This morning, the cashier at the convenience store told me to “Have a nice day.” She said it from behind a glass shield, while wearing a mask.

Here’s the thing. I don’t know her. I don’t know if she and I agree on life issues. I don’t know if we have the same taste in ice cream, or literature, or if she manicures her toenails regularly or just lets them grow long.

But she told me to have a nice day. And it felt good to hear that.

The irony here is that 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 this morning when I sat down to clip my toenails, I decided that I wanted to tell you to 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 STILL be so stressed out that you consume too many Bushwhacker cocktails—as was the case in the 2002 incident when my uncle danced 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 spit.” I loved this particular phrase and often used it to impress my Sunday school teachers.

I hope you have an owl spit kind of day. I hope the woman who has eight schoolkids trapped at home from the pandemic pauses to eat a Klondike Bar. And I hope Jason, the kid with stage-four cancer, who has horrible headaches, has a very decent day. I hope Ellen, whose mother and father died of COVID, can manage a not-so-horrible day.

I hope your favorite show is on TV, or that you find something worth “binge-watching.” Which is a term I first learned from a 24-year-old person who told me that he had been “binging” all weekend. I told him that they had meetings for that sort of thing at the Episcopal church.

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 clipping my toenails.

Although I do like how slow the BBC movies move. Because this world moves too fast for me, 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 now, the older you get, a year starts to feel like it only lasts a few months. Life is bizarre that way. 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. Pandemics come along and screw up the status quo.

You learn that some people aren’t kindhearted. In fact, some people behave like jerks. They 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 TV and see things so horrible that you have to take an Alka-Seltzer.

So you go to bed wondering how this world could get any worse than it already is right now. But when you tune in next morning you find that it HAS GOTTEN WORSE. At least according to the news anchors.

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.

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 difficult or if you’re just crazy.

You’re not crazy. It is hard. Being human is hard. It’s 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 breathe. Play checkers with a child. I would love it if you ate something you weren’t supposed to eat. Or took a power 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 decide they want to. But I do believe that you can have a nice one.

So have a nice day.


  1. Deborah L Blount - November 6, 2020 6:56 am

    Hope your day is slicker than owl shit!

  2. Dawn A Bratcher - November 6, 2020 7:18 am

    😂 I think you mean owl “spit”!

  3. Robert P. Wilson - November 6, 2020 8:12 am

    The reason time goes faster as the years add on is that a year becomes a smaller part of your life. When I was in the first grade, a year was 1/6 of my life. When I was a senior in high school, a year was 1/18 of my life. Now, a year is 1/73 of my life. They fly by at a supersonic rate. I can’t imagine how fast they will be as a couple more years get added on.

  4. Margaret E Odell - November 6, 2020 10:12 am

    And you have a nice day too, Sean. After reading this post, intend to do the same!

  5. Gerry Fr - November 6, 2020 10:36 am

    I do hope you have a peaceful day, and thanks for the morning real life news. In a word picture.

  6. Ralph Turner - November 6, 2020 11:26 am

    You got laid yesterday, didn’t you?

  7. Marilyn Ward Vance - November 6, 2020 11:30 am

    My favorite phrase…… ‘Hope your day is fine as snuff and not nearly as dusty!.’ Owl spit will work, too, though. Have a GREAT day……

  8. Ann - November 6, 2020 12:26 pm

    A great” smile getter” response is….” you have a better one” ….. so Sean, I’m smiling,….”you have a better one”🥰😁

  9. plainsilkstudio - November 6, 2020 12:28 pm

    We watch a lot of BBC shows. You might like the detective shows better. I like them all. We watched a few Dickens adaptations, and it felt a little too close to real-world events. But slower. And happy endings.

    If you can’t find them online, the library has tons of DVDs. It does slow things down.

  10. E. Ann Padgett - November 6, 2020 12:59 pm

    Thanks, Sean. You too! And yes, the expression does mean more now that it is so much harder to “have a nice day.” We have found ourselves living during a pandemic and panic driven period of intense global power politics —Machiavellian style. We must hang on to our heads, our civilities, each other, and hopefully our prosperous and free country, for as much as and as long as possible. That way, we can hang on to our best values and hope for better years ahead for us and our progeny — or at least for many more nice days. Maybe one far future nice day, history will call us one of the greater generations anyway. ☺️🇺🇸

  11. Susan - November 6, 2020 1:07 pm

    I loved the vision of sailing on the lake with mirror like water. Like hearing the water while your waterski zings crossing the wake or listening to it snow

  12. John - November 6, 2020 1:43 pm

    Thanks, Sean! You reminded me of my daughter’s senior year in high school. The principal ended his morning announcements every day with, “Have a nice day.” At their graduation each one handed him a slip of paper with that phrase on it. Until the last one, who gave him a thesaurus! Great fun!
    Have a nice day!!

  13. Geri - November 6, 2020 2:03 pm

    Sean, I know you were inspired by Lewis Grizzard. I loved his writings. He kept me grinning. Your writing makes me grin too. The difference is that you manage to sooth my soul. You make me feel better. You lift me up. You change the underlying way I’m feeling for the better. Thank you.

