I did quite the foolish thing the other week. While wafting peacefully on a haze of cider fumes, I got to that bizarre faux-zen stage of drunkeness where you seem to transcend the frenzied solo arguments of normal brain activity and start to process the world with perfect clarity, every synapse singing like a wet finger being swept round the rim of a wine glass, every thought appearing as an unblemished sphere of translucent crystal. Of course, you only feel like that because in an attempt to prevent any more of it from being destroyed by the evil fermentations of apples, your brain has shut down all but the most basic of functions - lungs will still contract, heart will still pump, life will hang on in there - and it's easy to mistake the stillness of the calmed mind with the catatonia of lying on your kitchen floor with the fridge door open and ignored bacon slowly charring itself to atoms under the grill.
Anyway, while in that state, I still managed to get onto Twitter (which has ascended to a credible third in the hierarchy of the non-booze-disabled brain functions, after the aforementioned heart beating and breathing, which often means me waking in various pools of unmentionables but with phone firmly gripped in hand and a pristine timeline with not a spelling mistake in sight) and I asked the following question, like a numbskull:
Are you happy?
Cos I was floating above it all, see?! And I thought I could CURE people of their unhappiness with the direct simplicity of my follow-up question - this, I drooled (drolly, natch), would jackboot through the wet tissue paper walls of their misery and release their tortured souls into a world full of bucolic pleasure or stygian excess, depending on preference! Follow-up question? Thusly:
Obviously, I was horrifically ill-equipped to deal with the response I got. No, we're not happy, said the Twitter massive. And the reasons are heartbreaking, insoluble, occasionally pathetic, massive, and please would you wipe that self-satisfied saintly half-smile off your face, JRME, we can tell you're doing it even though we cannot and will not ever see you. So all I could do was parp back a few sympathetic platitudes and flappy-handed apologies, and hold my head and sigh remind myself to mind my own damn biznis. If you were affected by the actions of that night, again, I'm sorry. And the BBC has an ActionLine number where you can call and request that I'm fired for being a twatting bugger. They don't employ me but hey, they have ways.
I'm not happy either, but my reasons are dancing at the end of the pathetic rainbow, being as they are mostly to do with how bored I am and my incipient mid-life crisis. It seems my only options may be to have an affair or a baby, and both of those things seem like too much of an administrative nightmare for someone with such a pronounced fear response to organisation as me (curl up, zip hoodie over head, check email every ten seconds but never, ever reply to anyone, occasionally empty contents of in-tray into nearby canal), so unless someone designs a really shit-hot iPhone app to help me - "here is an excuse for coming home late smelling of Lynx Africa again!" "here is the GPS location of the exact shelf in Waitrose you left your infant propped up on!" - I shall have to continue with my bloody comfortable get a grip woman life as is.
Anyway, I was musing on this - on Twitter (will I ever learn?) so apologies if this is all old news though it was 4am so mazel tov if you did read it at the time, I'm grateful, and you should probably follow more people - and I believe most people's unhappiness can be broken down into three basic building blocks (this excludes all the mucky "my body doesn't work as it should"/"I have been the victim of a grave injustice" stuff. It's the more woolly oh I me myself ennui that infects most of us. Keep it light, for God's sake, as the Prophet Limmy once said)...
- I have yet to be convinced by myself or anyone else that I am utterly without worth.
- What no-one really understands is that everything I project into the world is a mask, and underneath I'm scared, isolated and misunderstood.
- My fucking bastard neighbours are too fucking bastard loud.
Oh, and there's a fourth...
4. No-one will shag me. (And 4b - OK, that person will shag me, but that's not the right person)
And that's when I came up with it. The Secret Of Happiness in ten words or less. Ready for this? You won't be. Here it comes:
SODIUM PENTATHOL CENTER PARCS BLINDFOLDED ORGY PARTIES.
Just leave my Nobel Prize with the tattoo shop next door, Ban-Ki Moon. I'm off to Elveden Forest.
Man, I can't believe I haven't got a lifestyle column yet...