Last week, I wrote about five things that are far sadder than they ought to be, but because I'm still hoping to lose my competition with John Cheese for Cracked columnist most likely to yell at kids to get off his damn lawn, I thought I'd turn it around this week. Instead, I'm presenting five things that bring me joy. But understand, these aren't obvious things like winning the lottery or tricking barely legal teens into high-risk sex. Instead, these are little things that result in explosive fits of happiness far greater than you would ever expect.
#5. Competent Customer Service.
Horrible customer service is almost expected. It's one of those things we have such diminished expectations for that we grade it on a curve. Like drinking Hamm's canned beer or losing your virginity: you don't expect it to be good; you just want to get it over with and get what you need. Outsourcing doesn't help as most foreigners don't magically obtain a perfect grasp of the English language by pretending their name is Steve instead of Sanjay. Also problematic are the built-in layers of bureaucracy all designed to force consumers to rise higher and higher through the ranks of incompetence until you reach a supervisor with the actual authority to help you. And lastly, global corporations still seem to think customers will be happy if their employees can do nothing more than say,"Sir," "Madame," "please," and "thank you." But most customers aren't concerned with these niceties. Frankly, I don't care if you call me Senor Fuckwad just as long as you promptly take care of my stuff. (Actually, I care a little. I mean, Senor Fuckwad? That's just hurtful. Why would you say that? Are you some kind of jerk?)
That's why on those rare occasions where competent people in a functioning system actually do their job and take care of me, I seriously consider sexually satisfying them. (Regardless of gender or sexual orientation.) I'm just that happy. Such was the case at the Apple store recently. (Yes, Mac fanboys, take a moment to ejaculate in the corner.) My son's Nano stopped working. Simple matter. The on/off switch was stuck in the depressed position. Some sort of internal spring malfunction. I made an appointment online, drove over to the Apple store, and then proceeded to wait 40 minutes past the time of my appointment while overhearing the obnoxious inhabitants of the Genius Bar shower i-Intelligence down upon the masses. It was quite irritating actually.
This is an actual pic of the Genius bar with identities obscured (for legal reasons) by PCs. Why PCs? Because fuck those Mac guys.
BUT, when my turn did come, a nice young lad with hipster glasses took my name, punched his iPad, saw the Nano defect, and replaced the unit with a new one in literally two minutes. My wife was so happy that even though she'd been bitching about using our Mac laptop while her ASUS desktop was in the shop, she instantly converted to a Mac user for life, and I felt a little guilty for making that Steve Jobs joke last month.
#4. ELO's Mr. Blue Sky
You might think you don't know this song, but you do. Even if you don't recognize the band Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). Even if the name Jeff Lynne -- the band's creative force, member of The Traveling Wilburys and producer of George Harrison's Cloud Nine, and Tom Petty's Full Moon Fever -- is unknown to you. You know this song. Not just because it's a staple of classic rock radio, but because in recent years, advertisers and Hollywood have recognized its unparalleled joy-inducing properties and have been using it in countless soundtracks and ads.
And you know it because Jeff Lynne's afro commands that you know it.
Because my brothers are 7 and 10 years older than I, I've known this song since I was about 5, and I loved everything about it. The bell percussion. The robot voice. The strings. Everything. It is the perfect end to ELO's Concerto for a Rainy Day on the Out of the Blue Album:
Understand me. I'm not saying I like this song; I'm saying the moment I hear it, I get insanely happy. Even if I'm in a horrible mood, for the 4 minutes and 32 seconds it's on, I am that little boy standing on a chair in Grover slippers and pajamas conducting invisible android orchestras in outer space.
#3. Not Getting Charged For Something
I love getting stuff for free which is different from getting free stuff. Let me explain. Free stuff is like bumper stickers from a politician or even a toothbrush from your dentist. It sucks. You don't need it, it clogs up your drawers, and, ultimately, you throw it away. But getting stuff free means deciding to buy something, getting it and then realizing you haven't been charged. You'll know when this happens because IT'S AWESOME. And it doesn't matter what it is. The following is a list of things I've gotten without paying for and been delighted about:
More large fries.
I can't remember it all, but that's not the point. Something for nothing. It's amazing. Especially, if it's like takeout or delivery and you don't realize until you're safe in your home. I mean, if I'm at some Mom and Pop shop and Granny on the register forgets to ring something up, I'm probably going to say something. But if Outback Steakhouse's takeout window forgets to charge me for a Bloomin' Onion? Sweet sassy molassy, happy days!