I stole something. I stole something from a writing professor I used to have in college.
What I stole wasn’t an object, though. It was an expression. Whenever Del Doughty was asked how he was doing, he would, without fail, respond: best day of my life. It was the tone that pulled the expression through. It never seemed trite, disingenuous; never phony or insincere. I always felt like he was, really, having the best day of his life. I never felt compelled to ask why.
How’s it going?
Best day of my life.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this response to the question “How are you?” I ask customers at work all the time how they are and they all seem to answer the same. They’re good (which is, technically, not grammatically correct, but I take off my English professor hat when I’m selling fish), or they’re alright, or they’re well, or if they’re feeling a little saucy, they’re “still kickin’!”
But I’ve stolen the Del Doughty. When they ask me back how I’m doing, I tell them it’s the best day of my life. Sometimes they act like they didn’t hear me and proceed with their order, or they become very surprised and want to know why. Did I just get married? Did I win the lottery? (If I just got married or won the lottery, would I be selling fish on a Wednesday evening?)
Some people just laugh when I tell them it’s the best day of my life. And some people say “right on!” or “I like your attitude!” But I find that more than having an impact on the customer, it’s begun to impact me. I start having better and better days. Each day, a little better than the one before. I start acting like it’s the best day of my life, and it becomes a better day.
R says words have power, and he’s right. God created the world with words, and we’re made in his image. Whatever we say can come into being. If I call myself stupid, I might start to believe it. And maybe others will, too. If I say it’s the best day of my life, it might become the best day of my life.
I’m still working on the tone. A little off-the-cuff, aloof, unpremeditated. It’s livened up my interactions with customers, for sure. But tone aside, I just need to keep saying it. Doing it. It’s the best day of my life. Because today’s what we got. Not yesterday or tomorrow.