Bad to the Bone (Or, the Formula for Happiness)

When I tell people that I almost entered the seminary to become a priest; or that I pray at least 3 times every day (morning, noon, and night); or that I say the rosary almost daily and go to confession almost weekly, they hear this music in their heads. (Music: O Sanctissima)

They assume that I must be a very good kind of person; that I have a halo over my head.

But that is only a misconception. The opposite is true. Sometimes, this is the song that plays in my head. (Music: Bad to the Bone by George Thorogood)

Madame Toastmaster, fellow Toastmasters, and friends, I am no saint.

For example, sometimes, when I’m at home, I throw tantrum fits at my wife. When she asks me, “What’s wrong you? Why are you being so difficult?” I simply answer her, “Because I want to be treated like a king and a baby at the same time.”

Or sometimes, when I’m driving down the road and a car cuts me off, I deal with it by chasing the driver and yelling at him, “Hey! What the hell is your problem? Do you freaking own the road?”

Or, very rarely, when a girl passes my way and gives me that look, I automatically follow her with my gaze.

In my defense, I would explain to my wife that I was only looking at the female in the most objective and detached manner, in the same way a disinterested observer might look at a piece of painting, say, or a flower, or a piece of sculpture.

So, I am far from being a saint.

I mean, I try to be good, but sometimes I don’t succeed at it. And when I don’t succeed at being good, I feel really sad – I feel miserable. And the longer I am bad, the darker my mind, and the weaker my will, becomes. And I become like that creature, you know, who loves the darkness and hates the light: “Ooohhh, we loves the darkness, preciousss. We loves the shadows, don’t we? We despise the light. We hatesss the light!”

And you know what I found out? I found out that this is actually a constant principle in life: that each time you are good, you feel happy, and each time you are bad, you feel sad.

And the longer you are good, the brighter your mind, and the stronger your will, becomes. And you change into a kind of angel, a person that is so light you can almost fly.

So that is how I accidentally “discovered” the formula for happiness. The formula for happiness is simply this: Holiness = happiness. The more good and holy you are, the happier you will be. And conversely, the more bad you are, the more sad you will be.

That became like a “eureka” moment for me, and I made the resolution to do my best not to be bad anymore, because, why would you rather choose to be sad and wretched? It doesn't make any sense. Sadness sucks and I didn’t want to have a soul as ugly as Gollum.

Today, I don’t throw tantrums as often as before, and when I do, my wife simply reminds me, “I have three kids. You are the eldest.”

And I don’t succumb to road rage anymore. When a car cuts me off, I simply yell, “Hey you! Have you heard of St. Josemaria Escriva? He once said, and I quote, “Don’t say, that person irritates me. Say rather, that person sanctifies me.” So you sanctify me!”

And on the extremely rare occasions that a girl passes my way and gives me that look, I simply tell myself, “Ah, praise God! He has created everything beautifully – the stars, the moon, the sky; the mountains, the trees, the seas. And he has created his creatures beautifully, too. So God bless you, sister, for God’s glory shines through you.”

So I’m still not a saint, not by a long shot, but at least I am no longer bad. I am only naughty. Right, Ga? *Wink, wink.*

Madame Toastmaster.


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