Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

In which I embrace the saying, "If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em"

It's no secret that I'm not a big fan of overt displays of religious fervor.

Where I come from, religious affiliation is a very personal issue and not one that people broadcast at every opportunity. Which is why, after 20 years in the South, I still cringe when someone slips a little halle-LU-jah or Praise JeZUS into completely random convesrations.

Example:

Conversant #1: "Wow, this potato salad is amazing! I finally persuaded Mary to give me the recipe."

Conversant #2: "Praise JeZUS!"

See what I mean?

Any and all such pronouncements bug the living snot out of me, but the one that really makes me want to sucker punch somebody is "Have a blessed day!"

The cashier at the grocery store said it to me this morning, and I reacted the way I always do. First, I blinked furiously, trying to process. Then I felt the smile on my lips freeze into a maniacal rictus. Then I bit my tongue to resist the urge to say something like...

"I'm really looking forward to roasting over the fires of hell, but I appreciate the sentiment."

Now, rationally, I understand that when somebody says "Have a blessed day!" they are simply trying to be kind. But part of me can't help thinking that it's also a fairly effortless way to hedge one's bets when it comes to the pre-judgement tally at the pearly gates.

I imagine St. Peter and his long suffering assistant standing at the head of a long line of the wretched and the damned, trying to decide who gets in and who has to kiss Satan's ass for the rest of eternity.

St Peter: Next.

Long Suffering Assistant: Let'sssssss seeeeeee. Oh yes. (clears throat) Candy Ann Spellman, 38, single, no children. Christian. Cashier at Kroger. Hobbies include scrapbooking and wet t-shirt contests. Killed in an MVA, attempting to flee the scene of a thwarted armed robbery.

St. Peter (raising eyebrows): Joel....what do we say about Christianity??

Long Suffering Assistant: One must walk the walk, Sir.

St. Peter: Exactly! Send her packing.

Long Suffering Assistant: Um, with all due respect Sir, it says here that she exhorted some 4,786,592 persons to "Have a blessed day".

St. Peter: What of it?

Long Suffering Assistant: Sir, I believe you are aware that such a dedicated display of pointless religious promulgation is grounds for a declaration of zealotism and as such, negates any and all prior transgressions as they pertain to eternal damnation.

St. Peter: Poppycock!!

Long Suffering Assisant (patiently): I assure you Sir, it's not Poppycock at all. Why else would Rex Humbard be here?

St. Peter: We have got to do something about that loophole. Remind to speak to the big G about that.

Long Suffering Assistant (scribbling): Noted, Sir.

St. Peter (sighing): Alright then. Let her through. A loophole is a loophole. What size halo?

Long Suffering Assistant (checking his notes): Ahhhhh, size 10, extra pious.

St. Peter (thunderously): Extra Pious! I think not! She'll get a size 10 semi devout and LIKE IT!

Long Suffering Assistant: Whatever you say Sir.

St Peter: Next.

Long Suffering Assistant: Yes sir. Next we have Alice Ghostly, 81. Widowed. Mother of 7. Agnostic. Character actress and stage performer. Cause of death...

St. Peter: She's in.

Long Suffering Assistant: But I haven't finished yet.

St. Peter: She's in.

Long Suffering Assistant: But Sir....

St. Peter: I loved Bewitched. I know the Big G wouldn't have approved...Witchcraft and all that, but goodness...the trouble she got herself into!! (chuckles)That Esmerelda. She had spunk!

Long Suffering Assistant (dryly): Yes Sir. She certainly was a hoot, Sir.


So...I dunno. I'll admit I'm a little touchy when it comes to such things. But, really...what's so wrong with plain ole "Have a nice day?"

It doesn't offend anybody. It doesn't exclude anybody. It isn't pretentious, self-righteous or contrived. It your standard all purpose social nicety, n'est pas?

Oh I know, I know...we have this weird need to customize every little colloqualism, aphorism and slogan to our own personal designations. I have no idea why. I suppose it's the American propensity for self aggrandizement and involvement.

Well, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

So to all of you out there in the blogosphere, I say....

"Have a religiously ambiguous day!"

39 Comments:

  • At 10:49 PM, Blogger thailandchani said…

    Oh, I loved this one! You should see the post I did today on nearly the exact same topic.. except it's about the upcoming saturation of "merry Christmas". And, you know, I understand too that people are just trying to be kind.. but it still gets on my nerves.

    Not *everyone* celebrates Christmas!

    So.. may everyone have a happy and safe October, November and December.

    :)


    Peace,

    ~Chani
    http://thailandgal.blogspot.com

     
  • At 11:02 PM, Blogger flutter said…

    Well, I think that's offensive to night!

    How about, have 24 hours of religious ambiguity!

     
  • At 11:14 PM, Blogger Cathy said…

    The ones that bug me:

    "Heaven help us!" -- used to show astonishment or amazement

    "Merciful heavens!" -- used to show shock w/ a dollop of condescension.

