Through the NYT’s Happy Days blog I discovered the work of Tim Kreider. The prose first, and then the cartoons for which he is better known. He’s Brilliant.
“My Desk” from The Painâ€”When Will It End?
This piece about how we only realize we’re happy after the fact kills me not just because it is beautifully-written but because it’s absolutely true.
by Tim Kreider
In 1996 I rode the circus train to Mexico City where I lived for a month, pretending to be someoneâ€™s husband. (Donâ€™t even ask.) I remember my time there as we remember most of our travels â€” vivid and thrilling, everything new and strange. My ex-fake-wife Carolyn and I often reminisce nostalgically about our honeymoon there: ordering un balde hielo from room service to cool our Coronas every afternoon, the black-velvet painting of the devil on the toilet that she made me buy, our shared hilarious terror of kidnapping and murder, the giant pork rind I wrangled through customs. Which is funny, since, if I think back honestly, while I was actually there I did not feel â€œhappy.â€In fact, as mi esposa did not hesitate to point out to me at the time, I griped incessantly about the noise and stink of the city â€” the car horns playing shrill, uptempo versions of the theme from â€œThe Godfatherâ€ or â€œLa Cucarachaâ€ every second, the noxious mix of diesel fumes and urine, the air so filthy weâ€™d been there a week before I learned we had a view of the mountains. . . Continue reading Averted Vision.
The problem, I think, is that we now view the pursuit of happiness as a competitive sport. “How come she’s happy and I’m not?” “Why is he happier than I am, what am I doing wrong?” “Is there something I could buy or ingest to guarantee my happiness?” And that, people, is the path to unhappiness.