In a tiny section of the bookstore that no sane person ever enters lies a secret underworld of musings and advice-like tidbits... books that offer hundreds, sometimes thousands of tiny wisdoms. Well, I bought a pile of these books, hoping to gain knowledge from the cute community. After reading 24,504 folksy nuggets, I learned two things: These books are not to be trusted, and there's a gun in my mouth.
14,000 things to be happy about.
Barbara Ann Kipfer, 1990
$6.95 or 2014 Gems per Dollar
Barbara Ann Kipfer has absent-mindedly compiled a disorganized list of things and called it a book. About one percent of them are things that make people happy, like "sleepyheads" or "fish." But the rest seems to be made up entirely of things that pass across her eye as she thumbs through catalogs, or foods she happens to be in the mood for. More or less, it's the diary of a lonely, hungry woman who never learned what a sentence was.
It doesn't seem like she moved any items around after churning out the whole list, so sometimes you'll hit patches where you can watch her mind go down a long path. Hmm, things to be happy about... drug stores, getting back correct change, headlines at the checkout line, clerks not calling out for a price check on Vagisil, applying soothing cream, rereading confusing instructions, applying soothing cream, making awkward eye contact with cats, surprise guests.
I can tell that Barbara isn't the kind of woman that reaches for the stars, but tolerable temperatures? If you're made notably happy by tolerable temperatures, you'd probably chain together orgasms from a cookie. I think Barbara might actually be my dream girl. You could wave at her from the PlayStation and she'd be riding that high for a week.
Every author hopes to be remembered by future generations for their wisdom. Ralph Waldo Emerson probably died with an enormous erection knowing that his words would one day mark the beginning of every high school valedictorian speech. Did Barbara imagine this when she wrote "hot dog buns"? Did she picture someone, some day, using her immortal words? "People of the future, welcome. You know, a wise person once said hot dog buns. Take these words with you as the future chairs on which you sit burrow cyber-tentacles into your body. From this moment on, the flesh harvesting mines of Glaar will be your home, and your grave."
f**k you, lady. How about that? (Classic comeback)
Try to think about a time in your life where you were so depressed you had to turn to the fact that manhole covers exist for comfort. There's not even a word for that kind of depression. And if there was, you would have to beat a bleating walrus to death with a violin in order to pronounce it. But I think I might be stealing that idea from how George Lucas made Chewbacca's voice.
"Why, I do declare, Mr. Beauregard! These mint julips are a fine, fine companion to this morning's overhearin's of banjos and rape."
No one likes interacting with answering machines, but I imagine the invention of caller ID hit this woman harder than anyone. "Hi you two! I keep missing you! Well, this is Barbara again; I just wanted to call and chat about happiness. Things like, oh let's see... phones, carrying phones into kitchens, open gas ovens, broken pilot lights, heads in gas ovens, shiny cigarette lighters, long pauses, the sharp whistle of accelerant igniting, chilling silences... I'll call back in seven minutes!"
Fine, sweater vests sort of make me happy too. I'm not a monster.
When she runs out of things in her line of sight, Barbara sometimes writes down little sayings that make her happy. You know what? Good for her! We're very proud of you, Barbara! Oh, I'm so hopped up on the positive energy of reading "cuticle cream" and "Sylvester Stallone, actor" that I could burst!