Tuesday, June 26, 2007

An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Is Being Happy an idea whose time has come? Someone asked me the other day about whether my job made me happy—and it doesn’t; do you know what I said to them? In lieu of the answer? I said (I kid you not):

"Half the world’s population, three billion souls, live on less than two dollars a day. Half of those, one and a half souls, make do on less than one dollar a day. It is a blessing beyond words to be able to provide for a life that does not have to shrink itself into 100 pennies. To expect fulfillment and happiness in that work, in this world, is so pretentious, it’s almost obscene. "

I didn’t say it to evade the question, I said it sincerely but only because the question upset me. I said it to neutralize the question, to fend it off. The question felt to me to be an aggression against my person, my unhappy person. It felt rude like someone pointing out something that obviously upsets you. My answer was half a kick back and a fuck you. This exchange, the way I felt, the way I answered, has stuck with me and brought me back--humbly, I admit--to this writing. I had not been writing as I often do when I have nothing to say. Maybe in the moment of my melodramatic self-righteous retort to the question of whether my job makes me happy I saw myself moving past not having anything to say into the hubris of pretending to have something really deep to say—or rather, something to hide behind. I’ve been many things I’m not proud of over these past ten or so crazy years. Could it be that I’ve become a coward too?

(to be continued; this line of reasoning and writing needs to happen only in small dosages)