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The Happiness Issue

The VICE Guide To Happiness

Let VICE help you turn that frown upside down.

Photo by Patrick O’Dell

HEY, WHY THE BUMMED-OUT FACE LIL' GUY? ARE YOU cold? Do you have the February blues? I’m talking to you there, grumpy Gus. What’s the matter? You’re not happy? Why? There’s no reason to be not happy. C’mon now, we can work it out. I can turn any frown upside down, just try me. You give me a reason you’re bummed out and I’ll give you a reason not to worry about it. OK? Look at that frown. I see those little corners turning upwards. There we go, I see a smile starting up, you little fag. Watch… THE WORLD IS A GHETTO
A point that was first introduced to politics by a band called P.O.D. True, Sonny Sandoval, global politics does seem to be at a level of crisis we haven’t seen since the 20s and 30s, but that’s no reason to be a gigantic BMX track about it. In fact, I’ve got another quote for you, Captain Fucking Bringdown. It comes from that astute nineteenth-century political scientist Alexis de Tocqueville and it goes like this, “Democracy is slow and sluggish and difficult to move but once the people collectively set their minds on something, nothing can stop them.” Humans are essentially good, and so good will eventually prevail. Even if Iraq does get crushed, people will eventually see that Bush is an asshole and get over the infinite need for a finite resource like oil. Plus, immigration is getting handled, which is helping the environmental problems overpopulation has caused. We’re in a heavy state of flux here that is not irreparable so chiiiiill.
Think of this global mess as a dirty bedroom. You just put on a tape and get to it. It’s kind of fun getting it all organized anyway. Just look at Eric Schlosser’s colossal bum-out Fast Food Nation. Even there we learn about hero stories like Jack in the Box, which is reinventing the way meat is processed, or In-N-Out, which never fucked it up in the first place. He also spends a chapter on ranchers like Dale Laster and Rich Conway who, if you believe Michael Pollan (the guy who wrote that cover story in The New York Times Magazine about the problems with animal rights), are better for cows than vegetarians. The book ends with Schlosser saying, “I remain an optimist despite all the evidence to the contrary.” See? NOBODY WANTS TO FUCK ME
Being rejected sucks ass. Trying to suck someone’s ass and being told “no” sucks even bigger ass. Fooling around with some chick with a big ass and trying to go down on her ass and getting rejected sucks HUGE ass. Going out with some guy that’s a big asshole and who has a fat ass and trying to suck his ass and having him go, “What the fuck are you doing? Stop that,” sucks ass the size of China. Being a tiny African chick and going down on a Chinese guy’s ass even though he’s a total asshole and has a HUGE ass and THEN being rejected sucks ass the size of both continents combined! But that doesn’t mean you can never get laid. Just be a gregarious loudmouth who talks to everyone and something will fall in your lap. And you can do your research first. Ask the friends’ friends if you have a chance before you bust a move. If you do eventually go for it and get rejected, do this jokey thing (even though it’s a bit Chandler from Friends) and go, “No yeah, yeah, no, I was kidding, yeah, I don’t want to either, eww gross” and shudder jokingly. Keep that joke going all night and don’t cry until you get home. If you keep getting rejected despite all this—start a club. Call it “The B-52 Bombers,” and what you do is, you and all the club members meet for breakfast after every night out and the girl or boy who bombed the worst is known as King (or Queen) Bomber. The King, for example, has breakfast bought for him and everyone at the table is like, “Are you OK for coffee there, King?” as they top him up and he’s the total hero of the meal. That way after you bomb you’re like, “Cool, I’m-a be King tomorrow.” THINGS ARE SO FUCKING GAY
Yes, things like TV ads are so bad they can be infuriating. Right now a Chili’s baby-back ribs ad is on behind me where this yuppie asshole in a Hugo Boss turtleneck is BEATBOXING and saying “barbuhquuue saaawce” in a James Earl Jones voice like a show-off from Shipmates—but I like it. You’d have to be a total Peter Bagge to get pissed off at things that are that bad. How about, “Ah ha ha ha, what a fucking loser! Hoo hoo, oh shit, man”? When Vanity Fair’s Graydon Carter proclaimed, “Irony is dead,” he forgot about the part where shitty things are fucking hilarious. Am I not supposed to love it on Cops when the Vietnam-vet crackhead in an army coat gets caught with women’s clothes in his house and uses “I’m starting a plastics museum” as an excuse? (He even adds, “Is there something wrong with a man trying to better himself?”) I don’t know if I’m being ironic or just plain cruel when I enjoy that, but I don’t care. It’s like Showgirls—once you realize that bad is good the world becomes a smorgasbord of fun things to check out. See you at TGIFridays! (I’ll be the one in the cat sweatshirt drinking an Awesome Blossom). I HATE MY FRIENDS
