I am looking at a blank screen, determined to write something today about happiness. The year is 2020 and it is not even half over. The pundits have already declared this the worst year in modern history. So much unhappiness is in our world. I try to watch the news and it makes me feel sad. Like you, I am semi-confined to my house because of the virus. Social media is full of hatred and a mixed bag of craziness. 

What is a guy to do? Know what? I have a choice. I choose to be happy and I am determined to convince you to do the same. So here goes. 

Let’s see; where can I find something happy to write about? Well, here is something. It is just under my eyes. It is my nose. You see, I have discovered I cannot breathe in a mask; I feel as if I’m suffocating. So there. I am happy because I do not have to wear a mask all the time. And yes, I have tried to eat ice cream while my mask was still on and yes, I pulled my mask off without looking around to see who witnessed the feat. 

Okay, there’s that. What else makes me happy? 

Wet wipes. You see, I have discovered I am a face toucher. I never knew this until the rules said I could not touch my face, so now, being also a rule breaker, I must touch my face. But I am not just any ole face toucher; oh no! I touch my face after I have touched the door handle to the store, the credit card machine and used the universal pen to sign my credit card receipt. Of course, my hand does slightly touch the clerks when she hands me my receipt. Now is when my nose itches and I scratch it right after I rub my eye. 

So, nose and wet wipes. You are thinking it does not take much to make me happy. And you are right. I’m a simple man. But do not leave me now. There is more. Much more!

Eyes. On my morning walks, I have noticed more husbands walking with their wives. I have noticed more kids riding their bikes with their dads by their sides. I have even seen dad’s pushing strollers, something I never witnessed before the virus. It makes me happy to see this beautiful sight. 

On the flip side of this, people are afraid to make eye contact. It is as if they think by looking at me, they will get the virus. So, they look the other way, or if they must make eye contact, it’s of the stank eye variety. I make a point to speak to them and tell them something positive. Heck, I even give a Gomer Pyle wave to every car that passes by. That makes me happy.

Next comes hands. Bare hands, not gloved ones. You see, I have bear paws for hands. The glove size may say one size fits all, but not these catchers’ mitts. Mine seem to sweat whenever they sense vinyl. It could be the image it conjures up in my mind of how they were used in the pre- covid age at the doctor’s office. But I digress.

In the initial stages of Covid, my wife and I decided I would play the role of the Camel and do the grocery shopping. She could stay home, and we felt safer that way. So, off to the grocery store went the bald, gloved, and masked man. The first stop is in the produce section. I’m feeling safe up to this point, until I pulled the plastic baggie off the roll to place my fresh vegetables inside. Now I struggle getting these open with my bare, bear hands. Add vinyl to the mix and I’m a mess. First off, which end do I open? Those vinyl gloves start heating up. I notice water bubbles developing between my skin and those gloves. I’m tempted to put my gloves to my lips for moisture to assist in the bag’s opening. Then, the worst conceivable thing happens. My phone rings! I pull it out of my pocket with my Covid infested glove. I place the phone to my ear. Images of green Covids with the specific number of 19 swarming the side of my face and into my ear play over and over in my mind.

“Honey, can you pick up some Paprika?” my loving wife asks.

“Opey, whar en the h..k is peprica?” I mutter through my face mask.

By now, my gloves have gaping holes in them. As I get into the car to leave, I reach up to touch my face, because remember, I am a face toucher. I still have on my Covid infested gloves. Now the car handle, steering wheel, seat belt and candy bar I’m eating is infested with 19s!

So, add bare hands to the list of things that make me incredibly happy!

Social distancing is a mixed one for me. Mostly, it makes me happy to be distancing myself from some of these people. In fact, after they develop a vaccine, I think some of those people should still social distance away from me. But why is it that whenever I go to Lowes for one wood screw, ten sneezing people are congregated in front of that one item? 

Technology that works makes me happy. My boys told me to use Apple Pay to pay for all my transactions.

 “Dad, it’s paperless and you never have to touch anything. It’s by far the safest method for you to pay” they said.

 “Do you accept Apple Pay?” I ask one of Home Depot’s five ladies standing shoulder to shoulder yukking it up while I’m ringing my purchase. 

” I can’t understand you speaking thru your mask, ” she states, as she bumps into me. 

“DO YOU TAKE APPLE PAY?” I yell, as my glasses begin to drip water from the fog which has accumulated on the lenses. My breathing intensifies as I start hyperventilating. I do not dare take off that baby because by golly it’s an N95 which will protect me, they say. 

The other four Home Depot ladies, sensing a fainting is about to occur, move within my limited air space. 

“Yes, it should pop up on your phone. Here, let me see your phone, “as I freely hand it to them, with my pre-Covid mind set.

 I scratch my eye and then rub my nose.

 “Looks like it’s not working. But, if you have a tap and go card, you can just tap your card on this screen and that should work, ” they say, looking at the bald, sweaty, deep breathing, gloved, tightly rubber banded N95 face toucher, judging me as if to say, ” that guy isn’t cool enough to have a tap and go credit card.” 

After taking four or five deep breaths thinking of my happy place and wiping the fog off my glasses, I pull out my wallet, go directly to my newly obtained, high tech, touchless, as they advertise it, credit card. I look them directly in the eyes as if to say, ” how dare you judge me!” I drop the card on the floor, struggle to pick it up with my gloves, tap it on the machine, and walk out the door rubbing my face. Being cool makes me happy.

So, there you have it. The things that make me happy. They make me happy because I choose to be happy.

I sure hope you are happy. 

Did you know the same mind that determines unhappiness is the one that can determine happiness? 

In my many years on this earth, nothing beautiful came without some measure of pain and frustration. I get it. There is a ton of pain and frustration going around the world now. But I have a strong feeling, something beautiful is about to happen.

Be safe out there.

And choose happiness!

Excuse me now while I touch my face.


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