Single White Nerd:  Happiness Is. . . Jan18

Share This

Single White Nerd: Happiness Is. . .

.
a blogumn by Micheal Kass

Photo Credit: hale_popoki

Photo Credit: hale_popoki

“Happiness is–”
FLASH.

So a couple months ago, I’m in Las Vegas celebrating a friend’s birthday. It’s a small group, only five of us. One of the group, the only one I hadn’t met before this trip, has this incredibly annoying habit of saying “happiness is!” before snapping a picture. She loves to snap pictures. Every three minutes or so the Vegasian cacophony is punctuated by

“Happiness is–”
FLASH.

Every time she screeches out in her nails-on-chalkboard voice, I want to rip the camera from her hand and slap her across the face. “You’re NOT happy,” I want to snarl. “You’re possibly the most miserable person I’ve ever met. Stop whining about your ex-boyfriend, and stop with the happiness is. You are KILLING MY HAPPINESS, WOMAN!” Of course, I don’t do that. But I really, really want to.

“Happiness is–”
FLASH

Instead of giving in to my baser, violent instincts, I play a game. Every time she raises the camera, I complete the thought. It starts out pretty basic. . .

Happiness is a good steak.
Happiness is sleeping on clean sheets.
Happiness is stomping through puddles with childish abandon.

The woman takes so many pictures (I silently curse the invention of the digital camera) that I soon run out of easy happiness statements. I start getting all deep with myself. Can you really define happiness? If something does make you happy and you define it as something that makes you happy, will it still make you happy? Or does the act of definition and observation obliterate its happy-making power? If you consciously monitor your happiness levels, are you more or less likely to be happy? Or will you train yourself to think you’re happy when, in fact, you’re merely ‘fine.’ If you obsess about how happy you are, will you, in fact, destroy your ability to experience happiness? And what IS happiness anyway?

“Happiness is–”
FLASH.

Oh, for Godsake. Stop taking pictures! Do you think that you can really capture happiness on a digital memory card? Happiness is so fleeting, so ill-defined. It’s not in a smile, it’s not in a steak, it’s certainly not on a gaudy casino floor–

“Happiness is–”
FLASH.

No more! I just want to be here with my friends experiencing whatever there is to experience. I don’t want to perform for your stupid camera with your stupid made-up-saying. Who says ‘happiness is’ anyway? Why not say ‘cheese?’ like a normal person? I think it’s telling that you’re obsessed with happiness, lady. You are so friggin’ miserable and I think it’s because you’re always trying to capture joy on film. In pixels. Whatever.

“Happiness is–”
FLASH.

“SHUT UP!” Whoops. I just said that out loud. My friends are staring at me. The picture-lady is staring at me. I try to cover. “Shut up and get in this here picture, missy,” I say in my best “golly-gee-aw-shucks” voice. Bile rises in my throat as I say “You know, happiness is all of us being together in a picture.” Gag. She buys it. A tear comes to her eye. My friends pat me on the back, proud of how mature I am. I fee l. . . happy.

Happiness is earning the respect and admiration of your friends through deception? Who knew.

FLASH.