You Can Buy Happiness

I had gone camping a couple months ago with my girl's friends in Santa Cruz. The guy who had reserved the campsite had chosen well because it had an amazing view of the mountains. There was a good mix of men and women, and we delved into conversation about dating and relationships. So of course they brought up one of the guys my girl had been set up with. I smiled because I wasn't sure where this was going and was curious to see why they hadn't connected.

The guy my lady had been set up with had been in the country for fifteen years and began as a shoe salesman and was still a shoe salesman (the travesty!). My rebel mind leaped up, and I blurted out the question, "What's wrong with that?"

Everyone turned toward me, wondering why I would ask such a question. Keep in mind that spending the night in the wilderness with people that I'd just met, my girlfriend's long time friends, had added a bit of pressure because these people weigh toward the conservative side. And I'm pretty light when it comes to that. Not that I like to run through the streets naked, unless there's money involved.

"The guy has been in the same position for fifteen years!" one of the guys on mary jane exclaimed.

"What if his passion is selling shoes?" I asked.

They pummeled me with statements such as 'What's good about being a shoe salesman?' or 'He's a man, he should be more ambitious.' or 'Can he support a family with that?'

None of the women came to my rescue. Nor did I expect that. But I hadn't expected them to agree with those statements. They did. I should have asked if it was OK being a shoe salesmen and earning a good six-digit income, or being a CEO of your own company that makes little money. Because it seemed like they were linking having a respectable title with earning a high income, which isn't always the case.

I guess I felt a little insecure because I've had my day job for over ten years, don't have any ambition to move up beyond where my current title is because it's just a day job. It funds my passion and pays for my bills. Well, I pay the bills, my day job doesn't really do anything except deposits my paychecks into my back account.

But so many of us are obsessed with showing people that we are doing well. Check out my German automobile. Check out my new iPhone. Check out my spiffy shoes. Check out my new job. Check out my hot girlfriend.

Not my actual girlfriend

Not my actual girlfriend

I had a friend who posted his offer letter from Apple on FaceBook. He didn't even redact his salary. And people were congratulating him, feeding his ego. I wanted to post, "How small is your dick?" But I didn't. It would have been a waste of my ten seconds.

I've had another friend who posted pics of his new car, awards that he's earned, and shopping with his wife at Jimmy Choo. How small is his dick? He's Asian so...

And would it have mattered if that shoe salesman worked at Jimmy Choo?

And why do women love his shoes? The one complaint I've consistently heard is that his shoes are ungodly uncomfortable. I don't know, I don't wear high heels...when people are looking. So why covet Jimmy Choos?

I think part of the reason is that we need people's acceptance, that we think happiness comes from what others think of us. What we really covet deep inside is their approval.

Yesterday, I took my girl to the Renaissance Faire for her first time. I've gone almost every single year since being dragged to it my first time twenty years ago. And there are three things that I must do: eat a dish called Sausage, Bread and Cheese, which has sausage, bread and cheese, watch Stuart Abelman's glass blowing demonstration, a man of true passion, and attend Broon's show.

We went to his last show of the day, and Broon ended it with this (paraphrasing): Look at all of us. There's white people. Black people. Christians. Muslims. Catholics. Republicans. Democarats. For a small moment, we all forgot about all of that and laughed and had fun. It's been my pleasure to have been a part of that because happiness and joy is a natural part of our being.