EDITORIAL - There is a phrase that seems to have gained a lot of popularity over the last few years. It doesn't seem to be limited to any socio-economic group and it is used by people of all ages. I've had it said to me by everyone from cashiers at the local McDonald's to the bank tellers at Wells Fargo.
The phrase can be confusing because it doesn't make sense when taken literally. Yet there isn't a day that goes by that I don't here it at least ten times. “Have a Good One”. What the heck does that mean?
I know the person is trying to say goodbye and wishing me a “Good Day”, so why the hell don't they just say that. “Have a good day”. It is exactly the same amount of letters and syllables. It's not a short-cut and doesn't save the user any time. It actually only makes me wonder what I am suppose to seek out.
My first thought goes back to an old George Carlin routine where he answers back, “I have a good one. I just want a bigger one.” But then I would have to explain to the cashier what I meant and I am sure I would just get me into trouble at McDonald's. So I just ask “a good what?”
Usually that leaves the cashier with a confused look on her face which makes me happy by feeding my 'sarcastic beast' side.
Small talk at the bank is just as confusing. Is the teller at the bank actually interested in my day when I go in to pay my mortgage? “How's your day gong?” Does she really want to know? Does she want to know about my bad back or how I've been having problems keeping my blood sugar under 150?
"What do you think of this weather?” Does she mean to ask the reporter from Big Valley News about today's weather trends or if today was actually a record setting weather day?
For fun I decided to trip my teller up last week when she asked me “Do you have plans for the weekend?” I answered, “Why no, I don't! Did you have something in mind? You ever been to Tahoe?” I don't think this 22 year-old teller will ever use this phrase with me again or at the very least she'll take her break when I come into the bank. But we won't know for 90 days while the restraining order is in effect.
Small talk is a learned skill. It takes talent to ask a person a question whose answer you don't really care about. You need to practice in the mirror. What do you look like when you ask about the weather? Do you even care about the weather? Are you prepared to talk to a weather expert about the high pressure ridge that is keeping the coastal cooling trough from entering the valley?
Remember when using small talk or telling someone to “Have a good one”, there is always some sarcastic smart ass out there. Sometimes he'll just smile and nod but other times he'll have fun at your expense and that confused look on your face is all the reward he needs.
Next time we'll discuss being refereed to as “Boss” by some guy you know you'd NEVER hire in the first place.