Thursday, February 28, 2008

Still feeling fairly puffy today. (And too puffy to post a blog yesterday, evidently.) When I say I feel puffy, I actually mean PUFFY. I wake up feeling as if someone rolled an air compressor to the side of my bed overnight, and then jammed the hose into my mouth and turned the valve FULL ON. You can see it in my face in the morning. The inflated bags under my eyes, the swollen flesh around my cheekbones, and the general all-around subcutaneous padding as If I'd got up in the morning and pulled my skin on over my pajamas. Another side effect is the dry mouth from the hose.

I'm still sick I guess. Illnesses are just a side effect of life, when you think about it -which is kind of a funny thought. Children are a side effect of marriage, which is a side effect of life. Deafness in the part of the Dad is a side effect of the persistent wailing child in the background, which is a side effect of marriage, which is a... you get the idea. Everything is a side effect of something else, I guess. There's a label on the soul: THIS LIFE COULD RESULT IN YOU GETTING SICK AND EVENTUALLY DYING.

I suppose I could be more upbeat about it. But happiness is really only a side effect of itself, and not of circumstance, which is what can make it so hard. Anything that ordinarily I would list as making me happy (gardening, water skiing, beer, etc.) has a downside effect as well (filth, muscle pain, boat repair, expense, headache, etc.) I do believe that you can just choose to be happy, fake it even, and sooner or later find that you actually are happy. It's one of life's anomalies, I guess. Easier for some more than others.

Especially given how puffy you may feel at present. Dennis Prager says we have a moral obligation to be happy, which reminds me of the old Monty Python line, "You are hereby sentenced to be hanged by the neck... until you cheer up!" Yes, he says, A MORAL OBLIGATION! which makes one feel responsible to grin and bear it for the sake of all humanity. Prager says that being happy makes other people happy, and being in a bad mood repels other people just as much as, if not more than, bad breath, body odor, or food in your teeth. I pretty much agree with him.

Of course, people call in all the time with, "Oh, woe is me. I have two kids in jail, my wife is an alcoholic, I lost my job because I'm in chronic pain from a back injury and I'm dehydrated from the diarrhea I get from taking the meds," and Dennis just tells them to find a way to be happy anyway. "You don't have a choice!" he says. And, "You're gonna have to fake it for a while." It's kind of funny, really.

I've always struggled with it, I admit. I have one of those expressionless moonfaces most of the time, with a downturned smile to boot. All my life: "What's wrong?" Me: "Nothing." But often there is, so I've been trying. Especially with the Little Ditchman around. God help her if she ends up like me, dreading the days of work ahead, whining about being puffy -even though she's the one who gave me the cold to begin with.

And with such nice weather!