[Translated from Freerk Huisken: Anstiftung zum Unfrieden. Verlag Ästhetik und Kommunikation; Berlin: 1984]
BILD, July 27 1983. “I am happy because ...”[Bild is a popular German tabloid – trans.]
Happiness has no specific content. What is felt to be happiness, as a rule, brags about the extent to which a person has already reduced his demands in life, the extent to which he has already bent them into shape according to his expectations of what is open to him.
Happiness is when it is not yet as comparatively crappy for someone as it is for those who are officially registered as embodiments of destitution. So happiness is always the search for the point of view under which one can see his more or less destitute existence not as such, but as the exact opposite.
Klaus Bittnis (32), technical engineer from Berlin: “Because I am healthy and my wife has a job, because I just lost mine.”
Mr. Bittnis has discovered a well known corny joke as a bitter truth: even healthy, he has been declared useless and therefore has no income, which is why his wife must go to work. Happiness is when at least both of them do not sit on the street!
Frederick-Wilhelm Kögel (45), mathematics teacher in Stuttgart: “Because I have been married for 16 years to the same woman – and because ten terrific things immediately occur to me when it is really bad for me.”
Mr. Kögel, to whom a wife is granted, adopts the technique of being able to console himself in his misfortune by remembering times in which he was better off. He is not a teacher in vain. Happiness is that one can remember that once things were not so bad.
Harald Schmidt (35), plumber from Hamburg: “I am happy that we have peace. Hopefully it remains so.”
Mr. Schmidt knows what good manners are. Peace for Germany. For the father of a family, if the “threat of war” is added to all the worries of everyday life, everyday worries are explained from now on to be secondary matters. A war could also break out! Happiness is if even something more terrible could happen!
Claudia Färber (27), promotion assistant from Cologne: “To me my new job with EMI is fun – I go to concerts and, besides, get to know artists like David Bowie.”
Ms. Färber has an interesting occupation. That might be! But why then does she have an occupation? Because of David Bowie? Happiness is if one at least occasionally comes near such people who have everything one never attains in life oneself!
Ludwig Warken (53), shutter manufacturer from Nalbach/Saar: “Because my son Rüdiger (21) became the first federal winner with his journeyman's piece and I have enough orders for my twelve employees again.”
Mr. Warken is a lying asshole. First, he mistakes family pride for happiness and, secondly, he has only opened his shutter business, of course, to give people employment. Right! He exists only for others! Happiness is if one may experience that others are content!
Horst Pickert (48), post office employee from Hamburg: “I earn enough to support my family and have already raised three daughters.”
Mr. Pickert has made family his own purpose. Only for the family – sustenance, procreation and breeding – is he in the world. Happiness is to sacrifice oneself for others.
Alfred Hammer (63), pensioner from Hannover: “If I sit on my park bench and people go past who I can talk to.”
Mr. Hammer sits on the park bench and waits for other pensioners with whom he kills time until he dies. Happiness is if, at the inevitable end of a working life, one waits in complete silence in the big pensioner's parking before the cemetery!
Axel Fuechtey (26), designer from Essen: “My career fulfills me, also I am a successful forward center in soccer. And most of all: two months ago even my childhood dream came true: a new 750er Honda.”
Mr. Fuechtey steps slightly out of his role. Without idealistic and appreciative drivel, he simply indicates something solid that is great fun for him. Respectable! But: how long did he actually have to save for the motorcycle? How good that he has no more dreams! Hopefully, this triply happy bastard’s fulfilling career comes before playing soccer and riding a motorcycle – maybe a few hours of overtime for the installments on the “childhood dream”? Happiness is if one wants only in childhood what one attains in life at best – a Honda!