Friday, August 31, 2012

Soul on Nice

I once asked my friends on Facebook what they found fascinating or exciting. None of them had a really intriguing answer; they offered tepid things like, "I like to pet my cat" or "I like to watch clouds" or "I like to watch TV in the evening." While those things are perhaps pleasant, I was floored to think that no one could think of anything more lively than that. These are activities that fall, in my humble opinion, into the dreaded category of "nice".

This is a word that can be used in a myriad of ways, such as an admiring "Niiiiice!" (often said about a new car or electric guitar), or a sarcastic "Oh, nice, Tracy!" There is nothing more devastating than working on something for an extended period of time only to be told, "That's, um, nice." While I see a place for "nice" in the universe, especially following a time of stress, I also see it as a giant manhole in life to avoid, where the very best to hope for is a nice day, a nice drive, a nice lunch, with nice people. You lose the ability to recognize the magical. You stop hoping for mind-bending, perception-altering, earth-shattering, and settle for...nice.  Now, life, to be sure, is made up of many, many nice days with a much smaller number of life-changing ones. But to habitually settle for nice, as if it were the pinnacle of possible enjoyment, well, as Louis Jordan once sang,

All the breath has leaked out of you
If your friends gather round the bed
And look at you and say "Mm mm, don't he look natural?"
When that happens to you, daddy,
Jack, you're dead.

No comments:

Post a Comment