The cashier at the convenience store just told me to “Have a nice day.” And it got me thinking.
I used to hate this little phrase. It can sound so insincere. But the more I think about it, the more it’s growing on me. After all, who doesn’t deserve a nice day?
So I hope you have a nice day. Why not? Shoot. Have two.
But don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about a ridiculously happy day. No. Too much happiness can make you unhappy. That kind of elation is way too much stress. And stress is stress, no matter how you look at it. Even happy stress is still stress.
You can be gut-bustingly happy on the day of your wedding, but you will STILL be so stressed out that you will probably consume too many Bushwhacker cocktails, and—as in the case of my uncle during the 2002 incident—dance the Funky Chicken on top of the groom’s mother’s table.
So I wish you easiness. Relaxation. A very mellow, simple day. Like playing table tennis without gravity. Like sitting in a comfortable chair and watching goldfish. Like sailing a boat on mirror-like water.
My father used to look at smooth water and always say, “That water’s slicker than owl snot.” I loved this particular phrase and often used it to impress my Sunday school teachers.
I hope you have an owl snot kind of day. I hope the woman who has eight kids she’s rushing to soccer practice eats a Klondike Bar. And I hope Jason, the kid with stage-four cancer, who has horrible headaches, has a very good day.
I hope your favorite show is on TV, or that you find something worth “binge-watching.” Which is a term I just learned. A twenty-four-year-old person taught this to me.
This twenty-four-year-old told me that he had been “binging” all weekend. I told him that they had AA meetings in the Episcopal church for this sort of thing.
He laughed and said, “No, binging means finding a good show and watching a hundred of them in one sitting.”
So I went home and tried this with my wife. My wife selected a show that was produced by the BBC. It was a British period drama with elaborate costumes and lots of yearning. It was definitely heavy in the yearning department.
We binged. She loved it. But if I’m being honest, I’ve had more interesting experiences watching mold grow.
The world moves so fast, and it only seems to be moving faster. Did you ever notice how when you were a kid, a full year actually felt like a year? But the older you get, a year starts to feel like it only lasts a few months.
Life is bizarre like that. Just when you get a handle on things, it all changes, and you have to relearn the rules. New disasters happen, and you start to discover the truth about your fellow man.
Some people aren’t kindhearted. Some people are jerks. Some will hurt you and not feel sorry about it.
It’s enough to get you down in the dumps. And then, just when you didn’t think you could get any lower, you turn on the nightly news. On TV you see things so horrible that you have to take an Alka-Seltzer.
So you go to bed wondering how this world could get any more cruel than it already is. But when you tune into the news the very next morning, you find that it HAS GOTTEN WORSE. At least according to the news anchors who all have very expensive teeth.
Pretty soon, you have no choice but to watch BBC shows with your wife about the adventures of yearnful young women in English countrysides who are filled with unexplainable passions and can’t decide between marrying Gilbert or Whatever-The-Other-Guy’s-Name-Is because apparently British girls are so fickle they wake up and can’t decide which side of the bed to get up on. So they just yearn and yearn until they finally decide to stay in bed and ring for their servants to bring them a delicious breakfast in bed.
This is completely normal in BBC land, where all yearnful girls eat breakfast in bed and have yearnful maids and yearnful butlers, etc.
Well, real life is not that frilly. Sometimes bad things happen, and they leave marks upon us that last lifetimes. People leave us. Good dogs die. And you start to wonder whether life is really this hard.
Well. It is. Being human is hard. And brutal. And unfair. And nearly impossible. Life itself will bleed the energy out of you, break your bones, then bill you for the damages.
But it’s also magnificent. And giddy. And colorful. And filled with tiny moments that paint you with happiness.
So today, just for today, just for 24 little hours, just for 1440 little minutes, I hope your life is nice. I hope you binge-watch something good. Play checkers with a child. I would love it if you ate something you weren’t supposed to eat. Or took a nap.
Certainly, I know this is a tall order. And I’m too much of a realist to believe that anyone can have the best day ever simply because they want to.
But I do believe that you can have a nice one.
So have a nice day.