Posts Tagged With: unhappiness


Last fortnight I decided to be happy. Image

This was despite the advice of our resident psychologist Dr. Crabby Ass, author of part of last fortnight’s blog post: What to Do During an Outbreak of Happiness). (In case the word ‘fortnight’ is a mystery to you, google it!)

I’m a Capricorn. I have a habit of turning things into work, free time into anxiety (or naps), and busyness into resentment, creating a non-stop problem that I then have to move heaven and earth to solve. This is the course of my days, and is royally, well, dumb.

So I did some consulting on the Happiness Issue. Dr. Crabby Ass was out of town, so I had to use other sources.






The Board of Capricorns said to me, “We are not good at having fun. We don’t know how.”

However, if it’s one thing Capricorns know how to do, it’s work. So, ergo elipso I can work at learning how to have fun. It can’t be that hard. See I made an error using Latin and Esperanto right there and I’m laughing at it.

Given that I like complicated things that have no end in sight, which might also be called an addiction to the unachievable:  I reaffirmed my decision to be a full participant in the world of joy.



This goal was perfect for me. I’m a Capricorn, or more accurately, a failed Capricorn because I’m lazy ( I should have been born under the sign of the Hammock), but I at least have the God-given sense to be upset about it, and so at least I have achieved a patrician sense of unhappiness which is marked, and some say, incurable. (I also think there should be such a thing as The Lifetime Under-Achievement Awards honoring those of us who failed to do what we could have done if we hadn’t been under the undue influence of the Slug Archetype.) The Capricornian answer to unhappiness would be to work harder at it, but since I’m actually too indolent to be Cap—you can see the inherent conundrum. I am a Capricorn by ironic accident, or perhaps due to too much Fetal Lassitude. (I’m amazed my embryo managed to develop at all). Somehow I must have leaned on the labor lever too soon…and then couldn’t be bothered to lean the other way and delay my birth just for four days, so that I could be an Aquarius instead, an air sign I have much in common with, including the wind used to power this blog.

So, as I went along I detected a possible catch-22 in this Pursuit of Happiness bit. If I turn everything into work and then don’t do the work…..?


Like unhappiness, I think happiness should just alight on my shoulder and start singing, Image or whatever happiness actually does when it visits—I have no idea—and I walk around dreading being accidentally startled by it and then getting humiliated in front of my friends. This creates a kind of vigilance whereupon one is “on the lookout for happiness,” so one can see it coming. Image It helps to live either in the plains states or the desert where there is the gift of the horizon and a 365 degree view of the interloper. I don’t just want happiness to spring upon me unannounced. I want to be prepared. I want to make it welcome. I want to do the right thing. What if it comes and I’m not ready? Will I have it wait outside until I make up the guest bed, or build a new addition onto my house, or have someone else do it because I am basically inert? (I should really be on a periodic chart somewhere between Argon and Krypton because I make them look positively aerobic, as in the exercise craze of the 80’s, not as in oxidation).


(I’m all the way to the right, third row down) Image

Will I be the one to make Happiness stand outside in the cold with an Oscar Meyer snack pack, while I phone my friends and the crisis line because I don’t know what to fucking do now? How rude!

“Jesus Christ,” says the crisis line counselor, “At least give Mr. H a coat and maybe a shot of Grey Goose vodka while he waits.”

Carrying the comparison further, it may be that like an inert gas, my electron shell is more or less full (could have fooled me) and I,  do not need to interact with other elements, Happiness included. So it is possible that I’m actually surrounded by The Big H, yet I really don’t need to interact, creating a whole ‘nother set of conditions that I never thought of before. (It’s my job as a mind, to invent problems that don’t exist). What if I don’t need Happiness to be Happy? 

