(If you have never read “Breakfast Smoothies” you might want to read the short introductory page. Explanations about the most blatant lies usually follow the essay.)
You know what I hate about Alicia’s breakfast smoothies, I asked? They are too happy.
“What’s in this one? It’s great.” Ben asked. Erica nodded.
It’s a Blueberry Smoothie, I told them. The perfect example of what I’m talking about. It’s cool and refreshing; made entirely from things that are good for you. It’s so happy I want to puke. It’s like those books that you find in the self help section of the bookstore – full of aphorisms and anecdotal stories about how someone persevered and is now so happy and how you should be like them.
Ben and Erica looked nervously at each other. Ben said to her, “We have to put up with a lot for our breakfast smoothies.”
“He’s in rare form this morning,” said Erica.
One of my favorite authors, I think it was Le Carre, said that we are on a “walk through the residue of our dreams.”
I’m gonna write a self help book someday. It will be for those who don’t believe in Disneyland, Santa Claus, TV sappy endings, or living happily ever after. It will be for those who slog through the swamps and marshes of Florida until they end up muddied, scratched, and bitten at their retirement community for a few days rest until they’re wait-listed for the nursing home by the grand kids.
“The mood of this mornings smoothie isn’t blueberries. It’s ‘blues-berries’,” said Ben.
I continued to ignore him.
My book won’t be filled with aphorisms that people can repeat to themselves ad-nauseum. It won’t have spiritual awareness or guardian angels who look after you and save you with an inspirational word when you are down. And it certainly will not have anecdotal niceties explaining how somebody else overcame life’s hazards.
It will be for all those who either cannot, or will not get through life with anecdotes and aphorisms. Those who do not want to be inspired day after day. Those who do not wake up in the morning looking in the mirror with a 3×5 card taped to it that says, “Go get ‘em, Tiger.”
It will be for those who, when directed to take charge of their own life say, in the words of Woody Allen, “It’s too much responsibility.”
“I’m sure it will inspire a whole generation,” said Ben.
Erica, I think it was your teen-aged daughter, Bramble, who put it best.
“Are you going to embarrass me by remembering something stupid she said?” said Erica.
No. It was brilliant. I remember you were telling her to get her act together or something and she whined, “I don’t want to be constructive every day of my life.”
Ben looked tired and put his empty glass down. He said, “Well, I’m stirred by your positive attitude this morning. I think I need some black coffee to get me moving.”
“Go get ‘em, Tiger!” said Erica.
Damn! The book has already been written. By Barbara Ehrenreich (author of “Nickel and Dimed”). It’s called “Bright-Sided” (How Positive Thinking is Undermining America).