Monday, July 19, 2021

The Happy Ending

A “happy ending” is famously what you get when you go to some massage parlors, but the urban mythology overshadows the more literal meanings of the word—common parlance before the advent of a certain specialty of the sex industry. A "happy ending" refers to the denouement of a certain kind of story. Fairytales most obviously have "happy endings." A writer named Laurie Colwin once wrote a book entitled Happy All the Time which is not a book that Schopenhauer or his contemporary spokesman Michel Houellebecq would have plucked off the shelves. If you’re a pessimist or depressive, even if you’re a pessimistic or depressed Quaker, you might not like stories that have "happy endings." Most thrillers and genre detective works, which are not noirs like James M. Cain’s Double Indemnity or The Postman Always Rings Twice, have "happy endings." The pleasure of these derives from the way in which the world is reonstituted and made intact again, like in Midsummer Night’s Dream. Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap, which ran in the West End from l952-2020, epitomizes this kind of resolution. And then a "happy ending" can refer to the kind of life where one dies in one’s sleep. You might even have a "happy ending" before your "happy ending." Nelson Rockefeller died in flagrante with his mistress, something which didn’t make his wife, Happy, live up to her name. 

"Read "What is Happiness?" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

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