Friday, November 4, 2011

The Cost of Greatness

It's probably the most common greeting I receive each day but people rarely think about what they are saying. You've heard it recently, I'm sure:

"Have a GREAT day!"

It sounds nice but have you thought about what's now required? This supposedly kind and rational person is DEMANDING that I have a GREAT day - not an ordinary day, not a regular day, not a typical day - no! I must now have a GREAT day.

Geez! Do you know how much work it takes to have a GREAT day? Do you think GREAT just happens by itself? No! If this day is going to be GREAT then I'm going to have to really maximize every moment, and frankly, I'm not sure I have the energy.

When somone forces GREATNESS apon my day, I must then instantly analyze which GREATNESS outcome is even possible given my usual work and family constraints. I've got responsibilities, pal, and up until now I thought I could pretty much handle them. On top of that, the chances I'm even going to be able to somehow magically construct a GREAT day out of my normally drab existence are slim, at best, don't you think? But, no, you didn't think, did you!!!

Further more, if this mindless proclamaion is issued towards the end of the day, then I have very little time left to make it GREAT. Talk about pressure. Further, maybe it's been a terrible day so far and now I have to really make things EXTRA GREAT just to compensate for the terrible part! That just gets me mad!

Hey, I'd like to think I'm a man who is usually content with his lot in life but when someone tells me to "Have a GREAT day!" then suddenly I'm reminded of how un-GREAT my day has been. Needless to say, I'm then overwhelmed with powerful feelings of regret, dispair, and failure. What was, up to that time, an OK day is now ruined by the mind-boggling expectations of a GREAT day. Man! Thanks a lot!

These well-wishers don't even tell me HOW to have a GREAT day. They just send me off, with a smile on their face, expecting me to figure it out. A little guidance would be helpful. At least, they could say something like, "Have a GREAT day by winning the lottery!" Now THAT would be a GREAT day!

Listen! Why couldn't you wish me a GOOD day? GOOD is doable - some effort required but not overwhelming. How about a FINE day? That's ambiguous enough to fit almost any situation - FINE covers from "pretty good" to "just OK". There's some lattitude there. Rarely, I'll hear some people say, "Have a NICE day!" The word "nice" can mean "agreeable" but it can also have the sense of doing something with great precision or care. If all you are asking is that I'm a little more careful today, I can do that! But "no!", almost invariably, those miserable people insist I have a GREAT day.

"Have a GREAT day!"
"Have a GREAT day!"
"Have a GREAT day!"

No! YOU have a GREAT day - you idiot!


Carolyn Teas said...

Have a Blessed day!

Duncan Parlett said...

Much better!

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