January 26, 2004

a trip down memory lane: "nice"

"What's your name?"
"Oh, that's a nice name!"

Does anyone remember this? When I think back of all the introductions I made as a kid, I think this one was probably the most prominent. I don't know why these kids would say the same thing. For the longest time I grew up thinking that I had a "nice" name.

Okay.. here's another one. I'd go to school wearing a new t-shirt or track pants, and a kid would come up to me.

"Hi Brian."
"Nice pants."

For some reason I'd always take this as a sign that there was something wrong with my clothing. I'd avoid wearing that pair of pants or t-shirt. Who in their right mind would come up to me and tell me they liked my shirt/pants, without having some alterior motive to insult me? It's weird that I had this way of thinking.

Here's another:

"Look, Brian broke our snow fort."
"No, it wasn't my fault."
"Look, it's ruined. Nice going Brian."
[silence. eyes shifted to ground.]
"Nice one, Brian."

And another:

[overheard conversation]
"... yeah and Mike is cool too, he's so funny"
"What about Brian?"
"Brian? Eww.."
"Hey, don't say that. Brian's nice."

Somehow back in those days, the word "nice" implied something terrible -- something awful that you had to try to avoid like the plague. How could a word like "nice" have been twisted around to imply something so bad, so insulting?

Another fact: the word "nice" never appears in the Bible. Synonyms of it like "kind", "gentle", "friendly", "fine", "beautiful", all appear in the bible. Maybe the word "nice" doesn't exist in the latin/aramaic languages?

When I looked up this word on thesaurus.com, (aside from its usually meanings) I found it a synonym of words like "choosy", "difficult", "finnicky".

How odd, that a word like "nice" can mean both good and bad. Better think twice the next time someone says "nice" to you!

Have a nice day everyone!

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