     
  • At 12:03 AM, Blogger Christine said…

    I cringe when someone I don't know says, "Merry Christmas," not because I don't put up a tree and wait for Santa...I do. But I know the next person they encounter might not, and I fear that they will feel excluded.

     
  • At 12:22 AM, Blogger painted maypole said…

    This was a funny post and I understand your point of view here, and I think you are right that people are just trying to be nice. I also think that some people say it very purposely as a way to open the door to an actual possible conversation about faith. Not that you would stop right there in the grocery line and ask deep theological questions, but that it would open up the relationship to someday having a talk about faith, or you might think "that person who always says have a blessed day. Maybe they could suggest a church to me." I myself don't say it, or really any of those other things, because they feel contrived to me. But I can hear some people say them and just know that it is coming from their heart. Imagine that Miss JImmy said it to everyone she met. Would you be offended?

     
  • At 4:26 AM, Anonymous Kelley said…

    Well here was me thinking that Americans only said
    'Would you like fries with that?'.... Have a blessed day? Hmmm, perhaps that is what the bint that sent me that chain mail with the Virgin Mary in it (that I am ranting about on my blog) meant. Not wishing my hemorrhoids folicle improvement.....

     
  • At 6:51 AM, Blogger Irreverent Antisocial Intellectual said…

    Have you gotten the "Have a blessed day" as the trailer on a government official's voicemail? Oh yeah, that burns me to no end.

    Then again, I'm the one who got hauled into IA because I told my old secretary that JC had nothing to do with the fucking fax machine working. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

     
  • At 7:44 AM, Blogger URBAN PEDESTRIAN said…

    I hate it when the cashier says, "Here's your change, now go fuck yourself." OR "Here's your change and may Allah piss on your offspring." OR "Here's your change. Now go or incur the wrath of the great and wonderful Oz."

     
  • At 8:10 AM, Blogger Avalon said…

    I actually prefer if they don't speak to me at all. Does that make me un-Christian? Ha.

     
  • At 8:16 AM, Anonymous BooMom said…

    I'm with ya ! *sigh* What's wrong with your standard, basic
    " Thank You "

     
  • At 8:22 AM, Blogger Candace said…

    big ole jew here.
    that was hilarious!
    I feel blessed is the new i would like to thank the academy (and my agent)

     
  • At 8:42 AM, Blogger Amy York said…

    I love this about you. :)
    I work for a small insurance agency and have clients who, trying to be sweet, bless me. I never know how best to respond.

    On the flip side... I,who consider myself to be an atheist as I lack belief of god(s) or religion, do say "bless you" when someone near me sneezes. Which I suppose makes no sense... even to me.

     
  • At 8:45 AM, Blogger bubandpie said…

    She'll get a size 10 semi devout and LIKE IT!

    *snork*

     
  • At 8:49 AM, Anonymous Kvetch said…

    I'll come right back atcha at Christmas -- with "Merry Christmases" all around -- although it really doesn't annoy me, I just find it presumptuous and stupid.

    I vascilate between responses of "You too," "Uh huh," and "I don't celebrate Xmas, but thank you anyway," which sends people into a sugar plum tailspin.

    Not that I'm judgemental or mean or anything.

     
  • At 9:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    See I don't even like "Have a nice day". Maybe I want to have a bad day and steal little kids toys, or make them spill their drink on themselves.

     
  • At 10:15 AM, Anonymous pinks & Blues Girls said…

    Love it! How dare you tell me what kind of day to have!?

    Jane, Pinks & Blues

     
  • At 10:46 AM, Anonymous Wendy said…

    Me thinks, some think too much.

     
  • At 10:58 AM, Blogger Traci said…

    Awesome. There is this woman at work who leaves 'Have a Blessed Day' on her VOICEMAIL, for the love of pete.

     
  • At 11:32 AM, Anonymous Momish said…

    Those little things annoy me too, I have to admit. I don't like when strangers casually say things like "if the good lord allows" or "god willing" to me. I get very offensive as if they are shoving their religious beliefs down my throat.

    I wonder why it is so hard to ignore that!!! It's the pompous attitude that they are in the majority so they can say things like that without ramifications or insult.

    I wish I could just ignore it and move on, but I can't. I might have to use that line in the future!

     
  • At 11:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think I have cast yuor St. Peter and his long suffering assistant as Monty Burns and Mr. Smithers.

     
  • At 11:54 AM, Blogger mamatulip said…

    I have never been told to have a blessed day. Nobody has ever said that to me.

    I feel kind of gypped now.

     
  • At 11:56 AM, Anonymous jennie said…

    In your first example, about the potato salad? Maybe it was the BLESSED VIRGIN MARY that finally gave up the potato salad recipe. In that case, perhaps a "praise Jesus" was called for.

