Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Happy Medium - Wrinkled Brows

Note:  Wrinkled Brows is a Monday series on a quote or a word definition of interest (perhaps only to me).

Today's quote:          

"The happy medium was something that eluded the world..."
from The Scarlet Feather by Maeve Binchy

The happy medium - it must be almost as elusive as the bluebird of happiness.  I mean people just do not seem to be able to get a handle on it.  Personally, I find it as puzzling as trying to chew cotton candy - you think you have a mouthful and suddenly it is just gone.

Perhaps we should define it first, before we go off opining on how difficult it is to achieve. 

A happy medium is a phrase that generally means a balance point, or place of pleasant compromise.   Nothing too extreme, nor too terribly stressful, but not at all boring.   
Sounds easy enough, doesn't it?  But somehow, human nature being what it is, we just do not seem to be able to arrive at this mystical "happy medium" more than once in a blue moon, and generally only then quite by accident.

For example, take getting the room temperature fixed at a happy medium.  In the winter, I like to think 72 degrees is a nice spot, but the LOC* tends to think 67 will do just fine. (*Lovable Old Coot)

One would not suppose that a mere five degrees could be all that significant, but one would be sadly mistaken in that view.  If I happen to slip the thermostat up to 72 for a few minutes, the first thing I know the LOC is muttering about peeling the paint off the walls.

And if he edges it down a few too many notches, pretty soon I am swaddled in two pairs of socks, a warm fuzzy robe, and all this topped off with my electric throw set on high, wrapped around my head and shoulders with only my eyes to be seen.  I have considered getting a ski mask too, because my nose is always cold; but I am afraid that would invite ridicule from the other party to this little tableau.

And then there are vacations.  Few happy mediums to be had in that department.  Some of us think a vacation is for lounging about with a good book in a shady spot.  Others think it means "mapping out an agenda" days in advance so that we may shoehorn in as many tourist sites as possible within a minimum twelve hour day.

I spent a week in Washington D.C. with my oldest son a couple of summers ago, and trust me, you have not lived until you have seen the U.S. Dept. of Printing and Engraving (where they actually print the money), the Holocaust Museum, and the Washington Monument all before noon on the same day.

I might think a happy medium to the vacation bifurcation would be to read all morning and visit perhaps two sites in the afternoon; however, some people who shall remain nameless tend to call that "wasting half the day." 

Small wonder the character in Ms. Binchy's book states that the happy medium eludes the world.  I have pondered this whole happy medium thing deeply, for at least five or ten minutes anyway, and have come to this profound conclusion.

I do not know why happy mediums are so hard to find.  I do not know how some folks seem to achieve them.  I do not know how Tibetan monks can chant for hours without getting sore throats either, but I digress.

The fact is - happy mediums do not proliferate the way smiley faces do, more's the pity.  They are, to be blunt, illusory.

So I'll just go with something easy - here's a smiley face to you.  :)
Until next time ....Marsha
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Question:  Do you find a happy medium hard to achieve?


  1. Not to make light of the subject but I usually am the one to decide where my 'happy medium' resides and just plah-cay it right down where I decide. Makes life simpler.


  2. I think getting two people's happy mediums to match is the problem.

  3. At this time in my life, yes I do live in a happy medium most of the time. Now my LOC and
    I do not always match either, he is always too clod and I am always too hot, lol, one day perhaps we both shall reach a happy medium at the same time, hugs my friend, and have a blessed day, Hugs, ☺ ♥

  4. That 'happy medium' thing is much like another word I struggle with... balance. Always a challenge.

    I did notice that the U.S. won the little league. I know you and loc are happy about that! Me too.

  5. I'm with the LOC on this one...67 is perfect.

  6. Ok, here's what I think -- some people would not be happy if they hit a $10 million lottery....and others are happy finding a sweater that fits at the thrift store.

  7. I always have a hard time finding my happy medium. Because I tend to be an all or nothing girl. It's complicated being me. Luckily, I think my husband is my happy medium. He knows how to reset me when I melt down.

  8. Happy medium? I think I kind of live there, then again... my glass is always half full too!

    Great post, and here's a smiley face back (I'm smiling, can you see it?)!

    Blessings, Debbie

  9. No, I switch "happy medium" to "balance" and go from there!