…But I Feel Like Smiling

Has anyone ever told you that it takes more energy to frown than it does to smile? People who say this are morons. They’re wrong, for starters, but even if they were right: what is one supposed to do with this information? Base every facial expression on economy of energy? It undoubtedly takes more energy to take a shit than to take a piss, but that matters very little when you need to take a shit.

I am a little late to the game, but this week I heard about something called the ‘Hundred Happy Days’ challenge, which made me profoundly unhappy. The process by which my rotted brain slowly collapses into an infinitesimally concentrated singularity of spite was, by just a tiny bit, accelerated.   I felt, frankly, ready to chew off my own tongue and spit it in the faces of all of the wretched freaks that populate my day, or into the plastic bags that I sometimes offer them to aid in carrying their things.

I know, I know; I’m moaning. And constantly moaning is annoying. But if there’s one thing more annoying than people that constantly moan, it’s the people who are constantly cheerful. Which is what makes it all the more puzzling that being really insufferably cheerful should be a desirable thing to be.

A hundred days of happiness. A hundred goddam days. I’m not sure I could be happy for a hundred days, let alone a hundred consecutive days. Target-based happiness? What depraved sadist thought of this? What happens when something unforeseen happens? What happens when you get to ninety-eight days and your goldfish dies? Not only do you have the bereavement, you have the failure at the impossible task you set yourself. And thus proceeds a downward spiral that ends with your viscera plastered all over the bathroom wall.

I can, however, conceive of three categories of person that might succeed in completing this marathon:

  1. Utter simpletons
  2. Smack Addicts
  3. People that are just naturally cheerful anyway

The former category is beyond reason, and therefore beyond the reach of this blog; the latter would have no reason to partake in this challenge in the first place. This leaves us with the smackheads. This challenge seems designed with them in mind. Notwithstanding any sudden supply-side disturbances, a junk-monkey would finish this task without much trouble. It would be particularly easy as each picture would be of the same syringe.

But the thing doesn’t seem to be targeted toward smackheads. It’s targeted at people who just want to be happy. Which, as it turns out, is most people. How does one become happy? Through rehearsal. You can, apparently, condition yourself into a state of happiness. This is done by taking time out of every day to photograph something that makes you happy, before posting the image online for all of your peers to enjoy, thus reminding yourself that you really should be happier with things, and everyone else that you are indeed very happy.

You may not even notice when you transition from “I wish I were happier” to “I must be happy”.   And we all know where that road leads. It’s been well trodden by the sorts of sweating manatees who are at this very moment glued to the toilet, cramming fistfuls of ‘shit-yourself-thin’ pills into their mouths, pausing only occasionally to sob hysterically and mouth the words to ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams.

Were we all to travel down this road, we would soon arrive at a Brave New World in which in a neverending state of contentment lingers over everyone, and in which good cheer has been mandated by some government quango, much like the anti-obesity advisors of today. The national sport will be grinning, and those that abstain from grinning will become social pariahs.

I’m sure I don’t need to explain how awful such a world would be. Wouldn’t human progress grind to a halt? Isn’t every advance brought about by a feeling of dissatisfaction? Really, civilisation is built on a solid foundation of being ever-so-slightly annoyed with everything. Why build roads if you’re happy with dirt tracks? Why build a car if you’re happy with a horse and cart? Why have a double burger if you’re happy with just one? Why invent penicillin if you’re happy with diphtheria or whatever disease you contracted during a busy weekend’s gloryholing at the local Wetherspoon’s?

When I think of cheerful people, the person who immediately springs to mind is the Traffic Collision Investigator guy who frequents my work. He spends his time moving between the scenes of fatal accidents, and he’s the most cheerful person I know. I have never seen him without a smile on his face. He’s armed with a perspective that most of us lack. So instead of concentrating on things that make you happy, try thinking about all of the horrendous shit. War, Famine, Death, that sort of thing. Long term, that’ll cheer you right up.

You may by now have gathered that I am not one of the cheerful people. Cheerful people! Do me a favour and go fuck yourselves.   No, don’t fuck yourselves and grin. Try to treat the task with at least a modicum of solemnity. You people are just the worst.

The rest of you: Stop trying to emulate those people. You will fail, and your failure will only bring about further melancholy. Good day to you all.

Good day, I say.

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