True Confession

I get irrationally mad at people I see in public who seem happy, content, put together and seem to have figured it all out.

It really makes me jealous. Why isn’t everyone a hot mess?

And don’t get me started on those people who are always smiling.

103 replies
  1. 1
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    It really makes me jealous. Why isn’t everyone a hot mess?

    They are

    people who are always smiling.

    Denial and/or overmedicated

  2. 2
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    You would soooo hate me in person.

  3. 3
    Schlemizel says:

    they are either faking it or stupid & unaware

  4. 4
    PsiFighter37 says:

    I like to think that I got all the angst and ‘figured it out’ from a mental standpoint when I was in high school. I think a good deal of it just comes down to being level-headed and going with the flow – and if the flow isn’t working, fix it.

  5. 5
    chopper says:

    You need to start listening to the polyphonic spree.

  6. 6
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Sometimes, people are just having a good day. They might have found out that their cancer is in remission. That they were able to refinance their house so that it won’t be foreclosed. That despite the cancer and the imminent foreclosure, their kid just won the student of the month at her elementary school. Leave them the fuck alone. Let them have their moment.

  7. 7
    chopper says:

    When I see people smiling I think of Louis CK saying “An optimist is somebody who goes, “Hey, maybe something nice will happen.” Why the fuck would anything nice happen?”

  8. 8
    jake the snake says:

    The MMPPI said that I think happy people are stupid. That is not completely correct. I think they are just shallow and unreflective. Either that, or they are sociopaths.

  9. 9
    Jacks mom says:

    I get irrationally upset with people who yell at those people who seem to have it all together.
    But only when I have to think about it.

  10. 10
    Belafon says:

    The cartoon in this post sums up what I think is happening.

  11. 11
    RaflW says:

    So, I am working to not judge a person’s insides based on what I see of their outsides.

    I fail at this regularly.

    For example, I see a guy driving too fast in a Range Rover and I am all judging his insides as well as his outsides in about 0.5 seconds. But anyway.

    Thankfully, happy people usually don’t bother me. Unless I’m in a hotel with thin walls. Then shut the f*&% up. Now, got it?!

  12. 12
    Desert Rat says:

    The truth is, chances are their lives are just as fucked up. They’ve just decided to deal with it together.

  13. 13
    srv says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Denial and/or overmedicated

    This is the frightening answer. Every time I go to Austin, I get enraged on the streets by everyone driving 10 mph below the speed limit. Back in the day, it was pot, today, it’s Zanax.

    Potheads: Slower traffic keep right man, popos watching
    Zanaxians: Lane, what’s a lane?

    It’s like I’m Dr. Banner, but I turn into Victor David Hanson.

  14. 14
    Ash Can says:

    If someone took a snapshot of you smiling at Lily, people like you would be irrationally mad at your smile too.

    (Edited for…clarity?)

  15. 15
  16. 16
    mzrad says:

    You need to channel your cat, Señor Grump-o-saurus.

  17. 17
    Suzanne says:

    I’m the opposite. I get mad at hot messes. For example, I’ll see someone and think the following: Like, how the fuck old are you? No matter what the answer is, no one who has outgrown shitting their pants should act like you. I have friends who are my age who still spend all of their time partying and fucking people in Grindr/Tinder, and I’m beyond being able to feel bad for them when they have money trouble or relationship drama.

  18. 18
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @srv: It’s like I’m The Hulk, but I turn into Victor David Hanson.

    Now that’s frightening. I would not see that movie.

    ETA: Not to be one of those people, but when I’m feeling that way, I find exercise, outdoor exercise, really helps clear my head.

  19. 19
    RaflW says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Well, yeah, there’s that. But random happy giggles and conversation from people in the next room is worse. Happy chatting tends to last way longer than sex.

  20. 20
    Ruckus says:

    I try to smile all the time because it makes me feel better. Especially when someone smiles back. I don’t care if they think I’m an idiot, hell they may be right a good part of the time.
    I’d just rather that happy be my default position rather than pissed off constantly. I’ve lived through too much shit and I’m still here. Hit head on by a truck, closing speed about 50. I wasn’t in a car at the time. Walked away. Gone bust twice, lost business both times, once major natural disaster, other time the great recession. Have had a heart attack, have a hip that is just about gone, have a knee in the same condition. Not to mention the worst of all, conservatives.
    I could be pissed and angry about all this and more but I choose not to be.

