We as a people need to figure out how to be nicer. Specifically, we need to solve the problem of “Have a nice day.”
I think we can all agree that we need more nice in this world and less mean. We need more love and less hate. More sweet and less sour. More good and less bad. More pizza and less kale. You get what I’m trying to say.
One good starting point for that effort would simply be for everyone to be more pleasant to each other. To that end, like many of us, I try to wrap up most of my interactions with the tried and true, “Have a nice day.”
In the spirit of needing more nice in the world, occasionally I’ll step it up to a “Have a great day,” but even that isn’t going as far as I’d like. Now, don’t get me wrong – having a great day is what I wish for everyone, but it’s simply not as far-reaching as I’d like to be.
What I mean is, I don’t just want people to have a nice day. I want them to have a life-long series of nice, or even great, days. Expressing that, unfortunately, is where the problem lies.
We should all be wishing that stranger on the street or behind the counter a lifetime of nice days, but saying “Have a nice life” does exactly the opposite of that. If you say “Have a nice life” to someone, you’re basically telling them to go jump in a lake. Nothing says, “I never want to see you again,” quite like “Have a nice life.”
If you wanted to try to step up your interval of wished happiness just a little from the standard one day, you could tell someone to “Have a nice week.” That’s nice and all, but it gets confusing to the other person, because it implies that you will see them again in seven days. You’re trying to spread happiness, not confusion.
You can tell someone to “Have a nice weekend,” which is perfectly acceptable and non-confusing, provided you do it on Friday, or possibly even Thursday. If you try to get away with it on Wednesday, people will only envy you for your ridiculously short work week, which completely takes away from the nice sentiment. If you say it on a Monday or Tuesday, they’ll just think you have no idea what day it is and might start to worry about you, again, defeating the purpose.
“Have a nice month?” Same “Am I supposed to see you again in thirty days?” problem as “Have a nice week,” but with the added issue of possibly bringing unwarranted worry into their lives. What’s next month? Is something supposed to happen that I don’t know about? Taxes? Holidays? Is my mother-in-law coming to visit? What did he mean by that??
Out past a month, your only options left are seasons. If you wish someone a nice spring, fall, or winter, they’re just going to look at you funny, or ask, “What the hell do you mean by that?” The only one that really works is “Have a nice summer,” but it has a big problem. It’s only good for teachers and students. If you say it to anyone else, it will backfire. You’re just reminding them that all the teachers and students have the summer off and they don’t. Not cool.
So there’s the problem, America. We want to spread more good in the world, but we’re largely unable to do it any faster than one day at a time. How do we speed this up? How do we extend the time interval of good wishes?
“Have a nice year?” Probably not.
At this point, it seems like we’re stuck with wishing each other one nice day at a time, so maybe the answer is simply adding something else nice and complimentary on top of it?
How about “Have a nice day, you magnificent bastard!”?
You guys try it out and let me know how it works.
See you soon,
Copyright © 2018 Marc Schmatjen
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