Brian Matuszak column: Brian’s prescription for happiness: sidewalk chalk and Doctor WhoSo, are you happy? I’m asking because I care about you, and you’re not looking too upbeat nowadays.
So, are you happy?
I’m asking because I care about you, and you’re not looking too upbeat nowadays. Maybe it’s the weather. Sure, that April snow piled up higher than a list of Brad Bennett mispronunciations, and Duluth Summer seems to come from an old Finnish phrase meaning “Uff Da No Sun,” but I hate to see you let that dampen your mood.
That’s why I tackle this column every week, you know. Because I want you to be happy. And if a silly remark about Don Ness’ involvement in Grandma’s Marathon (he finally had some people running against him!) or a goofy joke about weekend TV weather people (they’re weekend TV weather people!) cracks your stoic Northland face into a smile, then I’ve given you the gift of Happy, and that’s cool.
That’s a gift, by the way, that comes in many different forms — from a teeny happy dribble to a gargantuan Happy Explosion — but the impact is still the same when it appears, no matter the category.
For example, there’s The Huge Happy, a scheduled experience you can see out there on your horizon. This historic occasion has several levels to it: First is the anticipation as you count the years, the days, the hours, and the minutes until the Happy Moment arrives; the next one kicks in when that Happy Moment is finally here and you can revel in every glorious second; and the last one occurs when that Happy Moment is over, but the memories lodge in your brain, allowing you to revisit them whenever you’re feeling blue. Examples of The Huge Happy would be your wedding day, the birth of your child, the release of “The Empire Strikes Back” … you know. The big stuff.
The Regular Happy is something that you know exists out in the world, just waiting for the chance to snuggle up and enfold you like a comfy blanket. When you decide to seek out and find your Regular Happy — even if it’s just for a few minutes — your day immediately improves.
A personal example of this is watching my daughter’s favorite show “Doctor Who.” I had never watched this BBC television import until a free month of Netflix allowed me the opportunity (free stuff, by the way ... always a Regular Happy), but Kaylee had been a huge fan for a while. Now, whenever we can steal away, the two of us will sit down to watch an adventure of that traveling Time Lord known as the Doctor. And while I certainly enjoy the program’s action, humor, and heart, the more special Regular Happy for me is sharing sixty delightful minutes with my child. I’ll wrap that around me every day of the week.
The Unexpected Happy: This is the tiny bit that surprises you by popping into your daily travels just when you need it.
You know what I mean. You’re having one of those crappy/crabby days when everything is off just enough to cause your frustration to pile up, rock by grouchy rock, until you’re buried beneath Mount Ticked Off. You have to go up to the mall to run some errands but you have to take the long way because Haines Road is still just a memory, and your truck is making that squealing sound again even though the mechanic said it was nothing, and then you get to the store and some jerky jerk snakes in and steals your parking spot, so now you have to park practically in Proctor and trudge a thousand miles across a steamy parking lot AND JUST WHEN YOU THINK THIS DAY COULDN’T POSSIBLY GET ANY WORSE, YOU SEE THIS IN FRONT OF THE STORE (please click "sidewalk message" image, which accompanies this column at the top.)
And it all melts away.
Who wrote this? Why did they write it? Why 3 seconds?
It doesn’t matter. This random act of sidewalk silliness has slipped into your life to remind you that your troubles, as exasperating as they are, could certainly be much, much worse.
Embrace this instant in time. Savor it.
Brian Matuszak is the co-founder of Renegade Comedy Theatre, founder of Rubber Chicken Theater, and took more than his three seconds that day. But he’ll pay it back, don’t worry.