Metro 192

My latest tour show, Happy Now? (coming to a town near you in the Spring of 2016- tickets make the perfect Christmas gift for your family, friends, pets and enemies) attempts to investigate if, at the age of 48, I am finally content and whether happiness is even desirable.

Because the problem with being happy is that as soon as you realise that you have achieved a state of joy, you are immediately terrified about all the things that could happen to spoil it and consequently become more unhappy than you would have been if you’d never been happy in the first place.

Miserable sods are thus the luckiest people in the world.

I asked some friends what made them happy and interestingly they all chose activities which allow you to stop thinking and forget yourself. One said she was only happy on fairground rides, another lost herself in spa treatments and a few found paradise in the throes of passion...

Personally I find it very hard to absent myself from any situation, due to overwhelming self-consciousness. There’s always a voice in my head passing comment and making sure nothing can be enjoyed for what it is.  If I am on a rollercoaster I can’t stop thinking about the possibility that a bolt is about to come undone and send me flying to my death.  When I am being massaged I am confused about what I am meant to be getting out of it. It’s just strange being caressed and pummeled by a stranger. Ultimately I feel sorry for them that they have no choice but to touch my flabby, old body. Plus once, when I was having a hot and cold stone massage, the man giving it to me insisted that I didn’t need to wear underwear and I am pretty sure he deliberately touched my penis under my towel. Twice. And this was probably the only massage I’ve had in my life where I wasn’t secretly hoping that that would happen. I haven’t been so disappointed since I had a treatment called “Head in the Clouds” and discovered that it was no such thing.

But I can’t even really escape my stupid brain when I am having sex, because I am always worrying about what might go wrong. For example what if a stalactite of urine fell from a plane toilet, came through my roof and speared me in the back? I’d be gesticulating to my wife and she’d be thinking “Wow, he’s really loving it tonight,” and then the stalactite would start melting and she’d think “Oh dear, is he into this now?” and then it’d melt more and she’d think “This is more urine than one person could produce and it smells like the urine of several international travellers. What’s going on here?”

And when you’re thinking about slowly dying in a pool of strangers’ bladder-juice, it is very hard to relax and live in the moment. Sometimes I convince myself  that that is statistically unlikely to happen, but then I worry that the hot and cold stone massage man might break into the house and touch my winky again. And with that in my mind the whole sorry process is over too quickly…

Happiness is alluring but ungraspable which is perhaps its ultimate appeal. Who’d really want to have it all the time?

In the unlikely event that I make it into Heaven, I won’t be  able to enjoy everlasting bliss. Because part of the pleasure of happiness is its transience. If I was happy for eternity I don’ t think I could enjoy it.

The Hunterian Museum in London is displaying the skull of the “real” Winnie The Pooh. AA Milne’s honey-eating idiot was named after a black bear in London zoo. But kids won’t know that and will surely be psychologically scarred. Especially if they come to my museum where I’ve got displays including bacon made from Piglet, Roo preserved in a jar of formaldehyde, Owl’s cloaca and as you leave Christopher Robin’s ashes blown in your face.