At Stacy's house last weekend, I wake up before everyone else and searched for a way to amuse myself. On the shelf, I notice a book entitled The Conquest of Happiness. Having time to kill and room for happiness in my life, I pick it up and hope for the best. By the second page, it makes a disparaging remark about "colored people." "What?" I ask aloud, before checking the copyright date and discovering it was penned in 1930. Now it makes sense, in that age, happiness wasn't meant for non-Caucasians, or women for that matter, as I discover in the subsequent pages. A little more than an hour later, I realize that I have read the entire 250 page book.

Do I feel happier for having read the book? Eh. The author's perspective is a bit too different from my twenty-first century point of view, though I can relate to his sentiment that he would have commit suicide as a teenager were it not for his intense desire to learn more mathematics.

When Stacy finally appears, I inquire about the book. She explains that the author, Bertrand Russell, is a famous philosopher. So famous, in fact, that her friend started a Vegas-based cult around him. (Note: this is my own interpretation of what she said in very different words.) I reference a moment from late in the book when Russell stops expounding on his thesis to demonstrate what a drunk Chinaman speaks like. Stacy doesn't have a defense, but explains that he is known for his work with logic problems. Formal logic was one of the most challenging and satisfying classes I took during college, so this news excites me almost enough to ignore the racism

In short, I don't "conquer" happiness that morning. I'm still not convinced that happiness is something that can be conquered. True happiness is more of a journey, and can be found if you look for it in the right places. What makes me happy? Lately, it's been my stupendous housemates, eating meat, and this period of self-discovery I've been undergoing the past couple of months. For the first time in a long time, I think I feel like what I'm supposed to feel like.

And now: an acrostic for happiness!


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