  21. 21
    Howard Beale IV says:

    The reality is, Mr. Cole, we’re all fucked up in one form or another-some have better methods of handing it than others.

    Ya might want to dig up some old vid’s of Leo Buscagila. And if that doesn’t whack you upside the head, then we’re all a lost cause. And if it’s gotten to that stage, watch out.

  22. 22
    Garbo says:

    Your Ultimate Curmudgeon renewal paperwork is in the mail. Thanks for your continuing support of our organization.

  23. 23
    John Weiss says:

    @Schlemizel: Golly, fellah, I don’t fake much and I’m rather aware and I feel just fine. ‘Course being ‘retired’ and living in a forest helps.

  24. 24
    Suffern ACE says:

    I’m happy. I got a letter. Signed by the President(‘s own autosignature machine) acknowledging that my opinion on the issue I wrote him about was important and attempting to explain to me what he was trying to do, even if he wasn’t doing what I wanted. But hey. Someone opened my letter and I got a letter back from a politician that wasn’t a request to donate to a campaign.

    You see. It’s not hard to be happy. Sucks if you’re in Syria and people keep fighting a civil war. But I did get a letter.

  25. 25
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ruckus: Fucking A. Being angry all the time is tiring. There is enough to do in an average day that I don’t want to spend all my energy being generally pissed off. OTOH, that fucker who cut me off in traffic is another story.

  26. 26
    Seanly says:

    When my wife was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, I spent a couple of days wondering how everyone could be so happy and smiling. This was directed mostly at people on the TV like the news anchors.

  27. 27
    Suzanne says:

    @Ruckus: I have Bitchy Resting Face, so even when I think I am looking passive and neutral, people seem to think I’m pissed off. But I’m not. I’m stressed out at the moment, but I got nothin’ to complain about.

  28. 28
    srv says:

    The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind. There is no play in them, for this comes after work. But it is a characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.”

    John, think of your WIC encounters at the checkout line.

    For me, I get on public transit, look around, and ask myself “who would I trade places with today?”

    Then I get off at the bus stop and slap myself for being so lucky.

  29. 29
    Cacti says:

    My pet peeve has always been the “why don’t you smile more” types.

    Just because I don’t feel the need to always have a big, shit-eating grin on my face, doesn’t mean I’m unhappy about something.

  30. 30
    Suffern ACE says:

    Let’s see. Other things I’m happy about. I learned today that if you’ve been given cough suppressant with codine because you have the flu and decide that enough is enough with the codine, it’s time to move back to Dayquill because you really don’t like being sleepy all day long, it’s best to wait a LONG time before you make that switch. Much longer than I waited. But the good news is I learned something and I’ve stopped mumbling so much to myself about things better left between me and the cat.

    So it’s not really difficult to be happy. Although apparently it is difficult to use common sense and read directions. Also that Kennedy woman was probably innocent.

  31. 31
    mikefromArlington says:

    Move to communist virginia…you’ll be happy! :)

  32. 32
    Bob says:

    John, I’m launching a magazine, Coot Living. Care to contribute?

  33. 33
    Mike in NC says:

    My pet peeve is redneck assholes who wear their sunglasses perched on top of their goddamn ball caps instead of on their faces. WTF?

  34. 34
    cmorenc says:

    um, John why are you looking at me like that?

  35. 35
    Ruckus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    Oh Yeah! I still get pissed. At numerous things. People mostly, myself occasionally. I just try real hard to get over it sooner than later.
    Had a kid working for me once that another employee had named – Mad At The World. A most appropriate nickname. I never want to be like him. Mostly because he was young, pig headed and frequently wrong. Didn’t understand that the person signing his check had the ability to assign him work to do and what the results should look like.

  36. 36
    Mnemosyne says:

    I’m watching “Cosmos” with my beloved while drinking a Magner’s after having a tasty beef and Guinness pie. What do I have to be pissed off about?

  37. 37
    StringOnAStick says:

    After just spending the last week moving my ultimate curmudgeon FIL with my BIL to a home much closer to the BIL’s new job, I can state with firm conviction that if I am ever as unhappy, sour, dour, ‘glass barely has a drop in it’ as my FIL, then please shoot me so I will no longer be ruining any one else’s life other than my own. The unrelenting depressive refusal to even try to improve his situation is beyond frustrating and difficult to be around; as his doc says, antidepressants don’t change your underlying personality, and my FIL has always been dark and aggressively antisocial.