Does your mind hurt too right now? Laughing Coyote apologizes for your anguish. Maybe you can sue me. 🙂

What’s an element to do? It occurs to me that I, as an inert Capricorn with mind-overidentification, may not really need Happiness to be happy. I mean you don’t hear a lot of complaining coming from the right column of the periodic chart, do you?  Argon isn’t saying, “Shit I wish I was plutonium.” Maybe the idea of happiness is causing unhappiness and we should get rid of the idea altogether.

Apparently inert elements (gases usually, going along with the Aquarius theme) have to be forced to interact with others….so does this mean that for me to experience happiness when I don’t really need to, given my condition, I will have to do so at some kind of gunpoint? Like a particle accelerator? Can you get one of those on the internet? Can Amazon deliver it on one of those new drone helicopter thingys with the dangerous blades?









More to the point: Is experiencing happiness at Acclerator Point really happiness? If I force myself to be happy at some kind of gunpoint, am I?


Most people in my situation have some sort of Happiness Plan, a bit like the old Soviet 5 year plans, but probably less effective, but we won’t find out for sure until one of us alights upon the little buggar: Happiness, brother of Joy, cousin of contentment, nephew of sloth, in order to implement The Plan. You don’t know what might happen if you got happiness. What if it’s followed by unhappiness? What if there is some kind of causal link? What if Happiness causes unhappiness and here we are, five minutes before the destruction of the rest of the middle class and democratic capitalism (following which we will be too busy surviving to have happiness as a stated goal, so we’ll let Canada, Sweden and India do it instead), but meanwhile we are unwittingly wasting what little window of opportunity we have left by creating unhappiness out of happiness because it’s inevitable?

Wow, what a field of idiots we are. See what happens when you don’t think about these things? Anyone with a horizon and a plan knows better. Of course it’s widely known that unhappiness follows unhappiness as well, so there’s a confounding variable there already. Damn it.


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So what are you going to do with the happiness once you have it? Setting aside the problems of identification (are you happy without knowing it?), what do you do with it? What purpose does it have? People are goal oriented, not enjoyment oriented. Some research shows that Americans from the United States are among the most discontented people in the world, and have been for a while, not just since 2008, and we have the most material wealth on the planet. Instead of kicking back, at some point and saying, “Wow look at all this shit we have, let’s enjoy it,” we fill our leisure time with more work, thereby misunderstanding the “pursuit of happiness,” bit as being all there is. The Declaration of Independence says nothing about “enjoying what you’ve got, you greedy motherfuckers.”

The shock of suddenly being happy, well it can have profound effects. The  problem of not knowing what happiness looks like means that it could be anywhere and everywhere, requiring a mode of vigilance, that I as a profoundly lazy person (Remember the Hammock!!!), cannot reasonably be expected to maintain. It could come from without: is that happiness? Is that happiness? No, that’s a building; no, that’s a wild boar: no, that’s a McDonald’s; no that’s a traffic jam, but wait, I didn’t really want to go to work, so maybe it is. Damn. Everything is context! From one perspective this is the worst fucking thing ever—this pile of cars on I-25 in Northern New Mexico—from another perspective: shit yeah. I can’t possibly go to work now!

Actually we must stop here and observe that the idea of a bona fide traffic jam anywhere in New Mexico, is truly hilarious. Other places have traffic jams. We have slight pauses in traffic flow. Although, since there are no other highways going North-South between Albuquerque and anywhere, if someone loses their shit and turns over, you will be truly not going anywhere for a while, and neither will anyone else because, yes, the NM highway patrol will close the interstate. Yes. You heard me. Elsewhere that would be tantamount to cancelling breathing, but here. . . problem with the road? Ah, fuck it, close it. Maybe we’ll open it later. But since there very little “somewhere to go” here anyway that probably doesn’t matter either ergo “happiness.” There’s nowhere to go and you don’t need to go there anyway, so get that Twix bar out of your glove compartment, sit back with some tunes in your little plastic cylinder called a car, and call it a good time.


