Humor Therapy — It’s Sad Not Being Happy

Circa 2008

We spend the majority of our days griping about work, gossiping about friends, complaining about the unfairness of life. I don’t understand why it’s so hard to be happy.

Look around, you live in a great country. You have food, shelter, your health… and you’re probably not related to Michael Jackson. That, in and of itself, should give you cause for great joy.

Do material things make a difference? Of course, you fool. A new car, a boat, nice clothes, golf clubs—these are the essence of true happiness. Don’t worry if you don’t have these things. You can still be happy, you just can’t show off. Can money buy you happiness? No, but it will buy you an airplane ticket to the Caribbean allowing you to escape from the cesspool of life’s headaches. (Personally, I’ve always found a pina colada on the beach brings me closer to true happiness. Put a babe next to me and I’m beating on nirvana’s door.)

Happiness is a result of being thankful. Everyday I give thanks that I am able to drive a car. Public transportation is a downer. A scruffy guy eyeing your breasts on your way to work can ruin your day—especially if you’re a man. I’m also thankful for Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. Yeah, whenever I get free stuff, I’m happy. But, most of all, I’m thankful that I have a beautiful, fluffy kitty whose fur I can rub my face in.

It’s the little things that make us happy. Remember the story of the man who didn’t have any shoes, which brought him great sadness? Then, he met the man who didn’t have any feet. But even the guy with no feet is still ahead of the game: He doesn’t have to clip his toenails every week.

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There’s nothing worse than being around sad people. You tend to gaze at your watch more, all the while contemplating a clever excuse to get away. I have a friend who’s always whining, telling me how bad his life is and that everyone hates him. He feels it’s impossible to be happy. Then, he seeks my advice: “You’re always up. You’re always happy. How do you do it?” My reply: “There are so many times that things go bad, I feel the world is against me and I think I’m a loser and my life sucks. Then, I look at your life and wow, I feel so much better about mine!”

Hey, it works for me.

Why is happiness so hard to achieve? It’s because we greedy pigs always want more: A bigger house, more money, a fluffier kitty…

Gimme what that guy has… and double it. Super size me, baby! Can’t we just be happy with what we have? The short answer to that is “No.” The longer answer is “No way.” What’s up with that? My guess is peer pressure. It probably started with the caveman. Thor would come home with a Saber-Tooth tiger. Then, his neighbors one-upped him with a Wooly Mammoth, which threw the pressure back on Thor to drag home a Wooly Mammoth, too.

When life becomes a contest, everybody loses, which leads back to unhappiness. Look, we all want our Wooly Mammoth, but we shouldn’t base our level of contentment on what we have or don’t have. Can’t we just be happy with a piece of flint?

I think happiness is a choice, and we always have choices: Mild or hot Buffalo Wings. Stripes or plaid. Fox or CNN. Happy or sad. I choose the former, mainly because choosing the latter tends to make me unhappy.

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Still, happiness takes work. You really have to look on the bright side of things. For instance, when it’s raining, be happy that you don’t have to pay your illegal immigrant gardener to water your grass. You can now take that $5 and buy a “tall” Starbucks coffee.

So, what is the key to happiness? It’s taking the time to look at your life. If you squint, I think you will find that you already have everything you need to be happy. Most of us are not starving, as evidenced by all the chubby children running around with diabetes. These kids are happy because they can loaf around, listening to their IPODS, while their parents are happy because the kids are around to provide them with free tech support on the family computer.

You can find happiness in any situation. When it comes time to pay the bills, do it with a smile. If you don’t have any money in your account, call your parents to cover your deadbeat butt. This is great because helping others makes people happy, so you’re really helping your parents to be happy. Go ahead, take them for everything you can, but only if you want them to be tickled pink.

Happiness can be tricky, though the concept seems simple. Going through life happy is better than going through it miserable. The Chinese have a saying, which translated goes something like: When things are inevitable, you might as well enjoy them. Since living is inevitable, why not enjoy it? When it’s all said and done and you’re sitting in your rocking chair after your homecare assistant has changed your diaper, you want to be able to say, “I did it all with a smile.”

Right now, I’m just happy to be finished writing this, so I can turn this garbage in.

by Jeff Charlebois

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