Posted By on February 10, 2008

“No Cyanide In This Post”

.: Reviewing my words on this blog, I’ve noticed most of them are negative. Complaints and rants certainly have their place on the internet, but I want to offer something different this time. Instead of bitching about things which irk me, I want to salute the worthier aspects of life — specifically, those wonderful little moments that have yet to be incorporated in and subsequently ruined by cliché.

.: I don’t mean trite banalities like “the smile on the face of a small child” or “the smell of fresh rain on the first day of spring.” I prefer the less celebrated moments of jubilation such as discovering a new, faster route to a frequented location or listening to a never-before-heard song by a longtime favorite band.

.: My brother likes to talk about how every collection is basically structured the same. The specific type of item in the collection is not important; for instance, my grandfather collected coins, Nabokov had his butterflies, and Andrei Chikatilo sought and repeatedly stabbed Russian prostitutes and runaways. They all felt the same sensation whenever adding another item to their collection (whatever it may be). I experience the sensation whenever I find an out-of-print book in a used bookstore, be it an old mathematics book by Martin Gardner, or a comically misinformed book heralding the dangers of a now-commonplace scientific procedure. Every time I see a book like that, I have to add it to my collection. I don’t even have to read it; knowing it exists and is in my possession is enough to get me just a little bit high. There’s no phrase to my knowledge that describes this moment of ecstasy.

.: Every Thursday night I participate in an informal improv get together. Most jokes during the night are good for a light chuckle, but every once in a while a joke will evoke a certain type of laughter, the kind that takes an entire body to express. These jokes usually aren’t carefully considered and delivered. They’re quick, spontaneous, and utterly unpredictable, and they’re the holy grail of improvisation. Every time I hit one there’s immediate acknowledgment from the room, and I become a better person. There’s no other experience remotely comparable in greatness, except for …

… kissing. This one’s a cliché, but as far as clichés go it’s one of the best. There are aspects to kissing, however, that we’ve all experienced but rarely discuss, such as the mechanics and science behind it all. My personal favorite is a neat little optical illusion that never ceases to delight me. When you try to maintain eye contact with your partner, your eyes try to focus on their eyes, but their face is too close for each of your eyes to have overlapping visual areas. If you then tilt your head just so, your eyes will rotate slightly to accommodate the motion, and this results in a Picasso-like rearrangement of your partner’s features. Try it sometime. It’s not like there’s anything better to do.

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2 Responses to “Happiness”

  1. Yossarian says:

    Hey I randomly came across your post about the burning of your professor at the stake email, as I was searching for the lyrics to a DJ Vadim song (The Terrorist, which I still can’t find the lyrics for… arhhh), so I looked at your other posts and I found them amusing and incisive. I also have a blog, it’s a bit random and scatterbrained, but feel free to look if your bored!

  2. Shaadi says:

    It’s funny , I was looking for NFKB and VEGF pathways interference and I came across this post. I read it and I really liked the last part! …Picasso-like rearrangement of your partner’s features….I usually try to do it with his smell or taste while I am kissing him but your observation was innovative kind of approach to it!

Leave a Reply to Shaadi