Jin Shengtan was a 17th century Chinese writer who once found himself stranded with a friend in a temple for ten days because of a rainstorm. While thus secluded, the pair compiled a list of 33 of the truly happy moments in life. The resulting book was called Chin’s 33 Happy Moments. The wonderful thing about his moments is their lack of piety. Happiness is seen not as a constant state, but as an occasional surprise.
Here is Chin’s fifth happy moment:
I am drinking with some romantic friends on a spring night and am just half intoxicated, finding it difficult to stop drinking and equally difficult to go on. An understanding boy servant at the side suddenly brings in a package of big fire-crackers, about a dozen in number, and I rise from the table and go and fire them off. The smell of sulphur assails my nostrils and enters my brain and I feel comfortable all over my body.
Ah, is this not happiness?
Do you have a happy moment? Send your “ah, is this not happiness?” moment to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: “ah!”