Happiness is…

… an ice-cold 20 ounce can of Red Bull as I’m sitting down to write my blog. If they made it in a 40, I’d be even happier. 378 mg of caffeine in a single sitting? Where do I sign up? Personally, I think they should make a really fancy Red Bull and have it in a champagne bottle. I’d pop the cork, and pour a glass, and sip it like the rich folk do. Of course, the rich folk have no need of mortal remedies such as Red Bull, when it would be much easier to send their manservants out to procure some cocaine. I don’t think that I’d want to get myself dependent on that upper, but I’d sure as hell love to have a manservant, so that I could call him Warner. And now I have admitted my familiarity with a certain film, and shall drop the subject entirely.

I was worried when I sat down and powered on the laptop that I wouldn’t have anything to write about, due to my general feeling of contentedness. This consciousness runs on piss and vinegar, and a happy outlook can ruin all of that. My back feels ridiculously better after having spent the night sleeping on the floor, and I suppose that I am not awake enough to notice the weariness of my legs. My wife is at work, so I am left all of this time to actually miss her, as opposed to when we are together, and feel obligated to find something we can fight about. I’ve told her that if she would simply accept that I am right instead of waiting six months and then trying to convince me of my own idea, we would probably get along fantastically. I am aware that I can either be right, or I can be happy, but it’s not my fault reality so often agrees with me, and I have to say that there is a certain joy in being right. That being said, it is a fleeting victory.

And occasionally, my wife will gain the upper hand, and I will back the losing horse. In those rare instances, I try to do my best to offer up my concession, and then wash the feeling of my error away with another subject. I hate it when she’s right, because it gives her ammunition toward her argument that I am not always so. And then the next six months are agony as I await the opportunity to fight back the temptation to say that I told her so. I figure myself the brains of our operation, not because I am smarter than her (though I have devoted far more time to ridiculous thought experiments than she), but because she is, in fact, far superior in almost every other way. I honestly have no idea how she does it. Sometimes, as I lay awake at night and ponder stupid things, I wonder if I should try and sneak a sample of her blood from her to try to develop some sort of super soldier serum. I’m not saying that she’s Captain America (which would be hilarious), but that she is the standard to which Cap holds himself (you know, if comic book characters were aware of non-celebrities living in the real world).

Years ago, I found out where my limitations were, and put up hazard lights so that I’d know when I was approaching them. I’m not as young as I once was, and working an 80 hour week is simply out of the question for me. I sacrificed my body years ago, both in work and play, and now I must be mindful of stresses throughout the day. That’s one of the reasons why I got into management (the other is because I absolutely cannot stand working for people who are in almost every way, my inferior (and to clarify: I mean in terms of dedication, problem-solving, intuition, etc…)): I know how much my body can tolerate, and I need to make enough with a single full-time job to make ends meet. When I’m at work, I’m not the type to lock himself in the office and do whatever it is that pompous bosses do; I stay on the floor and in the flow until my body cannot take it any longer, and then I wait until the rush has died, and then I go to smoke.

My wife has no limits. At least, that’s what she’s told me on several occasions as she’s hobbling around the apartment, taking care of things that could probably wait another day (instead of resting, which is for weaklings). There is a sort of justified arrogance that comes from naturally birthing a twelve pound baby. I mean, she had an epidural, but there was no surgery involved. I have spent no small amount of time trying to imagine the sheer scale of pain involved in bringing my son into this world (which is probably less than keeping him in this world, but as that is spread out over a lifetime, it doesn’t hit you all at once), and even taking into account the pain numbing drugs injected into one’s spine, I don’t believe that I would stand a chance. My mental illness has prepared me to face down imaginary demons, and I keep in practice by frequently belittling myself while I watch the world spin by (and then berate myself for that), but when it comes to pain on that sheer scale, I can’t even pretend that I am in the same league as my wife. She could get shot, and she wouldn’t even acknowledge it until she had nothing else to do. It seems that I have married Teddy Roosevelt.

I may be right about almost everything, but she very well might be right about the bigger picture. I need her far more than I can believe that she might possibly need me (and not just because she’s the sole breadwinner at the moment). And yet she stays by my side and endures. I am not an easy man to live with. I wouldn’t have checked myself into a facility a fortnight of years ago if I was all kittens and rainbows. I am a pain in the ass, and usually right, and a far poorer victor than vanquished. And yet my wife has stood by my side for all of these years (and not just for the paperwork, because I think that an expired snail would have made things happen sooner than me), at times looking like she wanted nothing so much as to just slap the smirk from my face, and yet she remained. I guess it could be that she doesn’t believe that our son stands a chance if she leaves us, but I honestly think that she’s just better than me, and that notion perplexes and confounds me. Not her superiority, which I have grudgingly accepted, but the thought that she knows something that I do not.

I could tell you all the reasons why I stay (and it would be a manageable list, as over the past three months I seem to have mentioned quite a few already), but I have no idea why it is that she remains. I’m not the prettiest, nor the nicest, nor someone tolerable on most occasions, but my wife is with me all the same. It makes me a little nervous, to be honest. Like I’m not seeing something obvious, something right in front of me. Happiness, perhaps?


And come back this evening for part three of A Blast From The Past: Memories of MySpace. Part One is here, and Part Two can be read here.

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