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Down the Hatch!


   So many people think of happiness as some elusive thing that comes unbidden and departs just as mysteriously. They might even consider it a fluke if they are happy for more than a few hours or minutes a day. No wonder they feel this way when they live in a society that can be like a mine field for positive feelings.

   Never think of happiness as an accident. Hold onto it. Nurture it. Treat it like a best friend and a God-given right. But most of all, protect it from the "Feeling Vampires", also known as the "Emotional Cannibals".

   Yes, there are those--don't deny it--who would eat up your good feelings sliced onto their soggy breakfast flakes and not even belch afterwards. Be on the lookout for these villains with their well-known statements like, "What are you so happy about?" You may as well just go ahead and offer them your neck, because they're going to put the bite on you. You walk away form these people feeling vaguely drained and that you've misplaced something somewhere. You're darned right you have! Don't look now; your friendly Feeling Vampire is still licking his chops and dabbing something red off his chin with a hanky.

   Some Feeling Vampires prefer a more subtle approach. Like that bird I've forgotten the name of, they flop around on the ground, faking a broken wing until their unsuspecting victim comes along to see what's the matter.  Then when you look into those infinitely sad eyes and say, "What's the matter?", they carefully insert a long and painful story into your heart and mainline your good feelings like a junkie.

   Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying it's bad to be sad; but there's such a thing as a subtle jealousy of happiness and happy people that, if not acknowledged, leads to barely concealed emotional sabotage. Bluntly put, the inner message is, "You don't have the right to be happy when I'm so miserable, so...down the hatch! 

   One of the most fearsome of the Feeling Vampires--the Happiness Terminator--will stride up to you, slash your feelings from ear to ear, grab your ankles, and then hang you upside down until the last drop hits the ground. They aren't even interested in a drink.

   But the most mysterious and insidious of these critters is the Cheshire Feeling Vampire. This one just sits there with a cat-that-ate-the-canary look on his face; and the more you try to find out what he's smiling about, the more your good feelings dribble out onto the floor like drool--until you're barely able to crawl away from the scene of the crime.

   By now you're probably wondering how you can protect yourself and your feelings from these foul creatures.  It would be nice if garlic was the answer; but that just seems to make them thirstier...healthier too, but that's another matter.

   No, it looks like the only way to safeguard your good feelings from this curse is to hold onto them and share some when you can.  If those critters see that they can't get a free meal out of you, maybe they'll try making some of their own happiness.

   Just one more thing. If you're wondering just what a Feeling Vampire looks like, try looking in the mirror. Odds are you're on of them yourself from time to time. Down the hatch!


Reality Is Up For Grabs

September 15, 1997

Reality? It's up for grabs...  What does that mean?

Well, I'll try to show you...but first let's make sure what we're sure about.

1. What time is it?

   But isn't it three hours later in New York City?

2. What's the date today?

   But isn't it tomorrow already in Japan?

3. What is the year?

   But in Thailand it's the year 2542.

4. What season is it?

   But in Argentina it's the opposite season.

OK. Let's try something else...

5. Which way is north?

Oh, but someone in China would be pointing in a different direction right now.

6. Which way is up?

   I think Australians might disagree.

7. Is time real?  Can you see anything besides the present happening     right now?

Well, when you look at the night sky, you're looking at a million different pasts just as they're happening...or were happening...


OK. Let's simplify this with a little illustration:

   Tonight you feel like a little star gazing. So you get out your Super parabolic 67 inch Reflector telescope.  You know, the one that let's you zoom in on the action on different planets.

   You first choose the star Norius 3--just 8 light years away. Then zoom in on the fourth planet, Gwarnar. One more zoom and you find yourself watching Zirdar the Glorf zorching Ferner the Glerf in Zirdar's backyard. This could be either hideous or beautiful, depending on how you feel about zorching.

   Suddenly Zirdar gets the urge to do some stargazing too. He gets out his Fareenlian Galactoscopic telescope and zeros in on the planet Flurck (That's Glorfian for Earth.) To his consternation, he finds someone is spying on him: YOU!

   OK. So now you are looking "up" at Zirdar, doing what he was doing eight years ago, while he is looking "up" at you doing what you were doing eight years ago.

So who's looking at who's past?

   I hope that clears things up for you. The only thing I have left to say is: REALITY? It's up for grabs!



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