Wednesday, 22 October 2014

#11 - "365 Ways to Live Happy: Simple Ways to Find Joy Every Day" by Meera Lester

Get Ready for the Joy, Bitches

Beau Dashington

(book selected by CaptainCharisma)

Editor's Note: I'm happy as fuck

What makes people happy? An intriguing question; one that philosophers have sought the answer to since the dawn of time, when clichés first rolled their way across the horizon like the proverbial tumbleweed.

This book is a list of 365 vague suggestions for living a happy life, each of which is numbered and Titled with Capital Letters So You Know It’s Important. Each suggestion is accompanied by an explanatory paragraph, and ends with a special tip such as “So don’t fret, be happy and live longer J.” Great advice? Also, each paragraph is ended with a fucking smiley face. The introduction states that “although happiness and life satisfaction are relatively new areas of psychology studies, research suggests that it’s not external objects like cars, [and] luxury homes” that make people happy. Does that mean my fleshlight  and my boner pills aren’t enough? Apparently, they aren’t. But since this book is based on “relatively new areas of psychology studies”, we would be wise to heed its advice.J

Our journey starts with a quiz, including questions like: how happy are you with your relationships? How happy are you with your life? How happy are you with your choice of job or career? I score 22 points, meaning “You are have [sic] an optimist outlook and are generally satisfied with your life.” This is how I know the book must be horseshit. I’m one of the most miserable people I know. So if this book is telling me I am an optimist then this book is a fucking idiot. Does that mean I can stop reading and send this book where it belongs? Unfortunately not, since those who score 21 and above should “use the ideas in this book to increase your happiness and spread the joy.” So get ready for the fucking joy, bitches.

Many of the tips are actually quite nice, including #322 Cheer a Child Onward to Victory; or #77 Nibble a Piece of Dark Chocolate; or even #226 Make a Piece of Pottery. #52 is a good one; Serve Your Spouse a Candlelight Supper in Bed. She recommends making him a “luscious meal” such as “casserole, or soup and sandwich.” Strangely enough, sex isn’t mentioned in the book apart from #50; Write an Invitation to Have Sex and Slide it Under His Wine Glass. Wait what? When did this become a how-to guide for prostitutes?J

But there is a suggestion for how to find the ideal mate, for example #39: List Ten Physical Attributes You Desire in a Mate. Okay, here we go: tits, arse, money…. umm…. boner pills… I can’t think of anything else. She suggests we do the following: Picture him walking towards you: what does he look like? What does his walk or gait say about him? Firstly, it tells me that he’s a man and has a penis. And that’s a mistake I made once that I really don’t want to repeat.J

Some of the suggestions are surely only for the affluent, like #12 Soak in a Scented Bath Amid Orchids; #17 Get a Warm Rose Oil Massage; #222 Trek the Himalayas; or #237 Photograph the Great Cities of Europe. But that sounds expensive. Fortunately, by now you should be saving lots of money from boner pills so you should be able to afford travelling to literally every fucking major European city.J

The book does offer other suggestions to save money, including #118 Skip One Weekly Latte and Put the Money into Savings. The author notes the following; if you are stopping [sic] one latte every day, that’s $5 per day, that’s $25 per week which would save you $100 a month, saving you $5200.00 per year. I’m not scientician or anything, but I’m pretty sure that there are 7 days in a week and only 12 months in a year, resulting in a total of... Well, who’s counting. Actually, I am. It must be because I am depressed. Better keep reading.J

Some of the suggestions though are just bizarre and don’t make a huge amount of sense, including: #64 Write a Succinct Message Clarifying Your Point. Here’s my succinct message clarifying my point. Here’s another odd tip: #83 Avoid Exposure to Toxic Chemicals. I feel like that one is more an aspect of common sense than a guide to happiness. Number #270 also hits you kind of out of left field; Get Your Pet Spayed. #187 is a bit of a strange one: Admit to Your Superiors That You Screwed Up.J

The book is nothing more than a vague list of vague suggestions. If that’s what it is, then there are definitely some suggestions missing. For example, she forgot #284 – Don’t Sign Up to an International Jihadist Organization and Get Knocked Up by a Terrorist; or #129 Don’t Strip for Quarters Down by the Escarpment; #350 Don’t Dress Your Penis Up as a Mouse and Feed it to a Cobra; and especially #83 Mourn the Dead.J

At the end of the day, this book isn’t really a Piece of Shit™. It’s just a mediocre self-help book for middle-aged middle-class women who are insecure with their bodies and unhappy with their lives. Many of the examples of tragedy in the book are painfully mundane and yet compelling; the death of a child, a car crash, the loss of a house, credit card debt, physical self-loathing, a husband leaving. These are the every-day crises and emergencies of Middle America in the twenty-first century, in a time when people are scared of financial disaster and the inevitable anticlimax of dying alone in a Midwestern hospice. Let’s not pick on these folksy folk too much, though. Because even though this book kinda sucks, depression is far worse and is in no way a laughing matter. This book is no way suited to assisting people suffering from real depression, either chronic or manic in nature. But if you’re a bored housewife, it might offer some brief tips to entertain you.J

So if you’re feeling a little down or bored, just put away the fleshlightget a rose oil massage, forget about your fucking stupid dead child. And if you’re feeling a little stressed after your last round of PMS, remember tip #143 from this book; Have a Glass of Wine at the End of a Difficult Period.J


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