1. Hey Matt. My answer to your question was half-assed and sarcastic. Because honestly? I’m just a kid with no real obligations, so what the fuck do I know about happiness really?
    Anyway, that being said, here’s the now-famous esquire article about Roger Ebert. I think it’s remarkable because here’s a dude, an atheist, dying. This fleeting life that he knows is about to leave him will result in no afterlife. Game over. Cause for despair? Hell yes. But he frames it differently.

    I’ll drop the link here (sorry for all the bullshit ads) and leave the most pertinant exerpt below. Sorry for the choppy formatting. That’s my doing. The actual article indents and italicizes nicely to make who’s speaking much more clear.

    Ebert is dying in increments, and he is aware of it.

    “I know it is coming, and I do not fear it, because I believe there is nothing on the other side of death to fear,” he writes in a journal entry titled “Go Gently into That Good Night.” “I hope to be spared as much pain as possible on the approach path. I was perfectly content before I was born, and I think of death as the same state. What I am grateful for is the gift of intelligence, and for life, love, wonder, and laughter. You can’t say it wasn’t interesting. My lifetime’s memories are what I have brought home from the trip. I will require them for eternity no more than that little souvenir of the Eiffel Tower I brought home from Paris.”

    There has been no death-row conversion. He has not found God. He has been beaten in some ways. But his other senses have picked up since he lost his sense of taste. He has tuned better into life. Some things aren’t as important as they once were; some things are more important than ever. He has built for himself a new kind of universe. Roger Ebert is no mystic, but he knows things we don’t know.

    “I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this, and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.”

    • Phil, thank you for this bit. You rock! I will read the article on Ebert for sure. Matt

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