Thursday, 9 September 2010

The Lives of Others

Walking ahead of me on the local mountain were two pony-tailed girls.
'There's a new guy at work,' one said to the other.
'Oh yeah.'
'He's looking at happiness.'
'Oh right.'
Then they stopped talking. Just when it was getting interesting. Where is their office? How do I get that job?


  1. But surely it's no use looking for happiness at a place where they look at happiness? Happiness, I read somewhere, is the incidental product of useful activity. It may be that any office job is therefore more likely to be productive of happiness than one which is concerned with looking at happiness, an entirely useless activity.

    I'll stop there as I feel I'm coming over all de Bottonish.

  2. Hi Gaw, or Al as I shall call you from now on (why do I have the idea that de Botton might not be too keen on the shortening?), I wasn't going to be looking for happiness, just contemplating it, which I thought could be a fairly relaxing way to get paid. "Happiness, I could sit and look at if for hours," to paraphrase Jerome K Jerome.
    Peter Porter, the poet who died the other day, said, about writing poetry: "It is like most human pleasures - difficult but preoccupying." That's where happiness lies, I reckon - in doing things that are difficult but preoccupying.

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  4. I think you heard it wrong. They were both nurses, talking about the new doctor at work who'd unfortunately spent the morning 'looking at a penis'

  5. Thank heavens you told me, Worm - my first day at the office might have been a bit disappointing (for me and for the patients)