Saturday, January 25, 2014

Lowered Expectations

Am I wrong, or is it tough to be "happy" in this world? Still, that seems to be the unceasing goal of most humans, unattainable though it may be. We are constantly told--by our parents, our teachers and the media-- that if we are less than happy, there is something amiss. We must be nuts! After all, there's junk food to be eaten and video games to be played; movies to watch and sporting events to attend; toss in a few drugs and a drink or two and there are certainly enough distractions to get us through another day--and another and then another--with a smile.

Just moments ago, in good spirits and feeling as if today is literally the first day of the rest of my life, I poured myself some coffee, popped an English muffin in the toaster and opened up the morning paper. End of good mood. As if the "Bombings Escalating in Egypt" and the "Tumbling U. S. Markets Spreading Fear" were not enough to ruin my breakfast, the editors opted to run a front-page story featuring siblings, ages 15 and 16, suffering from a genetic condition called Pompe disease that gradually weakens the muscles and makes life a living Hell. To help us understand their daily horror, there are photos of the entire family, Mom and Dad included, engaged in the ongoing suffering that began years ago with the birth of each child. Now I feel like shit, and there goes the day.

Avoidance is always a possibility, but if facing reality is your thing, then maybe happiness is the problem; perhaps we should aim for a lesser condition that is more reasonable. Today I will strive to be pleased, thankful, clean and productive. I may also take some of those coats that we never wear into downtown Portland and give them to the street bums. It's really cold out there.

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