Spare me the 'happy' crap


Some days I miss that I no longer work in an office. I miss the distractions, the tangents, the spontaneous foolishness somewhere around 4 o'clock. But I don't miss any office today.

Today the workplace becomes an extension of the classrooms we inhabited as children, where near strangers exchange candies and cards with messages like "hot stuff" and "be mine," the kind of things that, on any other day of the year, would result in a round of sensitivity training for everyone (a contest entry at Poynter.org suggested the sweet notion "Zellous," no doubt for some very American reasons). Regardless of the form, sugar or saccharine, store-bought or homemade, today we're supposed to welcome even unwanted expressions of affection, to be silly hearts, or suck-ups, or ugh.

It's not that I'm not romantic, not that I'm incapable of wearing my heart on my sleeve. I simply don't like the fakery of a day that pretends to be about all that's good, yet leaves so many people feeling bad.

And so, rather than read sonnets, I gravitate to like minds, to Nancy Gibbs' razor-sharp back-page piece in the latest issue of TIME, or my friend Amy Klein's slightly cynical column in today's Los Angeles Times:

My ideal mate should be worldly and well read, but she should not have too many thoughts about too many things unless they agree with my thoughts. She is sparkling but never outshines me. Better yet, she will not speak in public and rarely in private. Especially not in front of my mother, the most amazing woman alive.

On this particular day, I prefer Charles Bukowski's THE RED PORSCHE to any other red thing because, like the man said, "it feels good."

(The poem is after the jump.)

THE RED PORSCHE By Charles Bukowski

it feels good
to be driven about in a red
porsche
by a woman better-
read than I
am.
it feels good
to be driven about in a red
porsche
by a woman who can explain
things about
classical
music to
me.

it feels good
to be driven about in a red
porsche
by a woman who buys
things for my refrigerator
and my
kitchen:
cherries, plums, lettuce, celery,
green onions, brown onions,
eggs, muffins, long
chilis, brown sugar,
Italian seasoning, oregano, white
wine vinegar, pompeian olive oil
and red
radishes.

I like being driven about
in a red porsche
while I smoke cigarettes in
gentle languor.

I'm lucky. I've always been
lucky:
even when I was starving to death
the bands were playing for
me.
but the red porsche is very nice
and she is
too, and
I've learned to feel good when
I feel good.

it's better to be driven around in a
red porsche
than to own
one. the luck of the fool is
inviolate.


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