"The specific thing that did it," said Samuel Intrater, "was an ad from one of those big supermarkets for diet soda.
"I went in the first night and they didn't have any. I went in the second night and they didn't have any. I went in every night for a week and they didn't have any.
"So I asked to see the manager, and I complained.
"He said, 'I'm sorry, but, uh, have a nice day.'"
Intrater got even with an imaginative vengeance. He founded ATAHAND --- the Association to Abolish Have a Nice Day.
ATAHAND is open to anyone, regardless of race, creed, color, sex or age. There are no fees or application blanks.
"All that's required is the solemn oath that every time someone tells you to have a nice day, you will promptly tell him to drop dead," says Mr. ATAHAND.
Intrater has suffered more than one man's lifetime supply of outrageous H.A.N.Ds.
Several months ago, for example, he was trying to park his car at Rockville Mall's underground garage. Unfamiliar with the location of the entrance, Intrater didn't spot the ramp until he had driven halfway past it. So he made a left turn from the middle lane.
On went the flashing blues of a policeman who had witnessed the whole thing. Out came the book. And as the ticket was dispensed, so, too, was the cop's H.A.N.D.
Then there was the time Intrater's flight landed at National Airport and taxied to a point just short of the collapsible exit ramp.
It waited there for several minutes before the pilot came on the intercom to explain. The ramp was broken and couldn't stretch the last foot to meet the side of the plan. Federal regulations prevented passengers from deplaning unless the ramp was flush against the aircraft.
No, sorry, there wasn't another ramp. No, sorry, they were fresh out of manually operated staircases. And, oh, yes, the crew would soon be leaving. But the passengers would have to wait -- probably for an hour -- until the malfunctioning ramp was fixed.
And then, inevitabley: H.A.N.D.
A classic time for H.A.N.D., Intrater warns, is when you're handed a restaurant bill to which the tip has already been added.
"What they're really saying is that they've got you," said Intrater, a 56-year-old K Street lawyer who lives in Bethesda. "If somebody is sticking it to you, I'd rather hear 'Have A Rotten Day.' At least it's honest."
So was the man who had heard of Intrater's club and called him the other day to complain.
"The guy said to me, 'I don't see what's wrong with wishing people a nice day,'" Intrater said. "So I just kind of shrugged and said he was entitled to his opinion and I was entitled to mine."
At which point the man said goodbye. At which point Intrater, ever impish, urged him to H.A.N.D.
Even though it's June, this is a hockey story.
Actually, it's the story of a Washington-wide banking policy that could use some fresh air.
In a sporting moment last fall, I bet Grace Cohen of Alexandria, a rabid Washington Capitals fan, that her beloved team would not make the playoffs that season. Of course, Abe Pollin's heroes couldn't get the job done, making Grace an extremely dismayed loser.
So dismayed that she paid off in pennies.
I spent an entire lunch hour trudging from bank to bank, trying to turn 500 increasingly heavy pieces of copper into one saintedly light $5 bill.
No good, said the banks. They would accept a reasonable amount of change, as long as it was for deposit and as long as it wasn't all the same kind. But unless pennies were stacked into cylinders of 50 and wrapped in a piece of paper labeled "50 in pennies," the banks couldn't be bothered.
There's been no real deprivation. For each of eight mornings, I dumped 60 pennies into the yawning maw of the Metrobus fare box. The remaining 20 pennies went wherever pennies normally go.
But I keep picturing an 8-year-old kid who has patiently filled a piggy bank and is trying to turn some of that change into bills. What I can't picture is a bank that his lovingly counted $11.67 isn't somehow, real money.
REMINDER: Today is the last day to drop by the main lobby of The Washington Post to sign a scroll thanking Bill Gold for 34 years of The District Line. The lobby will be open to signers between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. The Post is located at 1150 15th St. NW.