You are grep ping a log file and you NEED to keep the padding in a date field.
Mystery / Misery – take your pick, until I found this page
Log file looks like this
Jul 2 10:14:28 ns380346 postfix/smtp: 00F54FFAE7: to=<mark@
Note the double space between Jul & 2, you get the padded space with %e, but where is it??
CHECKTODAY=$(date +"%b %e") $CHECKTODAY
~# echo $CHECKTODAY Jul 2 ~# echo "$CHECKTODAY" Jul 2