Fire! Fire! And Other Children’s Stories.

Once there was a girl who lived in a fancy apartment in the Hollywood Hills. The place caught on fire one day. She tried to put the fire out herself, but to no avail, and ended up being rushed to the hospital. She was ok, and only had a few scars, smoky smelling hair, and, luckily, no carbon monoxide poisoning.

Not a fairy tale, now is it? And you would think this was a good story, because the girl ended up OK. But really, it scared the BeJesus out of her, and she turned into a skittish mesh. You think she’s proud of this? Hell no. The smell of a match that has just been lit is enough to send her reeling into a acid trippy-like traumatizing flashback. She has serious sympathy for people with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

Shit happens. Horrible stuff, like accidents and fires and illness. Not to be Debbie Downer, but it’s true. But the whole point of life is to be happy, and maybe turn the bad crap into something good. Make lemonade out of lemons. Take the sour with the sweet.

At least The Little Prince was happy.

“You – you alone will have the stars as no one else has them…In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night…You – only you – will have stars that can laugh.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, El Principito

Willy Wonka, who had my DREAM job, was also pretty happy. If you know me, you know I’m just a little bit of a chocolate freak. I live for the stuff. My first job I ever had was in a cookie store. I should’ve been a pastry chef, for sure, or a cake decorator. But Willy Wonka was a child at heart, and he and the Oompa Loompas ran that secretive factory, where no one ever went in, and no one ever came out. There’s a chocolate waterfall and Fizzy Lifting Drinks and Everlasting Gobstoppers to steal for Mr. Slugworth. The crazy candyman ends up giving it to the underprivileged Charlie Bucket, proving being poor, ironically, pays off.

Willy Wonka: And Charlie: don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he’d ever wished for.
Charlie Bucket: What happened?
Willy Wonka: He lived happily ever after.

And please listen to Sammy Davis Jr.’s rendition of The Candyman. It’s delightful.

And speaking of Willy Wonka, the writer, Roald Dahl, also gave us the sequel, Charlie And The Great Glass Elevator, and James And The Giant Peach. Apparently he was so pissed off over the Willy Wonka movie that he refused to let the next one be made. I don’t know what his problem was. Willy Wonka, James And The Giant Peach and four other books were made into a stamp. In England, he has a plaza and a museum named after him. And it’s everyones favorite movie about sugar addiction. Not many people can say that! Hey Roald, listen to a mother, who has to work in a shack in an unnamed weird little hamlet somewhere in Europe washing other people’s clothes: Cheer up Charlie, do cheer up Charlie, Just be glad you’re you. (Except insert your own name.)

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”― Roald Dahl

I don’t know. The idea of magical, undiluted happiness seems so… 3rd grade. So unrealistic sometimes. I wasn’t too happy when i was inhaling a burning plastic shower curtain. Sometimes I wonder if we’re all just fooling ourselves. All I know is, it feels real. Nowadays I’m happy, pretty much every day. Maybe it’s just an extra surge of endorphins, just chemistry. Or too much sugar.

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Anne Clendening ♥

Anne Clendening is an L.A. chick, born and raised. She is a writer of creative nonfiction and other sordid tales of life, love and other L.A. adventures.

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