The Happy List

I woke up Tuesday morning to two rejection emails for jobs I had applied for less than twelve hours earlier. It seems impossible that anyone had been able to review my resume and application that quickly. But, regardless of that implausibility, someone had determined that my services would not be needed at those two companies. That afternoon I viewed two rooms in two different apartments. I’m hoping to find a furnished sublet for the summer. I checked out both places and said I was extremely interested and was told “Great. All you have to do next is meet the roommates”. Hours later I received emails saying both rooms were rented and wishing me “the best of luck on my search.” I determined that responding with an email simply stating “DIAF” probably was inappropriate and deleted both emails.

I started drafting this post with the intention of bemoaning being homeless, jobless and loveless. AGAIN.  But, I thought better of another blog post about how the last 16 months of my life have been the most challenging of my life. There is no real value in rehashing the fact that I can’t even get staffed on a document review project. I decided it was time to focus on the positive. And, no, I’m not talking about focusing on the fact that I’m really tall and have nice legs. Nice legs are not going to get me a job. Well, not a job that I would want. I decided to compile a list of things that make me infinitely happy. A list of things that never fail to put a smile on my face. That way whenever I feel crappy, start playing Adele while drinking a glass of Pinot Noir I can open up this blog post and feel better.

Law and Order: SVU – This may sound morbid but nothing makes me happier than a Sunday afternoon marathon of SVU episodes on USA network. I love the ominous opening voiceover. I love the theme song and the end of the opening credits when the entire cast stands shoulder to shoulder looking sternly at the camera as if to say: “Look out perps. We’re coming for you!” Sometimes, to mix it up, someone on the “elite squad of detectives” will be holding a file folder that is CLEARLY full of very important legal papers! I love the cheesy opening scenes featuring up and coming and/or struggling New York City actors. (I’m assuming these actors are all from New York. Who would fly across the country for this?) The opening sequence is always the same:

Two mid-twenty something males are walking down the street. One is dribbling a basketball with a backwards cap.

Guy No. 1: “I can’t believe the Knicks came back from being down 20 points.”

Guy No. 2: “You can never count out the Knicks when my boy ‘Melo is on the court.”

Guy No. 1: “What are you doing tonight? Are you gonna call Cynthia?”

Guy No. 2: “Call Cynthia? Give me a break, man. That girl better come to me –”

Guy No. 2 trips over what appears to be a garbage bag in the middle of the sidewalk. Guy No. 2 falls to the ground.

Guy No. 2: “Who put this trash bag in the MIDDLE of the sidewalk!?”

Suddenly, the contents of the bag begin to shift rapidly and a dirt covered hand appears from an opening of the bag. The hand belongs to a young female.

Guy No. 1: “Oh my god. That’s not trash. That’s a girl’s body. Oh my god. SOMEONE CALL 911!” (For the life of me, I’ll never understand why the person commanding “SOMEONE” to call 911 doesn’t reach into their pocket, take out their cell phone and “CALL 911!” their damn selves.)

And who didn’t love the great chemistry between hot-headed Elliot Stabler and compassionate Olivia “I-am-the-product-of-rape” Benson? I even grew to love Ice-T’s one note acting and Detective Munch’s conspiracy theories. Before this past weekend I hadn’t watched an episode since Stabler (excuse me – Christopher Meloni) left after Season 12. I viewed Stabler’s exit from SVU much like Brenda’s exit of Beverly Hills 90210. The show just wasn’t the same so why waste the energy? I’ve watched a few episodes from the current season and while they’re not bad, I do miss Stabler angrily pushing perps against a wall while yelling, “Just tell us what you did with the girl!!” or some variation thereof. I had watched Chris Meloni on SVU for 12 years and once joked that Elliot Stabler would most likely end up being my longest relationship with a man. God, I hope I’m wrong about that one.

Cheesy 80s Movies – Of course, everyone enjoys the classic John Hughes coming of age comedies. Those films are classics and, in my humble opinion, should not be described as cheesy. Sure, some of the scenes are a bit dated but, at bottom, the films stand up and are imminently enjoyable. The cheesy films that I’m referring to would not be described as classics. I’m talking about gems like: Howard the Duck, Teen Witch, Just One of the Guys, and the Lost Boys. These films border on awful but if you leave your brain at the door and just enjoy the ride, they’re a blast. The Lost Boys stars both Coreys. You can’t top that? Or can you?

