Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Few Simple Things

Maybe it's because I'm getting older or perhaps I'm just a boring individual, but I've discovered I don't need to experience thrills and chills in my life to be happy. Give me a good book or a quiet conversation every time.

If I were an amusement park ride I'd be one of those little canoes that float in six inches of water at an excruciatingly slow pace in a circle so four year olds can have something to do while their older brothers and sisters ride the roller coasters all day long. Anyway, here, in no particular order, is a list of what I believe to be the best of life's simple pleasures:

- Ice-cold water on a swelteringly hot day. After you've had your water you can switch to beer or iced tea or whatever you enjoy the most, but don't even try to convince me that if you were lost in the Sahara for three days and someone placed a table filled with cold drinks in front of you that you wouldn't reach for that glass of cool, sweet water first.

- The smell of freshly-mown grass on a summer day. Maybe it's your next-door neighbor out working on his lawn or maybe you're just driving down the street with your windows open when you get hit with this, but is there anyone who doesn't like this smell? They say the olfactory response is the strongest of all the senses and I believe it.

- Seeing your children do the right thing when faced with a difficult choice. You do most of your teaching when they're young and then sit back with your fingers crossed, hoping at least some of what you tried so clumsily to impart was absorbed. Then you see your child do the right thing - not because you told them to, but because it's the right thing, and you realize they really were listening, even when it didn't seem like it.

- A completely unexpected twist in the book you're reading or the movie you're watching. You thought you had a handle on who did it and why, then you suddenly realize you were so far off base that you weren't even in the ballpark! What a delicious feeling.

- Nineteen-month old arms hugging you around the neck, squeezing with all their might. The total trust and innocence of a baby can never be duplicated in life - ever - and is one of the most awe-inspiring feelings you can ever have. Even if you don't have or ever want children, you should borrow a friend's or relative's baby just to experience this sensation at least once.

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