Saturday, April 30, 2011

Thank Goodness I'm Not Happy

            If I were happy I'd be miserable.  At this moment in time there is so much suffering on display that if I were happy I'd go nuts with some variation of Survivor's Guilt.  Call it Thriver's Guilt.  It wouldn't be right to be prosperous or to have a great job and a great relationship.  No one else does.  Why should I?
            Fortunately, I'm not very happy.  I mean, I'm not miserable, and that may pass these days for having it Really Great.  I can hear people saying, "Hey, he's not miserable.  That lucky son of a bitch."
            Happiness is like fancy dog food.  It isn't as good as the advertisements say it is.  It isn't made as purely as its makers would have us believe.  Happiness is kind of a gritty mix of stuff: there's some chicken but it's all dried out.  There's filler like bone meal and chemical junk like polysorbate hydro-whamazone.  Modern happiness, hooray!  Not miserable.  That's about as good as it gets.  If you're happy, if you think you've got it all, you're living in a dream world.
If you happen to belong to the one percent of people who have a filthy amount of money, you're not happy either.  Admit it.  Greed is not a happy thing.
            The plain fact is that when other people are so unhappy in such large numbers, it makes personal happiness pretty damn near impossible.
            I'm seventy, a classic baby boomer, ex-hippie artist without a dime to my name.  All the boomers who went to college, got their degrees and made a lot of money...well, whaddya know, they've lost all their money!  They're in psychological shock.  I'm just cruising along, business as usual, living from week to week.  Being broke is normal.  I don't have to weep for everything I've lost.  I never had a house to foreclose, never owned property to lose.
            I have a wonderful relationship but both my wife and I are caught in the medical insurance labyrinth that has become the great booby trap of modern times.
            People of my age group have idiosyncratic health problems.  Baby Boom-itis consists of odd diseases like neuropathy, fibromyalgia, bone spurs, hammer toes and a raft of weird afflictions that have no diagnosis.  They're stress related.  I may be generalizing but it seems that each of us experienced some kind of nightmare between twenty five and fifty.  We had an abusive relationship, an addiction, a horrible divorce, a near-fatal disease, a damaged child or the traumatic loss of a loved one.
            Along the way we became dependent upon prescription drugs or require dialysis or some essential procedure and thus became shackled to the medical system.  Each of us is like half  a pair of Siamese twins.  The other twin, joined at our livers, is a tottering and expensive insurance structure that is arbitrary and beyond comprehension.  
            I call it Insurance That is Not Insurance.  It's Trapdoor Insurance.  You stand at the pharmacist's window, expecting a prescription that will be covered by Medi-hooligan Insurance Corp.  Last month it cost you fifteen dollars.  But oh...
you've reached your maximum expenditure, or haven't spent your minimum, or
dropped through a donut hole and what do you know?  This month the same prescription is four hundred dollars! Floof!  Trapdoor opens!  Next?
           I'm not miserable but I have a sour stomach. I'm incredibly frustrated that no one reads my work.  I'm not happy, so there is that consolation.  I don't have to feel guilty or heedless of other peoples' ratcheting credit card debt, foreclosure, bankruptcy or divorce. 
            All these petty personal bitchings are insignificant compared to the looming Earth-catastrophe that has everyone stashing giant cans of Costco tuna fish in their garages.  Global warming, or, as I like to call it, Warble Gloaming, will fix everything.  In fifty years all of our naive concepts of happiness may have changed drastically.  In fifty years happiness might be a cup of clean water.


  1. I read what you write. In fact, if I didn't - I think I'd be the one waiting for more prescription drugs. Your writing is the best drug I've found on the net for a long time. Take care! Chris

    (Oh, and keep writing dammit! :)


    My blawg - sort of:

  2. Chris, your response heartens me. Acquiring readers has been an amazing uphill battle for me that has been going on year after year. You represent a victory. I keep on writing, don't worry. I will visit your sort-of blawg. FYI
    other than my wife, no one has EVER read any of my full length books.

    Thanks so much.



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