Thursday, May 5

IF I COULD BE ANYBODY FOR A DAY.

When I was a kid nothing beat the summers, I mean absolutely nothing. They were the best. My brother and I would rise with the sun, shovel our breakfasts into our mouths as quickly possible and then bolt out of the house, leaving the screen door to slam loudly behind us. It seemed like we were always running and that we always had someplace to go. We’d spend the summers running to friends’ houses, ball fields, homemade clubhouses, lakes or just exploring the huge nature preserve at the end of the neighborhood. This was back in the day when a kid could disappear on his own for the majority of the day without his parents freaking out and sending out a massive search party.

The thing is back then I was…happy. I mean really happy. I loved each and every day. I tried my best to suck every ounce of pleasure out of the day and more often than not I succeeded. Back then life was simple and I didn’t really have a worry in the world, had close friends and was creative enough to keep myself constantly occupied. As I grew older things changed, but they have to, that’s life I guess, or so I’ve been told. Insecurities, responsibilities, relationships and days that get measured not by pleasure but by a monetary reward system have a way of changing your perception of the world.

If I could be anyone for a day I’m not sure who I would be. I mean there are rock stars that come to mind. Playing in front of thousands of people has to be rewarding. There are astronauts, pilots, actors and adventurers that hold degrees of appeal. I imagine the thrill of being a professional football or baseball player would be incredible, to be the star of the big game is every boy’s fantasy but I’m also struck by something Troy Aikman once said after winning the Super Bowl. He asked, “Is that all there is?”

There lies the genesis of my dilemma. Being one of these people would also require me to actually really be one of these people. I have no idea how other people perceive the world. I mean I can guess because I am a living person and I interact with other people, I listen to what they say, read what they write, experience much of what they experience but the thing is we’re all locked into our bodies, we’re billions of separate realities occupying the same world, each of us with our own memories, emotions and temperaments. There’s a reason why they hand out menus at your local restaurant.

That guitarist performing in front of thousands of adoring fans is the same person who’s spent countless hours alone in a room someplace practicing. The same holds true for sport stars and actors. What drives a person to success? Is it pleasure or personal demons? I have no idea. I’m not this or that person. I’m only myself. So when I think about who I’d like to be for the day that memory of my younger self claws its way into my thoughts and it becomes less of a quest to identify a person and more of a quest to identify an emotion because if I could be anyone for a day wouldn’t it make more sense to request to be the happiest person in the world or the most content, fulfilled or enlightened person?

But then again…isn’t happiness subjective? Take TV as an example. Doesn’t Dexter define personal happiness a whole lot differently than House? There’s no guarantee that what gives one person immense pleasure will give another the same degree of satisfaction. Ah yes, speaking of satisfaction, isn’t that another nice emotion?

Here’s a question: If you could be overwhelmed by any emotion for a day, to experience it more than any human in the world has ever experienced it, what emotion would you chose?

Happiness may be a lot of different things to different people but how many think it’s a warm gun? I guess everything’s subjective.

5 comments:

Lauren Baratz-Logsted said...

Isn't that what Snoopy said, "Happiness is a warm gun"?

Kay Cassidy said...

Ha! Subjective, for sure. Now, happiness is a warm donut? *That* I could get behind. :-)

Melissa Walker said...

Maybe "me on my very best day" is a good answer to this question. I agree with you about those childhood summers, Greg. AMAZING days.

Amy said...

Just so you know there's something wrong with your RSS feed. When I try to drop down the menu I can't get to the Atom (XML feed link) because the layout cuts it off.

I was gonna subscribe :(

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