Studies About Happiness Fail to Make Us Happy

We humans are a fickle bunch. Take Eliot Spitzer: besides the receding hairline, the guy had everything going for him. And yet he threw it all away to make the career of some hot piece of Jersey trash. And we're always trying to figure out what makes us happy. There all always studies coming out about how religion makes us happy, how cats help your heart and whether cigarettes can do anything for your psyche. And that's just this week's batch of articles. Cigarettes, sex, and meaningless studies aren't doing it for us apparently. So what does make us happy?

Fuck if I know. I saw the Kids in the Hall movie, Brain Candy, and I know that a magic pill doesn't work. To be happy overall, you have to be a little miserable sometimes. It's just the rules.

It does seem like Western society is obsessed with the search for happiness. So maybe like Huckleberry Finn, it's all about the journey, and we find happiness in the fruitless search for it. Who says Sisyphus was miserable, pushing that rock up the hill only to have it fall down the next day? It's honest work. As Albert Camus put it, "The struggle itself is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy."

Here are three things that make me happy. They might not work for you.

  • Buying the paper and a banana for my roommate on Sunday mornings.
  • Looking at Facebook pictures of people I haven't seen in 15 years.
  • That Asian guy who runs around Prospect Park the wrong way every morning usually with his dog, but sometimes with his friend. Today he was with his wife, which also made me happy.


And here are three things that make me sad:

  • Empty "Happy Birthday!" wishes on Facebook walls.
  • The Bowling Green stop on the 4/5 line.
  • That everyone thinks Curtis Sittenfeld is chick lit because she writes about the human experience from a female perspective. No one calls Philip Roth dick lit. And while we're at it, why isn't "dick lit" a popular phrase?