I Was Never Happy Like That


The young man and woman depicted on the billboard were happy. They were happy because they had bought the product, because they each had a can of the product in their hands. I could see that. It was obvious – there was no doubt about it. The product must be very good, I inferred. The product must be great. The product must be wonderful. The product must be super-wonderful. I would like to get some of that product for myself, I reflected. I need something like that…


I looked again at the poster of the young man and woman, walking barefoot as they were on some golden beach somewhere, and their oh-so-evident happiness cut into me like a scalpel. It laid my innards bare, all glistening and pink. The pain only came after a while. I was never happy like that. I had never had any sort of happiness even remotely approaching what they had. Life was perfection itself for this couple – they enjoyed a type of ease and contentment and gracious abundance I could only dream about. I knew what it was that they had – how I knew it I do not know since I had never personally experienced it, never even tasted it once. I had never even tasted it for a moment but I knew it all the same…


It was everything I didn’t have, everything I never had. Somehow – I could see – the fact that I had never had it made me ideally suited for spotting it in others. Other people who did have it. If my own life hadn’t been so lacking in this special type of happiness then I wouldn’t have been able to sense it so keenly, so very sharply that I could practically taste it. It was as if I knew it better than they did – they themselves didn’t know it because they – in their carelessness – could afford to take it for granted. Unlike me. It was the type of thing that if I didn’t happen to see it, be confronted with it as I had been, then I could easily have carried on as I was, obvious to the fact that my life was lacking in this special quality, this oh-so-important quality, this quality that without which life is barely worth living. This quality that only the loser notices.


When you’ve never had it you don’t miss it. You just don’t know that you’re missing it, you just carry on. You just carry on doing whatever you’re doing – leading your empty pointless life that you don’t know to be empty and pointless. Leading the sham of a life that you don’t know to be only a sham. Although on some level you know – you can’t help knowing it on some level. Obviously you still know it deep down in the core of your being – you just choose to forget it. Because there’s no point in remembering. Why would you do that to yourself?


But I just had remembered. I had just been woken up to the fact. I had just been woken up to the fact that there was this quality and I didn’t have it. Without this special quality – I knew – my so-called ‘life’ was only a joke. My life was actually an ongoing ordeal of utter unbearable humiliation at being such a painfully obvious loser. Sudden anger took hold of me then. Scalding anger like bile in my throat at the couple I saw in front of me in the poster. How do they deserve to have this happiness? How come they deserve it and I don’t? What’s so special about them that they should have it? Now as I looked at them they seemed so smug, so full of themselves. They didn’t deserve to have this happiness. I felt such a keen appreciation of the fact that I had somehow been excluded (for my whole life) from this kind of happiness, this kind of fulfillment. The brutal injustice of it left me reeling – it was so unfair that I could hardly take it in, and yet at the same time I took it in only too well…


I knew only too well what it was that this young couple were so carelessly enjoying and I knew it as well as I did know it because I didn’t have it. Talk about rubbing salt into an open wound! Talk about having your nose rubbed in it! To be confronted with the image of this young man and woman so carelessly, so heedlessly enjoying a can of the product as they walked along the beach was torment for me. Pure torment. With their suntans and perfect teeth. The product. The product. The product. That easy confidence. The smug look on their faces. The look that lets me know that they know that they have it – the special thing that I don’t have. Never did have. The suntans. The teeth. The smug, self-absorbed smiles. The product. You need some of the product, the shrewd salesman that is my treacherous brain tells me…









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