Oh Happy Days! No, not the sitcom with "the Fonz" in it, but this post is related in its way. Happy news came to me two days ago, but today the news becomes official. A certain actress will be starring in a new sitcom this Fall - and that is cause for much Happiness. You know who you are, and I am so Happy for you. But what is Happy? Perhaps we should explore this word in some depth since we use it so frequently in our diurnal or nocturnal lives.
My 1978 Random House dictionary defines Happy as: feeling or providing contented pleasure or joy. That sounds pretty good to me. But how do I know that what I’m really feeling is Happiness? - maybe what I meant to say was dexterous, felicitous, cheerful, gladness, merriment, joy, delight, ecstasy (not the drug), rapture (not the Blondie song), triumph (not the motorcycle), or gay (not going there...). Hmmm, that’s a lot of choices to express my feelings towards this young talented actress’s new role for the fall.
I’ll do my best to describe the different meanings of each and perhaps it will become a little more clear to me. Let’s see, dexterous is a synonym of happy, but is more associated with the ready skill by which favorable results, usually in minor matters, are obtained. Okay, I jumped for joy at the news (not with much dexterity though - I’m getting old) so this word does not quite fit. And felicitous refers mostly to an instance or display of skillful capacity towards, in this instance, happiness. Still not quite right and almost the same meaning as dexterous in this case.
Now there is cheerful. But this word refers to a possession or expression of a moderate or tranquil happiness. No, I am much more excited about her getting this role than that. Tranquil? - I’m old, but I’m not dead yet. So forget than one. How about gladness then? Gladness is happiness which overflows in countenance, voice, manner and action. Hey that’s getting closer.
Merriment is an expression of gladness as in merry-making, celebration or gaiety. I certainly feel like that but much more as well. Now we are on to joy. Joy describes a feeling more intense than happiness, deeper than gladness and more enduring than pleasure. Hey, that’s really getting close, but it’s such a small word. I prefer four letter words - or larger - like delight. Delight describes vivid, overflowing happiness of a somewhat transient kind. Hmmm, when I first heard the news that would describe my immediate response, but transient is so temporary. No, not good enough.
Ecstacy. I like the sound of this one. It describes a feeling of extreme or extravagant delight such that one is almost beside themselves with joy. I don’t like my personality split, so I’ll not choose this one either. On to rapture. Rapture is almost the same as ecstacy but is more an expression of a state of joyous exaltation. I was tempted to pick up the bagpipes and play a Rolling Stones tune, but not quite. And triumph is joy obtained through victory, success or achievement. Since I had no direct hand in her being chosen for the show, I don’t think this is a match.
Finally we are on to gay - having or showing a joyous mood. Sounds nice, but I don’t think I’m going to tell anyone today that I am gay, which I am, but I’m not, if you know what I mean. I’ll just skip it, put it back in the closet, and save the confusion.
Well, I’m tired out now having tried to figure out the best word to express my feelings about this young actress’s new job. I think, after all this deliberation I am going to stick with the word Happy after all. It’s simple, well understood and applies.
So young actress - I am Happy for you. I’m sure we could all use some Happy today, so. . . .
Spread the Happy!