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it's a zippity doo dah day!
the optimism monster ate my soul
by robert a. melos

Did you ever have the feeling that life just wasn’t all that bad after all?

Now I understand that a great many people just go along in their every day world with a naturally positive outlook, but I’m a natural born cynic. Not only do I see the glass as half empty but what remains in the glass has been undrinkable for years.

So you’ll have to excuse me if my feeling “life isn’t all bad” leaves me a bit confused, befuddled, and generally at a loss in unfamiliar territories. Feeling positive about life is as foreign to me as honesty is to George W. Bush.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate the positive feeling, but I’m the kind of guy who likes to know why something happens. I don’t just accept a situation because it is presented before me like a smorgasbord. I need to know why the feeling of positive happiness has entered my being. I do look a gift horse in the mouth.

After all, it isn’t as if the world situation has turned around. The US is still in Iraq, North Korea is still a viable nuclear threat, the French still hate us (like I really care), much of the US is out to change the Constitution barring same-sex marriages and essentially labeling me as less important than many of my fellow countrymen. My personal situation is still the same as well, leaving me single even if it were legal to be part of a couple, hoping for a financial boost to a sagging real estate career until something better comes along, and in general not living the life I would like.

So just where did this mood of anti-negativity that has a Donna Fargo song bouncing about my brain causing unfamiliar happiness come from?

As always I first looked inward to see if it was something I had eaten, or a thought that had somehow taken over my mind causing a revolution of happy thoughts, or even just some weird medical syndrome that set off a plethora of neurons causing electromagnetic synaptic webs to cover my mind in an arachnidan attempt to change me from a pessimist to an optimist.

Not finding my answers inward, I turned to outside influences. My first thought was of the music in the supermarket. I thought I might somehow have been brainwashed by the incessant crooning of Olivia Newton-John asking “Have You Never Been Mellow?” Or perhaps Train’s questioning whether I sailed across the sun with their song “Drops Of Jupiter”?

Surely such positive musical tones could have had some detrimental effect on my generally surly and cynical personality? Perhaps it was the checkout guy who smiled while he worked. Yes, he was smiling. The checkout clerk, notoriously underpaid though he may be, was actually smiling while he scanned the items and placed them in a plastic bag.

For a moment I thought he might be smiling because he knew those cheap plastic bags would no doubt rip apart in the parking lot or on my driveway long before I could safely get them to my kitchen counter, but he stunned me by double bagging. Not only was he smiling, he was offering me extra precaution with my groceries.

Something just isn’t right with the world. I know it in my mind, but every other fiber of my being is feeling light and bouncy. I just feel all happy-ish, and that really unnerves me.

If it isn’t supermarket music, perhaps some other diabolical outside influence, some not-so-natural phenomenon has infected me with a perhaps deadly, or at the very best contagious form of glee. I doubt Iraq, in an effort to conquer the world, came up with a biological happiness weapon of mass destruction, but the thought did cross my mind.

Somehow I’m just not seeing a bunch of Iraqi scientists sitting across a table from Saddam Hussein and explaining, “then once it is inhaled, the victim is filled with a sense of unbridled glee.” I just don’t see Saddam praising them for a job well done.

So if bio-chemical terrorism, and brainwashing supermarket music are not the culprits of my gleeful mood, and the stars and moon aren’t in some kind of a cosmic alignment, then it is quite possible my feeling of happiness, my general glee, as it were, could be self-induced.

I want to assure everyone I did not intentionally set out today to feel happy. It just isn’t in my nature to wake up and say to myself “I think I’ll feel happy today.” No not by a long shot. Yet despite my best efforts to recapture my cynicism, something about today has left me feeling giddy, gleeful, and generally joyous.

I fear I have no recourse but to accept this strange phenomenon, and go with it. I will ride the wave of happiness as far as it will take me, shooting the curl, or the moon, or whatever, and revel in the moment. What all of this happiness will do to my cynical disposition I do not know? All I can do is wait until tomorrow for an answer to that burning question.


Robert is the author of the novels Cool Mint Blue, Melba Ridge, and the recently released The Adventures of Homosexual Man and Lesbian Lad; and the creator of the on-line comix Impure Thoughts found at his web site Inside R.A. Melos, as well as having been an on-line staff writer for QBliss where he had a monthly humor column, Maybe A Yip, Maybe A Yap. In his non-writing time, when he's not studying the metaphysical or creating a tarot deck, he sells real estate in Middlesex County New Jersey, hangs out with his dog Zeus, and spends time at the Pride Center of New Jersey in Highland Park, NJ, where he is on the Board of Trustees.

more about robert a. melos


dear jim
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topic: humor
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yeah. so?
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topic: humor
published: 4.4.02


sarah ficke
10.15.03 @ 7:02p

It's autumn. Autumn always puts me in a fabulous mood. Maybe you're catching that?

robert melos
10.15.03 @ 8:44p

Nah. I've never liked seasonal changes. I'm a summer kinda guy. Usually Fall/Winter depresses me. Shorts, T-shirts, sun, sand, surf. Those are the weather conditions I'm best at. I really should've been raised in Southern California. I'm blond and shallow. Not your typical New Jerseyan. I'll give Autumn a shot this year, as long as it stays warm enough to go out and look at it.

Still the mood is positive. It's scary to be happy for no reason. I'm guessing something like a bi-polar medical thing.

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