#801: Icing

June 9th, 2017

No one likes a happy man.

Happiness is where groundbreaking comics start doing bits about changing diapers. It’s where rockers do acoustic albums, getting glowing reviews from bald men about their mature, mellowing sound.

It’s bragging or lame to write about being happy, either way no one wants to read it. Fulfilling personal lives and contentment have killed more promising writers than cheap scotch. In terms of career-ending moves, I need happiness like Hemingway needs a hole in the head.

But I’m at an impasse. Because I want to write. And I’m happy.

Listen: I woke up yesterday and went to work.

That’s it. That’s my happy.

I woke up yesterday and stretched out in a beautiful North Side apartment with a light breeze rippling gossamer curtains through open windows. I ate breakfast — healthy, delightful egg cups — then cheated and got a coffee and pastry anyway at the little indie shop on the corner where I think they’re starting to recognize me.

I rode the L downtown and the trains all showed up when I got to the station. Then I walked into my office, saying hi to everyone by name and getting hi’s by name back. I sat down at a desk with my name plaque on it and a picture of Perry White tacked on the wall next to a rattlesnake postcard my dad sent. Then I started my day’s work in the field of journalism.

That’s all I ever wanted, really.

I do want more, of course. I want fame and fortune and a basic cable variety show where a thousand showgirls sing my name. I want a couple kiddos who act like I did from ages 0-11 and 30 up, but absolutely not like I acted from 12 to 29. I want a house and a rocket car and a dog I’ll name Stet to see who the editing nerds are.

That’s all icing. I’m pretty happy with the cake.

You might make more than I do. You might have a nicer apartment or the willpower to just stick with the egg cups. Your job might be more investigative, probing and action-filled than mine.

But these egg cups, this commute, this home, family, life, job, bougie taste in coffee, unfathomable city and these plans I have for the future are mine. I work in journalism in Chicago, Illinois. That’s really all I wanted.

More on my job

More on writing

More on writing, specifically telling a small child it’ll help him land women someday

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You are currently reading #801: Icing by Paul Dailing at 1,001 Chicago Afternoons.

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