Fear of happiness leads to rampant pessimism

“The Record sucks.” “The Snack Bar sucks.” “The milkshakes they serve at the snack bar – they suck.” “The trees suck.” “The way the leaves are changing color – that sucks too.” “The team we’re playing this weekend. They suck.” “So does Joe.” “I think my professor got his Ph.D. in Sucking Theory.” “Citizen Kane sucks.” “And those new Chapin Hall bricks…they blow.”

Walk around campus for a little while, and you’ll realize that there’s always a lot of sucking and blowing going on. You would think that peer health must be incredibly busy, but (as far as this minimally researched article can tell) they aren’t.

So where is this ugly, base, nefarious energy coming from? I thought to ask my organic chemistry professor why there’s so much sucking going on, but I decided that he would start chalking up the board with wonderfully complicated atomic orbital diagrams of molecules that cause things to suck and I decided that this was not what I was after.

No, I was after the human touch. So I asked myself “Why do so many things suck around here?” Is it Williams? Is it the cows? The mountains? Are communists putting things in our water? What, oh what is the cause of our fragile human troubles?

Now call me but a liar if I myself didn’t at one point or another murmur all the things mentioned above, everything of course, except the part about the Record.

To tell you the truth, a lot of times I said these things not because I was feeling blue like an old ragged shoe. No, I just needed to whine because things were good. In general, whiny complaints are spoken when there isn’t much else to do but enjoy the good life. But to admit that things are good is akin to being happy, and being happy is a lot to ask of anybody, especially with Y2K coming up. I’m not sure if I have a remedy for this phenomenon. Maybe the remedy is to step back a little while and let things sink in. Think about things before making empty commentary. Or maybe listen to that song by Garbage: “I’m Only Happy When it Rains.” Then the rain won’t be that bad.

The Fundamental Theorem of Positivism Sucks has one unique twist: athletics. You never hear: “Jimbo came in second to last place in the race, but he sure put in a good effort. I admire his dedication.” Instead, you’re probably going to hear “My grandmother could put on a blindfold and still run faster than Jimbo because he really sucks.” This is not a case of discourse encouraged by a fear of happiness. This is an example of athletes forgetting the inherent nature of competition. When pride and false macho instincts take over, everyone is awful and can’t throw right, aim right, run right. The only thing they know how to do is suck right. It’s just too easy to forget why we really compete: the love of the sport, not the hate of the opponent.

When exams are kicking our butts, it’s hard to say, “The leaves sure are pretty.” But I know that when we have it as good as we do, all we need to do is step back for a little while and remember the good stuff in all we do. Follow this simple recipe, and when Jimbo crosses the finish line, even if he got his butt kicked, he’ll see all smiles from his team.

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