The label “Happy Warrior” is eternally associated with former Democratic Vice President and Minnesota Senator Hubert Horatio Humphrey (HHH), describing his relish for political jousting with a big smile of his face.

HHH

His biographer and personal physician Edgar Berman, M.D. in “Hubert” described Humphrey as a warrior who seemed to get happier even as the odds grew longer with the Vietnam War casting a dark shadow over his 1968 presidential campaign…eventually giving us Nixon and Watergate.

For Republicans, our version of the happy warrior immediately evokes memories of Ronald Reagan, “Morning in America” and references to “That Shining City on the Hill.”

As Nancy Reagan has said repeatedly: “He appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears.”

Portrait

As I look out upon the Doug fir trees that surround my hillside home in Oregon’s Willamette Valley as what stands for the sun in the twilight closes the Memorial Day weekend, I sense that yet another Strategic Inflection Point has descended on me. My goals of a predictable position and that very special woman…I know they are both out there…have eluded me for three years and seven years respectively. I am not growing any younger with each passing day.

I have faced down cancer, saw the same disease take my dear wife of 22 years, and then fought Valley Fever to a draw. I raised my daughter by myself for five years, and then moved my lounge act to Eugene…all in pursuit of an advanced degree and a teaching gig that may or may not help me in the end.

Both conventional and social media tell essentially the same story: A historically stubborn unemployment rate, just a couple of clicks under double digits; nearly 24 million unemployed and underemployed (doesn’t count those who have given up the hunt). There are more than 16 million underwater on their mortgages and 13 million vacant properties. The federal government alone is $16 trillion in debt and ditto to a certain degree for states and municipalities. The bill has come due in the form of too much spending, too much credit card debt and mortgages that cannot and never will be paid.

The party is over.

And yet I realize that in the face of my personal adversity and the monumental challenges facing our society that in many ways, I am one of the lucky ones.

What gives me so much inspiration are those rare people who never seem to have a bad day, no matter what happens to them or others. They may be burning up inside, but you would never know it on the outside.

Who wants to be around a “Gloomy Gus” or a “Negative Nancy?” I will take my cup half full thank you very much.

eeyore

Even though I don’t subscribe to his political leanings, I want to be that Happy Warrior or Hubert Horatio “Horn Blower” as Jimmy Carter once described him. In fact, everyone should be a Happy Warrior. We know that better days are out there. We know that the answer lies with innovation, ingenuity and entrepreneurship. We need to keep fighting, keep believing and keep smiling.

One of the great unattributed factoids that I learned in my Silicon Valley days is that 70 percent of the scientists that ever lived are alive today. One must let that statement sink in. Galileo, Copernicus, Salk, Einstein, Newton, Pasteur et al. have all bit the dust, but they only represented a mere fraction of the intellectual firepower of all the scientists that presently walk the earth. What will be the next killer app? Something tells me it will not be with social media and cell phones (albeit they remain vital), but with energy and health care.

I received some bad news Sunday as it applies to my academic career, which will inevitably prompt another decision, maybe taking my taco stand to another city…or maybe not. I also rekindled the flame with someone special on Saturday that reminds me to always maintain reasonable standards, but to never settle in life. When you are confronted with a negative and greeted by a positive, contemplate the latter with a big broad grin on your face.

Somehow, someway I will reach my goals. I will not do so by just focusing on the problem, but by casting my gaze to the horizon and coming up with the answer. I will use every bit of my modest talent and intellect to face down the newest challenge that comes before me.

Didn’t one president state the “Only thing we have to fear is fear itself?” I sense that Franklin Delano Roosevelt had a confident smile on his face when he said it at his first inaugural in 1933 (even though believe it or not, it was way before my time).

I refuse to ever feel sorry for myself…there is nothing remotely attractive about whining and complaining. Instead, I know instinctively that I have to be that happy warrior no matter what else life throws at me.

Bring it on.

http://books.google.com/books/about/Hubert.html?id=AktIup4i-nwC

http://books.google.com/books?id=63r22RO3Z2kC&q=70+percent+of+the+scientists+that+ever+lived+are+alive+today&dq=70+percent+of+the+scientists+that+ever+lived+are+alive+today&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ckDET_2TE4mjiQKO5dHqBw&ved=0CD4Q6AEwAQ

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/06/us-usa-economy-idUSTRE7BM0AB20120106

http://money.cnn.com/2012/05/24/real_estate/underwater-mortgages/index.htm

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=49092

http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5057/

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