The Science of Happiness

“I’m going to cure sadness. I’m going to invent Happiness,” Dr. Ledpecker told his colleagues over lunch.

“Happiness has already been invented, it’s called Ecstasy,” Dr. Bonspiel piped up over his ham sandwich. The dozen other doctors at the table laughed.

Dr. Ledpecker usually ate his lunch pail away from the other doctors. He used his lunch time to go over notes for his experiments at night, when he got home to work on his life’s pursuit: mapping out Happiness. He thought he could use some Happiness right about now, because he was all out of his favorite emotion.

“You fools!” Dr. Ledpecker screamed at them. “Don’t you know of the low you feel the day after taking Ecstasy? Is suicidal depression your idea of Happiness? No! My Happiness is better than Ecstasy because there will be no crash! My Happiness is pure Happiness, it is not pharmaceutical! Look at you eating your ham sandwiches! To hell with you and your ham sandwiches! You probably even use the fake, squeeze mustard, you flock of dead-eyed, dead-mouthed brain-dead mongoloid sheep! I can’t eat with you, you make my food taste like dead feet!”

Dr. Ledpecker heard himself screaming his career out the window, but once he got started, he couldn’t stop himself. Also, it felt so good, like a really good pee after hours on a bumpy bus.

Getting fired freed up all the time he needed to work on his pursuit of Happiness. He had found the thyroid gland produced Happiness, but, every time he tried to draw from it, the Happiness would harden and lose its property. Dr. Ian Ledpecker knew he just had to find a way to get it from the gland to the patient before it hardens.

Then it hit him: Suck from the neck like a vampire.

“But, who’s going to allow themselves to have their neck sucked?” The mad doctor raved to his test tubes. The test tubes were non committal. He knew he needed test subjects. He hopped in his car and drove to a street infamous for drugs and crime.

“Hey, you wanna make fifty bucks getting your neck sucked?”

“Like you wanna pay me fifty bucks to give me a hicky?” The woman sitting in her shopping cart asked.

“Kinda. But, first I puncture two small holes in your thyroid to suck from.”

“You wanna put holes in me, it’s an extra twenty-seven bucks!” The woman, Harriet, could sense the biggest pay day of her life coming up.

“Ok, we have a deal. Would you please get in the car?”

“Wait, you’re not a psycho killer or vampire, are you?”

“I’m a scientist.”

“So was Dr. Jekyll.”

“I’m pursuing Happiness, and I’m so very close, I just need-”

“I’m pursuing Happiness, too, but, I don’t go round sucking people’s necks to get it. I live in a shopping cart and even I think that’s weird.”

“It’s science.”

“It’s weird.”

“Thank you for your time.” Dr. Ledpecker got back in his car.

Harriet jumped out of her shopping cart, toppling it over. “Wait! Wait! I’ll still do it!” Harriet heard the passenger side door unlock. She looked back at her trusty shopping cart, knowing she was looking at it for the last time, opening the Toyota’s door. “Good bye, shopping cart!”

Dr. Ledpecker waited till the lunatic got into his car before putting the keys back in the ignition. He wondered if lunatic Happiness was any different from normal Happiness. He hoped it was better.

He had Harriet up on a gurney which reminded her of her shopping cart. This relaxed her as the man she sincerely hoped was a doctor swabbed her neck before sticking two small tubes into her vein and sucked on them like she was a milkshake. It made her feel both exited and nauseous.

As soon as the Happiness kicked in, Dr. Ledpecker stopped sucking. He sat down as Harriet sat up.

“You happy now?” she asked him.

“Very,” he said.

“I’m not. Can I suck on your neck awhile?”

“No, I need-”

“So you’re inventing Happiness all for yourself, you selfish son of a monkey’s uncle.”

“When I’m through my experiments, I will patten Happiness and sell it for forty-nine ninety-nine a pop.”

“You’re going to sell it?”

“Of course, I’m going to be rich.”

“But you’re never going to be happy.”

“No, trust me, I’ll be happy when I’m rich.”

“I thought you were happy now.”

“Happier. I will be happier.”

Harriet got off the gurney. “Can you drive me back to my shopping cart? I need to go home now.”

“I haven’t finished sucking on your neck yet.”

“I don’t want to give you any more of my Happiness. I want to go home.”

“I’m paying you seventy-seven dollars!”

“No, I need to get back to my cart. Let’s go let’s go!” Harriet was by the door, waving for the doctor to get moving.

They drove around for ten minutes before Dr. Ledpecker declared the shopping cart a goner. Harriet wished the shopping cart well.

“It was nice experimenting on you, good bye,” Dr. Ledpecker tried to encourage her out of his car.

“Good luck to you, doctor. I hope you can sell some Happiness like crack Happiness, like put it in a rock, sell it for a lot cheaper, so people like me can afford it.”

“I will never do that.” The doctor couldn’t wait for the homeless woman to find her way on the street.

Harriet opened the door and stepped out into the sunshine. She knew she owned it cause it was freely given to her. She wondered how often she would think to buy it, if ever it was to become a commodity.


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