*(In false familiarity, waving and noddi
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This monologue starts off the play and sets the scene for what its to come in Wit. Vivian Bearing
(In false familiarity, waving and nodding to the audience.)
Hi. How are you feeling today? Great. That's just great.
(In her own professional tone.)
This is not my standard greeting, I assure you. I tend toward something a little more formal, a little less inquisitive, such as, say, "Hello." But it is the standard greeting here. There is some debate as to the correct response to use to this salutation. Should one reply "I feel good," using "feel" as a copulative to link the subject, "I," to its subjective complement, "good"; or "I feel well," modifying with an adverb the subject's state of being? I don't know. I am a professor of seventeenth-century poetry, specializing in the Holy Sonnets of John Donne. So I just say, "Fine." Of course it is not very often that I do feel fine. I have been asked "How are you feeling today?" while I was throwing up into a plastic washbasin. I have been asked as I emerging from a four-hour operation with a tube in every orifice, "How are you feeling today?" I am waiting for the moment when someone asks me this question and I am dead. I'm a little sorry I will miss that. It is unfortunate that this remarkable line of inquiry has come to me so late in my career. I could have exploited its feigned solicitude to great advantage: as I was distributing the final examination to the graduate course in seventeenth-century textual criticism- "Hi. How are you feeling today?" Of course I would not be wearing this costume at the time, so the question's ironic significance would not be fully apparent ...