Monday, April 7, 2014

April 7: Cheese and Crackers, Choosing to Be Happy, "Web" Dip

I'm sitting here in my office at the university, eating cheese and crackers for dinner.  Great Value Harvest Vegetable Baked Crisp Snacks and Colby-Jack Cubes.  It's a fairly healthy selection for a Monday night.  Usually, I'm feasting on a peanut butter sandwich and a Nutri Grain bar.  As the saying goes, variety is the spice of life.

I just finished teaching my film class. Brokeback Mountain this week.  One of my favorites.  However, it tends to drive me toward melancholy.  I can't think of a sadder movie.  Maybe Midnight Cowboy with Dustin Hoffman, but it's a close contest.  Anyway, during my Brokeback week, I have to do things to lighten my disposition.  Sometimes, I watch episodes of SpongeBob when I get home.  If I'm really down, I resort to It's A Wonderful Life.

I admire people who can consciously choose to be happy.  I don't understand them, but I admire them.  I had a coworker who always saw the silver lining in every cloud.  Very little could rattle her.  In the five-plus years I worked closely with her, I can only recall two occasions when I actually saw her upset.  (Both times, she was heavily pregnant.)  She simply refused to be sad, or she hid it really well.  She chose happiness.  Every day.

I wish I could cultivate that ability.  I think it would make my life so much easier.  For example, I have a crap load of grading to do this evening.  I am dreading it.  In fact, I'm contemplating typing a novella-length post to avoid it.  My coworker would have already attacked the stack of tests with a red pen, gusto, and a smile.

I thought my Lenten gratitude posts would help me in the happiness arena.  They haven't so far.  To be honest, I've struggled some days to come up with something for which to be grateful.  I find that fact really alarming.  I'd hate to think that I'm naturally pessimistic.  If I'm being honest, however, I have to admit that I just looked at a cup of water sitting on my desk and thought, "I've already drained half it."  Really.  I'm a half-empty kind of guy.

So, I here's my question for the Book of Charlotte today:

Am I a negative person?

And, flipping through the pages, my finger stops on:

...Wilbur stood still and closed his eyes.  He could feel the buttermilk trickling down his sides.  He opened his mouth and some buttermilk ran in.  It was delicious.  He felt radiant and happy...

Delicious.  Radiant.  Happy.

Maybe there is hope for Saint Marty after all.

It's all a matter of perspective...

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