I foster a deep dislike of the shiny people. What with their big smiles, good teeth and all round successfulness, they get right on the end of my man nipples.
You know the type – the ones that have things and stuff and holidays in the sun; nice houses, big TV’s, good clothes and jobs that pay way more than you’d expect given their lifestyles.
They have photos hung in their halls depicting them frolicking against pure white back drops. They’re Photoshopped into bleached, perfect nothingness by the "professional" studios they pay fortunes to.
But most of all, I dislike their air of all round happiness. You see, for all their outward shininess, I simply cannot believe that anyone could be that happy.
Perhaps I'm just a miserable git. But then again, I could just be very British. We do have an inherent mistrust of the exceptional after all. We prefer bumbling mediocrity thankyouverymuch.
Shininess is relative. Only in how we're reflected in the others’ dull sheen, do we get a notion of our own shininess.
So of course, we must seem like smug bastards to some. What with our house in an “exclusive” village (though we’re in the cheap seats I’ll admit to you), our pretty children, my good job and general all round, white, stable middle-class smuggery.
Which is nice…
All this brings me to the current obsession our media have with our cultural "happiness". If you were to believe all that is written, we're a wretched, depressed nation, wallowing in a self pity that we medicate away with alcohol, drugs and credit card debt.
I can’t help but hear a certain puritanical shrillness to these assertions. It’s as if a return to a parsimonious lifestyle of hard, subsistence farming and cabbage soup will be better for our happiness.
We’ve become soft and self-righteous according to them. We expect to be happy and imagine that everyone else must be more happy than we are. So we buff ourselves up and adopt the typecast grimace of the shiny.
There’s also a whiff of schadenfreude when we read about the successful wallowing in self doubt and existential depression.
They do have a point though, as materialism alone will not buy us happiness. No shit, I hear you say. But really, I have no problem with materialism, as long as it’s balanced with the stuff of substance – love, interdependence, meaning, purpose, creativity, tolerance and co-operation. It’s quite simple really…
Incidentally, we don’t have one of those photos in our hall.