Sunday, 2 October 2016

Reports of happiness

So the invest-igation continues into the possibility Nick is sometimes happy and relaxed, despite all his kinks and hang-ups. A top-flight team of investigators has been tracking the famous blogger's movements day and night in the hope of verifying the reported glimpses of happiness.

Natalie H (Head of the investigation team): So how's it going? Any results yet?

Miranda G (Chief investigator): Sod all. We thought there were signs of happiness on Thursday around 3.17 pm, but it was a false alarm. He seemed to be smiling but it was just a meaningless grimace.

NH: Disappointing. How about when he was watching his favourite TV drama on Monday evening?

MG: Not a flicker. Totally deadpan throughout. Even when he was eating his special cookies. Even after several glasses of wine. No sign of visible enjoyment. It could have been a toothpaste commercial.

NH: Bizarre. What happened to this guy? Some catastrophic childhood trauma? Was he rendered incapable of happiness at an early age? Did he work for some ball-busting multinational on a zero-hours contract? Has he got some misery gene?

MG: I'm as baffled as you are. I've tracked hundreds of these supposed terminal neurotics and believe me, sooner or later we've got them on tape laughing hysterically. They all crack in the end. Except this guy. He's got me beat.

NH: Are you sure he hasn't spotted us? Are you sure he doesn't suspect anything? If he's on to us, he'll be making damn sure there's no sign he's happy. No smiles, no guffaws, no thigh-slapping, nothing. Just a flawless mask of anguish.

MG: No, he can't have rumbled us. We've totally kept out of sight. Maybe it's some religious thing. He can only be happy at certain times. Like when there's a full moon. Or the spring and autumn equinox.

NH: I don't buy that. We know he's not religious. Are you sure you're watching him all the time? You haven't dozed off or checked your Facebook page?

MH: Course not, I'm a professional, I never sleep on the job. Believe me, if he so much as scratched his ear, I'd know about it. He's just a joyless old fart.

NH: I hope not. Okay, carry on. He can't keep this up for ever.

Pic: Visible signs of happiness


  1. You need Pharrell's Happy song playing as background music.

  2. Bijoux: I love that song. Also, I think Pharrell is drop-dead gorgeous.

  3. Nick,
    I know that neuroses grab us uninvited and I also know it's very unpleasant but doesn't it feed them a little when you talk about it all the time?

    You seem to overthink pretty much everything. Why be afraid of falling silent in social situations? The way I see it, staying quiet means you have more time to observe, more time to process and less time to say something you might regret.

    Why be afraid of what people think? most of them are thinking about themselves a whole lot more than they think about you.

    I read an article today about a woman who burned herself out by treating her whole life as a struggle and an effort to survive, not because it was really that way but because she was comfortable thinking that way.

    I suspect you are the same, you could probably be a different, happier person with expert direction and hard work on your part. And I'm not saying you should be different, i'm saying you might be happier that way.

  4. I can't but feel sad for NH and MG. I think that you were very cruel to them. Please oblige them a couple of times so that the poor things can go and sleep.

  5. Maybe it's time to accept the way you are and learn to be comfortable with it.
    Don't feel you have to be someone you're not just because you think others want you to be a certain way.
    Be happy being you. Own it.

  6. Kylie: Actually there are loads of things that make me happy. But I tried writing about happiness and it somehow felt very superficial and contrived. It seemed like overthinking in fact.

    In general I don't think I overthink things. If anything I don't think enough. My fears and anxieties are just feelings I don't think about at all. It would be nice to brush them all aside and never be afraid of anything again, but I don't know how to do that.

    Maybe a therapist would help, as you've suggested in the past. But I would only trust a personal recommendation and I don't know anyone who has had therapy. So I'm a bit stuck there.

  7. Ramana: I'm doing my best to disappoint them but I suspect I'll crack before long as they predict.

    Dave: A lot of the time I am indeed happy being me. But at other times my anxieties emerge and sap my confidence. Perhaps I just have an over-developed sense of social responsibility and I should try to be totally selfish for a change.

    1. I don't think selfishness is the answer to anything. Just be yourself. Either people like it which is fine, or they don't in which case it's their problem not yours.

  8. Stop tormenting the inquisitors.

  9. Dave: I remember an old blogmate of mine saying she decided to be more selfish and stop trying to please other people. She said it was the best decision she ever made and she had never been happier. I guess it could be taken too far though.

    Helen: I feel an enormous grin coming on. I hope their cameras are ready and they haven't nipped off for a quick snack.

  10. The satire in your post was amusing. You are not beyond sending yourself up.

    I do agree with Kylie's and Dave's points. However, and I can't remember your exact age, I do believe your boat in terms of "therapy" has sailed. Neither do I think it worth the anguish which, no doubt, you will feel in the process. And, as you say, to find a good therapist is the devil's own holy grail. I suggest you settle for who and what you are. Obviously chisel round the edges when you feel like it. Otherwise just relax. And, for what it's worth and I think it worth a lot, don't forget that you have made good and loyal friends in blogland.


  11. Ursula: I send myself up all the time - but not online! I'm 69, but for all I know I could live another 20 years, so therapy could still have some benefit. But yes, how to find the therapist I need? I do indeed have good and loyal blogmates, and thank you for reminding me.

  12. Good satire. Poking fun at oneself is the litmus test of sanity. Gold star for you!
    Be yourself. No one else can do it as well.

  13. www: I poke fun at myself a lot. In fact I poke fun at just about everything. But I have to be careful not to do it inappropriately - it doesn't go down well at funerals.

    Jean: Thank you for reading all my weird and wonderful posts!

  14. I know several good therapists, but they are in England.... and I don't believe you're ever too old to change if you want to. That's the key - wanting to.
    Amusing post, Nick!

  15. Scarlet: I agree, you're never too old to change. Well, with a few exceptions like becoming a brain surgeon.

    There's more to follow on this subject!

  16. One of my blogmates is a therapist. But she lives in Tennessee. Two of my Facebook friends are therapists. But they live in Edinburgh and St Andrews. Rats.

  17. I'm sorry you are not hysterical with joy at all times, as one is supposed to be.

  18. Hattie: Hysterical maybe. Hysterical with joy, definitely not. I've been cheated.

  19. I'm nothing like hysterical with joy all the time. I have large, genuine, sometimes overwhelming problems but I am also happy. Nobody expects hysterical joy but a baseline of happiness is achievable

  20. Kylie: Permanent joy is most unlikely. But I've known a few people who do genuinely seem to be happy most of the time. I guess they just have a very positive view of life and don't get hung up on difficulties and problems.

  21. LOLOL!!!
    well done skippy!
    reminds me of that test given to college students.
    the question was "WHY?"
    the ONLY answer that got an A was "because."
    and some of them wrote reams and reams of paper on the answer.
    ya got us good! I can imagine your happy smile. :D xo

  22. Tammy: "Why not?" would be a pretty good answer too.

  23. even better!
    i was one of the students who wrote at least a page and a half. LOLOL

  24. Tammy: I'd probably have written "Sorry, I don't understand the question" and then left the room.