Friday, May 8, 2009
When you have lived as long as I have, evolution is visible... at least of the spoken word. I have noticed of late, at any retail counter (of the non-formal type - my guess is this probably does not apply if one is buying a $600 dress or similar) whether it be fast food, discount store, or grocery store that I am told to "have a good one" (or more often than not it is "have a gudt one" with an umlaut over the u) as I leave. This leads one (or at least my warped mind) to wonder... one what? I will admit that if you have to have "one', it being a good "one" as opposed to a bad "one" is probably preferred. As I said when I started, I have seen (or heard) the evolution of language in my lifetime. We would have just said "goodbye" or "see you later". Maybe in a retail setting "thanks". In the feel good 60s and early 70s it became - "Have a nice day." Here is how Merriam-Webster defines "nice" - Etymology: Middle English, foolish, wanton, from Anglo-French, silly, simple, from Latin nescius- ignorant, from nescire- not to know 1 obsolete a: wanton b: coy 2 a: showing fastidious or finicky tastes b: exacting in requirements or standards 3: possessing, marked by, or demanding great or excessive precision and delicacy you have to get to the 5th definition to get what we all feel "nice" means - "pleasing or agreeable". "Have a finicky day" just rolls off the tongue, huh? At some point it became too much trouble to wish people a good day. Have a nice day became too cumbersome. Hence, "have a good one". I guess this also works better later in the day. Wishing someone a "nice day" after 2 or 3 pm seems a bit silly. If I am told to "have a nice day" and it is 4pm, I wonder if they are wishing me a good ending to the day or is it a wish for tomorrow. What if I am planning to do nothing tomorrow? The pressure of having a good day while doing nothing can be unbearable! "Have a good one" can be broadly interpreted. It can be referring to the frozen burrito I just nuked in the microwave at the convenience store. It could be referring to my drive home. The generic nature of the salutation makes it both annoying yet appropriate for any occasion! In closing - I have been thinking about the latest outbreak of what I like to call the porcine malady (aka - swine flu or H1N1 Flu). This brought to mind my rant about germs and a place you would be told to "have a good one"; the convenience store. "Flu Seasonings" from Dec 4th, 2008 See it here: http://justsomeposts.blogspot.com/2008_12_04_archive.html Have a good one!