Wednesday, February 13, 2008

If That's What It Takes To Get Up, I'll Stay Down...

(No, this isn't what you thought it was, you dirty bastards.) ;-)

I came across this column today on NPR that says maybe being sad occasionally is not such a bad thing.

Yes! Sad! Just a little! It won't kill you!

This will come as a shock to all those out there who panic at the first sign of the blues, squawking about "depression" and reading do-it-yourself health articles for tips on letting in more sunlight, eating more turkey and oranges (for the tryptophan), and running around the block compulsively every two hours (to get the endorphins a-goin'). As this column points out, there is an advantage to occasional bouts of sadness: it inspires us to work towards happiness (you know, SOLVE our problems?) and it provides balance to life. In extreme cases, sadness has also been the cornerstone for a lot of great artistic achievement (although admittedly, some of the best "sad artist" types were suicidal--Van Gogh, Edith Piaf, Billie Holliday--which begs the question of how sad is TOO sad).

But today, people want to be happy-happy-happy all the goddamned time. It constantly amazes me at work when people pass by my desk and ask what's wrong because I'm not wearing an eerie Stepford-esque grin all the time. "What's wrong, Aaron?" I hear from the terminally cheerful. "You're frowning!"

(AUTHOR'S NOTE: If I'm frowning, it's probably from something called "concentration." It goes in tandem with that whole "work" thing, which is probably why they don't recognize it. But that's another story, for another blog.)

And the extremes we go to to stay "happy" are unreal: with all the anti-depressants, anesthetics, and psychological crutches available out there, how can we tell when we're really happy or just buzzed??

Besides which, perky people irritate the fuck out of me. Not only are they annoyingly squeaky and headache-inducingly upbeat most of the time, but they're also nosy as hell. I remember the days of the old workplace when a simple "Fine" was sufficient answer to the question "How are you?" and "nothing special" was enough to satisfy the curiosity of those who asked, "What did you do this weekend?" Now, we have these horrible little ten-and-twenty-somethings who want to know all about your life, exactly where you went, who you did it with, and a urine sample.

For Christ's sakes, back off already! Turn off the TV and stop watching "Gossip Girl." And lay off the uppers. They're clearly poisoning your mind.

For those of us who enjoy a little contemplation every so often: it's OK to be a little grey or even a little blue sometimes, don't you think? It adds variety to life (in moderation, of course). Hence the popularity of the blues and country music--creative, constructive ways to deal with the sadness of life. You can turn it into something positive without drugging it (and yourself) into oblivion while you wait for better times.

Because they WILL come--do you want to be doped up and semi-conscious when they arrive?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG! My cousin is so fucking, "Good. Everything is really good. I have so much to be grateful for. Really we're all good." everytime I speak with her I find I can no longer respond to it. The other day she went on her gratitude spiel and had to finish with, "Are you still there?" She's more grateful than Oprah. I get trying to put on a happy face but so much of it artificial that it's nearly impossible to enjoy her company anymore. I like a tad more humanity in my humans.

6:08 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Precisely! It's unnatural to be so upbeat all the time. And I find that it's the "shiny-happies" that go around the twist first when the shit hits the fan, don't you?

Better to let it all out NOW...

7:37 PM  
Blogger BC said...

I find it best not to fight my emotions anymore. I let them in, experience them, and let them out. It's when I wallow in them, that causes me trouble.

11:39 PM  
Blogger BC said...

ps check out my new widget... I know you'll want one....!

11:41 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Ooh, I love the widget! Daddy like!

10:11 AM  

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