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Super Bowl XXXVII

And for you, Jamie, a nice word on the Buccaneers

[an error occurred while processing this directive] By JAN GLIDEWELL, Times Columnist

© St. Petersburg Times
published January 28, 2003

Ihad just bought a 12-pack of beer for my own private Super Bowl celebration Sunday, when the clerk expressed her seemingly sincere wish that I have a wonderful day.

I've been tracking that expression ever since its inexplicable appearance in the 1970s and couldn't help wondering when "Have a nice day" became the precursor of what is currently voiced as, "Have a wonderful (or fabulous, or spectacular) day." I can't wait to see what heights every service person's rhetoric will reach in describing what kind of days he or she wants me to have in the future.

I mused about that.

And then I mused about the days when the 12-pack would have been a case and decided I had mourned my lost youth enough.

By the end of the day I was musing on something else -- the fact that I owed Jamie Stephens a column.

Unlike some folks with whom I do business, the clerks at the place where I have banked for 29 years actually make real conversation with customers about things other than the weather and, as far as I can remember, have done more to see I had a nice day by doing their jobs well and thoughtfully than by mouthing the empty platitudes we have come to expect.

("No problem" is starting to drive me nuts. I always want to reply, "Of course, it isn't a problem, Sparky. That's why I'm paying you to do it.")

Jamie is a teller at that Wachovia bank and it is to her credit that it was I, not she, who began a yearslong series of exchanges about the Buccaneers. In other words, it wasn't one of those "How about them Bucs?" conversations.

I overheard her one Monday commenting about the previous day's game and asked how she could possibly cheer for any group of men wearing orange pants. Of course, it was easy back then to make jokes about the Bucs, who were usually pretty busy making jokes out of themselves.

Jamie always rose sweetly but firmly to her team's defense, at times when hardly anyone else would, except one of my bosses, a devout Bucs fan who young reporters learned early on to avoid on the Mondays after losing Sundays, which, for a long time, meant most Mondays. I even heard a reporter today refer to him (he, who was once known in the newsroom as The Prince of Darkness) as "serene" during most of this season.

And, as the tide turned and the ghastly orange pants and silly looking effete pirate logo went away, and the team began winning, Jamie would ask, "When are you going to write something nice about the Bucs."

"When are you going to write something about . . .?" is a phrase that most reporters and columnists hate hearing almost as much as, "Have a truly, wonderful, fabulous day."

It almost always comes from someone who wants to flog his or her special interest: "When are you going to write something about youth lacrosse? Or, "When are you going to write something about retired buggy whip braiders."

The subtext is always that you need to stop paying attention to things like war-mongering despots and the ax-murderer active on the next block, and start dealing with important things like crocheting and dominoes tournaments.

But it's different at my bank. The employees there know their customers. They have been kind to me at times of loss and congratulatory when I had things to celebrate. They sent me get-well cards, and, if I remember correctly, flowers once when I was in the hospital.

So it's fair for one of them, especially one on whom I have picked so regularly, to ask when I am going to write something nice about a team that, along with Port Richey and Crystal River government and the Hernando and Citrus county school boards, has provided me with column fodder for so long.

For years she would ask, and for years I would answer, with a knowing snicker, knowing I was safe for the foreseeable future, "When they win the Super Bowl."

So this is for you, Jamie. I watched, at first for the commercials and then, more and more excitedly, for the game. I enjoyed myself. I cheered out loud. I actually engaged in postgame riposte with my office mates.

Have a nice day.

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Super Bowl XXXVII
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  • Ernest Hooper: Mystery ads, mayoral game plans, a lucky bar
  • Jan Glidewell: And for you, Jamie, a nice word on the Buccaneers
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