If thats all
there is, my friend, then lets keep dancing. Lets break out
the booze and have a ball. --Peggy Lee
Happiness is a fleeting thing, and were all after it. Whether we admit it or not, everything we do, every moment of the day, is done to increase our happiness. Or decrease our unhappiness as the case may be. Sex, medication, food, shopping, religion, romance and higher education; in the end were all only in it for the serotonin and endorphins. Whatever the hell that chemical is in our brain that makes us feel for brief, unexplainable moments like everything is actually, kind of, okay.
Some happiness involves wild excesses, mood swings, drama, psychosis, danger, Hells Kitchen, Pigalle. Falling in love with a gypsy contortionist and whisking her away on a boat to Denmark. Riding in taxicabs with characters of dubious intent. Injected hallucinogens, clothing made of rubber, absurd pseudo-sociological protests and unnecessary criminality. That time we drove naked through Pittsburgh at midnight, whacked out on amphetamines, calling out for the ghost of Andy Warhol. That was a happy time.
Other happiness is in quiet nights in the country with a sheepdog and shotgun and a bottle of Wild Turkey. A roaring fire and crickets chirping. A book about Paris in the 20s. And being carried off to bed by a neighbor who we almost shot as she came up the driveway. Good times.
Other people seem to get happy building robots or solving advanced mathematical equations; I dont know any such people, but Im sure they exist, and that their happiness comes in cool, methodical strokes, conscious of every tick in their cerebellum. Science, in the end, is all about our happiness; extending our life, making it less painful, making it easier for us to exist.
But, truth be told, it can be a hard fucking life if you cant find whatever it is that makes you happy. Slogging around in the mud, trying to remember your last good times. Everybody gets dumped by someone they love, passed over for a promotion, overworked, underpaid. Everyone hears a John Tesh song come on the radio and sighs in disgust once in a while. Everyone misses the acknowledgement they deserve, and the petty unhappiness creeps in.
I always thought it was a shame how many people, even while they were after this happiness, nonetheless live out their lives miserably blaming some event or some other person for their inability to get there. People start wars because theyre unhappy. They carry out vendettas, suffocate kittens and write terrible poetry. All because they cant find that elusive chemical.
And so this issue is kind of an exhortation. Cmon, kids; its high time you got your happy on. Find that chemical, leave the kitten alone and come back into the light.