be closed so I\u2019ll never get a macchiato or free samples at Costco. I also avoid answering that question because it requires a lengthy response about colleges, jobs, marriages, babies and home improvements. So if we meet on the street, don't ask me \u201cHow\u2019s the family?\u201d and I promise I won\u2019t ask you. Whenever I ask someone \u201cHow\u2019s it going?\u201d I seldom hear \u201cIt\u2019s going GREAT!\u201d unless the person won $5,000 on a scratcher or inherited his aunt\u2019s beachfront home in the Hamptons. However, the other day, I asked a fellow, \u201cHow ya doing?\u201d and he said, \u201cI\u2019ve never been better!\u201d Is that humanly possible? Is that psychologically possible? I have a hard time believing it\u2019s possible at all. \u201cNever been better!\u201d is his routine response whether he\u2019s at the Stop & Shop checkout, the post office, the library or the dump. (I don\u2019t know what he tells his therapist, if he has one.) I was so inspired by his positive attitude that I changed. I stopped saying, \u201cEvery day is a struggle.\u201d Now, I say, \u201cI\u2019ve never been better!\u201d At first, I didn't really believe it, but the idea caught on and I seem to have hypnotized myself into feeling great about life. Abe Lincoln once said, \u201cFolks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.\u201d And Abe was a guy who lived through some of the worst times in history, so he must have known what he was talking about. People who say they\u2019ve never been better are often in recovery programs and they\u2019ve seen the bad times. Being clean and sober gives them a positive outlook, and they can sincerely say, \u201cI\u2019ve never been better.\u201d One day at a time, they turned their lives around. When you put your head on the pillow at the end of the day, tell yourself, \u201cI\u2019ve never been better.\u201d Pretty soon, you\u2019ll feel that way. Abe was right. Joe Pisani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.