The Ingrate's Progress
Once in my life, I fell asleep, and in my sleep, I dreamed a dream.
In my dream, I saw a man by the name of Angsty. He had been reading a Big Bad Book, which gave him multiple kinds of sorrow. Strangely enough, although he knew that the Big Bad Book gave him multiple kinds of sorrow, he continued to indulge in rereading it and rereading it and rereading it. So day by day, he moaned. "Oh, woe is me."
Both of his wife and daughter were concerned and tried to make him feel better. So the wife started cooking his favorite food for dinner every night. But his dinner only reminded him that he was not rich enough to afford beef and a personal cook, so he moaned, "Oh, woe is me."
The daughter tried a different approach. She started to study hard to get a good grade her on next test and make her father realize he had raised her well. Sure enough, she came home with an A, but his daughter's success only reminded him of his own failure as a student, and so he moaned, "Oh, woe is me."
Eventually, the wife and the daughter were fed up and left the house.
"Oh, woe is me," Angsty said when they left. Though secretly, he was sort of glad because now he had even more reasons to feel sorry for himself.
He had been rereading the Big Bad Book for so often by then that he now thought to write its sequel. So he started writing about his miseries in miscellaneous forms: stories, poems, letters, rants, etc. etc. Each piece made him more and more miserable, but at the same time, he loved it.
Then one day, he ran out of inks and papers. "Oh, woe is me," he said. Then he went to the story to get some more.
On his way there, he met one of his neighbors by the name of Happy.
"What's wrong, pal?" asked Happy good-naturedly. "You don't look so good."
Angsty was glad that someone finally noticed. He agreed, adding, "Oh, woe is me."
"Do you want to go the festival tonight, pal?" asked Happy again. "There'll be dancing and food and music! It'll definitely up your mood!"
Angsty shook his head. "Oh, woe is me!" He wanted to stay miserable.
Happy, realizing what was going on, took a deep breath. "Look, pal, I know what you're going through. Once upon a time I was as angsty as you are."
Angsty looked at him in disbelief. "Oh, woe is you…?"
"Yes, I was woed," Happy confirmed. "I used to read that Big Bad Book, too, pal. But then you know what? I started thinking of happy things, pal. I don't think of things that I don't have; I think of things that I do have. I also stop thinking of myself 24/7, stop feeling sorry for myself 24/7, stop being so obsessed with myself 24/7, etc., etc., etc. Then I started helping people, and making them happy makes me happy. And when I'm happy, I go to festivals where there are dancing and food and music! So, wanna go, pal? "
Angsty shook his head. He couldn't possibly stop thinking about himself 24/7. Besides, why should he start making other people happy when no one was making him happy? "Oh, woe is me," he said.
Then he went home and continued writing the sequel and beyond to the Big Bad Book for the rest of his life. Happy came over every now and then and tried to take him out, but he always refused. He was perfectly having being miserable.
In my dream, I saw Angsty, now an old, ugly man, die a lonely, terrible, and bitter death, all because he spent too much time pitying himself even though there were many things to appreciate in life.