We were leaving church Sunday when one of the parking attendants raised his hand and shouted, “have a great day”. Without thinking, I replied back, “you too”! Then I thought, “I don’t have that power”! If I could give a good day, why stop there? Why not a new house, new car, peace of mind, financial freedom, a real conservative in the White House… It just doesn’t make sense to even use the phrase.
Everyone from people at church to every cashier you interact with says it. As I was leaving a customer’s house today, after repairing the telephone line, he told me to “have a great year”. I thanked him, happy that I could save all my other “great days” as lesser coupons when the year blessing runs out. Would they roll over like my AT&T minutes?
Unsure of where this phrase originated, I did some research. Surprisingly it first appeared in two different books in the 1200s. I didn’t recognize either. It was in Chaucer’s 1387 Canterbury Tales. Used sporadically in the early 1900s, it didn’t catch on big until the the 1960s. Counter culture groups(hippies) used it as a parting phrase. By 2000, it had morphed into being synonymous with “goodbye”. It is almost exclusively used in America with Europeans feeling the phrase obnoxious. I’ll have to say that I’m almost there too. It could be, some people say it but don’t want me to have one. Does that mean there is no nice day coming to me?
I walked out to get the morning paper recently, and saw a car tire on one of my sprinkler heads. A lady was parked, waiting on the school bus to pick up her child and for some reason, pulled onto the grass. She was looking back up the street behind her as I walked toward the driver side window. Still looking away from me, I knock on the window… She turned around, rolled the window down, obviously not wanting to interact with anyone that morning… I probably didn’t use a real nice tone of voice when I said, “do you know your tire is on top of my sprinkler head? Do you know that I have replaced it twice since living here because car tires break it? The look on her makeup-less face told me she didn’t know the answer and didn’t particularly care. She said, “I’m sorry – you have a nice day” and rolled the window back up! This was a perfect example of someone saying it and not meaning it. She didn’t want me to have a nice day at all. I did anyway… I put some sand under my sprinkler head last time, so it survived her abuse. Hey, plan ahead, so you’ll have a nice day!