Saturday, April 3, 2010

Call me Max +

The other day I got an e-mail about a guy who was always happy. His premise was that you voluntarily set your mood when you get up every day. You can choose to be happy and you will be a refreshing breath of fresh air to everyone around you. Or, you can choose to be a grouch and be a miserable pain in the ass to everyone. Of course, there's a neutral middle ground that the majority of people inhabit but like politics, only the fringes seem to get noticed and commented on.

Being someone who has always welcomed new ideas and new thinking, of course I've adopted this mentality as my own! I will be Mr. Happy! When you see someone grin, you'll think "I wonder what Max is doing?" Yes, when that old geezer in front of you in church farts a real gut wrencher, you'll think of me and remind him about having a timely colonoscopy. I hope to infuse life around me with an uplifting positive and yes, happy attitude.

Those of you who know me, know that I don't make these life altering decisions lightly. Before I quit smoking, I took 35 years to prepare. Before successfully turning my weight dilemma around, I studied it for 20 or so years. Yes, for me to come out and announce a life altering decision like this is truly monumental, if not newsworthy.

One of the reasons that I am becoming "Mr. Happy" is to throw off the "Mad Max" tag that Mel Gibson laid on me and all other Maxes in the world. If I'm ever gonna shake that "Mad Max" crap then I must become someone diametrically opposite of a mad guy. In the past when someone referred to me as "Mad Max", I'd say "No, that's happy Max!" But it never worked. Soon, when they see me, the last thing they'll think of is "Mad Max".

To replace that "Mad Max" tag, though, I need a gimmick that will make it memorable. Something like Prince did in the 90's. That won't quite work for me. I would probably be known then as "That Bozo formerly known as Mad Max!" I'm thinking of altering my name sorta like Max +. My motto could be "That Max, what a positive person!" My only dilemma is whether there should be a space between Max and the plus sign or not.

So, when I got up today (Friday) I was ready to become Mr. Happy Guy! After shaking hands with my little brother, I went to my bag to get my morning cereal (I'm at the work hotel in Chicago) and imagine my surprise when I noticed that I had forgotten to pack my usual Grape Nut Flakes. I just went down to the lobby where they have the continental breakfast set up and got me a bowl of "Honey Bunches of Crap" and a banana to slice on top of it. I'm happy for the dietetic change of pace. Come 10:30 and I took some half frozen chili out of my cooler and put it in my little 2 cup crock pot and head off for my 5 mile walk around Midway Airport.

As I walk for the next hour and a half, I greet everyone I meet with a smile and a kind word. In Chicago, not too many people, or at least those who go out walking, running or biking around the airport are very happy. As a matter of fact, there were a couple of old cankers, after receiving my happy greeting, I thought were gonna squat and crap right there on the sidewalk! Being new to this, I don't know "happy" in Spanish so I'm at a loss for greetings to our Mexican friends other than "hola". There are many more Hispanic walkers around the airport than any other ethnic group. I don't know why, nor do I care. That's only important to the grumblers, not us happy types.

When I got to the hotel and went to my room, of course, the magnetic key card didn't work in my door. So, I had to go all the way back to the lobby so the desk clerk could reswipe it. I didn't complain. I saw it as a chance to get a little more walking in! I get in my room, all sweaty, smell the chili (which is perfect) and realize that I forgot to pack clean clothes and I just sweat out my shirt. Am I po'd? Nah. Air it out for a couple hours and it'll be fine. Some of the guys I work with do it all the time! See, I'm fitting in more and more!

I know many of you are asking why I'm going for happy when its so much easier to be grouchy. Its not easy to grin when you break your little toe on a table leg but letting a stream of cuss words fly is a snap. As someone who has always gravitated toward the easy side when making choices, this is a departure from habit. There are a couple reasons. Even though a Pollyanna can get a bit tedious for people around him, its a much better environment for your family than dealing with a bitchy sourpuss. When you're happy, everyone around you is too. When you have a stick up your ass, that stick hits everyone on the head! (Not a pretty sight, huh Fuzzy?)

The other reason is purely selfish. One thing I've noticed about health is that pleasant, happy people rarely have premature heart attacks. Most of my co-workers who've had heart attacks before they retired were bitchers and complainers. A bad attitude results in bad health and a positive attitude leads to a positive healthy being. That might be a load of crap but what if it isn't?

Also, with this new attitude, its a good thing I'm a liberal Democrat. One thing I've noticed lately is the Right Wingers are not a happy bunch. They are spewing hatred and lies about everyone and everything that doesn't agree to their narrow minded stereotypical view of life and such misery can't be healthy for the body, the spirit or for relationships. To them I just smile and say "Vaya con dios, mus muchachos!" Yeah, "Go with God" because unless you lighten up, you'll be seeing him sooner than you think!!

Now, being a happy fellow is nice but unless you do it right, you come out looking like a dork. I'll definitely have to change some of my stock one liners. When someone says "How ya doin'?" I usually say "I'm doing, I just don't know how yet." To "Have a good day" I always say either "I'll try but I won't make any guarantees" or "I'll be sure to make the heroic effort, you can count on it". I've just always figured that as long as people greet me with the same old tired lines, I'll reciprocate with an old tired line of my own. And you never know. If the person hasn't ever heard them before, they will enjoy the witty retort. As the years go by, that possibility diminishes quite a bit. To replace those answers with a "happy" one will take an enormous effort on my part. After all, those other answers were crafted during 56 years of life. To come up with an equally witty, yet happy reply may be too much to ask for. Sadly, I don't have my greatest inspiration to look to for answers. Yeah, if anyone could come up with a great bullshit line on short notice, it was my dad. He was the master of the one liner. The only other person who could help me is my son, Shane. His line of bull has shown flashes of his grandpa that makes my skin get cold! I'll mine that fervid brain of his when he comes home tomorrow for Easter.

To the "How ya doin'" I could say "I'm so happy I could just fart." But farting in public is on my personal improvement agenda and talking about it makes 'em sneak out even more often. Well, eliminating a gassy, bloated feeling would make me a happier guy. How about when someone says "Have a good day" I just turn around and blow a tird whistle. Now THAT would make me happy!

So whether I'm "Happy Max" or "Max +" I don't care. To quote the guy in the e-mail "I couldn't be happier unless I was TWINS!"