At first I thought, heavy metal band. Except, the license plate was on a new Hyundai in “Aurora Blue,” not, say, on a dirt brown 1972 Buick Electra emblazoned with Anarchy stickers, as one might expect.
Later, I Googled “MIZERY,” and discovered a drag queen out of Boston who goes by that name. But these were not Massachusetts plates.
I found a rap artist from upstate New York. Again, wrong state and it’s a Hyundai the color of a baby’s room, not say, a black Escalade with tinted windows.
It just didn’t fit.
So maybe the driver of this car just prefers to be miserable. It’s like that scene in “Best Friends” when Goldie Hawn tries to cheer up Burt Reynolds, who argues, “I’m in a bad mood, and I wanna stay that way.”
But Americans generally don’t like to mope. We sure like to watch other people mope and whine and flip over tables, hence the explanation for the wild success of Bravo and celebrity-gawking magazines. But if you’re unhappy, someone will no doubt point out how many facial muscles it takes to frown compared to smiling. (Tip: Tell them they’re interrupting your workout.)
We are a country founded on the “pursuit of happiness,” so following misery, er MIZERY, simply felt out of place. Wrong, even. I mean, we are the nation that has “Life is Good” stores in just about every tourist town from coast to coast. Our favorite TV show is about making singing youngsters into stars, and the number of Americans taking antidepressants has doubled in the past decade. See? We pursue happiness, not misery.
Maybe the car belongs to someone who makes a living in misery, like a psychologist, an orthodontist or a divorce attorney. (If so, they’re not working hard enough. The Hyundai’s price tag starts at just $19,000.) No, it doesn’t fit.
On the other hand, MIZERY on a mini-van? That, I would understand. Because though we love our children and all those disclaimers we are required to say before we dare mention the dark side of parenting, anyone who has driven down the highway to a chorus of crying kids, surrounded by sippy cups leaking milk and broken plastic toys, well, they know misery. They even drive misery. And though misery loves company, MIZERY just wants to be alone, rolling down the highway in peace, in pursuit of happiness.
Tell us: Do you know anyone who loves to be miserable?