Keep your happy

There are a lot of dicks in the world. It’s hard to define exactly what makes someone a dick, but here’s a definition that comes close: They try to take your happy.

One of the great things about bicycling, whether you race or whether you group ride or whether you pedal your rusted out clunker to the medical pot shop, is that it makes you happy. I know so many people who have found their happy on bicycles.

Sometimes it’s a happy from alcoholism, from a lost loved one, from a divorce, from an illness, or maybe a plain old lousy job. But the people I hang around with have bike happy in common.

So I take a dim view of people who try to take other people’s happy. For instance, the dick who came up to me after yesterday’s race and chastised me for my crummy tactics. He was right, I am pretty lousy at it. But in all the races I’ve done since 1984, no one has ever come up to me after a race and yelled at me because of that.

So I nicely told the dick to please stop yelling at me, the race had just ended, and after we’d cooled down we could go over to the team tent and he could explain my failings. I’d be more receptive–there would at least not be an inch of sheet snot hanging over my face–and he might be less angry and might choose nicer words. In fact, it was entirely possible that after a few minutes the most important thing that had ever happened in the history of the earth might not be the events of this 45+ old fellows bicycle race and splatting contest, and it was even more possible that whatever had happened in this incredibly important sporting event might not even be worth shouting about. Weirder still, with a few moments of rest and reflection, I might be able to even talk back rather than gasp.

He continued yelling at me and called me a tool, another true statement perhaps, but it made me wonder what kind of tool. A crescent wrench? One of those funny things you stick on the end of a cassette to remove the lockring?

A buddy came up and tried to calm him down but it didn’t work. I slowed to a super crawl and he rode off, haranguing and yelling and complaining about something that everyone already knows: I’m not very good at racing my bike.

Then in an unrelated happening, Friend told me today about a Significant Other who was on the I Hate Your Cycling warpath. Even though Friend doesn’t ride that much, and only does it when S/O is at work or otherwise engaged, S/O constantly rages about cycling. S/O is very miserable at S/O’s job and takes it out on Friend, ostensibly because Friend rides too much, but actually because S/O would like to be doing something else.

Friend’s significant other and the After Race Yeller-Atter have this in common: They are both trying to take someone else’s happy.

And I told Friend the same thing I told myself as I pedaled over to the tent after the race, musing about the miserable little turd who had rubbed some of his stink off on me. “Don’t let anyone take your happy. We get one trip down the path and there are no do-overs.”

When you think about it that way, it makes you determined to hang onto your happy pretty hard. And it makes you unsympathetic towards those trying to take it away.



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33 thoughts on “Keep your happy”

  1. I have an ex-wife, hereinafter known as Defendant, who was a black hole for happy. And you’re totally correct. I don’t hate people that try to take my happy, I just abandon them from my mind. Well written, WM.

  2. I simply *love* shrugging and walking away from such encounters, racing or otherwise. It enrages them more than boxing their ears, because it makes them feel like you robbed them of what little power they think they have. Keep your happy, indeed.

  3. awesome post. Doesnt the 11th commandment say something about “Dont be a dick!”?
    I just got out of 6 months to life relationship with a happy-taker. A black hole of happiness-eating negativity manifestering non-happiness. I was not happy with that. It sure is a lot more fun being happy! (and riding and racing almost as much as i want)

  4. i had an altercation this AM with a happy-taker-who-shall-not-be-mentioned on NPR and afterwards confronted him via the internet as follows:

    as far as i am concerned there are 3 scenarios where it’s ok to yell at me

    1. i’m about to get hit by a car

    2. we’re in a breakaway and i’m not doing my share of the work

    3. i’m your teammate and i’m pissing you off

    otherwise it’s not OK

    1. You’re more generous than I am. Except for No. 1, there’s no reason to yell at anyone on a bike.

  5. Minnesota Expat

    Absolutely brilliant. I think you have to be north of 50-years to truly appreciate the importance of keeping your “happy”. Shared your post with half dozen friends this morning and now we have a new motto at work; “Keep your happy!”

  6. I’ve been dealing with a happy-taker defense counsel for four years. I learned quickly not to let him do it. Now he will have to try to take someone else’s happy since we prevailed at trial today. Though I wager he will have his own happy taken by his client who will surely fire him. A more incompetent lawyer I have never met.

  7. Almost lost my happy when confronted after a track race in Northbrook. It seemed that the “happy remover” didn’t like my tactics either. All I did was get around him just before the line….geeeee…. Luckily, another rider helped me out by smashing the HR (happy remover) in the mouth. My happy came back instantly and has never left (or right?)….

  8. Excuse me while I catch up with my reading and commenting, please.

    What are even worse tactics than bad tactics? (We all know the answer)

  9. “Being caught behind the rider with bad tactics”.

    See, you did know!

    Thanks for another really good one, W-man.

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