Thursday, 26 August 2010

Three reasons never to be unhappy

"The way I see it there are three reasons never to be unhappy.

"First, you were born. This in itself is a remarkable achievement. Did you know that each time your father ejaculated (and frankly he did it quite a lot) he produced roughly twenty-five million spermatozoa – enough to repopulate Britain every two days or so? For you to have been born, not only did you have to be among the few batches of sperm that had even a theoretical chance of prospering – in itself quite a long shot – but you then had to win a race against 24,999,999 or so other wriggling contenders, all rushing to swim the English Channel of your mother’s vagina in order to be the first ashore at the fertile egg of Boulogne, as it were. Being born was easily the most remarkable achievement of your whole life. And think, you could just have easily been a flatworm.

"Second, you are alive. For the tiniest moment in the span of eternity you have the miraculous privilege to exist. For endless eons you were not. Soon you will cease to be once more. That you are able to sit here right now in this one never to be repeated moment, reading this book, eating bon-bons, dreaming about hot sex with that scrumptious person from accounts, speculatively sniffing your armpits, doing whatever you are doing – just existing – is really wondrous beyond belief.

"Third, you have plenty to eat, you live in a time of peace and ‘Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree’ will never be number one again *. If you bear these things in mind, you will never be truly unhappy – though in fairness I must point out that if you find yourself alone in Weston-super-Mare on a rainy Tuesday evening you may come close.

Bill Bryson
(* Obviously written before troops went into Afghanistan.)


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. I must admit I do not understand Josh Healer's comment above mine, but some mysteries are good for the brain, aren't they? But I digress. What I actually wanted to say: I'd love to nick this (of course giving due credit) and post it in a forum where I am one of the moderators, with your permission?

  3. Librarian - you are most welcome! As for Josh - he was simply advertising so I've deleted his comment!


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