What is happiness? Scratch that. It’s undefinable. But whatever it is, I don’t deserve it. A punk recalcitrant who grew out of the velvety black dirt of northeast Florida under a constant haze of pixie dust. A wanderer. A drifter. A stone-cold sinner who once knew love only as a form of manipulation.

What the fuck did I ever do to deserve happiness? Nothing.

But I am happy. And it feels like I need to check why. Because fewer people seem happy today. More people seem like robots. Yes, there’s humanity in there. Once you drill down through the thick layer of transparent acrylic. But so many of us are influenced by such fucked up priorities – that it makes me stop and wonder. Facts are cold. Information is inanimate. Yet, we clamor for these things like suckling pigs fighting for a teat. It feels like we’ve become a nation of sameness where the concept of happiness is driven by the latest trends.

And what did my wife ever do to deserve happiness? Born on blistering concrete in Camden, New Jersey, and raised by a single mother.  She should be a junkie. Or dead. But she blossomed in a mud puddle. Who is she to be happy? The wife of a man who dances on the edge of reality. The mother of ravenous lionesses. A foot soldier in the army of capitalism. She is the nicest person I’ve ever known. Her secret is simplicity. She doesn’t fight the machine; she moves through it, elegantly. Like a cat traversing a crowded room. We’re not rich. We come from broken homes. And yet, we’re happy.  Happier than most people I know.

In tough times, we pull back into the safety of our insulated circle. Sure there are fights. Tears. Words that are intended to bruise. But in spite of these moments, we know that we always have each other. Two irresponsible souls who don’t obsess over which road the rest of the world thinks we should travel. And so, when our road is wrought with peril, we grasp hands tighter and just keep walking. Sometimes though fire. But always together.

I am happy, but I don’t understand why. Maybe it’s because I’m just a fool who doesn’t care what the rest of the world thinks.

Or maybe – happiness is an illusion. And even if it is? I’m running with it.


Jim Mitchem

What I Want For Christmas
Merry Christmas Eve

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.

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