A Corn Dog (The Pursuit of Happiness)
The pursuit of happiness is an odd journey. Pursuing any emotion is strange. Could you imagine saying, “Today, I’m going to pursue rage. I’m going to put on Hall & Oats’ greatest hits, put three heads of cabbage in an open, boiling pot, and project The Fred Movie trilogy onto my living room wall. Hopefully, I’ll reach a sensory meltdown where I’ll want to throw a small child through the window of a Chuck E. Cheese.”
Which is ridiculous. You don’t have to pursue emotions. The’ll just come over to your house. Usually unannounced and with an odd looking lady that sports a face tattoo with the name of “Sprinkles.” Which is unfortunate. I mean, how many times do you have to train something to not pee on the carpet?
JESUS: The real path to happiness is through charity and forgiveness.
ME: Really? That seems pretty convenient. It can’t be that simple.
JESUS: Of course it is. Look over here. This poor, helpless child is a victim of rape. And standing next to her is her rapist.
ME: Jesus! That’s a lot of blood. Oh, god.
JESUS: “Oh god” is right! But, witness this miracle: Rapist. What you have done here is despicable. But, I know you were influenced by the devil himself. Just know, I love you. And I forgive you. Go. Go with the grace of god.
RAPIST: Really? Thanks! Thanks, Jesus!!
ME: What the hell? Jesus, you can’t do that. That man has raped a young woman. He must be held responsible! Retribution, Jesus.
JESUS: Retribution, smetribution. Did you see how happy he was? I’m also happy. Happiness through forgiveness.
JESUS: And this tragic creature. We will give her charity and understanding… I understand you have been raped. Here is a few dollars for some new underwear. Oh, screw it. I’ll throw in some more for a fresh bar of soap. Go. Take a shower and cleanse yourself of this sin.
LADY: Fuck you, Jesus. You are a horrible man!
JESUS: You will learn to transcend this. Now go. Body of Christ and, umm, namaste.
ME: Everything about this is wrong.
JESUS: But look at my face. I’m smiling. I have just demonstrated happiness through charity.
ME: What a sociopath. Hey, why don’t you look at my face. That’s called rage. Not only am I going to kick your fucking ass, but I’m also going to fuck you in the ass.
JESUS: What? Wait a minute.
LADY: Yeah, fuck him up, dude! Fuck that punk mother fucker!
JESUS: No! Step back!
ME: And I’m not carrying any vaseline, bitch!
LADY: Hahaha! Look at my face, Jesus! That’s called happiness! This is going to be grrrreat!
If you value historical truths, then you must value this: Happiness doesn’t exist. Today’s concept of happiness is as fake as Santa Clause, an excellent DC Comics movie, or that black people can’t be racist.
BLACK WOMAN: What did you say, you cracker ass white boy? All white and privileged and white. I hate you, whitey!
ME: Well, technically, I’m only half white. So, could you downgrade your weapon to something more appropriate. Like, umm, a whip! Yeah. That seems right…
Anyway, the first concept of happiness was derived by the Greeks. They called it “Eudaimonia.” Which meant to flourish. Financially. Yes, the pursuit of happiness is a reference to flourishing financially. It’s not an emotion at all. At least, it wasn’t back then. Back then, it was just a way of saying, “Nice robe, Socrates. Is it imported?”
One day, while he was having an octopus and caper salad at the overpriced but well reviewed “Happiness Cafe,” Saint Francis of Assisi noticed that poor people were miserable looking. And it bothered him. Not because he was moved by the death and diseases that the discrepancies of wealth had created, but by how unattractive the facial expressions of death and disease are. How could anybody enjoy their overpriced octopus and caper salad on this lovely restaurant patio when, a mere twenty feet away, there were deplorable homeless people that looked so hopelessly cheerless? He had an idea. So, he stood up and walked over to where the homeless were gathered. Some of them were convulsing on the path from Ergotism, while others were fighting over a guitar. Because, let’s face it. Learning to play the guitar is a gateway to homelessness.
ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI: Excuse me. Excuse me, everyone. Good people of Italy, can I please have your attention. Thank you. It is not right for the servant of God to show sadness and a dismal face. So, rejoice in the lord or I will take you out to where the little fishes feed, capiche? Now get the fuck outta here…
And so began the slow metamorphosis of the meaning of happiness. The pursuit of financially flourishing became a pursuit of joy, serenity, optimism, love, acceptance and trust. Which is a silly pursuit. Emotions are fleeting at best. Experiencing emotions is like riding a roller coaster. You stand in line for two hours feeling slightly annoyed, (which is the baseline of all humans,) and then you are emotionally tossed around for a couple of minutes. Which ride will it be? The Joy Jostler? The Rage Ringer? The Galloper of Grief? You won’t know until you’re strapped in. You don’t pursue these things, they come for you and you simply white knuckle the bar. You hold on and take the ride. And when the ride comes to a jolting stop, you think, “Whoa. That was crazy! Insane! My legs are all wobbly.” Then you teeter out and you get back in line.
Or go pursue a corn dog. Which, oddly, is like riding a mini roller coaster. I mean, how can consuming something so trivial illicit emotions that range from complete ecstasy to horrible regret. Which is similar to dating a Latin Woman. Hmm. I vote corn dog…