Quiet Desperation

Trapped in the platitude escalation cycle

Column by Craig Marshall Smith
Posted 7/23/21

Some of you might remember radio broadcaster Paul Harvey. He always ended his daily program with two words. “Good day.” Hippies turned that into “Have a nice day.” Then “Have a good day” …

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Quiet Desperation

Trapped in the platitude escalation cycle

Posted

Some of you might remember radio broadcaster Paul Harvey. He always ended his daily program with two words.

“Good day.”

Hippies turned that into “Have a nice day.”

Then “Have a good day” came along.

Then “Have a good rest of the day.”

And now, as I live and breathe, “Have a great rest of the day” was wished upon me at a hardware store by a young woman who said the same thing to the customer ahead of me and the one that followed me.

I felt special knowing she had composed that thought just for the three of us.

Whatever happened to “Thank you”?

“Have a great rest of the day,” if examined, broken down, analyzed, borders on a command and practically chokes on its own hyperbole.

Waiting around the bend is “Have a mind-blowing rest of the day,” and “Have an out-of-this-world rest of the day.”

I thought about asking the young woman if she was referring to my afternoon nap, but decided she wouldn’t get it.

In other words, my “rest” of the day.

We do like to exaggerate, don’t we?

For a while, I was receiving emails from someone who ended every sentence with at least three exclamation marks.

When I informed her that I couldn’t take it any longer, well, she replied with three words and thirty exclamation marks.

The recent All-Star baseball game in Denver was a bore, but the hoopla that went on before, during and after it made up for a sport that, sadly, has become a stranger to me.

It’s all home runs and strikeouts.

The Dodgers hit eight home runs in a game against the Diamondbacks. That’s Little League stuff.

Subtlety is a lost art.

Art is a lost art.

Look for the grand opening of Meow Wolf in downtown Denver. It’s “interactive art for all ages.”

We used to call those “fun houses” at the circus.

Interactive means the art doesn’t just stay there on the wall and mind its own business like a Picasso or a Rembrandt.

It jumps around or jumps at you and makes your head spin.

Just what I’m looking for.

Let’s get back to “Have a great rest of the day.”

I’d settled for ten great minutes.

Modern life doesn’t allow (me) to have up to twelve hours that are unbroken by an interruption, annoyance, nuisance or exasperation.

Ten days after the Fourth, some of my beloved neighbors were still shooting off fireworks.

Maybe if I were in a home with Harry next to a lake with the regional birds filling the air with song, I might have a great rest of the day.

But here in the trenches it’s a project just getting to that hardware store and back without witnessing a near accident or being involved in one.

As I have said before, there’s a major intersection near me where you can always pick up some spare automobile parts.

Henry David Thoreau spent two years, two months, and two days at Walden Pond in a 15-by-10-foot cabin he built for himself.

Good for him. But he was eaten up by mosquitoes and was constipated half the time.

Harry just walked into the office with a familiar look on his face. It’s time for our rest of the day.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at craigmarshallsmith@comcast.net.

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