How to Be Happy


For centuries, people have been making themselves miserable with happiness. I believe they are going about it the wrong way round, though who can tell without a bill of lading. In its absence, let’s explore alternate routes and speed traps.


If you are not happy, you may be depressed. Scientists think happiness and depression are as incompatible as my Uncle Morris and Aunt Eugenia. Statistics show that in 95.6% of the cases, happiness and depression avoid each other, and aren’t invited to the same parties. The best thing to do if you find depression is to hide it behind the laundry basket with the rest of the liquor.


Hormones play a hefty role in how we feel – think of them as the big-boned syndrome of unhappiness. You can’t get rid of the extra weight, if your hormones don’t let you lighten up. To reset your hormones, find some soybeans (or ask your broker) and cook them. If you prefer, you can microwave. It doesn’t matter how you get them into you, so long as they stay there. This may be uncomfortable, but it is the only way to get from slow metabolism to gleeful without a layover in Cincinnati.


If you hate soybeans (and who doesn’t) try “learned optimism,” the brainchild of a paternity suit and Virginia Dallyworth. “Learned optimism” teaches that optimists are pessimists who see a way out. There it is! If you leave immediately, you can still catch the 8:30 to East Hampton.


Should you prefer something fancier (yet, low fat), go for cognitive reframing: stop telling yourself how lousy your suffering makes you feel, and cheer up. Put a stamp on your sorrow, mark it fragile, and drop it down the nearest mail shoot. Keep going until you reach Main Street, take a right hop, skip the jump, and continue straight, crying aloud “enthusiasm, enthusiasm, enthusiasm.”


In the event a concerned citizen ships you off to a hospital, don’t panic. The nice doctors who greet you will tell you that their drugs are better than your drugs (and great for peeling wallpaper). After a couple of the blue pills, and a Tarantella, you are ready to frame the Monet.


Affirmations are another popular approach to well being (take them straight no chaser). To practice affirmations stand in front of a mirror, facing east, and say things like “I am a good person” and “I forgive the world” and “I am employable.” Write these words down and stick them everywhere. Odds are, though you repeat the same words 812 times, you will forget what you said.


Well, that’s about it. Frankly, I suggest we all just wait around, and have another round, until melancholia comes back into vogue. It can’t be too far behind bell-bottoms. And, what with the crying, and the languishing, and the quoting from Lord Byron, even the most discerning of us will have something fun to do. Surely, that will make you happy.