Hump Day: A little happy dance can make you feel better any day

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

I was at a hardware store the other day when Pharrell Williams’ ‍Happy came on over the building’s sound system. If you’re not familiar with Williams’ hit song, it’s been all over the place in the past few months and has spent the last 20 weeks or so on the Billboard singles chart, much of that time at in the number one spot or in the top 10.

Basically, as you can tell by the title, ‍Happy is a song about being… ‍happy! Its cheerful tune and positive lyrics have gotten more than a few people out of bad moods. There are parody videos, tribute videos, cover videos and lots of others of people just dancing to the song.

There’s even a 24-hour-long video version of the song featuring Williams and other contributors dancing and lip-syncing around Los Angeles (www.24hoursofhappy.com). To say the least, the song has become a phenomenon.

But back to the hardware store. It goes to show how deep a song has permeated popular culture when people feel they have permission to dance in public when it comes on. (That’s a good thing, by the way.) As soon as the song started playing over the sound system, a little boy of about four years old started dancing his little heart out. It was pretty obvious he’d seen all those videos of people dancing to the song. Meanwhile, his father took one look at him and instead of scolding him and telling him to behave, he joined right in and started dancing, too!

Ah, you really know you’ve done something good in the world when people start dancing in public the minute they hear your work.

There’s another entertainer out there who does much of the same. His name is Spandy Andy (born Andy Rimer), an Alberta-born street dancer who busks in many areas of the world. His motto is Keep It Tight and Bright. ‘Tight’ because he obviously keeps himself in shape and likes to promote good health – and his love of spandex. (Comes with territory if you’re dancing for a living!) And ‘bright’ because of his penchant for colourful costumes that will make you squint – and smile.

You can check out his blog and videos on his website at www.spandyandy.com. One of his performances at St. Kilda Beach in Australia went viral after being uploaded in mid-2012 and currently has nearly six million views. His goofy grin, infectious laugh, positive attitude and sunny disposition would even put a smile on famously dour old Queen Victoria’s face if she were alive today.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a number-one-selling Billboard artist like Pharrell Williams or a busker like Spandy Andy. If you’re an entertainer, what a compliment it must be to see people smiling, clapping and dancing just by watching or hearing you.

Would someone please bring Spandy Andy to New Brunswick! Australians shouldn’t have all the fun! HubCap Comedy Festival… Dieppe KITE International… Shediac Lobster Festival… are you listening? He’s a family-friendly crowd pleaser!

Of course, we can’t rely on others to make us ‍happy. Sometimes we just have to decide to be ‍happy. I read a really great quote by author Mike Dooley the other day: “Know what’s missing from most people’s lives? The realization that nothing is missing from their lives.” That’s actually pretty profound. It’s not to say that there aren’t always pleasant things to come, but sometimes we’re in a pretty good place and don’t always appreciate it. Perfection is not possible in anything. I certainly don’t mean we should just ‘settle,’ so to speak, but often we’re not as bad off as we think we are.

Most people can literally decide to be ‍happy. It doesn’t just fall out of a tree. You don’t find it on the sidewalk or in a pile of leaves. Everyone deserves to be ‍happy, so if there’s some big ‘thing’ in your life that is making you unhappy, either accept it and decide to be ‍happy or fix it once and for all. It could be your house, your job, your body, your marriage, your business situation, your income or what have you.

None of us knows when we’re going to die. Some may have a better idea than others due to personal health circumstances, but overall we’re never sure of exactly when. There are always hardships. Always. Being optimistic about the future and grateful for what you have can always go a long way no matter what the situation. As the old saying goes, “This too shall pass.” We have to be resilient or life would just be unbearable, no?

Deciding to be ‍happy may seem a bit too simple to some. Maybe. Maybe not. But what’s the alternative? I find that constantly negative people just suck the energy right out of me, don’t you? If Jesus himself would suddenly appear on their front lawn and make international news, they’d complain because he landed in their flower bed. We all know people like that. Maybe some times we’re a little like that ourselves.

Now, I certainly don’t mean to give anyone the impression that I walk around with a permanent grin on my face all day. I don’t – and if I did, I’d have more than a few people wondering where I got those great pills that I’m on.

But boy oh boy, could we all lighten up a bit and stop whining about our lives, the government, the media, the schools, the roads, our aches and pains and the like. We all have the power to change our lives – each and every one of us. If you’re not there yet, though, in your own journey, at least do yourself a favour and listen to Pharrell Williams or watch Spandy Andy for a few minutes. Like a crack in a dam, sometimes even the tiniest of smiles can eventually cause a flood… of happiness.

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