Kevin of Carolina,
X has always been a complainer.
Not that X wasn’t correct about complaints.
The world is an awful place…filled with loathsome people.
And, let’s face it, life isn’t fair.
Not by a long shot.
I knew X would never be happy—no matter how good things got. X doesn’t even exist, X is a composite of stories over the years.
I think we’re all at least a little bit this way.
We seek greener grass and more clement climes.
But we have to recognize that no place is perfect.
No situation will be wholly blissful.
As Marcel Proust put it: The only true paradise…is paradise lost.
I kick myself for not becoming “a man of science.”
Really, that was my dream…when I got a Gilbert microscope set at the age of eleven.
I wanted to cure cancer, the common cold, and male-pattern baldness (not necessarily in that order).
But I came to realize that no matter how much I accomplished, it would never be enough.
X is the same way.
When X complains, I listen and nod.
But I don’t make suggestions.
I do ask questions, such as, “Would you rather be doing something else?”
Long ago, I learned that there are many things to run from.
But there are precious few things to run to.
Every once in a while, in the silly stories I write, I talk about a perfect place to be.
But even if you could find such a place, you’d never know what was coming around the corner.
There’s always someone ready with a monkey wrench.
My idea of Heaven for you is a round table, at which are sitting four of the wittiest and finest minds in the universe.
Atop the table would be a never-ending selection of doughnuts.
A waiter would be on-hand to keep delivering hot chocolates (with whipped cream toppings, of course).
But I might be all wrong about that.
This might not be your version of Heaven.
I do know you like talking to people.
I know you love to read.
I know you love to exercise your mind and body.
I know you love Kathy.
I know you love your family.
But how do you roll all of those “loves” together to make the perfect recipe for happiness?
And what are the best amounts and combinations?
Much of ancient Greek philosophy concerns the search for happiness (“happiness” being “the highest good”).
If we assume this to be true, how do we go about finding happiness?
Do we simply do what feels good—and let the chips fall where they may?
Obviously not; that’s too simple.
And what if the Greeks were wrong.
What if “having a purpose” is the highest good?
What if “serving humankind” is the highest good?
What if “eating doughnuts” is the highest good?
It could be, you know.
In the best of all possible worlds, it would be.
Perhaps all we can best do is “live in the moment.”
And live each moment to the fullest.
And be a decent human being in the process.
I’m just saying.