Serious Happiness

Happiness. You can find it anywhere. You might find it nowhere. Men commonly believe it can be found in a woman's underwear. Women, on the other hand, seek their happiness at a deeper, more intrinsi

Happiness. You can find it anywhere. You might find it nowhere. Men commonly believe it can be found in a woman's underwear. Women, on the other hand, seek their happiness at a deeper, more intrinsic, elemental level, unless sidetracked by an incredible storewide shoe sale.

To be truly and thoroughly happy is to have a smile on your face, a spring in your step, a song in your heart and a maraca in your duodenum.

Happiness goes by many names: Joy. Delight. Elation. Anti-frownism. Negative negativism.

Sustained N2O. The good kind of crazy. Botched indifference. Half a mood swing. John Denver's plane is missing. Grading life on the curve. Al Gore has won Florida. Cheerleader's disorder. Pre-hangover-ness. All that being said, the fact is it's not really important what you call happiness so long as you remember what you've filed it under.

Each year,we purchase cards exhorting friends and family to have a Happy New Year, a Happy St. Patrick's Day, a Happy Easter, a Happy Thanksgiving and a Happy Birthday when, in reality, their true purpose is to make a Happy Hallmark Corp.

Happiness comes in a limitless variety of shapes and sizes, though the best shapes and sizes are frequently on backorder or held aside for wealthy, influential friends of the Happiness Distributor. Depending on who you are, happiness can be as simple as seeing your whole family gathered together for a Sunday picnic or as complicated as arranging to have each and every one of them iced by a professional killer over the course of an unsuspicious stretch of time. It might be as whimsical as a boy band with the clap or as unexpected and deeply fulfilling as the phrase "suspended sentence." But one thing we should not lose sight of is that the pursuit of happiness and the pursuit of the one-armed man can be undertaken concurrently.

Ignorance is not bliss; ignorance of Billy Joel's oeuvre is bliss.

Happiness is an unpredictable and capricious companion, often fleeting, at other times settled, so always keep in mind that should any change in its arrival or departure times become necessary, there will be a $75 re-ticketing charge. Those who are truly happy look happy, which explains the collective facial expression on any given city bus. Just because your friends can't find happiness doesn't mean you can't find happiness in the unhappiness of your friends. The opposite of happiness is not sadness, the opposite of happiness is the banter of local news teams.

To raise and reside beneath the Canopy of Happiness it is necessary to possess at least one of the Four Pillars of Joy: 1) A bartender with a heavy pour; 2) being a member of a target demographic no advertiser wishes to reach; and 3) knowing how to count to four.

Happiness must meet a higher standard in the present day than in the past. In medieval times, a man considered it a "joyful day" if he remained unbeheaded, Black Death-free or didn't have to go outside wearing those gay-looking tights. Pre-1851, Americans reveled in the fact that Moby Dick hadn't been written yet and so couldn't be assigned to them in their lit classes. But today, happiness is expected to be more frequent, more intense and more personal, hence multiple HBOs. As for our future descendants, we can only surmise that they will know the greatest of all happinesses when their giant brains are able to devise a convincing looking hairpiece to cover their giant, pulsing, bald brain heads.

To be satisfied or optimistic is to be within spitting distance of happiness. Easy spitting distance if you're especially phlegmy.

Happiness, regardless of its type or intensity, its brevity or longevity, is essentially spiritual. Or, if not, Oprah is a lying bitch. Some believe the ultimate happiness awaits them in the afterlife, and for those of you who have chosen the right religion and worshipped the right Supreme Being the right amount with the right holy book and supplicated themselves on the right day of the week under the guidance of the right spiritual leaders who wear the right headgear and display the right icons, that's undoubtedly true; for everyone else, your first meeting with The Creator promises to be something more on the order of "uncomfortable." Beyond happiness is rapture; beyond rapture is when a new kid shows up in school one day and people start calling him "pizza face" instead of you.

Charles Schulz, the wise and witty creator of Peanuts, defined it thus: "Happiness is a warm puppy," to which I can only add, "... unless it got that way in the microwave." ©

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