I stopped at the cleaners on my way home from work to pick up a pair of khaki pants that had an unfortunate run-in with honey a few weeks back. As I stepped through the door, a middle-aged woman named Karen (I’m assuming, anyway) was finishing up berating the lone employee.
It had something to do with starch.
When the door clicked closed behind me, I looked at the employee and smiled a compassionate smile. She sighed deeply and then proceeded to unload on me with not only the story of Karen but the story of customers (shockingly also named Karen) from earlier in the day. I tend to believe the world is a generally unkind place in the best of times and, folks, these ain’t the best of times.
The ‘Don’t Blame Me, I Didn’t Say It’ of the Day
I’m not a fan of Thomas Jefferson. I’m not a fan of many of the Founding Fathers in general, despite their bravery. I see them as hypocritical idealists who espoused grand ideas about equality (and other lofty aims) while owning and abusing other human beings. I think more people should see them this way, but many of us just accept the narrative we were taught in school without looking deeper at the actual lives of these men.
I’m also annoyed by the random capital letters in their writing, but that’s mOre of a “me” proBLem I should be ADDressing in therapY.
Anyway, I was thinking on my drive to work about the whole “pursuit of happiness” thing. I have been pursuing happiness for a long, long time and found it to be quite elusive. I was cataloging the times in my life when I’ve actually been genuinely, undoubtedly happy, and I realized a thing about happiness: It is born out of scarcity.
Let me explain.
A new song comes out by your favorite band. You freaking love this song. You play it and play it and play it and play it until, well, you don’t really love it as much.
Or you meet a great woman (or guy. As I’ve said before, I don’t care whom you love). She’s amazing. Being near her makes you feel alive. Ya know… happy! So you follow your desires and start spending every minute you possibly can with her. And pretty soon, that spark of happiness you had before is a little less sparky, a little more ho-hum.
Or you love pizza. It brings you comfort. It makes you smile. You leave for college and realize, “Holy crap. I can eat pizza whenever I want.” So every night for the next month, you order a pizza. And because it’s your pizza, you get exactly what you want on it. One day soon, you realize pizza is kind of like grass in a park. It’s just sort of … there.
I don’t think you have to pursue happiness. I think that life will bring it to you in the natural course of events, just as it does flat tires and broken computers and slow checkout lines. Happiness happens if you’re fortunate enough to live an American life. But I do think happiness can be increased by slowing your roll on the things that bring it to you. Create your own scarcity. If you love that song, as hard as it is, listen to it once a day … once a week. If that woman is the bee’s knees, purposefully spend time apart. There’s a reason “absence makes the heart grow fonder” is a truism. And for the love of God, throw in a salad instead of pizza a few nights a week.
Slowly doling out happiness to ourselves is the key to happiness itself. Nothing in great abundance provides lasting happiness. Not a kazillion dollars (though I’d like to test my theory on that one). Not a fabulous new job. Not a new relationship. Happiness always fades. But we can slow that fade through self-denial, through scarcity.
Suck on that, Jefferson.
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- Shuffling a playlist.
- Passing a Porsche in my Versa.
- A new filter in my Keurig.
