The Shiny, Happy People

I think my final and irrevocable push into the dark side of life can be actually blamed on technology. More specifically the Hubble Space Telescope. Why? Well, for those of you who only remember the Hubble as the expensive piece of equipment put into orbit only to get back some fuzzy pictures as though it had cataracts or was nearsighted let me tell you that they fixed that. Once they did that the Hubble became one of the greatest milestones in the progress of humankind. Since that the pictures have been clear and the Hubble has peered into the deepest reaches of space and has learned some of the most remarkable things. The king of things that change the way the entire scientific community thinks have been discovered.

For a long time it was debated what exactly was happening with the universe. You see, there was this big bang and all this material was flung out into space. That material became planets and suns and moons and comets and asteroids. Since that huge explosion happened the material has continued to move outward from the center, like ever-expanding ripples in a pond. For years many scientists believed that at some point the expansion would stop and the universe would eventually collapse back in on itself. The Hubble appears to have shown that this is not the case. In fact, the Hubble has shown evidence that not only is the universe continuing to expand, but is, in fact, speeding up.

For an idea of what this would be like. Take an object off of your desk or wherever. Let’s say you grab your keys. Toss them in the air. Mostly like they fell right back into your hand. Now. Imagine doing that and not only do the keys keep going up, but they start going up faster and faster until they become a blur you can barely see. That is what the Hubble says our universe is doing. So, eventually, the entire universe will be so spread out it will be a collection of cold, dead planets floating almost alone in their own dark void. In short, repulsion is the order of the universe and not attraction.

Once you realize that the darkness is winning and always will be, it helps shape a cynical attitude towards life. I have begun to make it my mission to fight against the shiny happy people. Oh, you know those people. The kind of people who, if the place they worked at, had come under some kind of terrorist attack would stand among the rubble and the bodies and the fire and the screaming with blood running down their face and say, “well, at least our meeting ended early, huh?”

I think people who have this perpetually happy attitude are just kidding themselves. They are whistling past the graveyard. I think the true attitude that people need to have is a healthy dose of cynicism. You need to have a pessimistic side and you need to nurture it the way you would a plant or something.

See, my attitude when I got to the doctor’s office is to start worrying about three days before the appointment and assume that each pain and lump I feel is death. By assuming I am dying when I get to the doctor’s office and find out it is something non-life-threatening I am pleasantly surprised. Therefore I am usually in a state of being pleased. Since I assume that everyone is just looking out for themselves and the company I work for is anxious to screw me over, I am pleasantly surprised when something nice is done. Of course, I immediately assume that the nice thing was done to cover up the sinister plan behind the niceties.

This is not to say I wish ill against people. Not at all. Being cynical does not mean you sit there and wish ill against people. I sincerely hope all of my friends and family live long, happy, productive lives. I even still believe, generally speaking, people want to do good things. I just also believe that, most of the time, a person will look out for themselves first and then worry about the other people. I just assume that the government is lying to me when it talks. I just assume that when the company I work for tells me something it is hiding something else. When the Sox win the World Series I just assume that they will not be able to do that the following year.

I wonder what happens to people who are perpetually happy. Are they completely devastated when bad things happen to them? Are they crushed and do they wonder why when their thinking that just by thinking good thoughts good things will happen to them turns out not to be the case? Do they manage to come up with some other annoyingly perky thing to think about that helps get them over the crisis? See, I just assume something worse is coming along so whatever bad thing happened to me I should just accept because the next thing will be ten times worse.

Last night and this morning it turns out there was a group of people in Miami plotting to commit an act of terrorism against the Sears Tower and an FBI building in Miami. Who would have ever thought there would be a horrendous act of terrorism in Oklahoma City? See, it can happen anywhere. I bet there are plenty of places in your home town some nut would like to see blown up. If you walk around with rose colored glasses you might just let your guard down. Since I am suspicious of everyone and assume everyone has a hidden motive, well, I just think in this day and age you need to have at least a little bit of that.

This does not mean I wish ill for myself. I don’t sit here and hope I have some terrible disease or that I will have some horrible accident. It just means that when it does happen I shrug and move on because I figured it was coming to begin with. I am eternally grateful that death has not visited my family very often but I know that this is all borrowed time and all of that with catch up with me eventually. As someone once put it, we all end up as orphans.

I am probably sociopathic but I often take great pride in deliberately ruining the days of shiny happy people. I just start telling them horribly bad stuff. I am amused as they send me messages about how they are not going to talk to me because they will not let me “ruin their day.” Yet they still keep responding as I send them messages, each one longer and more emphatic that they will not let me ruin their day. I know that I am because the more they protest the more I know I have wheedled my way under their skin. Yes, I am a shiny happy people tick. I think I am giving them a heavy dose of reality that they desperately need even if it does cost me a few friends.

So, enjoy the day. Enjoy the sunshine. Enjoy the warmth or the breeze or the cool weather depending on your tastes and climate. Enjoy your children. Enjoy and ice cream cone or a pizza or your coffee. Just realize, though, that while you are enjoying that the universe is slowly, inexorably spreading further and further apart. The dark space between each planet grows a bit each year. So, enjoy it while you can for as long as you can, just don’t assume it will always be enjoyable. I think you’ll savor it more that way.

But maybe that’s just me.

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