Happiness Vigilance also requires taking one’s pulse all the time, because in some cases, happiness can just arrive from within. No rhyme. No reason. Just suddenly “poof’ you are happy. It does happen. We aren’t really sure exactly if outer things cause happiness, or if happiness causes the outer things; it’s referred to in the social sciences as the “Chicken and the Happiness” question.

Happy Chicken












Using the Happiness Watch method, a person has to monitor their inner feeling state all the time, in case of an outbreak of joy, contentment, peace, bliss, ecstasy and uncontrollable silliness, who are the isotopes of happiness. It’s a little like the decay of uranium, but without the toxicity and associated incidents of nearly spontaneous death for those of you who need a reference point.

So let me check: Am I feeling happy now? Now? How about now? No, that’s me just digesting a Twix bar. That? no that is genuine prissiness. How about now? Am I feeling happy now? What about now? How about now? Have I got it now?

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The Laughing Coyote


Categories: The Issue of Happiness | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment



I woke up today wanting to have a good time. I think they call it “having fun.” I wasn’t sure what to do: I thought it might possibly be related to “enjoyment,” or “the absence of misery,” or “not having to work today, or not until later and then, not that hard.”

I got up before my phone alarm went off. I looked around my house for something fun. I realized, “I don’t know how to have fun,” or “I don’t know what would be fun,” and “my life isn’t set up for fun.”  I concluded, “Shit, even simple pleasure escapes me.”

I tried smiling and my face fell off and I spent a discouraging day on the floor scrabbling around for the pieces, thinking what the fuck was I thinking? See? Just contemplating happiness has made me miserable. And then a question erupted from the relative silence of my bowels: could Happiness be the cause of Unhappiness?

If I hadn’t been thinking about “fun,” none of this bad shit, like trying to find my left cheek here on the floor, and not stepping on my eyes on my way to finding my eyebrows, and trying to put my skin back on my bones in something resembling a façade, and then realizing the mirror makes everything backwards. .  .had I not been “rediscovering joy,” none of this would have ever happened, including the crooked smile on my forehead. No I don’t  want to talk about it, thank you onslaught of new age healers.

Typically I am cowering in some existential corner, trying to survive the onslaught of life. Given the fact that I am set up pretty well in my world right now despite the IRS saying otherwise, this recoiling is somewhat ridiculous. I’ll bet the Syrians and Ukrainians and women who can’t get abortions, aren’t having a good “cower,” why should I? Sure, I am supposed to be grieving my mother’s death, but since no one is keeping an eye on me, I don’t have to unless I want to and right now I’d rather do anything other than feel bad. Even I have limits.

I know how to feel bad. I’m an expert at it. And I’m bored. Boredom, I’m ashamed to say, is my biggest motivator.  Once, in my early twenties, I decided “screw this, I’m going to bed and never getting up again.” Four hours later I was up and around and chatting with my boyfriend on the sidewalk. Giving up was mindbogglingly tedious. I decided that if a major depressive episode couldn’t be more entertaining, than I just wasn’t going to participate. You can only do so much with grey.

Returning to the present, (or some facsimile thereof) I decided, firmly, that I would now attempt happiness. Drum roll please. Or, perhaps more meekly, as I said in a text to a friend, “I am now ready to heroically attempt some ‘non-committal enjoyment’.”

In order to embark upon the pursuit of happiness in a safe and informed manner, I turned to Laughing Coyote Productions resident psychological expert, Dr. Crabby Ass.

He promptly advised against it.

In his article “Doing Psychotherapy with the Impossible,” the renown Dr. Crabby Ass writes, “I’m a trained psychotherapist. I help people with happiness. Not how to get happiness, everyone knows THAT can’t be done, how to stay away from it. In the words of one my clients, ‘I don’t have time for happiness. It gets in the way of worrying, which leads to efficiency and getting things done. If I didn’t worry and have unattainable goals to keep me busy, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.’”

