It’s been brought to my attention recently that I’m something of a curmudgeon, that I scowl permanently. I think of myself as a generally positive person who sees the beauty in people and in the world around me, but I’m not very good at expressing that to the people around me. I’ve gone through the ol’ photo archive to find a few examples of my miserable face.The first of these three photos was taken while I piloted a motor boat on Lake Lugano in the Italian, southern part of Switzerland. The second was taken in a bathroom mirror after a rather satisfying rest stop, and the third on my way up to the the highest mountain in the beautiful Sierra Nevadas of Spain. But you would think that in the first I was just told I have a terminal illness, the second I’m in a Mexican standoff, and the third someone is making me do multiplication tables without the aid of my fingers! So I have a problem.
At this point I could talk about how happiness is simply a failure to understand the seriousness of the world we live in, how if ignorance is bliss then bliss is nothing more than ignorance, how my forehead wrinkles when my brain is at work and it’s always at work, but I won’t. Rather I think I’ll just try to show you that I am at least in good company.Colin Farrel, Russel Crowe and Gordon Ramsay: three handsome and intriguing men who are perpetually grumpy and scowling. And they’re just the first three that come to mind. Look back through history. James Joyce was grumpy, at least while he was writing his good stuff. When he became happy his work suffered greatly. Shakespeare was pretty grumpy too. Could you write Troilus and Cressida in a good mood? Even our lord Jesus Christ was pretty grumpy, though for reasons largely out of his control.
Now I’m not suggesting that I am like some combination of Colin Farrel, Russel Crowe, Gordon Ramsay, Joyce, Shakespeare, and Jesus. I might feel that way sometimes but I would never say it.
The simple fact is that not everyone has to be as cheerful as Ellen Degeneres. Those people are here to remind me of the beauty and intrigue of the world around me, and I’m here to piss on their parade and remind them that at least half of existence is miserable and pointless. True wisdom is seeing both: like a great David Attenborough documentary that shows the birth of a beautiful baby lamb just before showing the parasitic worm that eats the inside of its eyeball.
My question to you: which side of the scale do you think you fall on? Do you blow up bubbles or burst them?