The Little Things

the-little-things-in-lifeI’m in a snit. That’s right. After 40 one is allowed to be in a snit and even call it a snit without fear of embarrassment for using words that a 73-year-old schoolmarm might use.

It’s frickin’ hot.

It’s frickin’ humid.

I have just negotiated the 4-stage hill of death that I live atop.

For all intents and purposes, I am liquid. My shirt squishes with each step, my back is attached to my backpack like a bloodied Bandaid. My vision is blurry and burning with salty sweat. This doesn’t matter, since my glasses wouldn’t be useful without windshield wipers.

Moreover, I have read today that this would be James Sirius Potter’s first day at Hogwarts. I know. I know. But here’s the thing, this means that the fictional Harry Potter is (almost) at the age I am and therefore dealing with the same issues. If Harry Potter is suffering the same pestering annoyances of middle age, how can the world be a good place to live? Also, it’s 11,000 degrees in Prague and there is no air conditioning anywhere west of Dresden.


I stagger through the door and hit the button on the lift. I need to be in shorts. Now. And that’s when things brighten a bit. The light in the lift goes on and the door opens easily. It’s sitting there waiting for me. I step into it with a grateful smile.

And things have just gotten a little better.

If the movies have taught us one things, it’s that once we fix our major problem – conquer the bad guy, win the girl, get the job, beat the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man – the world is our joy-filled oyster. It’s not just movies, either. We are assaulted with “just be happy” memes and quotes on Facebook and Twitter. Memes which boil happiness down to a pithy phrase that makes happiness sound so easy and you feel so dumb for not having figured it all out.

But frankly there is no movie happy ending. Not even in movies, really. Even Harry and Ginny Potter’s marriage had a few bumps after all the Voldemort excitement ended and they became a boring couple. Ron Weasley still gets the occasional hemorrhoid and bout of stress-related erectile dysfunction. Right now, a 35-year-old Hermione Granger is dealing with the start of sagging boobs and worry lines.

We learn that there is no happy movie ending for us, either. Most of our own lives are not filled with consistent enraptured joy. Or consistent misery, for that matter. Holidays end. Friends leave. Even Friday afternoons turn into Sunday afternoons in the blink of a Jagrmeister-encrusted eye.

I have given up on the idea of this movie ending happiness.  And once I did, I dipped into a funk. How can life be good if even Harry Potter wasn’t perennially happy after defeating Voldemort?

But it became better once I realized that happiness comes in small increments.

I have been training myself to enjoy the happiness that comes in little packages in day-to-day life. A last cookie hiding in what was thought to be an empty pack, an old pair of jeans that fit again, a dollar in the back pocket of that old pair of jeans, a round of shots on a Friday evening.

I suppose when enough of those little things build up, they become big, and then they become overall happiness, and then they become happiness.

Plus, I bet Harry Potter gets irritated by the heat. He might even get into a snit from time to time. But still, he probably takes his wand down to the pub on occasion and tells a few tales over a couple butter beers. And he better enjoy it, because hangovers don’t get easier when you’re a wizard of a certain age.

Folks. What was the last little thing that made you smile?

  1. #1 by greg galeone on September 3, 2015 - 4:06 am

    Butterbeer sounds good.

  2. #2 by PJ on September 3, 2015 - 7:19 am

    New Flyers Hat!!!! Thanks again!

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