“What me Worry:” The LAGuide to Achieving Happiness and Serenity Now
Although we, at Stevieslaw feel that we have done more than our share to promote happiness by publishing “Is that what’s bothering you, Bunkie?” in September, it appears to have done little to relieve the malaise most Americans are living with. In a recent Gallup Poll1, more than 100% of the Americans polled agreed that “everything is terrible,” best describes the state of the nation. Most thought the state of the world much, much worse. In the words of one anonymous poll taker, “Not only have we hit rock bottom, but they also keep moving rock bottom lower and lower.” The medical profession has taken note of the situation. When quizzed, a spokesperson for the AMA stated, “The only reason for not putting Prozac (or any other anti-depressant) in the water supply is the startling fact that it is already there and in quantities up to 700 times higher than its therapeutic dose2.” Americans cite Ebola, Putin, Isis, immigration and the economy as things that are coming to get them—and soon, very soon.
It is not that Americans don’t have some cause to be concerned. The agency responsible for keeping us Ebola free—The Center for Disease Control, is the same agency that had an employee leave an unmarked vial of live bubonic plague bacteria (Yersinia Pestis) on a lunch counter at Denny’s. Shameful! How could anyone associated with the CDC eat lunch at Denny’s? And the agency suffered another loss of credibility when one of its senior researchers responded to a question on Fox News by stating that, “Clearly, one can contract Ebola by the thinking too hard about it.” Then there is the whole question of Isis and immigration, and how the two have been conjoined in the American consciousness. A recent geography textbook, vetted by the Texas Department of Education, aimed at junior and senior level College “values” courses, and already adopted by most red states1, shows that Syria lies just north of Guatemala, in a region once known as Mexico. I believe the bombing has already begun.
Remember when Billy Shakespeare penned, “What’s in a name”? Plenty as it turns out. And that is the reason our cousin Debbie wants to know why the terrorists get all the good names and acronyms. They get Isis and Hezbollah. We get Kurds. That sounds like a variant spelling of curds. Isn’t that something you get when you add vinegar to milk? Scared? Nope. If the curds were on the offensive, we would all be scanning the internet for recipes. She also points out that only the really awful diseases get cool, catchy names —Ebola, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), and the brilliantly expressive West Nile Virus—a veritable travel log of a bug. It makes it hard to be disturbed by something that could actually get you, like the flu. Flu just doesn’t scream scary. Even switching to its full name can’t make it sound more dangerous. Isn’t “Influenza” a local rock band? The country has also bought into the idea that Vladimir Putin is a reincarnation of Count Dracula. There has been a persistent rumor sweeping through the Starbucks cafes at the Barnes and Noble stores that Putin wrote the Twilight series of vampire books under the pseudonym Stephenie Meyer. Many think Putin will live forever and drain the world of blood. Silly? Well have you carefully examined his name when spelled backwards in Cyrillic? I thought not. And then there is the real kicker, the economy. Sure, Americans have little historical perspective or interest in economics—being far better prepared to identify and discuss who stole third base in the 6th game of the World Series in 1937 and why than who is John Maynard Keynes3 and so what—but still they pay the bills. To them it’s simple. There once was a middle class. Now there isn’t.
What is a thinking, imaginative person to do? Or for that matter, what are you and I to do? Clearly, we have little or no control of the major events going on around you. Even if there were a small possibility of influencing events, say by voting out the legislators we’d cross the street to avoid, we cannot seem to muster the energy to go to the polling place around the corner on election day4. We at Stevieslaw have the answer. Sing! Sing your hearts out. Sing happy songs at the top of your lungs. In this month’s Less-intelligent-than-average American Guide, we will provide you with the lyrics of every senseless song that ever made you smile or laugh out loud. Buy the guide and sing! Here, let’s get you started…and a one and a two…
My, oh my, what a wonderful day
Plenty of sunshine headin’ my way
Mister Bluebird’s on my shoulder
It’s the truth, it’s actual
Ev’rything is satisfactual…
Wonderful feeling, wonderful day.
Got the hang of it?
2A list of medicines you will know longer need to buy, provided you drink two glasses of water a day, will soon be made available in this column (see 1).
3Pinch hit in game seven (see 1)
4I apologize to the 2.8% of you that will vote in this coming midterm election. (see 1)