     
  • At 1:29 PM, Blogger liv said…

    Can I just be the person who disagrees? Maybe it's living here in the south since, oh, in utero, that I know people do not have the intention to convert you or save themselves from hell when they tell you to have a blessed day. What would be wrong with someone (of any faith or not) wishing blessings upon you? I know that I could always use an extra few wherever they come from. Yes, they may mean it from their perspective of Christianity here, but it's up to you how you take it.

    *and as a funny aside, my word verification right now as I stare at it is "edens" LOL

     
  • At 1:52 PM, Blogger dawn224 said…

    snicker.

    happy delurk day!

     
  • At 2:55 PM, Anonymous Organic Mama said…

    Big ole Jew here too; I'm in a very small minority here up here in the deep North and although I try to wear a very obvious star of David in December, for the most part that whole holiday greeting seems synonymous with a cheery "Bye!" I don't often fight the prevailing myth of universal Christianity, but sometimes, I'll answer back with a hearty "Happy Hanukkah!" - which does really gobsmack some folks...

     
  • At 3:20 PM, Blogger Oh, The Joys said…

    You could have just said, "And Shalom to you!"

     
  • At 3:56 PM, Blogger Lara said…

    i have a problem with people saying "have a blessed day!" for the same reason i have a problem with people who say, "have a super-duper day!" it's just so sickeningly sweet, like they woke up with rainbows and puppies coming out of their ass and the world just isn't big enough for their sunshiney good mood. call me a big grouch, but i can't stand those people. they make me want to give them a super-duper wedgie.

     
  • At 4:51 PM, Blogger Mimi aka pz5wjj said…

    Well I was going to say that I really don't like "Have a Blessed Day" either...

    Then I read OTJ's response and like that better!

    I also hate, "Oh, I don't read (that book) or celebrate (that holiday), I'm a Christian!" Well so am I and I do!

     
  • At 5:49 PM, Blogger margalit said…

    Thy being Jewish and living in the south. I did it for two years and I was so blown away by the overt Christian lifestyle of the south that I couldn't wait to get the hell out of there. To me, it's a living hell to have people say Christian dogma to me. I don't WANT to be Christian. At all. Ever.

    And thailandchani is right, that whole Merry Christmas stuff drives me so over the edge that I don't even GO to stores from Thanksgiving to after New Years. And I live in a town that is 50% Jewish, which seems to me to be even MORE aggregious because at least half the population couldn't care less about Christmas.

     
  • At 6:58 PM, Blogger nina said…

    Well bless your pea pickin' heart BA!

     
  • At 7:09 PM, Anonymous Pgoodness said…

    Have a blessed day - drives me absolutely bonkers! So glad it's not just me! Worse? When you have to hear it on someone's voicemail/answering machine in order to leave them a message!!

     
  • At 7:56 PM, Blogger slouching mom said…

    Hee. I'm with you on this. But you wrote it way funnier than I could.

     
  • At 8:50 PM, Blogger crazymumma said…

    Maybe if she meant blessed by chocolate and no children arguing with each other, and the blesssing of an entire house all clean at the same time and a full fridge.

    Now THAT is blessed.

     
  • At 10:07 PM, Blogger Blogversary said…

    I am one of those Christian people and it makes me twinge to hear people say have a blessed day.

    I prefer a simple, "Have a good one."

     
  • At 10:20 PM, Blogger Terri said…

    You know it's interesting to me that you happened to post this today because I've been thinking a lot lately about people who overuse religious "catch phrases" and "Christian speak."

    As a Christian myself, the last thing I want to do is come across as a purveyor of religiosity and piousness because I can see why this would turn people off which really defeats the purpose of using phrases such as the one you mentioned, I suppose. I also agree with Painted Maypole that such phraseology seems contrived.

    I really don't think a Christian can effectively share their faith if they don't have some type of relationship with the person to begin with. One reason I am NOT in favor of knocking on doors to invite people to church, etc.

    I have a whole post related to this brewing, I just haven't got my thoughts together enough to write it.

    At any rate, I have also had cashiers tell me to have a blessed day, and I usually just mumble something like "Thanks" in response. I tend toward not engaging in conversation in checkout lines.

     
  • At 11:32 AM, Blogger Mad Hatter said…

    You're funny. A for the record, this kind of Christian speak vernacular of the everyday really doesn't happen up here in the Great White North. No one has ever wished me a "blessed day."

     
  • At 3:51 PM, Blogger Alley Cat said…

    I had to find a new dry-cleaner when my receipt from the initial one said, "Jesus loves you" on it. Since Jesus probably does not love me, being Jewish and all, I didn't want to chance my expensive shirts there.

     
  • At 12:43 PM, Blogger Natalie said…

    I HATE "have a blessed day" and I hear it all the time! I also work in an office where people sometimes feel the need to praise jeZUS or even bust out in a hymn when the going gets tough. I realize it may help them relax but I don't want to hear it at all!

     
  • At 7:52 AM, Anonymous Antique Mommy said…

    I don't really care if I'm wished a blessed day or a nice day or toodle-ooo or nothing at all as long as they aren't snarly. I'm up to here with snarly clerks.

     

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