Happy Dance

Macanudo Comic Strip for Today

Turn that frown upside-down.

Well, that works, doesn’t it? All you have to do is crack a smile, do a happy dance, and you’re guaranteed to be happy, no?

Okay, I’ll believe that works in the case of Charles Schulz’s Snoopy, but it’s a little different for humans. Happiness is transitory, but unhappiness tends to persist. Of the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism, the first is about suffering:

The First Noble Truth is the idea that everyone suffers and that suffering is part of the world. Buddhists believe in the cycle of samsara, which is the cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth. This means that people will experience suffering many times over. All of the things a person goes through in life cause suffering and they cannot do anything about it. Instead, they have to accept that it is there. People may use temporary solutions to end suffering, such as doing something they enjoy. However, this does not last forever and the suffering can come back when the enjoyment ends. Buddhists want to work to try to stop suffering. However, the first step is to acknowledge that there is suffering – it happens and it exists.

That’s one of the main reasons I get this smirk on my face when someone does a Happy Dance on TV because his trash is being picked up, his or her skin is free from eczema, or it’s Friday and TGIF.

Is that because I am an unhappy person? Not at all. It’s just that putting on a happy face does not mean you are happy. It just means that you are employing magical thinking to avoid acknowledging the reality of suffering in our lives.

If you absolutely must do a Happy Dance, do it like Snoopy: Realize that life is what it is, and your little dance interlude won’t change that.

Dancy Dancy

How Convincing Are the Happy Dances, Really?

I cannot help but think that life is grimmer than ever, based on all the happy dances on TikTok and TV commercials. Together with all the pharmaceutical commercials, with their family-happiness-in-the-outdoors tropes, the happy dances are a promise that is almost never fulfilled. How does that delirious couple in the photo above look when medical bills and their mortgage are more than they could bear. Even if they got that great house for the cheap price of a zillion dollars.

The one happy dance which doesn’t bother me is Matt Harding’s “Where the Hell Is Matt? 2008.” That son of a bitch had something to dance about—the sheer joy of life—and it would be my pleasure to join him: