(8) -----> Incense. Stay with me on this one. Ever have that day when you go outside and see the sun shining and clouds singing and flowers bellowing the “happy happy joy joy” song, and you take a deep, healthy breath and say maybe today, maybe today will be great, and it turns out to be a crapper in the worst possible way? You barely take three steps when you smell something weird on your shoes, and the time it takes you to wipe it off is the time you lost in leaving your house early to make it to school/work on time, and so now you’re racing to get to work/school, with stinky shoes and the wind is screwing up your hair and you finally get to where you have to be and find out that today was “Supervisor Visits Day - Wear Your Best Clothes”/ "Surprise Midterm Counting For 98.5% of Your Total Grade," and you left your tie/backpack at home, and that’s just the Well, then, after trauma after trauma, dragging yourself to the front door, finding out you stepped over that thing again that made your shoes stink that morning, lumbering into your bedroom feeling like the gum under some marathon runner’s shoe, what could possibly be a saving grace to the day the Devil made? The sweet smell of some weird fruity stuff burning. People like incense for a bunch of reasons. They say it sets a mood or relaxing your nerves, but really, it’s because it burns. It’s having a fire burning in your bedroom, and watching it die into ashes as its soul rises then dissipates into the air. Incense is the act of destruction that you sorely need after a day as stated above. Incense is the excuse to be violent, raging, pyromaniatic, while not going too overboard. It unleashes the hidden Tasmanian devil in each of us, lets us go “Ahhrrrrrrrrr, ahhrrrrrrrrrrr, ahhrrrrrrr.”, viciously lashing out at the world, all in a little burning stick. So, incense, as it is, is a happy stick. You can’t help but smile after seeing the trail of ashes its brief life laid. It lets us live and die like we all want to but can’t: fast, furious, and complete.

(9) -----> Cancun, Mexico. Insert the Hawaiian Islands, or Jamaica, or any Florida, French, Italian, Brazilian beach. Insert any of the beautiful people in the world in skinny underwear-like garments. All massed together in an orgy of 80-85% complete nakedness, just beautiful, pretty people and bodies shining in the sunlight. Cancun, Mexico, or any of the places above, is a window to a life of paradise dreamt of. Whatever your choice in attraction, you’ll probably find it on a beach somewhere. Showing at least 80% of their bodies. Laying about or running or swimming or just shining in the sun. The person(s) of your dreams, all prancing in real life at some beach somewhere, waiting for you to show up with a friendly smile and bottle of sun block. Well, maybe not waiting for you, or maybe yes. That’s the beauty of beaches. They are so far from our normal environment that they don’t necessarily follow our normal rules. So be flirtatious, be bold, be 80 to 85% naked. Maybe you’re someone else’s person of their dreams. And someone will come towards you with a friendly smile and bottle of sun block. And all you have to do with this eager beach bunny: just say, “Sure you can. Just make sure you don’t miss any spots on my back, sweetheart.” The rest, I say, is up to your leisure and care.

(10) -----> You can always go back to school. Yes, that’s one too. Really. Here goes why: where else can you go around being stupid and unknowledgable and aware of all your limitations, and still be accepted. Not just accepted, but encouraged. Not just encouraged but then taught to be better. It’s a place where you can show up a failure and leave semi-competent in a lot of stuff. And the people around you are just as bad. For every shining star, there’s a dim bulb you’d go circles around in a game of Scategories. School is a place where your battered self-esteem can take a breather and pump itself up again. And hitting on people is allowed. Maybe refused, maybe cause for your self-esteem to go back down again, but still allowed. It’s a playground for adults; playing with supervision, knowing full well that you could be doing a lot of stuff more productive, but heck with that, I’m cutting class and eating in the cafeteria. It’s a place you can come closest to being a kid again, down right to the clothes you wear. The food you eat. The conversations you can have. That is the key to school and it’s reason for happiness: you can complain with other adults about how bad your teacher is. Talk about relieving childhood.

(11) -----> Someone had sex with you at least once. Unless you’re a virgin. Then my congratulations, and wish that you find your future mate soon/grow to be of age. Unless you don’t want to be a virgin, then hurry up and find someone quick. As for the rest of us, this maybe the keeper of all good reasons to be happy. You’ve been a part of the reproductive cycle. Maybe not contributed to it, but at least you’ve played the game and know you could have had little you’s running around somewhere in this world. Having sex with a person validates your existence in this world, because at least one other person thought you were important enough to be naked with, and spent actual time doing something with you that could have been spent reading a book, watching a movie, clipping some toe nails. Or maybe time spent away that could have been used writing the next great American novel, or volunteering, or fighting fires, or praying. Another person actually spent time with you over volunteering or praying to God. That’s a validation of existence if I’ve ever heard one. To boot: you had to potential of having a lot of fun having sex with this other person. Even if you didn’t, at least you have the legal right to pretend that you did. And no one will care or even bother to check up on it. Because you’ve been validated, and seen at least one other person naked in this world other than yourself. And as all of you already know, seeing another person naked (preferably attractive) is the single most important reason to be happy ( see 1). Now go out there in the world and have some fun naked time. Knowing that in the end, you’ve made yourself one more reason to be happy. AND, one other person to be happy too. You’ve got to like that.


By Don Bernal

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