when being happy turns bad
| The last time Jolly Jeb Jones smiled, he was hit by a car.
The sky was blue, the air balmy, and Jeb had just received a letter of acceptance from Crabby the Clown’s College of Clowning. Jeb, at forty-nine, was an exceptionally happy man. You couldn’t help but smile when the big fellow walked your way, with his oversized shoes slapping the pavement, his eyes crinkled. He hugged a puppy, kissed a cat, and made a baby stop crying. Infectious, was how they later described his happiness that day.
But some people are immune. A man, fifty miles over the speed limit, going the wrong way down a one way street, was an exceptionally unhappy man. He hated his job, his wife, and most of all, he hated happy people. And so as Jeb twirled around on the sidewalk, the unhappy man stepped harder on the gas and swerved onto the sidewalk, sending Jeb flying into a rosebush.
For months, Jeb lay in the hospital, physically unable to smile, which only sent him deeper into his own sadness. In addition to his smashed bones, bruised insides, and rose thorn scratches, he also contracted the plague. Infectious, was how they described him now. Simply, he was a shell, and no longer was his personality infectious, as it had once been. Now, it was his battered body that was infectious, and nothing more. He regained the ability to smile once again a year later, but he chose not to.
“I won’t make that mistake again,” he said, a tear slipping down his cheek as he stared at his Clown College acceptance letter.