Monday, September 13, 2010

Moderation as the Key to Happiness


a) Cake is nomlicious
2) nomlicious: adjective. Something delicious, as in "The cake is nomlicious."
d) This cheesecake has a flavor
3) "has a flavor": see "nomlicious"
IV) nom nom nom

Back in the day, my friend Josh and I had a saying.

"Cake is good. Too much cake is not good."

That is one of the more valuable lessons that we as human beings can learn.

Cake is good. Too much cake is not good. "Moderation" is a word for that.

Homer believed that moderation was hugely important. Achilles acted immoderately in the Trojan War by mutilating Hector's body and parading it around the walls of Troy.

After the Greeks destroyed Troy, they acted immoderately by raping and murdering the inhabitants. As punishment, many of the Greeks never made it home. Some of them, like Odysseus, wandered for many tears before making it home. Agamemnon made it home safely, but he was murdered by his wife and her lover. Agamemnon committed acts of immoderation during the Trojan War, but his wife specifically murdered him because Agamemnon sacrificed their daughter to the gods to purchase safe passage to Troy.

Flying forward in time to the modern era, moderation is still important.

I think that moderation is the key to happiness; specifically, the key to being happy with the good things that you have. King Solomon, in Ecclesiastes, for all of his wisdom, had little understanding of the concept of moderation. He fed all of his appetites excessively.

Food, laughter, drink, work, and love are all great things, but they need to be enjoyed in their place. Solomon eventually figured out that everything has a time and a place, and I suppose if I had the resources that he had, I might have made the same mistakes before reaching the same conclusion.
Either way, Solomon eventually came around. I came around at an earlier age when I realized that eating all of the Skittles that I could fit in my mouth was NOT all that great. Eating three big bowls of Blue Bell ice cream will NOT make me happy. Watching the NFL all day won't make me happy either...unless the Broncos and the Cowboys both win and I'm eating cake at the same time.

In moderation, all of those things can make me very happy. If I have some cake, a glass of milk, and a football game to watch with my dad, I will be very happy.

Money, as a side note here, can also make you very happy when used in moderation. The love of money is the root of all evil, but money in moderation can be great.

You can use money to buy the ingredients to make cake, to buy milk, and to pay for the satellite TV on which to watch the football game with your dad.

I was actually inspired to write this entry today at the cafeteria, while I was eating some strawberry cheesecake. The serving sizes at Couch Cafeteria are good, but I realized some time ago that I don't actually have to eat the entire slice of cake. I can eat just enough to enjoy the flavor and the texture--I don't have to get full on cheesecake

The same thing applies to pizza and root beer. I can enjoy them without filling myself up and clogging my arteries and killing my kidneys more than I already have.

Some of you know that I'm a big McDonald's fan (in spite of the fact that I'm also concerned with eating well...and was known for eating heroic* salads last year). I enjoy McDonald's French Fries. I realized not long ago that when I eat a LOT of French Fries, they don't taste very good. French Fries are only good in moderation. But when I was a kid, I always wanted MORE.

I mean, "MOAR."

MOAR fries. MOAR cake. MOAR cookies.

When you live life that way, it won't satisfy, and it won't make you happy.

But when you're thankful for what you have, and you enjoy things in moderation instead of in excess, then things can make you happy. Music, money, cake, cookies, the NFL, friends, family, laughter--can all make you happy when enjoyed in moderation.

*If you have to ask why my salads were heroic, then you never saw one of my salads.


Solomon would have been less depressed if he would have eaten cake in moderation...but then we wouldn't have the book of Ecclesiastes.

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