Thursday, February 2, 2017

Story 171: Don’t Be Upset; Be Amused

            “I’m tired of letting everything get to me!”  Sheila randomly said to her friend at lunch.  “Nothing matters in the end, and I’m sick of being upset all the time by things I can’t change!”
            “Then don’t be,” her friend answered as he sipped his soda and continued to read his newspaper.  “All emotions are choices: no one goes into your mind and makes you feel anything.”
            “That’s – ” she started to argue, then the figurative light bulb went off above her head, “absolutely GENIUS!  All I have to do is choose to be happy all the time, and nothing will go wrong ever again!”
            “I didn’t say that – ” he started.
            “You’re the best – bye!”  She skipped out of the break room and resumed her duties at the Returns Counter.
            Twenty minutes later…
            “Every time I return something here, you always make life difficult; what do you mean, you can’t take it back because it’s been used?  I told you already: we used it, it’s not what we want anymore, now I want my money back!  It’s that simple; do you really need me to show you how to do your job here, sweetheart?”  The customer finally stopped, waiting for an answer.
            Sheila stared at him.  “You – are – HILARIOUS!”
        “I never noticed until now that every time you come here provides me with unending amusement!  It’s an absolute joy to hear what you’ll come up with next!  Go ahead, give me another one.”  She propped her elbows on the counter and leaned her chin on her hands, waiting expectantly.
            “You sassin’ me?”
            Sheila dissolved into hysterics.  “‘Sassin’!’  I love it!”  Her manager removed her from the Returns Counter for the rest of her shift.

            *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

            At a holiday dinner with extended family, Sheila was asked the question she always was asked at those events:
            “Sheila, babe,” her distant cousin said, “when you getting married, huh?  Pretty girl like you, it’s not right – you ain’t getting any younger, you know.”
            “AHAHAHAHAHA!!!!”  Sheila’s laughter struck fear into the heart of her distant cousin and all who were present.  She wiped tears from her eyes, then burst into gales of laughter again.
            Her distant cousin awkwardly laughed in reaction: “What, what did I say?”
            “‘Married!’”  Sheila hooted.  “‘Pretty!’  ‘Younger!’  You’re killing me!”
            “What, I’m just saying, the ol’ clock is ticking – ”
            “‘Clock!’”  Sheila buried her face in a dishtowel and howled with laughter into it.  She then raised her head and looked at her distant cousin.  “OK, I’m good now.”  She began howling into the towel again; her distant cousin patted her on the shoulder and moved on.

            *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

            In traffic, a car cut off Sheila just as they both were stopping at a red light.  The other driver checked his rear view mirror to confirm that she was flipping him off, and was a bit disturbed to see her laughing and banging the steering wheel with joy.  The other driver had the sensation that he somehow had become the butt of someone else’s joke, and his world became a strange and unfamiliar place.

            *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

          “So, how did your experiment go?”  Sheila’s friend asked when they were next on break together.
            “You know, where you’d choose to be happy and everything would be all right from then on.”
            “Oh, that – amazingly well,” she said.  “I haven’t been upset in days, not once.”
            “You did hear this morning that we’re not getting raises until who knows when, right?”
           “Yeah, that just made realize that I really should get started on that freelance graphic design business that I always keep talking about and never getting around to doing.  Plus I found it amusing that our salaries are getting frozen while the CEO is this close to indictment.  He’s only hurting himself with a move like that; what a character!”
            “Can you share with me whatever you did to your mind?  I want some.”
            “You’re the one who suggested it in the first place!”
            “I was trying to stop your complaining.”
          “And thanks to you, instead of finding the cloud in every silver lining, I now find the pure hilariousness in every single thing.  I never realized before that the world is completely filled with comedians!”


  1. very good; it's all in how you choose to view things.

  2. Yes, I wish I could take my own advice - thanks!