Friday, 3 June 2011

Have a good...

Have a good….

As a stickler for grammar, I must admit to frequently using a phrase that I guess is not altogether grammatically incorrect, but leaves something to be objectively desired.

When I was in high school, working as a box office attendant at a live theatre, I would work irregular shifts. I would work some afternoons after school into the evening during the week. I would work Saturday morning, into the early afternoon, then return for the Saturday evening show, and I would work Sunday afternoons for the matinee performance. This irregularity of shift work, in an office with only one window receiving little sunlight meant that I would often forget what time of day, and what day of the week it was.

I would end a phone call on a Wednesday evening by telling the person on the other end of the line to have a good morning. On a Monday afternoon, after having worked on Saturday and Sunday, I would cheerfully wish patrons a restful weekend, and during the week before Christmas, I would wish customers a happy Easter. Okay, that last one never happened, but you see what I’m driving at, right?

It wasn’t a big deal at first. Most of the time, people don’t even pay attention to the valediction* at the end of a conversation, and my errors were scarcely noticed by myself or others. However, as I became increasingly aware of my misspeaking, things went downhill. I began to catch myself midway through saying, “have a good morning”, and look outside the window and realize that it was pitch black. Then I’d panic, and try to correct myself, and it would come out sounding something like, “have a good mor-after-evening”. It looks more acceptable written down. In reality, what the person on the receiving end of my well wishes would hear was more like a low mumble, while my brain tried to work out what time of day it actually was.

And then one day, I found the answer to my problem on the lips of a greasy redneck. After having eavesdropped on a conversation between two hicks at a gas station (one was telling the other about how he lost his two front teeth), I heard the one, say to the other, as they parted, “have a good one, eh!” It was the valediction I had been searching for. How perfect; using this phrase would allow me to continue to wish well anyone who I came in contact with, without stumbling over my words, trying to figure out the time of day the day of the week.

I’ve even followed the redneck’s lead, adding “eh” at the end. I find it makes me sound more friendly. I feel that it adds a nice dose of sincerity; like I really do want you to have a good one…or two. Hell, take three good ones for all I care.

Have a good one. Even though it’s a sentence that’s missing a proper object (I don’t really consider “one” to be an object; one what?), I’ll continue to use it.

Have a good one, eh!

*Valediction: An act of bidding farewell; a leave-taking . 2. A speech or statement made as a farewell.
I had to look that one up on . Cool, eh? A new word to add to my vocabulary.

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