‘Have a nice day’ has different meanings depending on folks

BY BOB WACHS, News + Record Staff
Posted 9/13/19

Ever notice how sometimes we just sort of say things without really thinking much about what we say?

Take “Have a nice day,” for instance. How do you “have” a nice day?

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‘Have a nice day’ has different meanings depending on folks

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Ever notice how sometimes we just sort of say things without really thinking much about what we say?

Take “Have a nice day,” for instance. How do you “have” a nice day? Does is mean you get to do everything you want when you want to do it? Or does it mean making the most of the day into lemonade out of lemons if that’s what you wind up with?

One of my favorites is when folks say something like “I’d like to thank so and so” or “I’d like to take this opportunity to whatever.” I always want to say, “Well, why don’t you?” or to finish their sentence by adding “but I can’t.”

Those sayings — and more — put me to thinking about what we do with our lives and how fast they fly by, especially in light now of having experienced the death of the four parents my better half and I had. Not so terribly long ago as I did a modest bit of clean-up in my study, I came across a note from I-can’t-remember-who that touched on that. I’d like to share it with you.

She said, “Too many people put off something that brings them joy because they haven’t thought about it, don’t have it on their schedule, didn’t know it was coming or are too rigid to depart from their routine.

“I got to thinking one day about all those women on the Titanic who passed up dessert at dinner that fateful night in an effort to cut back. From then on, I’ve tried to be a little more flexible.

“How many women out there will eat at home because their husband didn’t suggest going out to dinner until after something had been thawed? Does the word ‘refrigeration’ mean nothing to you?

“How often have your kids dropped in to talk and sat in silence while you watched ‘Jeopardy’ on television?

“I cannot count the times I called my sister and said, ‘How about going to lunch in a half hour?’ She would stammer, ‘I can’t. I have clothes on the line. My hair is dirty. I wish I had known yesterday. I had a late breakfast. It looks like rain.’ And my personal favorite: ‘It’s Monday.’ She died a few years ago. We never did have lunch together.

“Because Americans cram so much into their lives, we tend to schedule our headaches. We live on a sparse diet of promises we make to ourselves when all the conditions are perfect.

“We’ll go back and visit the grandparents when we get Stevie toilet-trained. We’ll entertain when we replace the living room carpet. We’ll go on a second honeymoon when we get two more kids out of college.

“Life has a way of accelerating as we get older. The days get shorter and the list of promises to ourselves gets longer. One morning we awaken and all we have to show for our lives is a litany of ‘I’m going to,’ ‘I plan on,’ and ‘Someday, when things are settled down a bit . . .’

“When anyone calls my ‘seize the moment’ friend, she is open to adventure and available for trips. She keeps an open mind on new ideas. Her enthusiasm for life is contagious. You talk with here for five minutes and you’re ready to trade your bad feet for a pair of Rollerblades and skip an elevator for a bungee cord.

“My lips have not touched ice cream in 10 years. I love ice cream; it’s just that I might as well apply it directly to my stomach with a spatula and eliminate the digestive process. The other day, I stopped the car and bought a triple-decker. If my car had hit an iceberg on the way home, I would have died happy.

“Now...go on and have a nice day. Do something you WANT to do, not something on your SHOULD DO list. If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?

“Have you ever watched kids playing on a merry go round or listened to the rain lapping on the ground? Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight or gazed at the sun into the fading night? Do you run through each day on the fly? When you ask someone, ‘How are you?’ do you hear the reply?

“When the day is done, do you lie in your bed with the next hundred chores running through your head? Ever told your child, ‘We’ll do it tomorrow’ and in your haste not see his sorrow? Ever lost touch? Let a good friendship die? Just called to say, ‘Hi’?

“Life may not be the party we hoped for but while we’re here we might as well dance.”

And, oh yeah...have a nice day.


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