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“It was the eyes that got me,” Rayber said. “Children may be attracted to mad eyes. A grown person could have resisted. A child couldn’t. Children are cursed with believing.”

from The Violent Bear It Away, by Flannery O’Connor


Ted knows what he is supposed to do, in order to fully live. He has known this for a long time. Call it the “secret to happiness.” It’s not a secret. There are plenty of books and websites, talk shows and courses dedicated to the topic. Ted even agrees with the outliers who say that money can’t buy happiness. So true. Then again, people need money. We have to have it. And yes, Ted knows high-stake bankers who hate themselves. Those rich dudes don’t even know how unhappy they are; their wives don’t know it either. Ted knows it; he knows he’s unhappy. He simply can’t bring himself to change his mind. You know, change his feelings. Wait. Let’s rephrase this challenge: he simply can’t bring himself to have his feelings. To just feel them. It’s a lot harder than it sounds.

A little boy runs wild and free and naturally he smashes into walls. He falls screaming into the arms of a grown-up who can make it all right. Suppose some other grabby little boy comes over and steals his toy, snatches it right out of his hands. Endless tears. Outrage. Sobbing.

A little guy can’t even say turtle, but he can feel five dimensions of feelings. We teach him how to say turtle. We teach him all kinds of crazy shit. Turtle. Shark. Shell. Water. Sand. Tank. Top. Bottom. Swim.

Swim swim swim.