We live in a time where we are always learning about new ways to do things and new technologies that supposedly make life easier.


We live in a time where we are always learning about new ways to do things and new technologies that supposedly make life easier.  To be honest, I sometimes have a hard time operating a cell phone and I’m supposed to be some sort of scientist.  It’s just that things often move so fast that we can’t keep up.



Having teenagers in the house is a nice way to learn how to operate your cell phone or about how to fix your computer.



I’m still needed though.  It’s a nice feeling.  I gave one of children a yoyo for Christmas and I had to show them how to operate it.  I’m not kidding.



It seems like some things move so fast that we take for granted the things that we already had that we didn’t even use.  Perhaps we didn’t “need” them.



Think about the stuff in the back of the kitchen cabinets and hidden in the pantry, attic or garage – I bet you have things that you are “saving” to use later.



What about a word?



We all run across words that we either have never heard of or think we would never use.



I found a word the other day that was much better than the plastic thing in the back of the cabinet that was supposed to remove the skin, seeds and muck from tomatoes so that I could make all kinds of scrumptious tomato sauces, salsa and soups.



The word is “felicific.”



Webster gives the definition as “causing or intended to cause happiness.”



Don’t we all need a little more happiness?  Doesn’t our country and the world need a little more happiness?



It is not a common word; some spell-checking software doesn’t even know it exists.  To be honest, I’m not even sure how to use it. 



I do know this.



I know people who I would consider to be “felicific.”   They “cause happiness.”  Some don’t even know it.  I’ve thought about calling them on it.  When the guy at the fast food place or the lady at the gas station smiles and thanks me, I could say, “Thank you for being so felicific.”



They would either pretend to know what it means or ask me.  If they asked, I could explain that it simply means to “cause happiness.”



That is a nice compliment.



One fellow noted, “Don't worry about using this word (felicific) - it is very obscure. I have never seen it or heard it before, and I think that would be true for almost all native speakers.  A couple of related words are more common -- felicity, felicitous, felicitate -- but even these are very rarely used in ordinary conversation. As long as you know that they are all related to "happiness," you will understand them about as well as most native speakers do.”



One my girls had a baby doll named “Felicity” who made her pretty happy.  I never really thought about it that much.



When I studied the word a little more, I got about waist deep into some wordy ideological quicksand. 



This fellow named Bentham (1748-8132) came up with something he called “felicific calculus.”  I’m a math guy, but I just have a real issue with quantifying happiness.  I know when I’m really happy, kind of happy or a little happy.  I don’t need to put a number on it.



It seemed to me that this fellow was all for “everybody being happy” and not doing things to anybody or anything that caused unhappiness.  Of course, I’m kind of paraphrasing here.  I’m also starting to understand that this word I found may cause more problems than I can handle. 



Maybe my new word is kind of like that plastic gizmo that is supposed to squash tomatoes and get rid of the peel and seeds.



I just know this.  I can “use” a yoyo.  It makes me happy.  I have trouble getting messages off of my cell phone sometimes – that gets me a little frustrated.



If we only did what made us happy, some things would never get done.  We would be in a fix depending on others to do things for us (assuming we could find folks who were happy to do all of the things that made them happy and do everything for us also).



This explains why I’m not so good at crossword puzzles, but I do have a lot of folks around me who make me happy.



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