HAVE a good day! Whatever happened to that breezy, upbeat ending to business transactions and friendly encounters? Originally the phrase reflected caring concern. Lately it has taken on robot characteristics - mechanical, impersonal. Or so it seems.
For instance, take the two examples I experienced today. In top-sergeant tones, a restaurant cashier ordered me to ''have a good day!'' A few minutes later, a cosmetic clerk turned her back on me as she mumbled, ''Have a good day.''
Perhaps the phrase has lost its friendliness because it is too commonplace, too routine. If so, why not revitalize the sentiment? Make it warm and personal once more. Go creative with its intent.
I recall my youngest daughter's farewell when she left for kindergarten each morning: ''Have a happy day, Mommy.'' That happened long before the ''good day'' syndrome invaded the marketplace.
What would happen, I wonder, if each of us substituted another word like happy in place of good? At least the novelty might make encounters more stimulating. Isn't it worth a try?
Why not start with synonyms? Roget's ''College Thesaurus,'' Bernstein's ''Reverse Dictionary,'' and Shaw's ''Dictionary of Problem Words and Expressions'' offer these synonyms of good (in its various meanings). Can you hear yourself saying any of the following phrases?
Have an above par day, an advantageous day, an agreeable day, an altruistic day, a bang-up day, a beneficial day, a beautiful day, a capital day, a creditable day, a creme de la creme day, an edifying day, an elite day, an enjoyable day, an exemplary day, an exciting day, an excellent day, a first-class day, a first-rate day.
Have a gem of a day, a gilt-edged day, a generous day, a jewel of a day, a laudable day, a masterpiece of a day, a meritorious day, a model day, an OK day, a once-in-a-lifetime day, a once-in-a-million day, an out-of-this-world day, a perfect day, a profitable day, a right day, a serviceable day, a superior day, a transcendent day, an unspoiled day, a valuable day, a virtuous day, a worthy day.
Less synonymous substitutes for good also tease the imagination. Brainstorm for a few minutes, and you will come up with the likes of these expressions:
Have a challenging day, an exceptional day, a generous day, a golden day, a loving day, a prizewinning day, a remarkable day, a satisfying day, a sentimental day, a sparkling day, a spectacular day, a stimulating day, a super day, a terrific day, a top-notch day, a worthwhile day.
And if you want to fit the phrase to the person you are leaving, you can create fun combinations. For example: Try wishing a golfer a below-par day, a birdie day, or a hole-in-one day.
Wish a soccer player a good kicking day; an airline steward, a high-flying day; a stockbroker, a bull-market day; a student, a 100 percent day; a store manager, a top sales day; a waitress, a high-tipping day.
Add a word
You can further vary the ''good day'' routine by adding a word or words. Some promising combinations could include: Have a good, better, best day; a good deed day; a do-good good day, a good feeling day; a good-for-something day; a good-natured day; a good-spirited day; a good-time day; a very good day.
In other words, have a good day!