If You Can’t Say Something Nice

I hate the word “nice.” It’s been used to describe me one too many times.

I suppose being nice is better than being a bitch, but nice, which rhymes with rice, another bland something, is the opposite of spice. Now spice–that has gumption.

Nice is another way of saying–no backbone, boring.Being nice started early in my life, when I heard my mother even when she wasn’t around, saying: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” Not a bad philosophy I suppose, but when being nice begins to shape who you are, then you’re in trouble.

Being nice translates into “don’t confront,” “don’t disagree,” don’t speak your mind.” All dangerous. These moments translate into stupid, dangerous, and careless moments. A drink too many, a lie allowed to grow, saying yes when I should have said no.

When I left a previous job, the editor said: “All the niceness has now left the office.” She meant it as a compliment, but I knew better.