Recently I have been spending a lot of time thinking about the places in my life that make me happy. As much time as the average American spends being miserable, we should really treasure the places that provide true happiness. There are some important criteria to be considered when I start to make a list of my happy places.

What generally makes me happy? I am a simple guy and I need only the basics: Food, comfort, companionship, warmth, quality service and a good opportunity to be lazy are necessary for a top-notch happy place. My bed is obviously a large front-runner when it comes to happy places. Anywhere that is literally designed for me to be as inactive as possible is obviously going to be great. I have often secretly hoped for some temporary debilitating injury that would require me to spend a good month in bed. I mean think about rolling up the TV and the fridge right next to bed. In addition, if you had to be bedridden there is some level of being waited-on that comes with it. Being bedridden is like immediately becoming so wealthy that you have a butler to do all of your non-bed-related activities. You know that would rock.

Also, my mom’s house provides all the makings of a quality happy place. For starters, there is a large fridge ripe for the plundering. There are also big couches for napping on and a mother to cook for me. I can’t think of any hotels that have better first class service for such a cheap price. There is nothing like being spoiled to make me happy. Plus it has to amp you up to be able to make a mess and then just leave it for mom. After all she misses being a “hands on mom.”

Quality happy places often need to overload my senses. Can you really think of a time that you were not happy in the presence of a huge big screen TV? Turn on some sports and you have a quality happy place anywhere. This may be the most versatile quality of a happy place. Think of all the miserable places that could be improved with a huge TV playing sports. Think of the wonderful ability to tune out your wife at the shopping mall because right in the middle of the GAP there is a huge TV with a recliner. MMMMM yeah.

And when it comes to happy places, there are few places in life that put me in a better mood than the drunken fun of whirlyball. I mean the camaraderie of crushing the other team. This blends perfectly with the greasy pizza and high quality beer to provide an intoxicating environment like few others. Anywhere I can drink and drive bumper cars is close to the happiest place on earth.

All of these previously mentioned places are good but not the best. In further analysis of places that can make me happy, I turned to the place I get all my answers to life’s questions: TV. The television constantly shows us many happy places. After researching many hours of rerun television, I have concluded the happiest place in the world is a good tavern. Think about it: there is Cheers, Moe’s, the Drunken Clam (Family Guy) and the place that Drew Carey always drinks in. In my life, I have many happy times with my fellow zillionaires at the TAV, the Shoe, The Brick, the Palace, The Owl and Thistle and so many more… I mean can anyone really remember not being happy in a good tavern?

A good tavern encompasses the best parts of all the other happy places in my life. There is quality food served up at my whim. The various bar games provide an opportunity to crush my friends and enemies. A good tavern will provide me with solid stools and couches for inactivity and a cheap place to sleep. Don’t even get me started on the sensory overload at a good sports bar. TVs in every direction and other people who care about the butt whooping my team is dishing out. I am starting to think that the tavern is the true high point of modern culture. First, there was the invention of fire, then the wheel came along, the TV and phone were big too, but all along we have gone to the tavern. It is the ultimate sanctuary combining all of the aspects of my happiness.

Finally, why would I ever leave a place that makes me happy? The happiness I find from my bed ends when the evil alarm clock goes off. Not only does it end, but the day is almost certainly going downhill from there with no chance of getting it back for a whole day. Eventually my mom inevitably gets sick of my lazy mooching and kicks me out the door to the harsh reality of my own adult life. Only the mighty tavern welcomes me without judgment or bias. As long as I can stay reasonably upright, they are happy to have me. When I leave my bed or my mom’s house the fun ends but when I leave the bar the drunkenness lasts for at least a few more hours. When it comes down to it happiness may be all about getting the best bang for my buck. HERE, HERE to the places that provides me with all I need and ask for so little in return.

Please Vote For My Wife

When you cast your ballots this Tuesday, I ask that you please vote in support of my wife. She is a hard-worker. She is responsible. And she needs your vote to become Spokane County Auditor.

And, she would definitely appreciate your vote for District Court Judge, position 4.

And finally, please also consider her for the 9th Legislative District House Seat #2.

Ok, technically, she isn’t knowingly running for any of those offices. When I filled out my absentee ballot today, I noticed there were a handful of races that were either unopposed or featured candidates that I had never heard of. So, I decided to list my wife as a write-in candidate for those positions.

But then, when I actually had to mark my vote, I determined that she was too inexperienced and generally unqualified to hold office. And thusly, I voted against her in all three races.

In a few days, the results will come out, and my wife will be the first ever write-in candidate to not even get the vote of the person that wrote her in. And, she’ll likely finish dead last in three different races, with a grand total of zero votes. Clearly, she needs your support.

I feel bad for her, but I made the right decision. In each race, I voted for the best candidate. I’m proud to say that I voted my conscience, and didn’t let any personal feelings get in the way. This is how our democracy is supposed to function.

Big Picture Thinking

I can’t lie. I’m loving life. I’m loving LIFE. LIVING. The act of breathing. The little sacs in your lungs called alveoli. The word alveoli.

It’s all so up and down, mysterious and monotonous, wonderful and wasteful. There is no getting your head around the whole thing. We are all just guessing. But when you add it all up it’s pretty darn good to be an Earthling right about now. I mean think about it.

Doesn’t it feel good every morning to wake up on the densest planet in the whole solar system? I think our gravity is just about perfect. We actually get to experience what it’s like to jump, run, and fly. How many other gravities give you all three in a breathable atmosphere? (OK, probably an infinite amount do but c’mon, everyone knows that “infinity” is a copout science answer at the moment.)

I’m just saying it would be so corny if everyone bounced around all the time like they do in those movies from the moon. It would be like life was one big blooper reel. No thanks. I’ll pass. I really do think a decent gravity makes for a decent planet. Without a good, solid, and manageable gravity, a planet will never go anywhere in this universe.

And I gotta say I’m loving being third from the sun too. I can go out and get some sun rays on my pasty animal skin and it doesn’t burn me to a crisp or sear my eyeballs. It’s like the planet gets that warm and toasty, fresh out of the dryer feeling everyday. And us. We’re golden. We are the sun’s footloose and free-willed deli rotisserie cooking so slowly we pay to speed it up.

But if we were further out and it was a lot colder, think of how many things we would never get to do. Skateboarding is probably out. Surf rock… out. Wind chimes… out. This list goes on and on and includes other things like malaria, Dunkin’ Donuts (ok, the franchise still exists but the menu is drastically altered), and hypothermia (in a cold world, we would first and foremost discover a cure for hypothermia). So third from the sun in this case is a first rate existence.

And yet as good as we have it, we also know the other side of the coin all too well. We know the pain and struggle of being a downtrodden life-form. We know what it feels like to be in the minority. We will never have the sheer numbers of the insects, for instance. They outnumber us a zillion to one and have fought off all our diabolical chemical warfare plots. Don’t even get me started on plants.

But as land-walkers, we are even further down the planetary hierarchy. Will we ever have the political clout to rule over 71% of the planet like our water-born Napoleonic friends—the whales. They make the brief reign of the Roman Empire look like a skid mark on the underwear of time. We are so out of our element on this planet, we might as well make our houses out of fire and only live in burning rainforests. It’s would be as rare as breathing air and living on dry land. Perhaps one day we’ll be able to amicably shake hands with our underwater cousins, but until then I’m loving every second of what we have. We are on the greatest planet I’ve ever been to, that’s for sure.