Every morning, he walked around town, waving and smiling at everyone he crossed. Many laughed at him and others simply judged him in silence. They gave him many names: The clueless dreamer, the silent drunk, the happy dimwit…
One day, the richest man alive crossed paths with the happy man. The former was late for an important deal with his clients. He was pressed for time but could not help himself but stare at the smiling man that stood before him. The happy man waved.
– Do I know you? asked the rich man
The happy man shrugged as a sign of confusion. Unsure of the answer. Unsure of the meaning of the question. The wealthy man starred at him. He analysed him from top to bottom. The ragged man in front of him wore stained an torn clothing. He had no other apparent possessions; no sign of wealth.
– Why do you have such a tremendous smile? You are poor! You have nothing!
The poor man starred at him with concerned eyes. The rich man started to wonder. Why did this man continue to smile? The happy man had nothing while he, on the other hand, had everything money could purchase. Why was it that the man in front of him was the one smiling while he could not remember the last time he was happy. It seemed like he never stopped feeling anxious and pressured… empty.
The happy man took off his shirt and handed it to the rich man. A gift? Received without effort? The rich man put it on, the gift from a man who seemingly had nothing to give. He understood that he was missing something in his life; something intangible. Something he could not buy. His lips curled. He returned a smile to the happy man as the latter walked away.
The next day, the smartest man alive came to town. He too crossed paths with the happy man. As he walked past him, he stopped and starred at his smile. Curiosity, the pillar of is intelligence, got the best of him. He had to ask:
– Why are you so happy?
The happy man looked at him unflinchingly as tireless questions filled the smart man’s head. The man that stood in front of him did not seem to understand a thing. Did he understand the question? Did he understand anything? Did he ask himself any questions? Did he not possess a shred of curiosity? Did he already find the answers to all his questions?
A glimpse of concern flickered in the happy man’s eyes. Did this man understand his troubles? The burden of his unending curiosity? Suddenly he started to fling his arms around reaching for his armpits. He screamed and made monkey noises. He acted like a baboon in the middle of the street. Bystanders starred awkwardly yet the smart man burst into uncontrollable laughter. A profound cacophony of joy that he had not appreciated for some time now. He thanked the happy man as they both walked away.
On the third day, the greatest leader alive came into town. He too met the happy man and could not help but wonder why this man was so relaxed and content. The leader had acquired the respect of numerous nations. He had united people and accomplished various other great deeds. He had achieved all he wanted to achieve, but he could never be satisfied. He never stopped. He had to be the best, the greatest and the most generous. Why was he not allowed to live peace and happiness?
– How do you live without respect? How are you happy while accomplishing nothing?
The happy man slowly walked towards the important leader. He held out his arms and hugged him. The leader had never enjoyed this kind of comfort. He accepted the gesture and a smile crept up on his face. He was allowed a small break; a brief moment of respite. For all the respect he had received, he had never welcomed love into his life.
The happy man walked away and he continued walking… his smile, impervious to external judgement… his mood, immune to greed… his mind, protected from unending questions… his soul… exempt from sadness.