Everyone is familiar with the American phrase “Have a Nice Day”.
It is generally used by retail assistants as you are leaving their store, and for some reason drives some people mad. They seem to think that it is false, that they don’t really mean it, some even say they’re only doing it to make you buy stuff.
I’ve never thought was true. I’ve always found US sales staff to be absolutely charming, and have no problem with them saying “Have a Nice Day” (you can almost hear the capitals). Since they say it as you’re leaving the store it’s hard to see how they’re only doing it to make you buy anything. Besides, it’s only a longer version of “Good Day”, or even “Goodbye”. It may by now have become a cliché, uttered automatically without any thought as to its meaning, but is it any different to putting “Kind Regards” at the end of an email?
When I’m leaving my local the barman invariably says “good night, safe home”. It would never occur to me to think “bet he doesn’t mean that, he probably wouldn’t care if I got knocked down on the way home, he’s only saying it so I’ll come back another time (in which case he needn’t bother, I’d come back even if he told me to Get Stuffed as I was leaving)”.
The reason I bring this up today is that I’ve just returned to the office from Tie Rack (don’t ask), and when I finished my transaction I said “thank you, goodbye,” and the lovely Eastern European girl replied “have a nice life”.
I hadn’t ever heard this before, but it is also pleasant. Sometimes Irish speakers will say “fáilte romhat” (welcome) and sometimes they will say “céad míle fáilte”, which means “ten thousand welcomes”. Have a Nice Life works on the same principle, sometimes wishing someone has one Nice Day is just not enough.
The only problem is that if you’ve had as many heart problems, mental problems, blackout problems as I’ve had, you start to get a bit paranoid. Perhaps she looked at me and felt “Have a Nice Day” and “Have a Nice Life” in my case meant pretty much the same thing. Does she know something I don’t?
That’s it. Post over.
Yours faithfully (huh?),