He surely must be happy with everything he's got - THE CATASTROPHIZER
 
It's very tempting, when you're alone on Valentine's Day, to turn to your cat and say, "You're all the Valentine I need," before reading stories in the paper about elderly people who've loved one another since high school and then weeping quietly about how your old high-school boyfriends would probably think you've grown bitter and plump, and how people actually in high school would think you're implausibly old.

And because Valentine's Day is kind of like Facebook en-holidayed, it's also easy to spend the day firmly believing that every other person IN THE WORLD is happily married, gainfully employed, and totally and completely appreciated.

When I'm inclined to dwell on how my Valentine spent most of the afternoon ignoring me and staring raptly at a pigeon (and how I spent most of the afternoon staring raptly at him staring raptly at the pigeon), I remember a Simon and Garfunkel song my father drew my attention to when I was a child and he was teaching me about how people were unfathomable and appearances were deceiving:


Richard Cory

They say that Richard Cory owns one half of this whole town,
With political connections to spread his wealth around.
Born into society, a banker's only child,
He had everything a man could want: power, grace, and style.

But I work in his factory
And I curse the life I'm living
And I curse my poverty
And I wish that I could be,
Oh, I wish that I could be,
Oh, I wish that I could be
Richard Cory.

The papers print his picture almost everywhere he goes:
Richard Cory at the opera, Richard Cory at a show.
And the rumor of his parties and the orgies on his yacht!
Oh, he surely must be happy with everything he's got.

But I work in his factory
And I curse the life I'm living
And I curse my poverty
And I wish that I could be,
Oh, I wish that I could be,
Oh, I wish that I could be
Richard Cory.

He freely gave to charity, he had the common touch,
And they were grateful for his patronage and thanked him very much,
So my mind was filled with wonder when the evening headlines read:
"Richard Cory went home last night and put a bullet through his head."

But I work in his factory
And I curse the life I'm living
And I curse my poverty
And I wish that I could be,
Oh, I wish that I could be,
Oh, I wish that I could be
Richard Cory.

Obviously I'm about to make the message of this song apply to self-pitying 30-somethings on Valentine's Day instead of poverty-stricken factory workers.

I'm sure many people are happy and in love and not taking each other for granted and weathering misfortune together with cheerfulness and understanding. But many people are also getting dressed up and going out for dinner with people they resent or overlook or compare unfavourably to the younger, thinner, happier-looking people at the next table. And many of those younger, thinner, happier-looking people are wondering where the passion went and when their boyfriend/girlfriend got so fat and depressed.

I highly recommend feeling better about one's own life by learning to fear the worst about everyone else's.


POLITE DISCLAIMER: This site is intended for entertainment purposes only. If you're not entertained, fair enough.



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