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Meet Mr. Happy Man
What would improve your morning commute? A slightly disheveled, elderly man, standing by the side of the road and shouting at you? No? What if he was saying: "Have a good day! Good morning! I love you! I love you! I will always love you!"
I was having a grumbly morning of my own when I saw this See Monkey blog post featuring this amazing short documentary by Matt Morris about Mr. Happy Man himself, a fellow named Johnny Barnes. Barnes, who describes himself as an instrument of God, plants himself on a street corner in Bermuda every morning from 4 to 10 am, simply to remind people that it's good to be alive, to be happy. In the video Barnes describes how he started this project and why, and a collection of locals talk about what it's like to see Mr. Happy Man every morning—in good weather and bad—and what he means to them. In some ways it's a story about community, and the place one person can have in the lives of his neighbors. And in some ways, it's a story about happiness, and about how happiness can belong to each of us.
One woman talks about heading to work on a bad day and trying specifically to avoid Barnes, because as she put it, she wanted to hold on to her heavy feeling. Inevitably, he caught her eye, and seeing him forced to smile. She describes how this moment made her realize that she had a choice every day about how she wants her day to be. Here is the message of Mr. Happy Man—that each of us can experience pure happiness every day, if only we choose it.
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