Projects · 19 April 2012 · Ian Malpass

Happy Notices

And now I want to tell you about my late Uncle Alex. He was my father’s kid brother, a childless graduate of Harvard who was an honest life insurance salesman in Indianapolis. He was well-read and wise. And his principal complaint about other human beings was that they so seldom noticed it when they were happy. So when we were drinking lemonade under an apple tree in the summer, say, and talking lazily about this and that, almost buzzing like honeybees, Uncle Alex would suddenly interrupt the agreeable blather to exclaim, “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”

And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”

—Kurt Vonnegut, In These Times, 6 November 2003

As I lay on a rug in the shade of a tree, looking up at the clouds with my kids, I noticed I was happy, and made sure to think to myself “if this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is”.

Finally, Evie and James had found all the dragons, trains, bunnies, and sock fuzz that were to be found in the sky above, and went to dabble their toes in the lake and harrass some minnows. I sat and watched them splash, thinking about their happiness, mine, and how many people at that moment were thinking the same sorts of thoughts.

Happy Notices came from those thoughts, a small project to simply notice when other people notice they are happy and go to the trouble of tweeting about it. It’s my way of raising a glass of lemonade and saying “yes, it is, isn’t it?”

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