TO HOME DEPOT AND JUST LOOK AROUND"
wasn't sure why I had to go to Home Depot in particularwouldn't
Lowe's suffice?but mine was not to question why. Mine was to follow
orders and be happy.
entering the do-it-yourself mega-store, I was immediately transfixed by
a video display describing anti-flea products by Enforcer of Cartersville,
Ga. Soon, I was learning all about the fascinating life-cycle of the flea:
larvae, pupae, adult fleas, a quick stop on your pet, and then eggs.
this was quite interesting, it didn't improve my outlook on life. In fact,
it made me itchy. So I moved on, threading my way through a swarm of apron-wearing
guys who all looked like Bob Vila, and attempting to decipher the mysteriously
important messages squawking over the P.A. system: "Lumber mfrgl ignrark
I need a 229 on the 324 mrklbff."
recalling another rule of thumb from On Joy"Every so often,
go where you can hear a wooden screen door slam shut"I went to the
screen door section. Unfortunately, there was no sample of the wooden
ones already hung, so I just kind of knocked them together in the bin.
This did not make me happy. Neither did the ceiling fan section, the rugs
aisle, the doorknobs center, the window frame collection, or the barbecue
display, either. Maybe if I owned a house I'd feel better. Then again,
it'd probably make me think about all the work my house needs but I can't
afford to do.
"WATCH THE MOVIE GRAND CANYON"
this film, a bunch of yuppie baby boomers in Los Angeles become distraught
at urban decayi.e., crime. They sit around and bemoan the lot of
society, and question the direction of their lives. I found all this to
be pretty dull and predictabledepressing, evenbut then Steve
Martin got shot in the knee cap. I felt somewhat perked up, if not exactly
"TEST DRIVE A FAST, RED SPORTS CAR"
decided that if I was going be happy, I might as well be very happy.
Therefore, I combined the above directive with one a few pages later:
"Once in your life, own a convertible." I proceeded immediately to the
Mercedes Benz dealer.
I said as I shook the salesman's hand. "I would like to test drive a 600SLthe
one with a V12 engine? And it has to be red. Thanks!"
smile crystallized into a frozen grin, the part in his hair fracturing
to the very foundations of his Brylcream.
600SL is a splendid car," he said, teeth unmoving. "Unfortunately, we
don't have a red one. Perhaps another car will dowe have several
pre-owned selections that are also very nice."
noI'm afraid it's got to be a sports car, it's got to be a red one,
and it's got to be fast," I insisted. "Nothing else will do. I want to
see. And what type of remuneration will you be making your purchase with,
are paying for it?"
financing, thank you."
that case, why don't we have you fill out a credit application first?
It's just a formality before we proceed to test-drive a $120,000 automobile.
I'm sure you understand."
my credit report came back over the computer, American Express was immediately
notified of my whereabouts. And Mastercard. And that second Visa Card
I had forgotten about a few years ago. After the court settlement, my
wages are now being garnisheed through 2007, and I still didn't
get to test-drive the car. This did not make me happy.
AT CHILDREN ON SCHOOL BUSES"
early morning at an elementary school bus stop, I gaily waved at the visible
faces of our future leaders and innovators, children whose dreams and
innocence were yet unscathed by disappointment or grim reality.
received two "fuck you's," 12 fully flipped birds, and one lugie on my
shirt. This did not make me happy. As a result, I decided to skip "Visit
your old high school and introduce yourself to the principal. Ask if you
can sit in on a couple of classes." Meeting our future leaders in person
probably would not make me happy either, I concluded. Plus, the principal
might have me arrested.
"AT THE MOVIES, BUY JUNIOR MINTS AND SPRINKLE THEM ON YOUR POPCORN"
one movie-sized box of Junior Mints with one large box of popcorn with
butter, and what do you get? A surefire treat that not only brings a smile
to your face, but approximately 110 grams of fat coursing directly to
your heart. This did not make my major arteries happy.
FOR AN ENEMY"
first, I took this to mean that you should pray to get an enemy,
but wasn't quite sure how this would bring you joy. (Unless, of course,
you had him at your mercy, and
but I digress.) So now I assume
it means to think really good thoughts about an enemy you already
have. But I didn't have one at the ready (who was my ultimate enemy?)
so I sat down and made a list:
People who drive Cadillac SUVs.
The guy who invented "Nutty Buddies."
All MTV veejays.
I prayed for all Cadillac SUV owners to take driver safety courses on
"How to Share the Road," for the Nutty Buddy inventor to devise one that's
fat-free, and for all MTV veejays to return to their original, more challenging
field of employmentfast food sales.
must admit, I did feel a little better.
"DON'T POSTPONE JOY"
why didn't I do this in the first place? If that's all it takes
to be happy, why, I could be joyful every single day!
however, that's what Life's Little Treasure Books all boil down
to: don't overlook the simple pleasures in life. And this is a philosophy
I can certainly agree with.
through the course of my research, I was nearly trampled, arrested, bored
to death, and killed by clumps of fat. And any resulting increase in joyfulness
was not really worth the misery. Therefore, I say to you, find your own
homilies of joy, and save a few bucks in the process. They'll serve you