That Happy Song

Tulsa Opera Debutante Ball, March 8, 2014

Tulsa Opera Debutante Ball, March 8, 2014

You know the one. “Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof. Happy-y-y-y!” This is the most absurd, happy lyric I’ve heard in a long time, and whenever I hear it, I have to smile. No choice. I picture a room without a roof and see blue sky above four generic walls and the goofiness of that visual trick delights me, too, like the top of my head has been lifted off. I feel it in my hair follicles. How’s that for silly?

The song makes me think of my niece’s debutante ball in Tulsa, OK, when twenty debs in white dresses and long white gloves flooded the dance floor and started clapping with their arms up in the air.

Princeton University Senior Prom, June 2, 2014

Princeton University Senior Prom, June 2, 2014

Now it also reminds me of another niece’s graduation party at Princeton a couple days ago, when thousands of us proud family members joined the graduates in the gym with lights and a live band.  I recall harmonizing the song with my brother as we walked into the gym, predicting that it would be played, and it taps to a lifetime of other moments we’ve casually sung together, too.

One of the best things about “Happy” is the randomness of being blindsided unexpectedly with a dose of happy memories whenever the song shows up on the radio. I love how that happens: an infusion of unpredictable joy. Thanks, Pharrell Williams.

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