Laughing In The Dark

Mike - Boise, Idaho
Entered on March 12, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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“Laughing In The Dark”

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,

it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

-Max Ehrmann

The only constant in this world is its inconsistency. This I can count on. I feel the first step in attaining an unceasing state of happiness is accepting that a lack of rhyme or reason is the norm.

This once internal dialogue is the written manifestation of my personal quest to discover a state of nirvana by accepting and laughing at the outcomes of any situation over which I have no control. Good or bad.

Happiness is, to me, more than a simple feeling that can be characterized or defined. It is an outlook on the world. It is an outward representation and an inward sensation of my own acceptance of the injustice and unpredictability of the universe. It can be found in a color, a taste, a smell. In its most literal sense, my happiness is the compass on my present state of mind. Happiness cannot be tied down or taught through indoctrination. You can laugh at a funeral and cry at a wedding. It is possible to find happiness in even the darkest condition and it is often found in the most unexpected places and times.

About a year ago, I was standing in line with a friend and about fifteen other people. In the background, a kid on a skateboard played around but I wasn’t giving him any more attention than my peripheral senses would allow. One second standing, the next on the ground, the kid had gone a little beyond his bounds and came crashing to the concrete.


Almost simultaneously, a man who I had never previously met and I, along with the skater himself, were laughing. I laughed the hardest I have ever laughed. Ever.


Because I’m unstable and I get my kicks from the physical pain and humiliation of others?

Of course not. It was because at that moment, when he was at the apex of his “radness,” the world brought this kid down hard. And for that one instant, the three of us shared in the hilariously biting irony that is ever-present in the world. Although I can’t speak for the other two, I know that I was not only laughing at the ironic nature of the situation but also at the resiliency and adaptability of the kid to the brutal demolition of his ego and “street-cred.”

Charlie Chaplin said that “Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot.” When I break it down to its most basic element, the key to my happiness is nothing more than an accepting perspective. A go-with-the-flow attitude is the crucial element in the human-to-happiness equation. It is not the circumstances but the feelings about them which dictate my happiness.

The Dude abides.