The Secret to a Happy Life… Put it on a Tray

December 23rd, 2008

I believe I may have accidentally stumbled upon one of the secrets to a happy life. I was watching “Remains of the Day” starring Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, and Christopher Reeves, when it suddenly crystalized in my mind, but before I explain it to you we are going to have to visit my tawdry past.

Back in the olden times, when I was in college, I saw the movie “Mystic Pizza” starring Julia Roberts. I was deeply moved by the film and came to the conclusion that “Mystic Pizza” was the best film ever made and that Julia Roberts was the world’s most talented actress.
Then I went back to my dorm and spent the next two years perfecting the Julia Roberts pouty lip thing, which I am proud to say, I eventually mastered.

Several years later, I saw “Remains of the Day” and I thought it was stupendously boring.
Fast forward twenty odd years – and when I say odd… I do mean odd.

At some recent point in those last twenty years, I rented “Mystic Pizza” to watch again in an attempt to bring back my misspent youth. I was shocked and appalled to discover that Mystic Pizza was not the sweeping romantic epic that I had remembered. Instead, I found it to be silly and spastic and out of control which perfectly matched Julia’s big frizzy hair and her quivering lips. I could not remotely comprehend why I had loved that movie so much.

Then a few days ago, I watched “Remains of the Day” again… and it was wonderful. I was deeply moved and I came to the conclusion that “Remains of the Day” is one of the best movies ever made and also that that Anthony Hopkins is one of the most beautiful people ever made.


Um… well okay… maybe not, but still really a great film and completely opposite of “Mystic Pizza”.

Which makes me wonder if I am completely opposite of myself of 20 years ago?
And if so, how did I do that?
Twenty years ago, I loved nothing more than watching people express themselves passionately in hugely embarrassing ways, while proclaiming their feelings to the universe! These days I love nothing more than watching people who are highly suppressed, seemingly made of stone, barely able to take a deep breath, attempt to communicate without ever displaying an an ounce of emotion.
Well…except for the tray.
In the movie “Remains of the Day” the tray is a symbol of love, respect, friendship, humility, loyalty, care and concern People are always putting things on trays. They put tea on trays, and sandwiches on trays, and crystal decanters of amber alcoholic beverages on trays, and cake on trays, and breakfast on trays, and late night snacks on trays. They even put the newspaper on a tray… but only after they IRON it first!
Something about putting something on a tray… carrying it to someone… placing the tray in front of them and then serving them from the tray… this tray thing… it makes me happy. It makes me want to live my life via a tray. I want to put everything on a tray. I also want everything brought to me on a tray. Please bring me my shoes… on a tray. I need a pencil… please place it on a tray and carry it over here to me. I would love to pet the kitten. Can someone please put her on a tray for me? Darling, could you please bring me the phone… on a tray… not that tray… the other tray… the nice tray… yes… thank you. I would like my breakfast on a tray please… in my room… shut the door when you leave. Shall I bring you that tire iron on a tray dear? Yes, yes I will be happy to bring you a light bulb, but first I need to get a tray. You need me to hold the flashlight while you screw that light fixture into the attic ridge beam? How exactly do you expect me to properly aim a flashlight when I am also balancing this lovely tray of tea and sandwiches? I am going to need you to bring me a tray of two tickets to Paris please. Right now please. I said now. NOW!
Feeling low… put something on a tray. Holidays got you down…. try making some cocoa, placing the mug on a tray and then serving it to yourself. Credit card debt? Uh…. Perhaps a mini-tray to keep your cut-up cards on as a reminder to spend less?
All I know is that a tray makes everything better.
That and having a butler that irons your newspapers for you.