August 16, 2011 in Features

The Slice: Does a friendly salutation brighten your outlook on life?

By The Spokesman-Review
 

I know it’s a total cliche.

And some might question my sincerity.

But for years now, when responding to email from readers, I’ve been tacking on “Have a good week,” “Have a good weekend” and the like.

Not on every reply, mind you, but a fairly high percentage.

You see, I can’t always write a detailed personal message. But someone kind enough to send me a note deserves an acknowledgement and at least a modest gesture of friendliness.

It takes a little leap of faith to write to a columnist and sign your name. I know that.

For better or worse, my readers know a little bit about what kind of person I am. But for all you know, I might be all stressed at work and answer emails with “Stop wasting my time!” or some other rebuff.

Hence my fondness for “Hope your summer is going well” and other sign-offs of that ilk.

So here’s what I’m wondering. If you wrote to me and received a “Have a good week” reply, what happened next?

Did you, in fact, go on to have a good week? Do you suspect that my urging you to have a great weekend somehow contributed to you enjoying a bang-up Saturday and Sunday?

You might not remember. But if I possess some sort of secret superpower in this regard, I would like to know.

So, let me propose a little experiment.

If you are a Slice reader who has never contacted me, please send me an email. You don’t have to say much.

Your message could be as brief as “My husband gets mad when your opinions and values differ from his” or “My grandma mailed you something in 1992 that you didn’t use and she is still angry about it” or “I’ve always wanted to tell you that I never read your columns, especially the ones that mention bike riding or marmots.”

I’ll write back and urge you to have a good week or whatever. And then, after the week is over, you can report back about whether that turned out to be the case.

There might not be a pure cause-and-effect relationship here, of course. But still, if wishing someone a good day seems to have even a slight beneficial impact, I will continue doing so.

Today’s Slice question: Did you see Elvis when he performed here in August of 1957?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email pault@spokesman.com. Check out The Slice Blog at www.spokesman.com. Happy Bennington Battle Day.


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