Happiness: The Serotonin Shot Anecdote

An old man sits on the front porch of an old, weary house. As the people pass by, he tries to subdue his loneliness with memories of his past, reading newspapers and rereading old news again and again.

All of a sudden, and every so often, a noise or movement shakes this state of delusion, and he sees himself, old and wrinkled, desolate and waiting for a calm destruction. The memories come back as he wonders how truly, the happiness has gone from his life.

A relation perhaps visits the man every week or so, to check on his health, or rather put bluntly, the persistence of his now lowly existence. The man speaks of loneliness, of impending death, and of now bitter-sweet memories, going on and on, up and down the timeline of life, finishing in exhaustion, pleading and gesturing helplessly for an escape.

With the persistence of a man who has lost all, and has not more to hope for than a grain of happiness, his few distant relations decide to fulfill his pleadings.

Thus on a bleak autumn night, when the winds blew heavier, and the rain fell thicker than it would most days of October, the old man, fallen asleep by a windowpane, is rushed awake, yet calmly, by his distant relative.

He’d come with the cure; in his right hand clasping, measured precisely, a shot of Serotonin, the happiness hormone.

Without restraint and expecting approval, the younger, middle-aged, man rolls the elder’s sleeve, feels around his frail forearm for a vein, sets the needle in, firmly, the old man holding his breath, a tear going down his pale face. Pressing down, the shot is injected, and suddenly, no magically, the tear dried and the breath exhaled, his eyes fix for a moment, his pupils dilate, and in an abrupt twitch, the old man bursts into a loud laughter.

His happiness was restored.

“What have I become, my sweetest friend? Everyone I know, goes away in the end.” -Johnny Cash

Photo credit: PhotoAtelier / Foter / CC BY

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