I have just written, erased and rewritten the first line of this column about 25 times. For some reason, I am feeling very pressured to write a standout essay this week, and it is starting to drive me nuts. Last time, I wrote a column about crossword puzzles, and I received the most feedback and praise that I have ever gotten in my short writing career. I believe I came pretty close to receiving this much attention after my column last semester regarding the hot spots on campus to have sex, but this one still takes the cake. So, here it is. The two most popular topics of conversation are sex and crossword puzzles! Well, these are my kind of people!
I have been trying to make some correlation between these two models of entertainment, and my results have been weak. Indeed, I did refer to completing a crossword in an orgasmic-like tone, but I don’t know if that counts. Sex and crossword puzzles have little to do with each other, except that everyone is doing them! The fact of the matter is, though we are all typical, horny twenty-somethings, we are also intelligent students at a prestigious university. Let’s face it; we crave stimulation in both mind and body.
This whole phenomenon has me thinking about all those little things in life that make me happy (Sex is not so little, but you understand). In this chaotic world, on this campus that never sleeps, simple goodness goes unnoticed. We are so consumed with school, partying, rallies and chastising the evangelist freak on the grad steps that we fail to appreciate those miniscule details that put smiles on our faces. For example, we all know how wonderful it feels to finish writing a long and tedious paper.
But, do you ever realize how fucking cool the electric stapler in the Fishbowl is? Your paper is that much better because you get to stick it under that modest device and instantly bind it with a soft “zzz!” The electric stapler makes me happy. What about the fact that the newspaper is free every day? I am able to do (attempt really) the crossword five days a week without spending a single penny! I get to receive feedback from my fellow students about my writing, when otherwise they probably would not have paid to read it. My list of “little things that make me happy” goes on and on. My goal is to have all of you nodding your heads in agreement as you read it, saying to yourselves, “Oh, yeah! I never thought about how great that really is!”
There is nothing like the feeling of calling shotgun when embarking on a long road trip. It makes my day when I put on an old pair of jeans and find money in the pocket (hell, it could be three bucks and my broke ass will be glowing for the rest of the day!). What about the first sip of an ice-cold Corona with lime on a steamy hot afternoon? Or getting film back from that party where you have no recollection of taking any pictures? Isn’t it amazing when you wake up early in the morning, just to see that you have two more hours before you have to get up? Or the excitement of finding a parking space in front of Angel Hall, not to mention parking at a meter that still has time left. What about seeing NYPD on your caller ID at three a.m. when you have raging munchies?
Two words: concert anticipation. You know, that feeling that you get in the pit of your stomach when you walk into a concert that you just know will be amazing (Wailers last Saturday night, baby!)
Think back to Middle School for a second. How great was it when you woke up to a tumultuous blizzard outside your window and you just knew that school would be cancelled and you could go sledding all day! (For those of you who never experienced the glory of a snow day, I am sorry). The feeling of clean clothes right out of the dryer. A warm bed on a heatless night. A perfect jump shot. A sweatshirt that has never been washed. The other side of the pillow. And to quote the ever-talented Cody Liebman, “A great sweat, great soak and a great shave” (props, boy). And then there is that miraculous day in the middle of February where the cold, gray, miserable clouds of Ann Arbor disappear and we get 24 hours of spring before going back to mid-winter reality. When everyone comes out in shorts and flip-flops even though it is only 60 degrees, no one goes to class and there isn’t a frown seen on campus. You know, the suicide rate in Seattle is higher than anywhere else in the country for a reason.
Finally, in my search for the simplest, cheapest and most pure sense of happiness, one entity stands alone. It is one that feels just as good to give as it does to receive. Some say it can go a long way; I say it can carry you further than you could ever imagine. Smile!
– Rena Greifinger can be reached at email@example.com.