Danny Castellano’s Aaliyah Dance – If you don’t watch the Mindy Project, then you should. That’s all I have to say about that. Danny Castellano (played brilliantly by Chris Messina) is a crotchety yet loveable doctor from Staten Island who maintains a healthy flirtation with the title character Dr. Mindy Lahiri throughout most of the show. Dr. Lahiri is pop-culture and fashion obsessed and the two seem wholly incompatible at first glance. In Season Two’s Christmas episode, Dr. Castellano was Mindy’s secret Santa and he came up with a very original gift. Even completely out of context the scene is adorable, awkward, funny and sweet.

Sweet moves, right?

And just in case you want to watch the whole thing…

N Sync’s 2000 VMA Performance – 2000 was the height of N Sync mania. It was the year they released No Strings Attached. An album that I drove to the record store and stood in line to buy at midnight. An album that sold over 2.4 million physical copies in the first week. Remember kids, this was a pre-iTunes era. At the 2000 VMAs, N Sync performed a mash-up of “This I Promise You” (yawn!), “Bye Bye Bye” (complete with awesome video screens) and a remix of “It’s Gonna Be Me”. The performance was pure fun. JT was showing signs of breaking away as a solo artist. Joey was still skinny. Lance hadn’t come out yet. JC was still a strong contender for best looking in the group. And Chris was…Chris. I watched the performance on a tiny TV in my college dorm with friends and, at the time, it was one of the most epic live performances I had ever seen. (I was 18!) The most epic performance (if you’re curious) clearly goes to Britney’s performance from the same award show. The “Satisfaction”/”Oops I Did It Again” strip tease performance is a classic. It set off a media firestorm and landed Brit Brit on the cover of the New York Post the next day. N Sync’s fun (and still watchable) performance took a backseat but it still brings a nostalgic smile to my face.

Tina Turner – Since I can remember, whenever people ask me who my idols are I always reply, “My mom, my grandma and Tina Turner.” Some people adore Beyoncé. They can keep Queen B, I’ll take Tina. My dream Halloween costume is Tina Turner from the “What’s Love Got to Do With It” music video. But I’ve never felt perfectly in shape for it. If I’m pretending to be Tina, I’d have to do it perfectly. If I ever spoke at a Democratic National Convention or were selecting walk-up music as a professional baseball player, I’d pick “The Best” as my go-to track. She’s overcome well-documented (and well dramatized) adversity and personal strife. She put on amazing live shows. But my favorite thing about Tina Turner is the voice. No one sounds quite like her. Its equal parts soul and rock and just damn cool. And in case you were curious, my favorite Tina song is “Better Be Good to Me”. The backing music does sound a little dated but her voice still carries it. “River Deep Mountain High” is a close second. (As a complete aside, but related to an entry above, Olivia Benson seems like the type of person who would blast Tina Turner in her apartment, while drinking red wine and “catching up on paper work”. Oh, boozy Benson. Calm it down.)

You don’t get cooler than partying with Bowie and Richards, do you?

The Final Scene of ER – ER started when I was 12 years old. I remained a faithful viewer for about 6 years until I left for college. Throughout the years, I would occasionally check in to see how the crew at County General were holding up. When NBC announced ER’s last season, I made sure to watch the final episode live. The episode wasn’t remarkable. For the life of me I can’t recall the storyline of the final episode. I do, however, remember the last scene. Emergency vehicles descended upon County General and the doctors were called into action. The veteran Dr. Carter (played by Noah Wyle who stuck with the series for most of its run) jumped into the fray and asked if Dr. Greene – the daughter of the deceased Original Dr. Greene aka Goose aka Anthony Edwards (he sure does get killed off a lot, eh?)—if she would help. The camera panned out to reveal the cityscape and the L train above the hospital as the theme song began to play. That theme song which ranks among one of the most memorable in television history brought a smile to my face and, of course, tears to my eyes.  ER had remained on the air through my graduation from high school, college and law school and it was finally over. Once a year, I hop on YouTube and watch the last scene again just to hear that music one last time.


My “happy list” is dominated by pop culture but, if you know me, that’s not surprising. It goes without saying that the top spots of my “happy list” are actually dominated by my family but I can’t access them quickly on YouTube, Hulu or Netflix for comic relief or nostalgia.

One thought on “The Happy List

  1. […] may not apply to you. But find your happy place, your happy things or make a happy list (examples here and here). Don’t overindulge. But make sure to enjoy. I tried being vegan for a year in college […]

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