Alternative Happy Places


I remember going to church when I was younger; I can still remember the smells of musty old men in sad suits that had been farted in a million times, granny perfumes, and wafting incense as the congregation robotically recited prayers that were beaten into brains since birth with the use of fear and guilt.

Then as an added bonus, the priest would treat everyone to a lengthy sermon containing more fear, more guilt, and some special life-controlling Catch-22s (If you’re Catholic, you know what they are. Most revolve around your sex life.) the church had concocted over the years when they weren’t busy going on pointless murderous crusades, torturing and executing hundreds of thousands of “heretics,” and covering up thousands of child sexual abuse cases.1

As the priest’s sermon began, I would get as comfortable as I could in the hard wooden pew, look around a bit, and within seconds, my mind would be off somewhere far away from the flawed narratives and shaming that was reverberating around me. I was finding my happy place, something that I would continue to perfect throughout my life.

In those early pew-bound days, my “happy place” was probably wondering what I was going to have for breakfast, what cartoons were on TV Sunday mornings, or sinful, mid-mass lust-filled thoughts of nuzzling the ample bosoms of my 8th-grade math teacher.


As I grew up and left those uncomfortable pews and fear-mongering sermons behind me, my happy place became less about escaping an unwanted environment in my own thoughts and became more tangible activities used to escape real life. Eventually, my happy places blissfully morphed into time on my bike or walking in the woods. Of course, when those options are unavailable to me, my mind still often reverts to the erotic thoughts of learning long division betweenst the abundant bare breasts of a former educator.

I was able to get out on my bike twice this week after a long layoff. I have a LOT of work to do on my fitness, but despite that, it once again became clear to me how much of a happy place bike rides are for me. So, when I woke up Saturday morning to the sound of rain pelting the house, I was a bit disappointed that I wasn’t going to be making it three days in a row outside on my bike, but that feeling wouldn’t last long because I knew that I would go with an alternative happy place activity: a hike in the woods. And not just a hike in the woods, a hike in the wet rainy woods, my favorite!

The leafless trees creaking from the wind, the sound of raindrops pelting the leaves on the forest floor, and the cool water hitting my face as birds chirp and the Michigan woods inch their way towards a colorful spring rebirth through the dead foliage left in winter’s wake, does more for my mind and soul than all those years of guilt and life shaming sermons disguised as God’s love ever could have.

Given the state that our world is in right now, time alone in the rainy woods of the Hall’s Lake Nature Preserve with my camera was the perfect Happy Place prescription. I know it may be hard for you to take the advice of a perceived dirt worshipping heretic that many of you may want to see spend time on the business end of a Judas Cradle, but I highly recommend it.

I could have spent all day in those woods, but a sore lower back, a fading camera battery, and the hunger for another Cat 5 Pita Pizza eventually got the best of me, and I begrudgingly returned to the real world.

I woke up on Sunday to sunshine, which was soon replaced by gusting wind and rain. I entertained thoughts of a return trip to those rainy woods, but opted for another one of my alternative happy places—my bed, continued sleep, and dreams that may or may not have contained a certain 8th-grade math teacher.



PLEASE NOTE: If you were offended by anything I said here; oh well. We all do what we need to do and believe—or don’t believe—in to get out of bed in the morning. I’m trying not to be judgmental; I just don’t dig the fear tactics and mind-fucking that religion does to people. 


Dude, you took that last hit and then just went off on some rant about religion. I think you may have even put Rush on the hi-fi.

  1. I know this seems like I’m taking the piss out of the Catholic Church, but I only use them as the example here because I was raised in that church. Every religion uses its own version of fear, guilt, and intimidation to keep the flock in line and the tax-free money coming in. Just replace the priest with a pastor, rabbi, cleric, guru, sage, elder, spiritual advisor, or right-wing Rapture-obsessed evangelical kook. I also know in the eyes of the church I’m going to hell for writing this and for all my years of unrepentant masturbation, living together, pre-marital sex, birth control use, and vasectomy stuff. I’m sure I’ll be fine.

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