In other words, happy people are WRONG.
Well, of course we are. Speaking in my capacity as a member of the mirthful class, I know that every day I have to dismiss the reality of my existence as a widely ignored writer on a small planet circling a mediocre star in one galaxy among billions, in a universe which may very well be fake, who needs to accept my inevitable death and loss of consciousness eternally and who finds the concept of a Heaven in which me and all the rest of qualified humanity live in eternal joy doubtful, and which, according to the self-styled experts on the subject, I am unlikely to be invited to anyway, before I get my good mood on.
But I do. After some coffee. And then I go to work finding people to be unsympathetic to. Between domestic politicians and foreign megalomaniacs, celebrity twits and the News of the Weird, I generally do. And then I can have some beer. The happy life is best lived in simple rhythms. If I notice you are unhappy, it's true I don't embrace you. But I don't call you a 'drip' out loud, even though that is what I am thinking.
So I think rumors that we lifelong chucklers are nothing but a bunch of hard-hearted clowns are exaggerated. We don't go to funerals with whoopee cushions in our pockets, unless, of course, the funeral is for one of us. And we never make fun of people whose lives are consumed by relentless, unspeakable tragedy, like pandemic victims or New York Jets fans.
And we're really going to try to be more empathetic. At least I am. When you are telling me about some mundane and minor tragedy that has left you in your current sullen mood, I am, in the future going to pay attention to its details, instead of probing for cracks in your narrative in which I can insert a joke. I will not try to 'cheer you up' with an unrelated wisecrack. I will not go all glassy-eyed with boredom, or try to sneak a look around you to see what the score of the game is, while you ramble on. When you are finished, I will at least make a sympathetic comment, if I can't exactly put myself in your dull, pinched shoes. I won't say something like "Everybody has that problem," or "Welcome to the club," as I often do now, nor will I immediately change the subject to something I find more interesting, although completely unrelated.
I am going to be there for you. A better relationship is in store for both of us. I am going to be a beaming beacon of empathy. Just one thing—while we are relating, try not to burp, fart, trip, or spill anything.
Can't guarantee the outcome if you do.