A Better Way to Start Your DayFebruary 27, 2011
Two things are bugging me.
One is that Germany’s plan for invading France at the start of World War I was called the von Schlieffen plan and it was doomed from the start because it involved a very strict timetable and yet didn’t give any allowance for possible resistance from the Belgians as the Germans passed through Belgium. I’ve been thinking a lot about it lately because it’s in a World War I book I’m reading.
The other thing that’s bugging me is the expression, “Good morning.”
First off, what the heck does it mean?
Am I objectively declaring that the morning is good, as though I’m the authority on mornings? In the same way a judge at a dog show might feel the rump of a Doberman and proclaim, “Good dog.”
Or am I telling you to go out and make the morning good, in case you were stupidly planning on making it crappy? Because if that’s the case, a warning from me probably won’t make a difference.
And even if I was telling you to go out and make the morning good, the expression still seems overly truncated. I mean, if I wanted you to go out and get a good haircut, I wouldn’t just say, “Good haircut.”
And while I’m at, why do we say “Good heavens” when we see something out of the ordinary? It’s like saying, “Holy shit, I am shocked, so let me say something mildly complimentary about the afterlife.”
It’s just about as odd as “Good riddance.” That’s supposed to tell someone you dislike to leave. And yet I’m wishing good on them as they do. The correct expression should be, “Fucked-up riddance.”
But “good morning” is the worst of these because it is used first thing every single day and yet is confusing and meaningless and uninformative. Instead, we should begin our day by jumping right in with what’s on our mind, thereby triggering a healthy debate of the issues.
I bring all this up because my wife Staci woke me up this morning by gently nudging my shoulder and saying, “Good morning, sweetie.”
And I replied:
“The Belgians fucked up everything.”
And she didn’t say one word in defense of the von Schlieffen plan.