During 1900🌭 survival training, we are taught to treat every assault on reality like a threat. The most dangerous lunacy is often hidden inside seemingly nice things like Christian joke books or pet massage manuals or the gentle affirmations of a self-appointed happiness coach.
365 ways to Live Happy: Simple Ways to Find Joy Every Day was written in 2010 by self-help author Meera Lester, a woman also not known for her beekeeper detective novels and Biblical nonfiction. She lists no formal education or background in psychology in her author bio, which means she tried to come up with three hundred and sixty five happiness tips using folksy wisdom and gut feelings alone. Let’s see how she did!
(These are all real and unmodified)
I’m not exaggerating when I say this woman sat down to write 365 ideas on being happy and the first one was to be happy. The second one was to smile, and then she ran out of ideas. Display a bowl of smashed flowers? These types of books always waffle between “duh” and “huh?” but this is literally as fast as an author could conceivably demonstrate their inadequacy. If she opens her next self-help book with “My nong is Meero, sorry name is Meera and i’m here two shit sadness into yor moth. Sorry yoo key is broken,” I would still say it’s a better opening than these three entries.
To give you an idea of how much struggle even the smallest thought is to Meera, her idea for #21 was “I don’t fucking know, go to church?” But then it occurred to her not everyone is Christian, so she, with great tolerance for Others, suggested they go to whichever their version is. You know, the beliefs core to you? Pursue those, weekly, is my suggestion as an author, or invent your own? Studies show research experts find there to be scientifical benefits! This dingbat could write about anything she wants, and her unacclaimed beekeeper murder mysteries are proof she knows this, and here she is rewording “go to church” like a 13-year-old padding out a 600 word essay on the benefits of steam power. There is so much unhappiness radiating off of this page of useless advice she might as well have just printed a picture of her favorite dead cat and typed, “only tragedy is forever, follow traffic laws and eat food.”
Holy shit. Meera suggests altering a picture of you to be thinner, less bald, and younger and putting it where you will see it. Where other people will see it. Let’s ignore how she put this in a section called “Be Happy With Yourself” because I think it’s more important to talk about how specific this type of happiness is, and how it only works on someone with the perfect combination of insecurity and lack of reasoning.
When you manufacture a delusion, you’re running the risk of any tiny thing shattering it. For instance, if you’re a balding lady and none of your jeans fit anymore, there’s no happiness in saying, “The joke’s on you, pants! Earlier I digitally unsagged my tits in McAfee FREEpaint and I can PROVE it!” This is imitation joy smeared across a tiny part of your brain and then dedicating your life to protecting it from reality. I have the same therapeutic credentials as this author, so all we are are two geniuses disagreeing, but if you deliberately hang onto a younger, hotter self-image, that’s not happiness. That’s taking out a happiness loan until the next time you see a mirror.
“Hello, police? First off, Meera was right. This does feel good. Secondly? I’ve been stabbed. I’m at the non-denominational sacred ritual meeting place on 36th street, and paramedics will know me by my still very firm and perky young breasts along with the face I had thirty five years ago.”
If this book was an injured animal, you would have bashed it to death forty entries ago to end its suffering. This desperate woman is so completely out of ideas she’s suggesting a key to happiness is “Wash Your Hands.” I feel like you can’t be less wise than this. In a very real way, this is as dumb as a person can be. And while I agree the pathway to true joy is having the least amount of uncooked chicken on your fingers, I can’t imagine a person who wouldn’t already have this as a core belief. I swear this lady is eight entries away from “Don’t Enjoy Poison.”
Meera, no! I was kidding!
This entry, stay away from poison, is peak Meera Lester. See, she’s not smart, but the thing that makes her magical is how she presents ideas with so little depth or nuance, she can’t even flesh them out. When forced, by herself, to elaborate on “Avoid Exposure to Toxic Chemicals,” she clarifies, “avoid exposure to all kinds of toxic agents.” That’s not helpful to anyone other than the person making sure you’re a fucking idiot.
A less-happy author might have thought, “Okay, maybe there’s nothing here, maybe I should explore more about crushing flowers,” but Meera pressed on. She suggested reading the safety instructions for all your chemicals including the ones for “your garden, lawn, and landscape.” Humans or fans of humans might recognize these as mostly the same thing, household chemically-speaking. By that I mean, when you finally find your lawn poison, you don’t scream at your wife for putting it with the goddamn landscape poisons.