So do I, little guy. So do I. They always want to drag you out when you don’t want to go out and they want to stay in whenever it’s party time. The secret to retaining good friends is dumping the stupid shitty ones. I, for example, recently had to let a guy go for saying, “I’m going to write it out in big letters but when you email me you have to make it in smalls.”
Define who the keepers are. If you’re straight, gay jokes are the best way to see who your BFFs are (if you’re homosexual, everyone who doesn’t care is a BFF). Men: Can you walk down the street with this guy holding his hand and lovingly call him Charles? Ladies: Can you fondle her tits in public and scream, “Tune in Tokyo—helloooo!”? That’s a best pal right there. The rest are secondary; thirdary even. Here are the categories: Gay-joke pals: People you look forward to seeing and talking to about outfits without kidding. This is the only person you tell about your cheats. Dudes and homegirls: These are people who probably would be your gay-joke pals if they lived in the same town as you or had any time to hang out. Table scraps: These are pretty fun people who you don’t know that well. You may spend all night talking to them if you see them at a bar (prime potential to be bumped up to second tier—unless they say something idiotic when they’re giving out their email address) but then, you may not see them for months. The beauty of organizing your friends like this is, when you get a call from someone in the third tier going, “Dude, you never call me back, we have to get a beer,” you can relax and quietly think to yourself, “Relax pal, I’ve got plenty of shit to deal with up in the top two groups. I don’t need your guilt-trip bullshit right now, you fucking table scrap,” and the stress is relieved. I HATE MY FAMILY (MY DAD LEFT)
Assuming you have a good relationship with your family, all you have to do to beat away the blues is hang out with them (duh). Make them pay for the plane ticket if you live far away. However, if you’re like most of us, your dad is a fuck-up who either took off when you were eleven or hasn’t spoken to you in five years just because he found out you smoked (that last one’s a shout-out to all the Asians out there). Here’s the deal: If you have reached out and they have not been there for you for more than, um, three and a half years, they are Xed for life. Fuck ’em. Don’t answer those emails that go, “I’m sorry I messed things up but I want to be in your life again.” Mr. 57-year-old in a jean jacket was bringing you down, and like a shitty friend, you had to draw the line. See ya later, shithead. I’M NOT WORTHY
In the words of Dr. Phil, “You are worthy.” I know sometimes you feel like a total loser, but if it’s anywhere near a Tuesday at ten p.m. why don’t you turn on a show called The Real World? You’re not worthy? Have you seen their bandannas? Have you heard them talk about being “scared” and “not being honest about needing things”? Ha ha ha ha ha. Just imagine how you would be on that show with your never-been-to-the-gym body and your balls-to-the-wall attitude. “Anger management!?” you’d yell at the black dude incredulously, “What are you, a fucking fairy!?” And get this, you low-self-esteem-having motherfucker: Those people are your average Western young person. Believe me. You’re worthy. I HATE MY JOB
Everyone hates their job. Jobs suck. Do you think I like sitting here at 10:43 on a Saturday night (January 18) trying to make your shitty job sound less shitty? Do you think the singer of Korn likes his job? Touring is the worst hell on earth. Do you think Jimmy Kimmel, now that he’s about to be the new king of late night, do you think he likes his job? I know that dude. He works about fourteen hours a day. Plus, being famous is like owing every shithead in the world “personality” money. That’s why models desperately foster those low IQs—their jobs are that boring. Just check out that book Gig: Americans Talk About Their Jobs by John and Marisa Bowe. The only person who really likes his job is either a total fucking idiot or a store manager with a small dick. The rest of us are in the same boat. What you do is you zoom in on the good part of your job and bust your ass at that (yes, that means weekends) until it’s more of your job than the shitty stuff. Then the magic rule starts to come into play. “The magic rule?” you ask. “The magic rule,” I say (with my eyes closed). And that magic rule is this: If you focus on one thing and work hard at it for exactly ten years, you get a million dollars. Ask anyone with a million bucks in the bank. Twisted Sister? Ten years of shitty gigs. Huey Lewis? Ten years of bar-band bullshit. Even Henry Ford had to eat shit for ten years before the damn thing worked. Like the Ten Stairsteps say in “Oooh Child”: “Oooh Child/ Things are gonna get easier/ Oooh Child/ Things’ll get brighter/ In ten years/ You just wait and see how things are gonna be/ In ten years/ You just a wait and see-hee how things are gonna be/ bdddfffdddfff (almost a drum and bass, two-step garage level of drum beats)/ We’ll walk in the rays of a beautiful sun/ Right nooooow/ When the world is much briiiighter.” Etc. GAVIN MCINNES