Monday, June 7, 2010

10 Things That Make Me Happy

Tag! I'm it!

Yesterday, one of my "virtual friends" that I know from twitter (@LaJollaJennifer) and blogdom (The World According to Jennifer) tagged me with a list meme. The list to be generated was "10 Things That Make Me Happy." (You can see Jennifer's list here).

This is probably not an opportune time to try to conjure such a list, as I just came off of 4 days of soul-crushing moving, mass chaos, uncooperative vendors, backbreaking labor, technical snafus, automotive failure and staggering bills related to all the former. Not to mention complicated work "opportunities" piling up like horny moms outside a midnight showing of a Twilight movie. Plus, even without an avalanche of clusterfucks rolling downhill, and given my caustic, cynical nature, I really don't know that there are 10 total things that make me happy. (Can I just list all the episodes of Firefly and call it a day?)

Still, I can hardly resist a chance to make a list, so here's my take:

1. The Kids. No, not the mewling, squawling, shitting, writing-on-the-walls-in-crayon, bank-draining burdens that haunt you for two-plus decades. These kids:

2. Whiskey. Need I say more?

3. Coffee. And cigarettes. Honest to Thor, the best single part of every day, no matter my location, situation or emotional state, is waking up to a big-ass pot of freshly brewed coffee and enjoying a smoky treat while firing up google reader and catching up on the news and ephemera of the day.

4. Television. When I was a kid, I looked forward to TV Guide's Fall Preview Issue like other kids looked forward to the Sears Wishbook. I've always loved TV. One of my true regrets in life is that I didn't take my degree in Journalism (with a double minor in English and Drama) from one of the finest purveyors of such teachings in the country (and home of the Peabody) and turn it into a career in TV writing behind the camera, as a screenwriter, or on the other side of the tube, as a television critic. Songs are short bursts of emotion. Movies are a two hour story, over almost before they begin. Books are leisurely narratives that can be picked up and put down. At its best, TV is a medium that totally envelops you in a rich tapestry of a world, filled with interesting and ever changing characters, has a driving and evolving narrative, enriches most of the senses (with moving scores, provocative images, crisp dialogue, etc) and keeps you there for hours and hours upon end. TV is my deity, and I am its disciple.

5. HD. Given my #4, I can't believe I waited as long as I did to make the switch. Partly, it was my brand loyalty to TiVo, but once you get it, you can't fathom that you ever lived without it.

6. My BlackBerry. Although I'm eagerly anticipating getting a new model (I watched a 16 minute Japanese language sneak peek of the 9800 this weekend on some Asian YouTube equivalent, like it was illicit porn), the thought of being without my Berry for even a few minutes gives me the shakes. Everything I need to know, and everything I could want to know, is right there in the palm of my hand. Real keys to type on and perfect synchronization with multiple computers across multiple platforms and in the cloud, it's really the perfect device for me. How the fuck did we live before them?

7. My DVR. Also related to #4 and #5, this is probably the most life-changing and fulfilling device ever invented (short of the computer and the internet. And the wheel. And maybe fire). Watch what you want, when you want, and never miss a thing (unless you have a Comcast version, and it consistently jackhammers you like a prison rapist with its incompetence).

8. French Fries. Short. Long. Thin. Thick. Crinkle. Wedge. Waffle. Steak. Drizzled with cheese. Dipped in ketchup. Covered in salt. Topped with chili and bacon. I have yet to meet a fry I don't love.

9. Organization. Both my parents were OCD, and it must be both genetic and learned, because I always remembered the parental mantra "everything has a place, and everything in its place." Though this past few days was filled with unspeakable chaos and horror, there was no better feeling than settling down Sunday night knowing that every single item in my home had found its way to a logical resting place, properly identified, organized and labeled. I never would have survived this long without having a nervous breakdown if I wasn't a compulsive list-maker and organizer, and almost nothing makes me happier than knowing where everything is, what's going on, and that it's all under control. I've had some people wonder if this type of personality disorder is confining, and I couldn't disagree more. Once you commit to it, it's actually freeing and liberating, because you never have to worry about the little things - you can free your mind up for flights of fancy and bouts of intellectual spontaneity. I've never missed a bill. I've never lost a wallet or keys (or really, anything). I've never looked for something that I couldn't find. I've never run out of any household staples, nor had to make unscheduled trips to the store. Never wanted to wear something that wasn't washed and hung in its place or not yet picked up from the dry cleaner. File folders, labels, sharpies, color coding, spreadsheets, lists, containers, notes, plastic containers....these are the brushes with which I create OCD art.

10. The Dawgs. Hey, we're less than 90 days away. What else would I say?

Jeez, reading back over this list, you would think I'm some kind of neurotic whackjob, sitting around alone with his cats all the time drinking, smoking, list-making, surfing the intertubes and watching TV. Oh....wait.


  1. I like the picture of your kids. My cats are at the top of my happy list. How long have you had them? Have you always been a cat person? Aren't cats totally superior to dogs as a pet?

  2. Thanks, Cool. They're adorable. Mulder is the oldest, and he's 14 (he's the light colored one). Willow is the darker one, and she's 6. I've had them both since they were kittens. And yes, I've always been a cat person. I had both cats and dogs as a kid, but once you're in college, or an adult, it's just not feasible (for me) to have a dog. I don't have anything against them, and I've had girlfriends and pals that have them that I liked - but they're just too high maintenance for me. with my kids, I have the auto waterfall, auto feeder and auto litterbox, and it's "set it and forget it" for a week. Neither cat goes outside, so it's no hassle and all affection. They keep each other company when I travel or when I'm at work, so there's virtually no downside (except that Mulder has an obsession with people food and drink that requires some logistics and watching).

    For me, they're completely superior, in that they make my life better, are completely adorable, yet require no regular inconveniences on my part. No walking, no crating, no regular feeding, etc. That's a win-win. Hell, Mulder will even play fetch with a crumpled cigarette pack.