20 January 2007

I Wrote My Own Goddamn Book On Happiness - And Other Brief News Items


I did what I said I was going to do. Namely, I wrote a book on happiness, what it is, and how to get more of it without becoming a blissed-out mantra-yodeling hippie. I took a week off from work to write it. That alone made me happy. I should've made the first suggestion in the book "take a week off from work". I'm self-publishing it through XLibris. I think they have about a five-month turnaround window, so it should hit Amazon, Borders and Barnes and Noble just in time for bikini season.

Actually, it's a lot more than a book of suggestions. Truth be told, I don't think there's a single suggestion in the book. There's one very simple exercise, the one I told you about before, only it's gone into in detail and gives some of the current research that brought it about. I also came up with an additional exercise that compliments the first one and put that in there after I tested it rigorously on my own brain. And there's some in-depth discussion of the definition of happiness that I use for the book, of course. Oh yeah - there's also some discussion of hilariously miserable events in my childhood, most of them having to do with dog poop. Anyway, as I am "too close to the subject", I think I'll hire somebody else to write the foreword. I think authors do that as a means of clarification - "what my friend meant to say was..."

So yeah. So there you go. I just got so tired of all these self-help books that either tell you how to be happy by doing something else (make a million dollars, lose a jillion pounds, have a zillion friends) rather than just getting to the point and saying "do this to be happy". I hope my book accomplishes that. It's really short, to the point, includes damn near everything I learned in all the years I obsessively studied the cognitive sciences, and will cost something like ten bucks (I think). And I promise that it doesn't ask you to change religions, get a color drape, tote a bag of crystals or learn Sanskrit. You can experience loads more happiness and still be the loveable old crank you are right now.

Which brings me to my next point, which is snowshoeing. I went for the first time a few days ago and it was a HOOT. I think it's going to be my new wintertime sport. It's a great way to extend the hiking season and it doesn't require any verve, brio, daring or hipness (unlike snowboarding, which I used to do) - or a hogshead full of cash. And it's quiet. Just you, the snow, and the SCRAPE-SCRAPE-SCRAPE-THUMP-SHRRRUK-SCRAPE-SHUUURRRSH of your snowshoes on the the hardpack. No, honestly, it's much less cumbersome than it seems it would be. I thought that I'd have to shackle my feet to bedframes and sacrifice my hip flexors. As it turns out, modern snowshoes (pictured, above) are delightfully lightweight and easily maneuverable. And grippy, too! They're tenacious little buggers! It beats the crap out of trying to negotiate snow-covered trails in your hiking boots. And best of all, it doesn't matter how cold it is outside, the joyful exertion keeps you warm. It was only 19 degrees with a hell of a wind when I went, and I worked up a sweat that soaked through to my jacket. (I know that's not too smart. I should've dressed lighter, but how was I to know?)

I'm going to leave off now and end with some pictures of my snowshoeing adventure, which is hopefully the first of many to come.



Regardless of what the name might lead you to believe, there are no whales in Humpback Creek. My theory? Too shallow. Way too shallow.

Me (foreground) and Elizabeth (background) on the bridge at Humpback creek on January 15th (Martin Luther King Day). Teresa couldn't come because she had to work even though it was a holiday for the rest of us. My theory? Microsoft just hates black people. That's all there is to it.

Still life with dog: Pete Aiken with Cassidy on the bridge at Humpback Creek. If you were thinking that Humpback Creek was the only photo op we took while we were on the trail, you're right. Trying to wrangle a camera out of your pocket with gloves on is a pain in the ass.


The General said...


Jesus walked on water.

Snow is water.

You are walking on snow.

Are you Jesus?

Thaddeus Gunn said...

Short answer: yes. Longer answer: not really.