After getting home last night from a weekend away, I was very much looking forward to settling in with the Sunday Boston Globe, a ritual usually blocked off for Sunday mornings, but timeshifted this weekend due to a trip up to Squam Lake, NH, whose trees currently boast an absolute color explosion that is wonderous to the eye. As with each autumn, this area of the world provides a spectacular encore to the summer and as the curtain comes down on the warm season, we’re left with our annual slow march towards…..heating oil. And introspection. And the Scud Mountain Boys.
But let’s focus on introspection for a minute. The Ideas section of the paper yesterday ran a mid-sized article about a British film called “49 Up,” part of a series which is exploring the happiness of specific Brits, all of whom are 49 years old and whose lives have been documented since the age of 7. The series is focused on the British class-system and how happiness results from class (or vice versa). Something tells me that Ray Davies is watching this series closely, but I digress.
The film also focuses on, of course, money. The gist appears to be that the higher/upper class citizens are making better decisions in all aspects of life, because they are in position to do so and because they have options. But it also finds that money has little to do with happiness, a subject I just discussed with a friend this week over lunch, and one I seem to be struggling with more and more as 1971 goes further and further away.
I mentioned some time ago that I was paying cash for a bathroom renovation. I guess I have options. But you know what – I’ll still be standing under the very same water that came down on me in the old bathroom. So will I be happier that it’s a different, more shiny showerhead? I dunno. And why do I think about it? Would I be happier (or just as happy) if I was making less money, but loving work? (note: I don’t hate my job. I just don’t know many people who LOVE their job)
Then, in a bit of unintentional irony, I found some intervention in, of all things, Grey’s Anatomy. Lost in all the sex, break-ups, hook-ups and gore of that show was a 30-to-45 second passage where one doctor is so wrapped up in himself and his personal plight(s) that he can’t seem to ease the mind of a burn victim and his wife. He literally goes silent and can’t address their grave concerns. Suddenly, there stands another doctor, a usually abrasive woman who is beginning to see the light. She spouts off a speech about nothing else mattering except the companionship and support of the people you love and the people who love you. Money and physical scarring don’t matter, in the end. Whether or not your head is burned, you are the same person.
So while the article is definitely an interesting read, it seems to leave that one important piece out of the equation. Equating happiness with class is probably too simple a comparison.
Scud Mountain Boys – “Lift Me Up”
Billie Holiday – “A Fine Romance”
The Flying Burrito Brothers – “Sin City”
Alice in Chains – “Down In A Hole”
Bob Dylan – “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues”
The New Pornographers – “The Bones of an Idol”
Temple of the Dog – “Times of Trouble”
Clarence “Frogman” Henry – “Ain’t Got A Home”
Neil Young – “Out on the Weekend”
Jefferson Airplane – “Volunteers”