The Happiness Principle


YAY! I'M happy! I finally figured out why I can't concentrate on schoolwork, why I can't read long books or do math problems! No, wise guy, it's not because I end every sentence with an exclamation point! I hate people who do that--they deserve to die! Me, I deserve to live, or at least to get a big medal or something good!

Why a medal for a silly person like me who has never completed an entire meal without coating my clothing with it? Because I, Eric 'Pulier Leg' Pulier, have discovered "The Happiness Principle."

"The Happiness Principle" is the reason for slothfulness, slovenliness, inefficiency, and for all the troubles that have ever plagued studentkind--except of course for why sometimes they awake with their eyes glued shut with gooky muck. No one knows why this happens. But for every other problem, "The Happiness Principle" is the reason. Simply put, it is this: at every moment of intellectual or academic epiphany, joy overtakes the epiphaner such that work must end and celebration must begin.

There has been much unproductive talk recently about the dismal state of today's university students. People all over the U.S. are making big bucks playing on the public's insecurity about whether students know enough of the "right stuff' to truly be called educated.

IN ANY case, let's discover what's really going on--consider a typical schoolnight.


O.K., I'm all set to work. I've sharpened every pencil within a five mile radius. I've shaved, overeaten, cleaned my desk, showered, made tentative plans to someday do my laundry, and called all past and present acquaintances plus a few phoney phone calls because I'm such a cut-up. I am now ready to begin my studies.

I open my book and sequentially view the symbols that have been conveniently printed in nice little straight lines. After a few minutes, I usually realize that these symbols are designed to communicate ideas of some sort. How neat, I think. This scholarly revelation is the first step toward disaster--within seconds the "Happiness Principle" will take full control.

If the book is good, I get a little excited--my throat tenses slightly, and my pace quickens. Soon I hit the "breaker" sentence--a particularly insightful or brilliant sentiment that is the toppling shove into the dreaded abyss that is happiness.

"This stuff is great. This guy is really smart! Wow!" I say with flaring nostrils that would embarrass any normal man.

I am done for. Further study is immediately precluded by the urge to put my book down and perform a jig or a polka. I raise my fist and scream, "Yes, Baby! That is the Coolest! You are the Best!" It is now only a matter of moments before my body is compelled by an invisible force to pigeon its head forward and back while walking like King Tut around my desk.

This tends to take bystanders by surprise, prompting comments such as, "Oh, how odd!" To this I quickly kiss them full on the lips like Bugs Bunny would (so our joined mouths stretch a full two feet between us), and I dart happily from the dorm in a hurried search for catharsis before I explode with joy. My studies have ended for the evening.

THE PARALYSIS of joy is an insurmountable obstacle. Even if I get past an initial aversion to brilliant and pretentious books--I have "antronithogipodhaphobia," the fear of long words that don't make any sense--and even if I conquer the distraction of having to go to Harvard Square every half-hour to see if I'm hungry enough to eat, there is still the "The Happiness Principle" to finish me off.

I tried to take Math at Harvard, but had to give it up. It wasn't that I was too stupid to do well--although some might say that this was a contributing factor--but that whenever I got a problem right I became too happy to continue: "What? Radical two over three? Well, all right! Celebrate good times, come on! I'm outta here! Is 'Alf' on tonight?"

So how to overcome the stifling scholastic ecstacy that courses deleteriously through my youthful veins, and hinders my potential for academic achievement?

Damn, that last sentence was just awesome!