We Not Only Believe In The Sanctity Of Individual Opinion, But Believe That Everyone Should Feel That Way.
Around the world, millions–and perhaps more likely, billions–of people are unhappy. Curiously, this appears to be no less true in the United States of America, which, for all its recent travails still remains a relative land of plenty when compared to to the standard of living “enjoyed” by many of our fellow humans. It is strange that this should be so, not simply because of America’s aforementioned affluence, but because no other culture in history has invested so much of its time, energy and resources in an as-yet fruitless quest for contentment.
There exist a great many theories to explain the first-world despair experienced by so many Americans, but the true causes are likely myriad. The effects of the nation’s increasingly frenetic rainbow-chase in search of fulfillment have been somewhat more tangible.
“School’s Out School’s Out / Teachers Let The Monkeys Out / One Was Jailed, One Prevailed / Both Asked God “How Have I Failed?”
As a consequence of this happiness deficit, two distinct, but inextricably-linked notions have become prevalent in the American psyche. The first is that unhappy people are somehow failures. The second, in typical, blame-the-victim fashion, contends that unhappy people are themselves responsible for the tragic emptiness in their lives.
Folks, we absolutely believe this. If you–who has so goddamn much–isn’t happy, then you are a failure. And your unhappiness? It’s your fault.¹
We’ll talk more about this later.
You Know You Want It.
We Know It Shouldn’t Matter, But…
We believe that if you’re telling someone a story about a dude named Leroy, and Leroy happens to be white, you need to apprise the listener of that fact early in the story. This will prevent the intracranial explosion which would otherwise occur when you say something like, “My buddy stood in line for fourteen hours to get us these playoff tickets, but you know Leroy–he’s crazy about hockey!”²
Likewise, If This Guy’s Name Is “Chip,” “Chase” or “Skippy,” You’ll Want To Devote A Little More Time To Exposition.
We Could Not Be More Serious About This
We believe that an inverse, but very powerful, relationship exists between how seriously someone takes himself and how seriously he should be taken.
Ralph Nader, Whose Tireless Nagging Saved Countless Lives By Forcing The Automotive Industry To Design Safer Automobiles, Is In Many Ways Like A Condom. Like The Love-Glove, This Humorless Crusader Has Made Contemporary Life Unquestionably Safer Than In Years Past , While Simultaneously Stripping From It Much Of The Sensation Which Makes A Thing Worth Doing.
Tardsie As A Patron Of The Arts
One day, not long ago, when my boys and I were walking into town to get ice cream cones, we passed a homeless dude who chatted me up a little before asking for some change. He was friendly, and didn’t bother regaling me with some fantastic tale of hardship or earnest promises to use the money for saintly purposes (although I love a well-crafted tale), so I told him I’d get him on the way back.
My older boys are not quite five, and I gave them a dollar each to give to the dude as we passed him a second time–they got a kick out of that–and then we walked home eating our ice cream.
I didn’t really think twice about the encounter until I ran into the same homeless guy a few days later in the course of my own rambles about town. He told me he’d managed to scrape up enough cash to get his guitar out of hock. It turns out he plays beautifully.
We believe that was money well-spent.
This Might’ve Been The Guy, Actually.
Another Time-Travel Paradox³
We believe that when scientists finally manage to shatter the barriers to the 4th dimension, and time travel at last becomes a reality, its use will necessarily be confined to a select, responsible few. Due to the delicate, precise nature of the time-stream, its stewardship must be tasked to only the most conscientious, upright individuals.
And really, this is kind of a shame. With all the potential for using this technology irresponsibly to achieve godlike pinnacles of power and riches beyond all the dreams of avarice–along with power’s attendant benefits, such as more tail than one individual could bang in a lifetime–it seems an almost criminal waste to award it to such joyless sticks-in-the-mud.
Such An Awesome Power Must Never Be Entrusted To The Likes Of Us.
¹It should go without saying that we do NOT include in this assessment those individuals grappling with mental illness. We hold in high regard those folks saddled with conditions like clinical depression or who are bi-polar and yet bravely dust themselves off after each setback and gamely wade back into the fray. The courage implicit in your daily struggle outshines those instances of resolve in our own lives of which we are most proud; it is a beautiful and wondrous thing to witness. Be sure to take your meds. ∞ T.
² The genesis for this nugget of wisdom springs from a story my wife told me recently about a former co-worker of hers. However, in real life the instance of complete and total bafflement centered not around ice hockey, but country music. ∞ T.
³ Grammar-ninnies and vocabuladorks will be quick to point out our improper use of the word paradox. Nothing’s being done to the word that hasn’t been done to ‘irony’ for years now, so keep your panties on. Yeah, we ended that with a preposition. So what? Down is not the direction in which we will be backing! ∞ T.