Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Aug 04th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Have A Nice Day

smiley_facePerhaps This Rock Will Help
I was just a kid when the smiley face fad broke out. It was plastered on everything, along with its slogan “Have A Nice Day,” and it was the first time I remember being irritated by a well-intentioned sentiment. From the back of mom’s car, I spotted yet another ponytailed fat man sporting the T-shirt.

“Who are all these people to tell me how to feel?” I said. Nine is a little young to start rolling your eyes at things, and my mother tried to straighten me out before it was too late. “They’re just trying to be nice,” she said.

“I don’t want to think about it.”

“About what, honey?”

“About whether my day is nice. If it’s not nice, it seems even less nice after having the patch on some hippie’s backpack remind me of it. It’s not like I’m going to see it and think, ‘Oh right, thanks for the reminder. My day is nice now.’  Besides, there is no point in defining it. The day is what it is. We must accept it and find an inner harmony.” We were on our way to my karate class and I was getting in the groove.

“OK, hon, we’re here. Have a ... class.”

Even now that phrase bothers me. Years ago there was a guy on Pacific Avenue who would say “Have a nice day” from inside a sort of plastic cocoon gathered about him on a bench. He later emerged from his pupal stage as a beautiful pink butterfly, and replaced the phrase with a wan smile, which I liked much better. I hear he’s retired his umbrella and for all I know he’s now working in some boxy office festooned with motivational posters.

You know the posters—they’ve been selling them in SkyMall forever—with their large inspirational photos of eagles or mountain tops above a profit-enhancing concept word, like OBEDIENCE or OVERTIME. I worked at a place that had one with the word LEADERSHIP beneath a photo of an old steamship in heavy seas. Everybody hated that poster, mostly because the leadership in that company was elitist and rude. The poster was placed in our break room, where the bosses rarely ventured. Who was it meant to impress? Was it supposed to spur on us to be like them one day, if only we could learn how to shovel workers into the boiler for more steam?

That entire line of posters struck me as insincere and arrogant, so I was thrilled when somebody realized just how ripe for parody they were and created DeMotivators.com, with a line of similarly styled posters like:

SYNERGY: A code word lazy people use when they want you to do all the work.

PROCRASTINATION: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

DYSFUNCTION: The only consistent feature in all of your dissatisfying relationships is you.

Not long ago, I found myself at a philosophical crossroads, depressed and rudderless, and spent most of an evening sharing my angst-ridden thoughts with a friend who texted me the next morning to say she’s left a present on my porch that might help in my quest. I was expecting to find a bottle of wine, since she’d helped me wipe out my supply, but it was a rock. It was a rock with a word carved into it: Serenity.

You have got to be kidding me, I thought. Don’t you know me? In my book, a rock that says Serenity on it is just begging to be thrown through somebody’s window. Hmm, maybe that’s where she was going with it. I had mentioned being angry at people driving too fast down my street. I walked out to the curb, tossing serenity from hand to hand. Surely she didn’t expect me to throw this thing through somebody’s windshield. It was much too small for that.

An older Volvo sped by with a bumper sticker that read, “If you’re not outraged you’re not paying attention.” I thought, if you’re so outraged all the time maybe you shouldn’t be driving. You need this rock more than me.

But I didn’t throw it. I decided the thing to do was to return the rock to its own kind. Reverse shoplifting is easy and sometimes fun; consider the Barbie Liberation Organization, an organization that in 1993 purchased a bunch of talking GI Joe and Barbie dolls, switched the voice chips, and smuggled them back onto store shelves. “Math is hard!” said GI Joes. “Let’s go shopping!” Barbie went to new mean-girl lengths with, “Vengeance is mine!”

I found a store that sold platitudinous rocks, which wasn’t hard around these parts, and though the font didn’t match I added mine to the pile. “Serenity, I’d like you to meet your new friends: Peace, Tranquility, Friendship, Wisdom, Wish, Believe, Create, Smile, Hope, Potential, Breathe, Inspire and Meditate. I think you’ll find you have a lot in common, such as a bright future in the doorstop business.” The ironic Potential of the collection made me take a deep Breath and Smile; I was Inspired to Meditate on the Wisdom of Creating Tranquility through something used for stonings, but where there is Belief there is always Hope.

Looking around the store, there were longer but no less trite sentiments on other objects, particularly Asian-looking soft goods. “You are not alone,” said a pillow, which sounds to me like just about the loneliest thing you could ever embroider on a pillow. “This is for you, Granny. Buck up.” Good lord, get her a cat.

I guess I’m just not wired to respond positively to the kind of sincerity offered up by inanimate objects. Inspired by the posters and the dolls, I’ve found a website that will carve whatever you want onto rocks, so if you’d rather have one that says SUCK IT UP or DENIAL or JUGGLE (set of three) or FIRST STONE (only sold to those without sin) or I’LL GIVE YOU FIVE DOLLARS TO PUT ME BACK IN THE RIVER, I can hook you up.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Health Screening

Santa Cruz wellness expert releases app to improve workplace well-being

 

Leo Sun; Full Moon, Venus Retro in Leo; Saturn Direct

It’s a complex week of planetary movements, challenges, demands and callings. We’re in the time of the Leo Sun. Leo—fixed fire, gold, the heart, generous, strong, noble, the king/queen—needs appreciation and praise from everyone in order to move forward. During Leo we gain a greater sense of self-identification by recognizing our creativity. It’s therefore a perfect time for Venus retrograding in Leo. In Venus retrograde we review and re-assess values. Venus retro in Leo concerns our self as valuable, acknowledging talents, gifts, abilities and offerings. Friday, Venus re-enters Leo (29 degrees, a critical degree) continuing the retrograde to 14 degrees Leo on Sept. 6. Friday (Full Moon) is also the (8 degrees) Leo solar festival, Festival of the Future. Leo is the heart of the sun, the heart of all that matters. When attuned to this heart, we have understanding and inclusivity. The heart of the Lion is Mitra (think “Maitreya,” the coming World Teacher). Leo prepares humanity to receive divine love from subtle sources and later to radiate that love to the kingdoms. Sirius, Ray 2, where love originates, streams through Regulus (heart of Leo), into the heart of the sun (Ray 2) and into all hearts. The heart of Leo is Regulus. Joining Venus, the love underlying all of creation appears. Saturday is Sun/Neptune (confusion or devotion) with late night Saturn turning stationary direct. Ideas, plans and structures held long in abeyance (since March 14) slowly move forward. (Read more on Leo and the week at nightlightnews.org and Risa D’Angeles’ Facebook page, accessed through my website.)

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 31

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Holy Cannoli

New bakery opens in Ben Lomond, plus Randall Grahm’s quest to grow 10,000 new grape varieties, and Mexican cooking classes

 

Is Santa Cruz turning into Malibu North?

It's got a ways to go before it gets wrecked like Malibu, but I think we need to be very careful about growth. Maria Mattioli, Santa Cruz, Psychotherapist

 

Bargetto Winery

A much-anticipated annual event at Bargetto Winery is the release of their very special La Vita red wine. June 7 was the day to be heralded this year, and I happily squeezed my car into their overloaded car park in eager anticipation of tasting the new La Vita nectar.

 

Margaritaville

Popular Capitola spot gets new owner and complete makeover