    Oh sure, the curmudgeon act was slightly humorous when he was younger, but now it is a total PITA to be dealing with an 88 year old who winges and moans about everything to the point that no one wants to be around him. So, be careful what you are aiming for Mr. Cole, especially if you won’t be having any children who will take care of you no matter what a PITA you are. This has been the biggest wake up call I’ve ever gotten on why humans need positive interaction, otherwise the old song Old and in the Way is way, way too prophetic.

  38. 38
    Joseph Nobles says:

    I’m content with letting happy people be happy. There’s not enough happiness in this world and those who strike it should work it for all it’s worth. I don’t begrudge them that. That’s life. Sometimes you’re up and sometimes you’re down.

    And sometimes people don’t find The One. And sometimes people keep tripping over more than their fair share of The One all their lives long. It happens. It’s a numbers game.

    Happiness and/or being content with your lot is intimately wrapped up in whether you can get over the idea that you deserve more or better than what life hands out. It’s what Sondheim was getting at with his musical Assassins, I think, and what Chuck Palahniuk was nailing down with every hammer he could find in Fight Club: we are not special snowflakes. The pursuit of happiness is our right, but attaining happiness is not. Why should we ever think that it was?

    Maybe one day I will be happy. Who knows? It’s a numbers game. Maybe I already am happy, and a fucked-up version of what my life should be keeps me grumpy. How would I ever figure that out if I don’t just get the fuck over myself and look around?

    PS: People who want me to act happy have by definition a fucked up version of what my life should be. The Up with People ambassadors can miss me. People are OK.

  39. 39
    Lolis says:


    Heh. People do drive slow and shitty in Austin. It makes me mad too.

  40. 40
    ulee says:

    A few days ago I had the day off from work and I decided I would have no contact with my fellows in the world. I took the dogs down to the local cemetary and after their walk, we got in the car to go home. As I was pulling out a woman in another car was pulling in, and yes I was too far to the left but I’m not used to accomodating other cars at this spot. Anyway, the woman yelled out her window and called me a fucking asshole. That was only contact with people that day. The one person I met called me a fucking asshole. Oh well.

  41. 41
    Annamal says:

    Mr Cole are you telling me that you don’t feel some variation of happy and content when surrounded by the piglets?

    I figure everyone in this life is going to eventually go through misery grief and pain so if they’re having moments of happiness now then good for them.

  42. 42
    Tommy says:

    @Mnemosyne: I find I often can’t get mad about much. I think about how I was raised and it rocked. I recall (and I am an atheist) going to confirmation classes. The Minister calling my parents and said I was being difficult. People often called my parents. My parents said to the Minister how is a 14 year old kid being difficult?

    We never went to church again.

    I said my parents often got calls that I was difficult. Often from schools. They never let teachers put me down. Belittle what I think.

    I know so many parents were the same as mine.

    One of the reasons I am happy. Good things can happen all around you.

  43. 43
    blueskies says:

    Ronald Spiers: The only hope you have is to accept the fact that you’re already dead.

    Once you get that down, every day is Christmas.

  44. 44
    Tommy says:

    @ulee: I am so sorry to hear that. A lot of folks in this world are assholes. I find being kind of nice, if not just polite, well that changes everything. My friends and family members are always stunned how laid back I am. I say I just don’t have the energy to be mad all the time.

    Look I can get mad at everything. Just don’t see the purpose in it.

  45. 45
    ulee says:

    Which reminds me. When I was younger and had really bad anxiety I went to Sears to have my car repaired. The line was long and I kept repeating to myself, “Brakes are squeeking and radiator leaking, brakes squeeking, radiator leaking….” When it was my turn, the guy at the desk said, “Can I help you?” I responded, “Car.” Mortifying.

  46. 46
    Suzanne says:

    @Cacti: Sounds like you have Bitchy Resting Face, too. Maybe it’s an Arizona thing.

  47. 47
    Chickamin Slam says:

    You aren’t the only one Cole. I think this quote sums it up best.

    “Some of us have great stories, pretty stories that take place at lakes with boats and friends and noodle salad. Just no one in this car. But, a lot of people, that’s their story. Good times, noodle salad. What makes it so hard is not that you had it bad, but that you’re that pissed that so many others had it good.”

    From as Good as it Gets.

