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What's Black and Green and Blue All Over?*

Sometimes I think about people for whom life seems effortless. Their kids are basketball stars, on the honor roll and beautiful. Their houses are clean, their bills are paid and their hair is perfect. And they never seem to break a sweat or have a worry. They're never called up to school for an emergency meeting. They're never dismayed at a report card. Their children just seem to float towards perfection without any effort on their part. Their cars hum and their breasts are perky and their lipstick is never smudged. Their Italian shoes are unscuffed and their ties are always straight and they never go bald or get paunchy around the middle. They smile all the time and wear identical outfits in family pictures and take harmonious vacations to tropical islands and the siblings never argue and the pets never piss on the rug and they serve the perfect martinis at their perfect cocktail parties at which one of their excruciatingly polite children will play a concerto on the piano and they never, ever curse or raise their voices or bitch about traffic, because traffic just seems to part for them.

I hate those people.

* don't even try


And NONE of them, not one single one, is happy.

Trust me. Years growing up in Tenafly showed me how many of those huge houses are empty except for lawn furniture. Sometimes, outward appearance (beauty, success, etc) just isn't worth the cost.

Nope they are not happy. I know, I watch "Desperate Housewives".

I think assuming those upper-echelon types aren't happy is just everyone else's way of telling themselves that the grass isn't greener on the other side of the tracks (as it were). When in reality, if we had that lifestyle, we'd be much less stressed out. We all like to think we'd be so golden on the inside that it wouldn't make us happier to have an extra 50 grand every year. Well f!ck that. because I know I'd love to see my paycheck multiply, and I'm not embarrassed to say that it would make me VERY happy.

I hate those bastards too. Anyone who believes those people are unhappy is deluded. Just out of pure jealousy. And anyone who lives that lifestyle and is unhappy is a sadsack and needs to spend some of that hard earned dough finding out what it is in life that really makes them tick.

Dude, break out the porn.

Well, I don't think those people really exist, do they? I grew up in Grosse Pointe, Mi, and there wasn't a single family like that. EVERYONE had something.

Rich is better. Poor people can be just as miserable. The most important thing is love. If you have someone to love, and someone loves you back, you know the rest is just a question of keeping perspective.

BTW, off topic Michele, but your writing is getting really good. It seems to have stepped up another notch in the past year. Loved the stone dollar-sign metaphor in your anxiety post. Great stuff (and sorry about the pain).


Now Michele, don't take on so. I'll bet you have a lot of those qualities yourself, and don't even realize it. You never know how you appear to others, you know. What you need is some objective opinions from disinterested third parties. So, why don't you let us see and decide whether your breasts are perky or not?

Gosh-Darn it, Michelle, you nearly made Buffy spill her Perrier on the persian rug!

I just don't understand. Consuela said we were nice family, and she just LOVED walking Lord Byron, our Bichon Frise, at least until that whole nasty bit about her green card came up and we had to turn her in to Immigration and all.

Honestly, you working class people out there should just be happy that some of us deign to be orthodontists. I mean, crooked teeth are soooo declasse.

Ugh, I SPECIFICALLY requested italian olives, and now I have to use these common american ones for my cocktail. Will the horrors never cease?

The people I know who have the new huge houses and very expensive cars are certainly not less stressed. They work their freaking asses off. Some time back chose not to go down that path, not to work 80 hour weeks, be on call 24X7 and frequently travel apart from my family. I'm happy. Are they? Who knows.

Did you not watch ANY movies during the 80's? The only truly happy people are the dirt poor ones with hearts of gold, especially ones with dead or crazy parents, and the rich/pretty people are pathetic losers. Plus the poor people dance better, and love more deeply, making all the rich kids envious.

Well, I've known some pretty pathetic rich people (kids driving around in brand new cars, drugged out of their mind.) Matter of fact, the wealthiest family I know (and they are very very wealthy - 100's of millions rich) - both their kids have grown up to be basically worthless pieces of ....the only reason they still don't live with mommy and daddy is that their folks paid for their McMansions. Their marriage? Loveless. etc ...

OTOH - I also know some pretty skanky poor people.

Personally, it wouldn't be the extra STUFF that getting a huge raise would allow, it would be the extra TIME. If I got a 50% increase in salary, my wife could quit work and stay home with the kids (taking them out of daycare would also add ANOTHER $1800/mo to the budget). Then she could take care of things with them during the day, that currently have to be taken care of between 5:30 PM when she gets home with them, to 7:15 (when the 1 yo youngster goes to bed) or 8:30 (when his 3 yo sister goes to bed). I get home @ 6. After each day, when the little lady goes to bed, my wife is often worthless for anything for the rest of the night except being a couch potato, and she goes to bed at 10:20 when the weather is done on the news.

Or other miscellaneous errands that can't be done during the day because we're both at work (like getting her driver's license renewed, which she had to take time off from work for since the Minnesota DMV is the MODEL of efficiency and productivity)

I found a way to work towards that and tried it, but it didn't work for me. So now I'm taking a computer networking class to try and get a better job.

