Monday, December 23, 2013


Staving off cynicism just as anyone else is at this time of year; telling myself I should be a better human being just as anyone else this time of year; thinking I could do a just as much of a better job at showing the people in my life how much they mean to me as anyone else is likely feeling this time of year; feeling lonely, maybe, just as anyone else this time of year, and then feeling utterly lucky to be alive, just as anyone else is this time of year. 

I’m typing my way towards the difference between Happiness and Joy.

Happiness is what’s on television. Happiness is sold to you, cajoling you, a false sense of you-name-it, security, confidence, esteem. There’s nothing wrong with Happiness, it’s just something that you spread more akin to the saccharine preserves from a factory-sealed, machine-stirred jar you bought from a store that was loaded off a truck and produced by a corporation.

Joy is something…brighter, warmer, fuzzier, unknowable.

Why mince words? The thesaurus will tell you that both words mean pretty much the same thing.

But why, this being the Christmas season, is everyone suddenly aware of the word Joy… Why is it in so many non-secular X-Mas songs, the ones about Jesus and what-have-you, going on and on about bringing Joy to the World? It just suddenly started driving me a bit ponderously mad – thinking, now, that that might be the most valuable thing about the whole Christmas Season. Joy. 

(And when I use that phrase “season,” I don’t mean something meteorological, I don’t mean something evocative as leaves and sunshine and snow and insects, I mean something more crass like Oscar Season, or Baseball Season…I mean something that’s more perfunctory).

Happiness is something you have, I think… And Joy is something you give.

The emphasis, though, is that Joy is something less tangible than a new pair of headphones or pre-paid tickets to the Car Wash… 

And that’s when I, just like every other Mickey-Mouse-Charlie-Brown-Yukon-Cornelius-Christmas-Special…enter the clichéd refrain of having this intangible “joy” be something you keep…I don’t know where, maybe in your heart? Let it be something that leaves a mark upon the people you know and love, like delicately carved initials into the bark of their heart or abstract paint scrawls upon the canvas of their soul… You pick your visual metaphor.

Leave your mark. Leave joy.

And leave Happiness on the shelves of the department stores. Save your money…for more meaningful causes.

“I’m not…cra-zy… It’s (almost) Christmas Eve. It’s the one night when we all act a little nicer. We….smile a little easier. We…we…share a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year we are the people that we always hoped we would be…”

How in the name of whatever-sanctified-spirit-Above, did I wind up quoting a movie? That’s my own weakness, a muscle atrophied by the distraction prevailed by the digital age…Because a movie is probably playing right now on your television, telling you about happiness and joy.
The impact depends upon whether you just re-quote it or whether you try giving it out…

“Oh, by the way… here.”

No comments: