My best friend is Happiness. Unbounded, wild, romantic, and adventurous Happiness. I am hopelessly in love with the idea, the reality, the possibilities offered from my relationship with Happy. It has taken many a year and much struggle before allowing myself to warm up to Happy. From those early days when I was first introduced to Happy’s cousin, Kinda Happy, I have matured and grown fond of the Happy family to the point where we married and are now Mr. and Mrs. Perfectly Happy.
Prior to finding Happiness, I, like many others, swirled around the drain of despair. My acquaintances were a seedy lot: Jack Loneliness, Buddy Fear, Kathy Uncertainty, and Stan Inferiority. This group of idiots had personalities so strong that mine took the back seat. I tried to stand up to their coercive badgering but it wouldn’t be until I properly learned to abuse alcohol followed by enrolling in the College of Drug Abuse that my sordid friends became family.
Then, like in all good stories that are just starting to find real drama, when on the verge of moral darkness another Greek tragedy is about to play out and our lead character appears ready to stumble into the abyss, in a flash he is run over by the truck of enlightenment. Like kryptonite working on Superman, my hero – me, wearing the cape of emotional dissolution, wilts under the power of knowledge.
My nemesis appears as a saboteur of the mind posing as an Iranian book seller who thrusts Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil into my hands. Argh, I’m being taken over by the light side. Clouds begin to part, smiles emerge, I can see the faint glimmer of Happiness on the distant horizon but still far enough away to not appear threatening. I return to the TV to lay witness to depravity, murder, rape, carjackings, home invasions, child abduction, terrorism, plane crashes, plunder, Washington lobbyists, and various other guards that protect us from premature Happiness.
Yet sadly, the hooks of conformity were being weakened by my exposure to the very idea of thinking. The more I learned of our potential the less drugs and alcohol were able to help maintain the friendships that were slipping away. Sometimes I think I still miss Buddy and Stan in some small way but I have made new friends. As these bonds were disintegrating I saw that qualities like self loathing were giving way to tingly feelings of emergent amazement.
It was dawning on me that the only thing standing between me and my long walk into the horizon where Happiness stood was the twenty-five years of baggage I had voluntarily agreed to lug around. In a rush of deliberate action I tossed that load off my shoulders, got in the car and ran that crap over – squashing it dead.
Now if life were truly easy and perfect, I would have driven off into the sunset, picked up Happiness and never looked back. But life is often like the movies, something evil was left behind. Must have been a toiletry bag from my youth, hidden in my neck underneath that ponytail I wore at the time because every once in a while some invisible force has unzipped the bag, letting out a cadre of uncertainties. Over time, though, that old bag has become well worn and its contents are being lost and are now mostly gone.
As for Happiness, we know how to hang out, resolve our problems, and put on the party hats. Our relationship is heading into its twenty-third anniversary and is growing stronger. Along the way I met my other wife who has been able to exponentiate my relationship to Happiness. Together the three of us have flirted with Ecstasy, we have danced in the vaulted heights of Delirium, and we work hard to maintain the distance between the old black hole of what was and the event horizon that is a constant source of optimistic potential.