Money gives you more options, it doesn't make you happier.

Just like those who fought last week about the definition of a blog.... it gets down to this - I'm constantly amazed at how human beings have this innate need to define and categorize. When in truth, the very meaning of a blog - or of being a human being - defies such things.

Does anyone REALLY think that ALL people of some wealth who have seemingly busy schedules and seem to have an easy time with life are unhappy and stressed? Yeah right... and there isn't a single person under the poverty line who wants to always be living off the government.

We're individuals. For the bulk of us living in this country, we have choices and freedom to improve ourselves. There are quite a few who may appear to have everything clicking - and in fact do - but that's because they WORK HARD at it. Of those, there are many who actually do have a clue too... a clue about how a person can work TOO hard and get stressed.

We all have our good days. We all have our bad. Everything in moderation. Everything goes in cycles.

The real trick is to not let another's fortunate circumstances affect you. Jealousy is one of the MOST wasted efforts one can have.

Now before anyone starts commenting on how pious I must be, how I'm probably one of these lucky people... let's see:

Yes, I have only a mortgage. Yes, I've extremely happy in my job and make a decent buck. But both of those are because (a) I was lucky to finish my BSCS degree 20 yeas ago, (b) I was unlucky enough to marry someone who couldn't have children, © I'm now divorced and will be turning 47 next month, and (d) I made some conscious career decisions in 1998 that resulted in the payoff of $26,000 in credit card debts and the job I now have.

At this point in my life I'm pretty much happy... but I'm also the only one in my family who isn't married and without children of my own. Michele, I know you aren't alone. How about the rest of you?

I guess I'm saying that I accepted responsibility of controlling my own life and happiness years ago. One part of that was to work at NOT becoming jealous of what other's have - not only do I not benefit from it, I learned how much harm it brings to my friendships.

Oh, money gives you lots more options. A car that hums, perky breasts, Italian shoes, smudgeless lipstick, and tropical vacations.,,, I ain't a-gonna lie. I've seen that other side. I think could be pretty damn happy there awhile. (But I also know the pets still piss on the rugs.)

Interesting to note that of all the things I listed about these hypothetical people, most of you went off on the money tangent.

Did they buy the beauty, brains and athletic skills and general perfection of their children?

Money is nice. More money would be nicer. But that ain't it.

"Sometimes I think about people for whom life seems effortless"

That's it. The effortlessness part.

Dave? Fucking pious.

Well, Mark started it.

I'm deeply hurt.

Sounds like someone needs to watch more of the VH1 "Behind the Music" type specials. (Also see: Anna Nicole Smith, "Growing Up Gotti," "The Osbournes")

My theory is that EVERYONE is kinda screwed up and is unhappy about SOMETHING. It's just that some people are better at hiding it than others. And living in a gated community, behind the carved front door of a big house, helps hide a lotta shit.

I was gonna say something about having the (seemingly) effortless life, but as I'm in early labor, I thought that perhaps now would not be the best time to disclosing personal info. I think I'll spend my time updating my enemies list.


Anyway, yeah, some of us do live seemingly blessed lives. And I will not claim that my problems are the equal of others - many, if not most, people in this world have it tougher than me.

And I guess I'll leave it at that.

I grew up very happy in far North Dallas. We had cool neighbors with last names like White, Clinkscale, Septien, Hunt, Marriott. I went to school with Vanilla Frickin' Ice fer crissake, in the same schools in Dallas that Jessica Simpson went to. Let me tell you, Robbie's 'grew up poor on the streets' story is so much BS. I enjoyed the hell out of it. Then we fell. I served in the USAF. I learned to take care of myself. I'll be back. All I need is this paddle ball toy, this lamp, this ......

Congrats on the labor meep. I hope he/she pops out healthy and I wish you an easy delivery and all the best for you and your family.

All I need is this paddle ball toy, this lamp, this ......


I don't know any people for whom life is effortless. None, zip, nada. I know rich people who are smart and bust their asses. They lack in time and are married to their jobs. I know thin, athletically gifted people who don't worry about weight, but have other problems with health, intelligence, jobs. I know beautiful people who are lacking in many other areas.

Perhaps, if I knew Prince William, I would know such a person. He's smart, handsome, athletic, and rich. But the stress of being a royal must have some disadvantages. And the death of his mother must have hurt, as well as the divorce before that. So no, I can't even think of anyone for whom life is effortless.

Re effortlessness...

You've heard the story about the successful ballplayer/musician/businessperson or whoever it was, who was congratulated on being so lucky. "Yes," was the reply, "And the harder I practice, the luckier I get." People who have prepared for life in their early years can reasonably expect to have a more successful AND fulfilling middle and old age. I applaud them for it! After all, if I want to be high in the world, I have to agree for those people who are above me be high, also.

Is this a Walgreens commercial?

Yes and it's unfortunate when they also get breast cancer.

I bet they weren't expecting that.