(via Flickr.)

(via Flickr)

Will someone please tell me why everyone thinks we should all be smiling?

I think that idea is bullshit. Why is it so shitty to just have a regular expression? I don’t expect anyone to hand me laughs when I leave the house. As a matter of fact, most people make me frown involuntarily as if my body just senses bullshit and my face gets into its comfortable sag position.

I’ll say it: life sucks. We can all agree on this one truth at one point or another. Hell, some of us feel that way every time we wake up. No one said life was going to be easy. In fact, most of human history has been full of suffering, bloodshed, and misery. I think we’re meant to suffer. Not in that overly jazzed, Christian “carry your cross” shit either. This isn’t a metaphor for finding the great spirit, as far as I’m concerned the great spirit is a double whiskey, no ice.

I’m talking about this need to be happy that seems to have been birthed out of the ‘90s. People think they’re entitled to happiness cuz they’re not dying of malaria in some underdeveloped country. “I pay taxes, got running water, electric, Wal-Mart, cable, OK now time to get some happiness. QVC has a special on happiness! Three easy payments of $37.98! Hurry! Happiness is going fast! Look at that Diane, with these low low rates and free shipping you’d be a fool to pass up on this offer today.”

What kind of joke is this?
Happiness is something you find inside yourself. Pills help bring it out, sure. That laboratory version of happiness is great till the body gets used to it, then our prescription for happiness gets upped. Pharmaceutical science is amazing. Scientists have figured out how to trick the brain with chemicals, but that’s old news too. Ever try cocaine? You can make that in a lab. Makes you feel amazing. Dig up Freud and ask him about it.

I think the better question is: why do we feel entitled to happiness? Is it just some sort of popularity contest between our neighbors spread across the country?

“Sally, you seem so chipper lately! Usually you look like you want to drown your kids and stab your husband. What’s your secret sweetie?”

“Oh Barb! You have got to go see my doctor! I just told him I hate my life and everything in it, I told him about the fantasies. You know, the ones where I shoot up the office and take a shit on Steffen’s desk? Well, he went and wrote me a prescription for these life savers right here!”

Then it snowballed. Now everyone takes a pill to feel. Well not everyone, some of us still drink and/or smoke to get that good feeling. I’m not going to bring up the health factor, that’s a moot point.

The bottles went from brown and clear to opaque orange. In other parts of the world kids are happy to have rice and water, our kids want to shoot up schools and put hamsters in the microwave.

It’s fine to be unhappy. We all are anyway. That’s what makes those happy monuments memorable – all the bullshit in between. Maybe that’s how you know you’re rich. You’ve got the time to wonder about how much better things could feel, and the money to do something about it; or at least the healthcare. We Americans have no struggle. We used to work to stay alive and flourish, now we work because we have bills to pay. The American dream is a cubicle job where someone refills the coffee pot. We don’t build for ourselves anymore. We build for others. No wonder we have this empty unhappy feeling inside.

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