bad all of us don't have some way to remind ourselves how
good life is when life is going well. We are more
apt to think of it as merely average and normal.
When I was fifteen, I had an appendectomy. There was
some minor complication, and I was in the hospital for
almost three weeks. (It's always surprising
how serious a minor operation seems when you're the one
who has had it.) But I recall then appreciating the
colors and the action of everyday life when I got out of
the hospital. My perception of many things I had
always taken for granted was razor sharp. The grass
looked greener, our house looked better and my mother's
cooking tasted great.
The fact is, any time we or someone we love isn't dying,
it should be considered a great time in life.
Just now, in the course of writing this, I was trying to
remind myself of small pleasures I enjoy almost daily:
--My shower first thing in the morning is a wonderfully
pleasant and exhilarating way to start the day. I
like the warmth, I like a good cake of soap, and I like
the idea that I'm part of a civilization that has
organized itself to get water to my house and have it warm
and waiting for me when I get up. It's difficult to
remember to be amazed every day, but it is amazing.
morning newspaper and that first cup of coffee are two
things I'm sure they have in heaven if there is one.
I always pick up my newspaper with a great sense of
anticipation. I'm a newspaper nut. There are
times when I don't find much in it that interests me, but
that never changes my enthusiasm for getting at it again
the following day.
--I love my work. I love writing. I even like
the physical process of hitting the keys of the typewriter
with my fingers, although I only use three of them.
I enjoy thinking of things to write, and there is always a
vague sense of excitement about whether I can do it or
not; this heightens my interest. And to finish a
piece of writing is a great satisfaction. It's as
good as getting a sliver out of your finger.
--By noon I'm getting hungry and feeling desk-bound.
I know a hundred good little restaurants, and it is a
wonderfully civilized pleasure to find a friend and go to
one of them for lunch.
--In the afternoon I'm not nearly so smart as I am in the
shower eight hours earlier, but if I'm not pressed to do
something for a deadline, I'm just as happy. It's
pleasant to browse through the mail and the debris on my
desk, looking for a job easy enough for my brain to handle
at that hour. Perhaps I call one of my four kids
working in Boston, Washington, New York, and Providence.
--By late afternoon I can't wait to get home--the same
home I couldn't wait to leave that morning. It's a
pleasant place. My wife is glad to see me, I'm glad
to see her, and we sit down and have a drink while we
watch the evening news on television.
--On Saturdays I have fresh orange juice, one of the great
luxuries of my life. As I sit there sipping it, I
think how lucky I am to be able to make enough money to
squeeze three oranges for a drink. After a great
time with coffee, toast, and the newspaper, I go down to
my cellar filled with tools and good wood. I've had
some of the pieces of wood for twenty years. I sit
and consider for the hundredth time what I might make of a
wide piece of walnut. I feel it and enjoy it and
decide to save it.
I am not sick or dying at all right now, and I'm
determined to remind myself how good life is.
from a down-to-earth human being who found it
important to think about just what it is that
actually makes us human, and how we might live our
lives in fulfilling ways, rather than buying into
everything that's fed to us by marketers,
advertisers, and news media. Enjoyable,
relaxing reading that definitely will elicit
smiles and nods and pleasant thoughts of life.