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🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Rogue Golfers 🐝Nay Voters🐟Chicken Day🥤 Golfers are known as being a genial sort. Whereas a basketball player could maul an opponent driving the lane, leaving him bloody and unconscious, and still complain about the foul called on him, golfers actually call fouls on themselves! Yet the world of professional golf is […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Bees Suck 🐝Bees As Fish🐟Cup O’ Pee🥤 I hate bees. Yes, I know they’re somehow the lynchpin on which our species’ survival will turn, but seriously, if we’re so fragile that we’re depending on a stinging invertebrate to keep us going, well, perhaps we’re not really so special after all. My […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Poultry Responsibilities 🐔Fine Dining🥩Crappy Year For Music🎵 I am many things. I am a husband, a father, a marketing guy, a storyteller, a jokester, a damn good parallel parker and a guy who played on a basketball team that lost 135-3. What I am not is a farmer. I left my […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩NASCAR President ₿Creepy Coffee☕Chef BTE 🍖 We all know that just about every politician at any level is, in some way, bought and paid for, right? I mean, perhaps your local school board representative isn’t (though she might be owned by her kid), but when you reach the state and national […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Dessert, Not Desert 🍨Happy Belated Birthday, McLovin 🎁Men Kissing 🏳️🌈 I started out my career in the news business and quickly learned that people suck. I mean, back in the mid-1990s, the internet was just becoming a thing — we even capitalized it … Internet … and wrote “e-mail” instead of […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩New Job🧑💼Happy Times🤗Small World ⚾ Buckle up. It’s story time. Today I made a reservation for Ruth’s Chris steakhouse on Sunday for me, Wifey Poo and Boys The Elder and Younger. The Core Four is getting dressed up. Keep in mind, we are not Ruth’s Chris people. It’s not that we […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Pants on the Ground👖Pimp Slap✋Pissin’ in the Wind🌬️ I had occasion to wear a suit yesterday. This was notable because I evidently hadn’t worn said suit in about a year. Over those 365 days, I’ve lost roughly 30 pounds. Thus, I showed up to the engagement necessitating a suit looking like […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Chainsaws Suck🪓Early Arrival✈️Shrimp on the Barbie🦐 I awoke bright and early this morning, kissed Wifey Poo on the forehead and went outside ready to put chainsaw to felled tree. I live far enough out in the country that crankin’ up a chainsaw at 6:30 a.m. on a holiday morning isn’t a […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Racin’🏎️Heat☀️Gorilla Guy🦍 When I was a small boy, the Indianapolis 500 was must-see TV. I’m not sure exactly how it started, but it must have been around 1978 — when I was a 4-year-old boy who loved Matchbox cars and big wrecks. It was around that time that Pops brought home […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩My Fullback 🚑Sicky Poo 🤒Helium Shortage 🎈 I don’t get paid anywhere close to enough to deal with St. Louis traffic when it rains. Not that St. Louis drivers are uniquely bad. I would imagine large swaths of drivers in other cities react just as poorly to the presence of moisture […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Taking Toys Away 🔫Checked Out ✈️Windsurfing Kid 🌬️ Many moons ago, I had a toy rubber snake. That my parents would have allowed such a purchase is shocking, given that Mother Dearest was terrified of anything remotely reptilian and Sister wasn’t that far behind. Yet there, in the depths of my […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Shut Up🤫Waffle House 🧇Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes🤗 So here’s something I don’t quite understand: Why is anyone, especially our political leaders, expressing “shock” over what happened in Texas yesterday. Dude … the sun rose yesterday. The sun has risen every single freaking day for the course of humanity. The sun will rise tomorrow. That’s […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Subway Obsession😞Guard Dog 🐶Chainsaw John🪓 Every child is peculiar in his or her own way. It’s an early indication we all should recognize that none of us is normal. We’re all weird. And that’s OK. Boy The Younger has always had his peculiarities. As a small child, he was fascinated with […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Musical History🎹Why Write? 🖊️Loser Level😔 We finally have only one piano in our house! Now, don’t get to thinking we’re this uber-musical family. We’re not. Wifey Poo, from what I hear, was a helluva clarinetist back in her day and did, indeed, take piano lessons. Boy The Elder is really good […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Beyond Tired😫Busting Ass 🐝Covid Sadness😔 Everything is knowable. When I look back at the pace of change in my life, I think that’s the biggest difference between my life as a child and my life as an adult. Back then, if you wondered something, you just … wondered it. I mean, […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Sad Anniversary😞My Back! 😳Dachau😭 Thirty-five years ago today, my first grandparent died. Grandpa was my favorite grandparent, and in looking back, I think it was because of his willingness to join my world. Grandpa played games with me endlessly. He taught me how to play rummy. He would spend hours on […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Bye-Bye BTE✈️Rival Riot Rumble 🤼♂️Old Man John🤕 In a few hours, Boy The Elder will board a plane headed for Germany. He just completed his sophomore year at Mizzou, and now he’s going overseas for a two-week study-abroad session in which he’ll allegedly learn more about food science and fermentation and […]
🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Double-U🧸Big Sis 🦸♀️Preggo Healer 🤰 Anyone remember Speak & Spell? If you’ve seen E.T., you’ve seen it before. Don’t know why, but I was thinking about this toy the other day. For some reason, spelling wasn’t school if you had one of these things to play with. I can still hear […]