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When the fitness club commercial came on, it made me stop in my tracks. Not just because I had a bag of cheese curls in my hands at that moment (I swear, officer, I was holding it for a friend!), but because it featured a very fit young woman – apparently a personal trainer from a t.v. show – energetically endorsing a fitness program called Curves.

“You’ll be the happiest you’ve ever been,” she says to the camera.  The thing is, the set of her face says she’s about to bite your head off!  And at the end, when she says, “Go love your life,” why does she look like Robert Conrad with a battery on his shoulder. That was a dare, tough guy…ya better reconnize!

I feel the same sort of Shiba Inu fear reflex anytime I happen across Nancy Grace, the former lawyer turned crusading/ratings-seeker. I’ve seen zombies in horror movies in a better mood! She once said she’s at her happiest when she gets to speak for the victims of crime, because they deserve justice. If this is what happy looks like, I’m going to sign up for a Deep Dark Doldrum!

Just as Droopy Dog  and Grumpy Cat really aren’t happy, I get the feeling these people are missing the point.  If you’re happy and you know it, please people. Let it at least reach your face.

I looked around the web to find moments of unbridled joy and found this early clip of my state’s CEO, Bruce Springsteen with his E Street Band. At just about a minute in, when the Boss looks over at the keyboard player, there’s no mistaking that joy on his face.

I’m a sucker for all of those army-parent-coming-home videos, but this one is probably my favorite.

Then there’s Sutton Foster and the cast of the Broadway play, Anything Goes, rehearsing, and the cast performing at the Tony Awards in 2011. 

I also love the Odd Couple episode where Felix and Oscar write a song called “Happy and Peppy and Bursting with Love.”

This clip of PSY and MC Hammer at the 2012 American Music Awards has to qualify as a guilty pleasure, for sure.    And I still like that old standby, the Evolution of Dance.

I love to listen to gospel songs and hymns, and one of my favorite is this uplifting song from Joyous Celebration.

Maybe the snarling fitness guru and foul-tempered legal-eagle should watch some of these feel-good videos too.  All right now, dear readers. Go on out there and love your life!  And that’s an order!

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In New Jersey last week, gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono visited a school that had been devastated by Superstorm Sandy.  The newscaster said, “That 80 year old institution is badly in need of repairs.”

As he was speaking, the camera showed a close-up of Ms. Buono, who, while no spring chicken, certainly doesn’t appear to be an octogenarian.

Cut back to the anchor, looking sheepish.  That didn’t come out right!

Early in his career, the CEO of New Jersey, Bruce Springsteen and his musicians were introduced as “Bruce Springstreet and the E Steen Band.”  Hardest working guy in rock and roll, and they can’t even get his name right?

The Chevrolet Nova didn’t sell well in Central and South America, leaving the carmaker’s executives puzzled.  Finally, someone figured out the problem.  Apparently, in Spanish, “No va” translates to “it doesn’t go.”

Isn’t it also true that even we, as people of faith, might say something we intend to be positive, only to find that it’s taken as an affront?

“I’m praying for you.”

Just as SueBE said in her insightful post earlier this year, this is meant as a helpful thing when we say it, but sometimes it can come across as pitying, or even insulting.  They may think we’re saying, you obviously don’t know what the heck you’re doing, so I’m going to ask God to intervene!  If they’re not on the same wavelength in their faith-life, maybe it’s best to pray for them silently.

“God chastens those He loves”

Well, perhaps, but God also embraces, encourages and emboldens those He loves.  When somebody is going through a hard time, it’s best not to blame the victim.  Saying something like, I’m here if you need me is simple but welcome at a time like that.

And that rule of thumb we learned in grade school – when in doubt, leave it out – also applies to well-intended platitudes that may turn into sour grapes and hard feelings.  Being there during dark days is the best gift you can offer a friend. Showing up and being supportive, even if it’s to sit in silence and hold a hand, speaks volumes to those we love.

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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