Another friend of mine, who lives in the Northwest was more subtle. She refers to the state of being in which a person feels a profound lack of unhappiness, as “The H word,” out of deference to its often dangerous effects. She wasn’t trying to discourage me, but hinted that the Big H (her other name for it) might be too much to shoot for especially if one is vulnerable to the Big D, depression.

Thus I spent the next few days trying to “Un” the “Unhappy”, as a way to make the endeavor safer for me, the result of which was a non-word that had way to many U’s in it which then suggested other things: UnUnhappy. Thus ended my dream of creating  a safe word for The Big H.

Then Dr. Crabby Ass, with my best interest in mind, emailed me an article he wrote back in April 2014 in Pessimism Today entitled,


1. Don’t run. It will just chase you.

2. Stand still and make yourself as big as possible. Holding your arms over your head and waving them is known to be effective in some cases. Make Happiness think that you are bigger than it and that you may not be worth the trouble.

3. Don’t panic and run around screaming. Remember Happiness is probably more scared of you than you are of it.

4. Preparation. Think ahead before you leave the house. What might I need to have with me just in case happiness shows up unannounced? Carrying around a copy of Sartre’s “No Exit” is a proven method of fending off unwanted happiness. So is watching You Tube Videos about how Republican congresses in many states are closing down almost all the abortion clinics, thereby saving women (and men) from having to make the most important decision of their lives, and now babies can grow up with I had to have you stapled to their foreheads.

5. Visit your local Planned Parenthood (before it gets completed defunded) and learn about the causes of Happiness and various prophylactic measures that can be taken so that Unwanted Happiness just doesn’t even occur. Yes, you can prevent Joy with a bit of rubber and some water based lube.

6. Should you end up with some Happiness despite these measures, remember to talk to it in low measured tones. You don’t want it to get too excited.

7. Should Happiness come into your life, don’t feed it!

8. In the event you are experiencing uncalled for joy, keep an obnoxious family member or ex on speed dial. They can either talk the Happiness down over the phone, sometimes by merely breathing into it, or they can just show up on your doorstep, bringing with them their usual interpersonal toolkit that always makes you want to drive off the nearest bridge.

9.  If you are close enough to work, this is the one instance where running from Happiness will probably be effective. Practice your wind sprints out in the yard beforehand, just in case.

10. As a preventive measure wear a mask and earplugs, so you don’t accidentally breathe in Happiness Cooties from those ridiculous sanguine yoga people, or hear the unmistakable mantra of the ‘infectious laugh.”

11. Stop reading the Laughing Coyote blog! Duh, that  should have been obvious.

If Happiness continues to attack

12. Laugh in its face. That’ll disarm the smiley little fucker.

13. Carry a weapon. You know, like a pistol, or a semi-automatic. In a holster.  Or around your neck, like a big metal pendant. When you are walking down the street and drinking a shotgun latte at Starbucks. (For the recipe of shotgun latte, post a comment).

Thus, if Happiness shows up, you can shoot it in the face and then claim you felt threatened. Yea Open Carry Laws!

14. Seek help. If you continue to feel assaulted by Happiness, there’s a support group for people like you: Jubiliation Anonymous.

Step 1: We admitted that we are powerless over Happiness and that our lives have become unmanageable.

Step 2:  We came to believe a power greater than ourselves (Re: GUN pointed at my head) could restore us to reality…oops I mean, sanity…..

Step 3: Made a decision to turn our life back over to our Unresolved Suffering and Our Problems as We Understood them… are for pussies…

14. Or call the hotline: 1-800-WE-WHEEP. (Yes there’s an H in there for obvious, by now, reasons).


After all of this decision making and self-exploration and resolution creating and consulting, Laughing Coyote needs a nap.

I will continue to update you on the progress of the UnUnHappy Project….maybe those U’s aren’t so bad after all….

Best regards,




Categories: Dr. Crabby Ass Gives Advice, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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