What’s Wrong With Nice?

In grade school we had a teacher who put a piece of paper on each of our desks.  One student’s name was on each paper.  We all stood up away from the desks and waited for directions.   We were to walk around and put one word on each page about that student.   We were not allowed to use the word “nice”.   No one wants to be told they are ‘nice’.  That is the first thing I remember about the actual exercise.  Second,  that someone did write the word ‘nice’ on my paper.   I left that classroom wandering what was wrong with “nice”.  Third, I left feeling let down, I didn’t warrant more than nice.  Some kid broke a spoken law and used the word nice.   Come on, that’s pretty brazen.

Nice made my descriptive existence bland.


Personally I always like(d) nice.

And I like “kind”.

And I like “decent”.

And I like “funny”.

I remember feeling  bad because if someone thought I was nice and that was the only thing they knew about me what else were they going to  say?

Now I can look back and presume the teacher wanted us to use more or better vocabulary.   Maybe she thought ‘nice’ was not creative.  Perhaps she wanted us to stretch our creativity and use our thinkers.

But ever since then I have had a secret affinity for the word ‘nice’.  It’s almost like I’m rooting for the underdog of adjectives.

I’ve spent many years since then, almost feeling let down when someone uses the word ‘nice’.  Like I should expect more.   I will fight the good fight, and not feel sad when someone refers to me or something I did as nice.

But there’s always that little wiggly feeling in the back of my awareness….. that I’m going to get a big red check mark on my existence for being only nice.