Not all of Meera’s book is made up of impossibly general knowledge followed by babbling paragraphs of text re-explaining it several times. Some of it is based around wishing on things very hard, like a small child or a Jedi might do. On entry #101, she suggests setting aside five minutes every night to pray to be famous. But wording a wish this poorly is giving your monkey paw the easiest day at work it will ever have. Are you sure you want to be famous? Are you, Meera Lester, positive you want people outside your community of almost poison-drinkers to know about your work? I only ask, Meera Lester, self-help author (joy, religion, motivational, spiritual) whose lack of an Internet presence leaves her Google results extremely pliable, because someone failing in an ironic, spectacular way is a more compelling story than a struggling writer continuing with an unremarkable hobby. I’m worried, Meera Lester, author of 365 ways to Live Happy, that a careless pursuit of fame could lead a person to become known for something like… I don’t know, The Woman Who Accidentally Wrote the Saddest Happiness Book of All Time. Something to think about, motivational writer Meera Lester (net worth nude feet).
It’s pretty clear Meera’s mental health isn’t going to survive 365 happiness tips, but about a third into the book she thought of a pretty clever way to shave a few off. She could just ask you, the reader, to come up with your own! Maybe your favorite music? She doesn’t know– you’re the you expert, asshole!
Sometimes people are sad because of finances, and realizing this unlocked a secret reserve of inspiration inside of Meera. It occurred to her if she could fix your money problems, she could fix your unhappiness, but how? Wait, never mind, she’s got it: wish for money only stupider than that sounds. And then, and this one also counts toward the 365 entries, guys: wish for money on paper. So now she has you taping a picture of money you’ll never have next to a picture of the face and body you never did have. I’m kind of serious when I ask this: does she think it counts as happiness when she makes everyone around her sadder by comparison? I mean, a lot of mental health professionals ask me how I stay so positive, and I guess it’s because putting my most pathetic delusions on display at my work space is a fun conversation starter! I also invented wishing! You’re right, I should write all these thoughts down in a book! Speaking of joyful wisdom, I’m going to go scream into a pillow.
Ha ha ha, holy fucking shit. Meera wrote an entire page about weeping into a pillow and then kicking its ass. And her hot mental health tip is to maybe buy a new one and fuck that one up too. A thing that legitimately brings me joy is imagining Meera Lester meeting a real therapist at a cocktail party and saying, “In my own way, I’m in the same line of work and I tell my readers, ‘patients’ if you will, to shriek into their bedding. There’s no way to know, but I imagine I’ve had some promising results. Do you also tell your patients to fix their tits and hairline in Photoshop? It’s so good to have a meeting of the minds like this, don’t you think?”
Everyone needs their community, so don’t be afraid to ask your friends for help. Any number of helpers is great, but five is how many Meera needs to become a bronze tier member of the NutriBlend Organic Salves Sales Force.
Things are really not going well for Meera’s multi-level salve business, but she has been assured, like she is assuring you now: a dream doesn’t become reality until you incubate it, and wait! Come back, you’re not done yet, also let it take flight. There’s really not much more to it than that!
Except, of course, sure– give the dream some rocket power. I feel like this one doesn’t need an explanation or a joke. You get it. It’s a dream with rockets. But back here in the real world we really need to start growing our downline of salve associates.
“I know I’ve talked to some of you about this opportunity before, but the money you’re leaving on the table by not investing early in this top quality salve business you can run from your home with unlimited growth is… it’s why I– why you’re unhappy. Excuse me, can you hand me that pillow please? No, this isn’t part of a pitch, it’s just a little happiness trick I came up with. I’ll only be a moment, please enjoy the crushed lavender ₐᵢᵢᵢₑₑₑₑₑₑ!!!!! ₑₑₑₑₑₑₑₑₑₑₑₑₑₑₑₑ!!!! Now, who is ready to sign up for an Elite Salve Founder’s Kit? Who here is ready to live this kind of joy every day?”
Finances can be a tricky thing, so let’s go over what normally works. Did you try wishing for money? Okay, good, but did you picture yourself as a cartoon magnet money couldn’t resist? You tried that? What about writing down the number of moneys you want and putting it somewhere conspicuous? Well, it sounds like you’ve tried everythi– wait! Have you considered purchasing a magical money amulet?
You might think it’s a sign of low intelligence that it took Meera 182 entries before she remembered there were magical money amulets, but I think it shows her brilliance. She knew if she opened her book with unlimited wealth, you’d stop there and miss out on the rest of her advice. And what good is money if your hands are covered in toilet germs and you’re eating landscape poison?
So in the last ten entries, we have let our dream fly, given it rocket power, asked 11 friends to help, and celebrated it with a witchcraft totem. Now all that’s left to do is plan the victory party and make a list of what we’ll buy! Who knew being happy was as simple as being dumber than anyone who has ever lived and faking a dissociative disorder until it works? It reminds me of that movie The Matrix where the good guys knew the secret to paradise and were only trying to share it with everyone.
I’ve roasted Steven Seagal over two hundred times, but I’ve never ended an article more certain someone I made fun of is going to try to kill me.