Friday, May 27, 2011

Happiness: an alternative to misery

The difference between this blog and live television is that you can’t see what I’m doing as I create each blog post. If this were live television, you would see a 240 lbs. man slouched on his parents couch wearing his pajamas at 11 o’clock in the morning with two oversized Labradors laying on each side of him. The pajamas would be forest green with an adorable assortment of bulldogs on them. He would be cringing at a commercial for outdoor grills that featured a bunch of white people dancing with spatulas in their hands. But, what you probably wouldn’t notice is that this man-child, who’s about to embark on another day of over-eating and video games, is happy.
Dramatic, I know. This doesn’t make it any less true. Just a few months ago, a lazy day like this would be accompanied by trips to my bedroom to scribble down awful and depressing poetry until I realized just how awful it was and curled up in the fetal position to mumble pessimistic affirmations to myself. For the functional people in my small audience, allow me to explain exactly what a pessimistic affirmation is.
Everyone seems to remember the Al Franken character on Saturday Night Live where he looks in a mirror and says “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.” Imagine that, except rather than looking in the mirror, he’s in the dark. And rather than sitting in a chair, he’s laying in a bed clutching a pillow with both arms collecting his tears. And rather than a cheesy sweater and slacks, he’s wearing a t-shirt he wouldn’t wear unless he knew no one was going to see him in the light that day. If he really feels like treating himself that day, he’ll grab some of his ex-girlfriends clothes because he just misses the smell. And, of course, instead of telling himself how great he is, he’ll say “you suck, you’re fat, and you’re going to die alone.” Anyone with an “imbalance” knows what I’m talking about.
Now, I no longer eat ice cream at noon because I hate myself, I enjoy that bowl of “Raspberry Cow Tracks” because I just so happen to have a craving, and afternoon ice cream always makes a good day great. When I sneak off to my room, it’s not to write bad poetry, it’s to write jokes about boners. I’ve found that comparing premature ejaculation to the performance of Jimmy Fallon in an SNL skit is much more therapeutic than talking about “my soul’s darkest hour.”
I have a job that pays decently, even if setting up tents for bright eyed 18-year-olds at their graduation parties gets a little nauseating. I have a beautiful girlfriend (sorry, ladies) that I simply can’t get enough of at the moment. I have a career path that, although it’s hardly the “easy money” route, has me excited about my future for once.
I had a moment in the car the other day, driving home from an interview for an internship that I just nailed. It was one of those picture perfect days that only happen every so often in Minnesota. I was listening to Yonder Mountain String Band, one of my favorites. I noticed a lyric from the song “Left Me in a Hole,” that seemed to be lost on me every other time I had heard it. The song is about being left by someone and not being able to recover from it, something I’m familiar with. The line is “if your eyes are closed you can’t see the sun rise.”
Well, internet, as cliché as it sounds, my eyes are open. And the sun is shining.