The Crescent

Have a Nice Day!

April 10, 2013

An interesting thought: why is the phrase, “have a nice day,” one of our default niceties?

Perhaps I delve too deeply into a niche of cultural interaction best left alone, but I’m intrigued regardless. Superficially, it seems a perfectly pleasant and inconspicuous phrase, one of those subconscious knee-jerk results of American socialization which, occasionally, lead to embarrassing faux pas. “What’s up?” “Good, you?”

Consider this, though: this phrase implies that our happiness and contentment revolves upon a regular cycle, continually resets along with the sun and moon. When one says “have a nice day,” one suggests that, while the remainder of the day may be sunny and enjoyable, the next day not only lacks a guarantee of happiness, but is perhaps doomed for melancholy.

Indeed, the phrase seems to subtly comment on the baseness of life, hints that the equilibrium of living tilts in the direction of, at best, boredom and languor. A nice day, in the spirit of the phrase, becomes an anomaly, an outlier, something so rare it deserves to be remarked upon. One can imagine the inflection of surprise the phrase could carry: “Oh, you’re having a nice day?”

No, this throws a shadow upon life which is wholly undeserved. Perhaps sometimes the dynamics are difficult, as the intricate mechanism of life occasionally croaks and groans, the cogs and gears grinding under the infinite weight of the entirety of human interaction and spirit, but the essence of life is good, always good. All days are nice, laced and saturated with all the goodness inherent in the state of being alive; breath itself constitutes a miracle, and every second of thought and action and love is something spiritual and cosmic.

To remind someone to have a nice day is akin to reminding them to blink. Contrary to scientific claims, the heart knows the world and life more intimately than the head, relishes every waking second in the beauty and elegance of all creation. People can’t help but have nice days, if only they recognize as such.

  1. If this was a serious article (it isn’t, is it?), the main problem is that people really do have bad days. The convoluted writing style of the author could be summarized that everything depends on attitude (i.e. you can choose to be happy and see the bright side of life). I can see the merit in that argument, however, reality is that people do have bad days, such as receiving news that a friend has died. The farewell blessing of “have a nice day” would be cruel in the face of a crushing life changing day. “People can’t help but have nice days,” as a person faces bad news, war, lack of health, or other difficult life situations is a hollow sentiment.

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