  48. 48
    MikeJ says:

    Here come bad news talking this and that, yeah,
    Well, give me all you got, and don’t hold back, yeah,
    Well, I should probably warn you I’ll be just fine, yeah,
    No offense to you, don’t waste your time

  49. 49
    Amir Khalid says:

    An MH37 update:
    The New York Times reports that MH370’s first turn away from its course to Beijing was programmed into the 777’s flight management system, most likely by a pilot. The FMS reported the change, which added at least one waypoint not on the route, to a maintenance base via the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) before the ACARS was manually turned off.

    Malaysian authorities are no longer asserting that ACARS was turned off before first officer Fariq Hamid last spoke to Subang Air Traffic Control at 01:21 Saturday, March 8. ACARS had in fact last transmitted at 01:07 and was due to send again at 01:37; it was switched off at some point before this, but when exactly is not known.

    The USS Kidd, which had joined the SAR mission along with the USS Pinckney, has now been reassigned to its normal duties, per the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet. It is being replaced with long-range search planes.

  50. 50
    Time Travelin says:

    Tony Soprano made that exact same confession to Dr. Melfi.

  51. 51
    Ruckus says:

    I used to be pissed most of the time until I found out that it’s OK to be appropriately pissed. Shit you can’t do anything about? People doing stupid shit? They don’t rate a lot of my pissed off time. My time is not all that valuable but it is worth far more than that.

  52. 52
    Amir Khalid says:

    Do you always feel this way about the apparently well-adjusted, or just when you’re feeling grumpy/depressed? The former might indicate a problem.

  53. 53
    ulee says:

    @Tommy: It’s OK. I thought it was funny.

  54. 54
    EmanG says:

    Why do you feel that way? Because, in many ways you’re still a pussy, afraid to let others be happy while you deal with your shit. Their happiness is, in no way, a reflection on or comment about your current state of affairs. My friend and I used to say “Look at those fuckers in love. Fuck them.” Then we’d laugh as an acknowledgement that we were being pussies too…

  55. 55
    Tommy says:

    @Ruckus: I had a boss say to me as much about life as work, that I could always have a sword in my hand. Fighting. But maybe that I would get tired. Wasn’t something I needed to do. As I have gotten older and older I felt that was about the smartest thing I was ever told.

  56. 56
    Fort Geek says:

    Joe Walsh has a lyric in ‘Lucky That Way’ for this: “If you just act like you know what you’re doing. Everybody thinks that you do.”

  57. 57
    RandomMonster says:

    Hope you don’t spend any time on Facebook, JC, because it’s all that times a gazillion.

  58. 58
    mclaren says:

    I get irrationally mad at people I see in public who seem happy, content, put together and seem to have figured it all out.

    Don’t get mad. Get scared.

    Those freakishly happy shiny people?

    Serial killers.

    Christian Bale says he based his performance in American Psycho on Tom Cruise appearances on Oprah — Bale watched Cruise’s “intense friendliness with nothing behind his eyes” and got scared spitless.

  59. 59
    Mnemosyne says:

    I forgot that this episode of “Father Ted” had two of my all-time favorite lines:

    “Don’t tell me I’m still on the fecking island!”

    “Can you imagine, Father, looking up at your husband, and him standing over you with his lad in his hand, wanting you to degrade yourself?”

    (Okay, the second one may be mostly in the delivery.)

  60. 60
    Eric U. says:

    I used to work with someone that was always super happy. I think I saw her down exactly once, and it made me want to go jump off a bridge. I was jealous that she could act happy all the time.

    Every time I come home I have three pups that are happy to see me. Two of them are un-reflectively happy to see me, the alpha is there because he doesn’t want to lose status. It’s a couple moments of fun. There are people that say this is a way to encourage bad behavior in dogs. Those people have no soul

  61. 61
    hitchhiker says:

    Sitting in hospice for hours on Saturday, doing the death watch for a 67-yr-old friend . . . his 95 yr old mom was in the room. She slept on couches in the room for 5 nights straight, and she was there, it turned out, for both his first and his last breath.

    Now that was a model of good will I could admire! A truly gracious person facing up to horrifying circumstances, not a nickel’s worth of self-pity or false cheer as she greeted & watched & made conversation & wept with us as we left.

    I’ve been asking myself if I’m up to even wanting to be more like that. Give up my relentless snark & general vindictiveness . . .


