Among the thousands of ideas written about Ernie Banks over the past ten days the one idea I have tried to understand is Ernie looked at each day and elected to be happy. No matter the weather, his bank account, national news stories, regret, troubles at home, aches and pains, the decades-long complete-and-utter incompetence of the North Side Nine, Ernie said it’s going to be a great day and I am going to be happy.
When I make my way through the day I think about this and wonder just how the Hell someone can choose to be happy.
By the time I get myself out of bed, get the dog fed, and get into the shower, the obsessive thoughts I have had for more than two and a half years have almost all gone through my head. The ending, the downs, the ridiculousness of thinking it could be saved from a distance, all of it, hits in thirty minutes. In the next half hour from drying off to sitting down at my desk everything I forgot to remember has hit. The thoughts are inescapable.
How can I choose to be happy with the hurricane of thoughts battering at me every second of the day?
The past three weeks, when I could remember to do it, I would remind myself I am thinking and my thoughts are not me. It works for five minutes. For the past day and I half I told myself I am just not going to think about it anymore, and it works for five seconds. Happiness? To even give thought to getting to happiness I have to look at the mile-long, football-field wide stretch of garbage in which I am stuck. Can’t go back because I have to go through the garbage. Can’t go forward because I have to go through the garbage. Side to side, forget about it. Garbage, garbage everywhere, and every ounce of it stinks. I know it has to be traversed, but any step in any direction lands me right where I was.
If the thoughts were not so intrusive and ubiquitous I could maybe think about choosing happiness, but they are, and Ernie isn’t here anymore to light the way.