One of my favorite plays of all time is "Into the Woods". I played in the pit for it on two different occasions and I have parts of it memorized. The first act is just a convoluted mix of traditional and other fairy tales. When my high school did the production and the elementary kids came to watch as a field trip, we ended things there. After all, the first act ends with "happily ever after" - why bother continuing?
The reality of the matter is, of course, that rarely does life cruise along in a holding pattern, especially one of happily ever after. The second act of the play explores what happens when the story is allowed to continue. This was always my favorite part. Not that I necessarily enjoyed watching Little Red Riding Hood walk around with a machete, but I was always a little disappointed with fairy tales as a child. I think it has something to do with my propensity towards realism. Even from a young age, I knew that though happy moments come and go, people don't just live that way forever without further ado.
So, (and I really do have a point here) in all of my vast experience, I have garnered a new theory about happiness. In college, I used to say that the key to happiness is low expectations - which I still believe has some merit to it. But, I have expanded on this. I believe that we can let certain aspects of our life represent happiness. We just need one or two small things that we can look forward to in life and it will be enough to get us through. I'm sure those few things should be church or seeing our children smile, but sometimes it just isn't.
So, with all of this as a preface, I am ready to make a confession. I love the talent based reality shows. In fact, I sometimes feel like an episode of "American Idol" can carry me for a week and Brigham and I even have tickets to go see "So You Think You Can Dance?" live in October. As much as I hate to admit it, I am actually a happier person when these shows are on air. I can drive carpools and teach Math and make dinner and have a smile on my face because I know that I will get to watch "American Idol" or something similar that evening. I bet you didn't see that coming.
...So, there's no more fuss and there's no more scenes. And my garden thrives - you should see my nectarines. But, I'm telling you the same I tell Kings and Queens: Don't ever never ever mess around with my greens! Especially the beans!