  14. Debbie Harlow - November 6, 2020 2:15 pm

    Within the last five years I have lost my husband, my mother, a son, and a granddaughter. I have cried every day for
    five years. Sometimes inconsolably so, sometimes very discreetly. There were no more nice days. Every day I forced myself out of bed and went through the motions of living. After each devastating loss I tried to “bounce back” and then WHAM! another one hit. It has been one year and 354 days since my granddaughter passed away. The struggle continued – get out of bed, move your feet, take the dog out (thank God for dogs), get on with the day. One day I went through all the motions, as usual, and when it came time to get back in the bed and we (the dog and I) were settling down, I was hit with a realization. I had had a nice day. Had I cried? Yep. But I had a nice day. And there will be more nice days.

  15. Bobbie - November 6, 2020 3:05 pm

    Awesome writing Sean! We can all have nice days, but sometimes they can happen in unexpected ways…we just have to see the cup half full! I want to reply to a couple of the comments. Especially to Debbie. God bless you Debbie. You’ve had more than your share of heartache and tears. I so agree with Thank God for dogs!!! If not for my Lucy there would be many days I wouldn’t dress, even step outside. She is such a blessing. Scripture says God Will not give us more than we can bear. All that’s happened to you has been for a reason, one of which is to make you stronger. I truly believe that. I know a few people who have had way more than their share, but they keep going, as you have. God bless you. There are more nice days ahead for you. I just know it❤️
    And to thank Robert for his explanation of why time seems to pass faster. It makes sense! I’m 85 now, not near as busy or active, but before I know it, another week has passed! I do try to make the most of my days, one thing is reading good, meaningful words, which includes Sean’s posts each day. Love your insight Sean and your simple perception of life.
    God bless you and yours. Let’s try to live together in peace and gratitude for all our blessings. ❤️🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

  16. M&M from Birmingham - November 6, 2020 3:22 pm

    So wonderfully said!

  17. Richard - November 6, 2020 3:26 pm

    “Goodbye” was once “God be with ye” and it got shortened when people used it a lot. I wonder what “Have a nice day” will become in one hundred years…………..”Hayday”? “Handay”? “Havay”?

  18. Charlie Mathers - November 6, 2020 3:40 pm

    Hope you do too!!!😊

  19. Penn Wells - November 6, 2020 3:44 pm

    DaVinci reminded us that “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” And in that vein, and your “have a nice day,” I pass along this bit of wisdom:
    “If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.”
    -Meister Eckhart.

  20. Helen De Prima - November 6, 2020 3:53 pm

    Actually, it is “owl shit” — Sean was just being polite.

  21. Shelton A. - November 6, 2020 4:02 pm

    Well said, brother Sean, well said. And a nice day to you and Jamie!

  22. Anne Isbell - November 6, 2020 4:24 pm

    I am so sorry for the incredible losses that you have endured. It used to bother me when someone told be to have a “Blessed day.” It seemed as if somehow they were imposing their somehow superior godliness on me and my lesser godliness, but as I get older, I’ve come to appreciated the sentiment. I always hope that people have a peaceful day. So I truly wish you as many peaceful days as you can possibly have. And you will be in my prayers. Anne

  23. Jane - November 6, 2020 5:03 pm

    You too. BTW…we are binge watching The West Wing….Martin Sheen was sure a good president.

  24. Linda Moon - November 6, 2020 6:32 pm

    I was once a Sunday School teacher. I wouldn’t have minded your father’s phrase….which is probably why I’m no longer a S.S. teacher. The world’s most famous authority, Professor Irwin Corey, said “If we don’t change direction soon, we’ll end up where we’re going.” TODAY is our moment and NOW is our story. Thank you, Professor Sean, for directing us to what can be one of our best days ever!

  25. Linda Moon - November 6, 2020 6:48 pm

    And to Debbie Harlow: I read others’ comments after posting mine. I’m so sorry for your losses. I’m glad you shared with us so that we can offer more nice days for you via Sean Of The South.

  26. AlaRedClayGirl - November 6, 2020 7:02 pm

    Well said, Sean. Actually, it does help my attitude if I start off the day with a prayer and the thought of “today is going to be a good day no matter what happens.” And Debbie, I hope you have many, many more nice days.

  27. thouse1001 - November 6, 2020 7:13 pm

    Yes, this has been a year to make one mull these things over (and it’s not over yet). A NICE day is a pleasant thhing to wish anyone.

  28. thouse1001 - November 6, 2020 7:16 pm

    This year has been one to BEG for “a nice day”, and it’s not over yet.

  29. Steve Watkins - November 6, 2020 7:46 pm

    And you have a nice day, too.

  30. Larry seale - November 6, 2020 8:36 pm

    Have a nice day and a better day tomorrow😊😊

  31. Virginia Kainen - November 6, 2020 8:41 pm

    I appreciate that interpretation of the passage of time. I’m 72 and other people my age all seem to say “tempis fugit” like I do!!

  32. Melanie - November 6, 2020 11:25 pm

    Thanks Sean. Hope you got those toenails looking good. I find sometimes people doubt my sincerity when I say have a nice day. Maybe saying have a decent day works better in 2020?

  33. Susan - November 7, 2020 12:23 am


  34. Steve Winfield (Lifer) - November 7, 2020 12:51 am


  35. Bo - November 7, 2020 2:43 pm

    I once heard that life is like a roll of toilet paper… the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes.
    Thanks for another good one, Sean, and have a nice day.


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