One of the horrible lies, the o'erweening banalities of our fucking era is the notion that we should always be smiling, happy and pollyannish.
When we lose our jobs (which happens, inevitably) we're suppose to utter platitudes. We're supposed to tell people we're happy to get to re-invent ourselves. We're looking forward to new opportunities. We're ready to set sail across greener pastures and other simpering mixed metaphors.
We're not supposed to say we're worried about the loss of income. Stressed about eating up our retirement funds. Anxious about paying for the kids. No, we're supposed to reflect and say "It's the best thing that ever happened to me."
We are told via the Oprahization of the world that virtually any tragedy or disaster is something upon which we can look on the bright side. Someone we love dies and we find ourselves uttering meaningless phrases "at least they didn't suffer." Or "he's in a better place." Or "maybe it's for the best." As if you know any of those statements are true. "He'd want you to put this tragedy behind you," we lie. How the fuck do you know what he'd want?
Just now I was taking the E-train back from the client and I saw a bunch of dog-awful posters for a new Budweiser product called "Bud Platinum." One of the posters exclaimed: "Every hour should be happy."
Every hour should not be happy.
Some might be pensive.
Some annoyed (as I am now.)
Some might be horrified (as I am now.)
Some might be melancholy.
Who are all these people, where do they get off telling us that we should be happy all the time. If that's the case why don't we bag fluoride in our water and gallop straight to paxil, prozac and lithium.
If you know anything about happiness you know that it is not, cannot almost by definition be a perpetual state. When we were hunting animals with spears, the cohesion of the hunt force and the chase made us, as a species happy. As would bringing the kill back to our dependents. But those feelings are fleeting. In fact most people feel a sense of let down after the mammoth is slain.
Look, you want to make me happy?
Let me be sad.