  62. 62
    ulee says:

    Cole, you need a vacation. Go to WestWorld. You’ll feel much better, unless something goes wrong.

  63. 63
    2liberal says:

    how about those people who wear their sweaters like a cape, the the arms crossed over in front of the chest? I hate them, too.

  64. 64
    NotMax says:

    I get irrationally mad at people I see in public who seem happy, content, put together and seem to have figured it all out.

    Frankly, that’s your problem, not that of the half-dozen or so members of humanity whom you describe.

  65. 65
    chopper says:

    I live in a town where everybody is happy as a tick on a cock, all the fucking time. it’s kinda nuts.

  66. 66
    Anne Laurie says:

    You need to get some sunlight on your pineal gland, Cole. If it’s too cold/snowy to start digging out your garden, take the dogs for a walk on your favorite trail. Even here in New England, it’s reached the tipping point from ‘winter will never end’ to ‘spring will show up, eventually, in its own godsdamned time’

    @Chickamin Slam:

    “Some of us have great stories, pretty stories that take place at lakes with boats and friends and noodle salad. Just no one in this car. But, a lot of people, that’s their story. Good times, noodle salad. What makes it so hard is not that you had it bad, but that you’re that pissed that so many others had it good.”

    And I love that movie, because in the end, the Professional Curmudgeon accepts that he’s got all this sorrow and woe and yet, the best revenge is not letting the bad stuff define you.

    Or, as I keep saying: Be like Eeyore. If your friends forget your birthday, remind them. If they show up with crappy broken presents, because they’re basically idiots, remember that they cared enough to show up — and find something amusing to do with the broken crap. When you lose the use of a body part, be happy that some well-meaning youngster will help you recover… even if they do use a tack hammer. If nothing else, you’ll get a story out of your tribulations!

  67. 67
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: What you said. Leave them the fuck alone. indeed.

    Also, Cole, read This Is Waterby David Foster Wallace (RIP). ETA: And anyone else who hasn’t read it. Fast read and well worth it.

  68. 68
    Tyro says:

    I get irrationally mad at people I see in public who seem happy, content, put together and seem to have figured it all out.

    I might seem that way if you ever meet me. The truth is that I am severely fucked in the head.

  69. 69

    If there’s a smile on my face, it’s only there trying to fool the public,
    but when it comes down to fooling you, well honey that”s quite a different subject…

    Sometimes I feel like a nut, sometimes I don’t. If asked I say I look young because psychopaths don’t get wrinkles but I have wrinkles inside. My milage has varied. I’m not waiting for the miracle to come, I’m waiting for the end of the world. I maintain my cool because everytime I lost it it came right back like a poisoned boomerang. Also, I exfoliate and eat a lot of carrots and other orange foods. When bad things happen I am the one with the empty shoulder. But I white-knuckle some shit.Actually, I white-knuckle a lot. If nothing truly bad happens to you, you wait like a jackass to get burdened because it will happen. You don’t know when, But it has to. I’m only fortunate nothing ever came up that hit me at the wrong time. But I know I will live a while, and I will see.

  70. 70
    ruemara says:

    They are hot messes, sweetling. You’re just not witnessing the part of their lives that is a hot mess.

  71. 71
    Violet says:

    @ulee: Wasn’t Cole going to Colorado for spring break? When’s that happening?

  72. 72
    A Humble Lurker says:

    I honestly wonder sometimes if pessimists aren’t optimists and optimists aren’t pessimists.

    Like, when something bad happens, an optimist thinks “Oh thank God something worse didn’t happen.” While a pessimist goes “Why did that have to happen!?”

  73. 73
    Digital Amish says:

    Everybody’s life is a hot mess. Everybody is fucked in the head. That’s just the way things are. It’s the great cosmic joke. Nothing to get depressed about.

  74. 74
    Not Adding Much To The Community says:

    Speaking only for myself, to the extent that I am happy, content and together in public, it is in spite of being a hot mess. Raised as I was as a Texas gentleman, I learned that sharing our hot messiness in public is rude and uncouth. We save it all up for family and the people we love. That’s why most of them are still in Texas and I’m not.

    Jokes aside, it seems more rational to be optimistic and of good cheer. Pessimism seems to be an unhappier stance, and why choose to be unhappy? Assuming we have much choice in our base temperances.

  75. 75
    srv says:

    I suggest you people with hot mess problems watch a little Angus T. Jones about his new gig.

