Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I've Got Feet

My friend Max and I were together with a mutual friend/colleague today, one who, though beloved, is a bit insane and grates on our nerves with regularity. (For the sake of anonymity, let's call him Bert.) Bert gets a lot of leeway from many, many people for his craziness, especially lately, as he's been suffering from health problems that have made simple things like getting in and out of a car or walking unassisted difficult for him.

Anyhow, I had been telling my tale of recent woes to Max last night, and after we left Bert at the airport, she looked at me sharply and said, "No matter how bad you have it, there's always someone worse. Look at Bert. He has no feet."

"Max," I said calmly. "Bert has feet. He's just having problems walking. He's actually getting better."

"No, I was shorthanding that old saying: I didn't have shoes, the other guy didn't have feet," she retorted. "He's a very unhappy man, you know. For all your troubles, at least you're a happy person."

I thought this over carefully. I've been debating this with myself recently. Am I as a rule an unhappy person? Should I perhaps be on Prozac or Wellbutrin, or, if there is a divine being who cares about me at all, Ecstasy? I think I'm leaning towards the answer that I am indeed fucked up and unhappy, and that I definitely deserve to be on mood-altering substances.

"Max," I said. "I'm actually not a happy person. I never have been. I just fake it really well and as a general rule - one I try to follow but fail at a lot - I think that just because I'm miserable doesn't mean everyone around me should be."

"Fake it till you make it," she said. "That works. You make other people happy by faking happiness and then that makes you happy."

I sort of think she missed the point, or maybe I did. At any rate, I'm still a black-hearted, numb-souled, unhappy dump on the inside, but at least other people think I'm not.

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