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Get Happy!

by Big Daddy Graham
The decorations are down. The unwanted presents returned. Your pants are considerably tighter. You’ve cleaned up after all the parties. January’s here and it’s time to face the Grim Reaper of a bleak winter.

My wife has always said the two saddest moments of her year are the ride home from the Shore the Monday of Labor Day Weekend and the moment that final box of ornaments goes up to the attic.

So what to do? Life goes on, right? Here’s a few happy tips from Dr. Big Daddy (and I graduated magna cum laude from Gus’s Air Conditioning School on Route 38) that will not break the bank or take a lot of time to pull off and just might get you through the impending gloom. These always work for me. I’m leaving out food and well, you know, that other “thing” that even when it’s not great, it’s still pretty good. They are too obvious and besides the last thing we need at the moment is more food.

Watch Moonstruck
?The absolute perfect romantic comedy never fails to put me and my wife in a good mood. There are plenty of other films (When Harry Met Sally, Dumb And Dumber, Ted, Superbad) that fit under this suggestion also. The key is not to watch any flick with a beach plotline because that can possibly bring you down and make you long for the Jersey Shore. Action-adventure films like the Bourne series can also work, particularly ones with European locations. When is the last time you’ve seen James Bond stuck at the 42/295 junction? Now that would bum you out immediately. That is the worst current construction location out there! The point is movies can help a great deal.

Call a Friend
I hope you are fortunate enough to have a few “100 percent friends,” as I call them. These are guys and gals that every time you see or talk to them, they put you in a good mood. And I mean every time. I’m not a religious man, but I am convinced that some- one put these kind souls on Earth so we wouldn’t all be lined up to jump off the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge. The trick is you have to possess enough self-awareness to know that you are not one of these people, because you can’t call the same people every time something is bumming you out. I guarantee you that a simple phone call to one of these “100 percenters” will change your day dramatically.

Always Have a Great Joke Handy
Sometimes I call a friend, tell them a joke, it gets a big laugh, and I then say, “That’s all I got” and hang up while they are still chuckling. They feel better, you feel better, and it never fails. Now I know some of you can’t tell a joke, so the secret is to keep it really short so you can’t screw it up. Here’s one that, believe it or not, Ray Didinger recently told me, that’s simple and always gets a laugh.

A 75-year-old woman yells downstairs to her 75-year-old husband. “I want you to get upstairs and make love to me!” The 75- year-old husband replies, “Well, I can’t do both!”

Day Trip
So you can’t afford a Vegas jaunt or a four night stay in Jamaica. There are plenty of day trips you can pull off in January that are affordable and easy. Take the Big Apple. I’m in Mullica Hill and it only takes 45 minutes to get to the NJ Transit Hamilton station stop where you can hop a train into Manhattan for $16.25. Throw in $7 for parking and no matter how old you are, you’re in a city that people come from around the world to visit for under $25. Once you’re up there you can do nothing more than walk around and you’ll have a great time. Washington D.C. is also a snap to get to and is another fun walking city with so many sights. How about visiting the infamous crack houses of Baltimore featured in HBO’s The Wire? (OK, maybe that’s a better summer trip.) None of these destinations will have you tanning on the beach, but they are just that: destinations. Something to do. Something to plan for. Anything to take your mind off the fact that it’s January.

Work Out
Now I realize that this is something you’re supposed to do all year round, but it’s more important to pull off in January than it is any other month. First of all, you gained weight in December. That’s a fact. But secondly, sweating is good for mental depression. It’s been proven. (I’m not a doctor, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night.) Sure, who feels like jogging or walking when it’s 22 degrees, but that’s what gyms are for. Can’t afford a gym? Don’t have a treadmill or a stationary bike? Walking up and down your steps is a really fantastic workout that’ll leave you soaked. Live in a ranch house? You’re screwed.

Buy a Pair of Hunting Socks
Nothing bums you out more than shivering when you’re under the covers or putting your feet down on a cold bathroom floor in the middle of the night. My wife’s tootsies are always freezing. I swear they’re like ice cubes. So about 10 years ago, as a joke, I bought her a pair of hunting socks. “Guaranteed to keep your feet warm at 40 below!” was how they came advertised. It was her favorite present and now she goes to bed wearing them all through the winter. They end up toasting your entire body and your dreams get warmer. Try them out, they really work.

Get Ready to Rock
Get drunk, blast AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” while standing on a coffee table playing air guitar. This never fails.

Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 12, Issue 10 (January, 2016).
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