  76. 76
    LanceThruster says:

    “I apologize because of the terrible mess the planet is in. But it has always been a mess. There have never been any ‘Good Old Days,’ there have just been days. And as I say to my grandchildren, ‘Don’t look at me. I just got here myself.’”

    Kurt Vonnegut — Syracuse University Commencement speech, 1994

  77. 77
    Not Adding Much To The Community says:

    @srv: Hey, Jesus is the answer! (The question is “Who’s the junior member of the Trinity?”) I’m safely inoculated against that particular strain of self-help.

  78. 78
    NotMax says:

    We’re all in this together.

    Some are in it up to the lower lip, others in it only up to the toenails.

  79. 79
    Ruckus says:

    I’m not sure I can count that high. But kudos to you for using both hands for the task.

  80. 80
    joel hanes says:

    Cole, when I feel too much that way, I remind myself:

    I have a DD 214. I’m no longer in the fucking Army. No more strac lieutenants. No more ingnorant asshole racist SFC lifers. No more morning formations!

    and I feel better.

  81. 81
    joel hanes says:

    Or you could just re-read Slaughterhouse Five

    That’s one thing Earthlings might learn to do, if they tried hard enough: Ignore the awful times and concentrate on the good ones.

  82. 82
    Ruckus says:

    @Not Adding Much To The Community:
    I like to say that even though the glass may only be 1/8 full, it’s still better than 7/8 empty.
    Why? Because otherwise jumping off a tall building might not seem like such a bad idea.
    I’ve been depressed and I’ve been not. I like not better.

  83. 83
    Goblue72 says:

    Sorry to break it to some of you, but everybody’s life is not a hot mess. A lot of us manage to get our shit together and have a good life.

    I got a good job doing what I what I like (as far as an occupation) & am good at. I have a happy marriage. Own a decent house in a good neighborhood in a fairly metropolitan city (Seattle). I manage to sock away a few coin for old age and take a trip or two a year. I have my health. And a fuzzy cat. Contented middle age.

    And I’m not all that unusual.

  84. 84
    Ruckus says:

    I had that life. For a while. But then the stuff that I posted about above happened. 95% of it is just shit that happened and a some of it happened a lot worse to other people. So in some ways I’m lucky. It doesn’t feel that way of course. Brings up a saying I heard long ago,
    Bob, How deep is the shit?
    Frank, Pretty deep.
    Bob, But how deep is that?
    Frank, Deep enough to let me know I’m in shit, deep enough that if I ever get out I’m going to have to burn all my clothes, not quite deep enough that I have to eat shit. So I’d say normal.

  85. 85
    Not Adding Much To The Community says:

    @Goblue72: What you are, friend, is lucky. I got a pretty good job myself, now. Plus a good relationship and healthy kids, thank all the Gods, but I’ve never owned a house, don’t have jack for old age and last took a vacation in 1999. I’m trying to recover from a lifetime of working poverty and I’ve got some shit to deal with. If you think most people are like you, it’s probably white, middle-class privilege speaking.

  86. 86
    Goblue72 says:

    @Not Adding Much To The Community: I did not say most or suggest that a shitty life is rare. Just thst a good life is also not rare. So please keep your words out of my mouth.

    I said its not unusual. And a lot of people do manage it.

  87. 87
    Goblue72 says:

    @Not Adding Much To The Community: I’ve made my own luck – which is merely being disciplined, patient & prepared for opportunity when it presents itself.

    Your description above of what happened to you sounds fairly unusual – and a string of incredibly misfortunate events for which you have my sympathy.

  88. 88
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    Nothing worse for you than comparing your inside to others’ outside. Sometimes people put up a facade because they don’t want to look off-putting or because they don’t want to be asked what’s wrong with them.

    If you keep on with this you’ll wind up crazy and old before your time.

  89. 89
    Jordan Rules says:

    @Goblue72: Bootstraps by any other name are bootstraps just the same. You did not make all of your good luck. There have been generations, centuries even, of disciplined hardworking people who did not make a dime off their work and discipline. They had a huge part in creating the country where you get to believe you just created your own luck. I’m happy for you. I’m not naturally a Cole, but your argument is no better than the bootstrap argument that will not allow us to care for the least unlucky amoung us. I don’t dare say you intend it that way, but it makes me cringe none-the-less.

  90. 90
    Goblue72 says:

    @Jordan Rules: cringe away – it’s all your biased misperception.

    The criticism of the idea that discipline yields its rewards is as trite as the trumpeting of said discipline as the only thing that matters. Both are hobgoblins.

    I merely responded to the deterministic foolishness that its all a matter of luck. Probability plays its role – but so does the discipline and readiness to seize upon those turns of probability.

    My folks weren’t born to much – and they aren’t finishing with much. Part of it was their “bad luck” to be born at the bottom end. But part was a product of their own stubbornness and biases and unwillingness to change – or to take a small risk once in a while.

    Thus we make our own luck. The turn of the worm matters – but so does what we make of it when it turns – and being ready for it when it does since it may not turn again for us.

  91. 91
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:


    If I understand correctly what you’re saying, all of those Americans who are in poverty right now simply weren’t ready for the turning of the worm.


  92. 92

    I don’t have it together, in fact, I am a train wreck.

    Still, some days I know there are those worse off. I live in freedom, have a good job, my kids are healthy, I live in a first world country.

    Some days I am thankful and have to smile.

  93. 93

    I get irrationally mad at people I see in public who seem happy, content, put together and seem to have figured it all out.

    I feel the same way about fat people. Why dont they just eat less and get some exercise.

  94. 94
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @A Humble Lurker: Optimism, in the classic philosophical sense, is the belief that this is the best of all possible worlds.

    Which means that it can’t get any better than this.

  95. 95
    Cervantes says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    Optimism, in the classic philosophical sense, is the belief that this is the best of all possible worlds.

    But to equate optimism with the belief that “this is the best of all possible worlds,” the way Leibniz did, don’t you have to believe that God or some such did the optimizing?

  96. 96
    currants says:

    Well, THIS won’t help you be happy. Heh.

  97. 97
    Birthmarker says:

    I am not dead. Nor am I (or loved ones) dealing with serious illness. After that, my happiness is my responsibility, and I choose to find something every single day to enjoy. It can be as simple as the sight of a bird or a flower or pet. A relative says, “Have fun every day,” and that’s what I choose to do.

    When one’s parent literally drops dead unexpectedly at a relatively young age, it affects your world view. This life is very short and unpredicable. And I refuse to spend it constantly pissed off.

  98. 98
    KXB says:

    I turned 41 last week, and I was feeling mixed. I recently had my first checkup in six years, and aside from higher than desirable triglyceride counts, the doctor said I was in good shape. Yes, I’ve had anemia since I was a child, but aside from not being able to donate blood, it does not affect me. I did not need any statins or other meds, according to the checkup. I know quite a few people, near my age who have health issues or parents with health issues. On the health front, aside from having to wear bifocals ever since I was a a kid, I have little to complain about.

    On the money front, I will not be rolling in style anytime soon. I will continue to drive my 113,000+ mile Civic for the forseable future, and I am not likely to buy a home anytime soon (not that home buying appealed to me). But, I am now in a place financially where I can actually start planning ahead. I’ve stopped a lot of wasteful spending and paid down a lot of debt. There is something very reassuring when checking my bank balance and seeing that I have enough to cover an emergency, although a vacation is still off for awhile.

    On the personal life front, well, that is unchanged. Most of the time it is splendid isolation, but since I had friends & family take me out for my birthday at different points of the weekend, I was reminded that I do not have a companion in life. I remind myself that marriage is not for everyone (my parents would be Exhibit A in that department). Being alone is tolerable, but in the presence of happy couples, I can’t help but be self-conscious about it.

  99. 99
    gray lensman says:

    Check out “Sturgeon’s Law” (or Sturgeon’s Revelation)

    Works for me.

  100. 100
    Mnemosyne says:


    Thus we make our own luck. The turn of the worm matters – but so does what we make of it when it turns – and being ready for it when it does since it may not turn again for us.

    Yes, it’s too bad my mother failed to make her own luck and foolishly died of cancer at 38. If only she’d been as smart as you and turned that cancer to her advantage, she wouldn’t have died.

  101. 101
    LAC says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: thank you!!! Jesus, another fucking “eat a gun” post by Cole, followed by “I fucking hate life too! People are dumb!” lemmings posting. Thank you for saying that!

  102. 102
    David Rickard says:

    Amen, Brother John! Happy people are hella annoying.

  103. 103
    LanceThruster says:

    “I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘if this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”

    ~ Kurt Vonnegut:

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