Happy Is Fast While Sad Is Slow

About twenty years ago, I attended a Tony Robbins event in Del Mar, California.

Tony spent a good deal of time discussing pain and pleasure and concluded that individuals will do whatever possible to avoid pain and have pleasure.

He had five poor individuals on the stage with him, and the subject was “time.” He was trying to determine what represented a long time and what represented a short time. He was making no progress, so he ambled into the audience.

As all six-foot-seven of him loomed above me, he glanced at my nametag and said: “Okay, Norman, we have never heard from you. What do you think is a long or short time?”

I thought for a second and answered: “A long time is any amount of time when you are having pain and a short time is any amount of time when you are having pleasure.”

Tony loved my reply, and we all discussed it for a half hour.

Very early in my career, I discovered that, when the staff was having a good time, we/they performed better, and the time at work simply flew by.

I once was interviewed by the New York Times concerning my departure from Columbia Pictures and my starting a television company for Polygram. I told the reporter that I had left Columbia because it stopped being fun.

My new German/Dutch management went nuts when they read it. They had absolutely no concept of fun at work. The head of the company (a lawyer) called me and asked what I meant. I was not proud of myself when I answered that perhaps it would be better stated if I had said “the gratification of success.” He was happy about that.

I wonder how they deal with that issue at Harvard Business School.

I recently came across a quote that I wish I had written: “Money in all its disguises is the religion of humanity.”

Those that maintain that money can’t buy happiness are correct to a certain extent. However, money can certainly provide a certain amount of pleasure…and yes, even happiness.

But, however you find (or define) happiness, I’ve always believed that happy is fast while sad is slow.

I will conclude with a poem I wrote just before Thanksgiving. I call it “Doggies”…

It’s Thanksgiving soon, and I remember so well
The sights, the sounds, the warmth, the smell.
We had big dinners, and kids came too.
When it was time to eat dinner, it was all so swell.
Dinner was liked by our dog Annabelle.
She was imported from London, all fluffy and white,
A Maltese so tiny, but she was a fright.
She barked at all doggies and wanted to fight
Them no matter how big, and she was so slight.
She was the same color as our living room rug.
She loved all celebrations, and she looked all around
‘Cause people dropped food there that Annabelle found.
She would sleep with my children and cuddle up snug.
She was so sweet, and she was so nice.
I think of her often, not once or not twice.
The years are all gone now; they sped quickly by.
I think of dear Annabelle, and at times I cry,
For things are so fleeting no matter I try.
She’s gone forever; it’s been sad for me.
Yet I found Valerie; she was such a love.
She had a big doggie, a gift from above.
The dog’s name was Jerry, a hundred pound Doodle, all fluffy, all white.
Jerry was also quite crazy but such a delight.
Now Valerie’s gone, and Jerry’s moved away.
I miss her and two doggies both by night and by day.
Happy is fast while sad is so slow.
I need to move on. I need to just go.


by Norman Horowitz

When I was about three or four years old, my parents got a wire hair terrier that we named Daisy.

Daisy was the smartest dog I’ve ever come across, but to balance out the brilliance of the dog, she was very high strung…or just plain crazy.

My first experience of paranoia (but certainly not my last) was my being convinced that Daisy hated me. I still believe that, whenever my Mother wasn’t around, Daisy would try to bite me. When I took her for a walk, if I wanted her to go right, I needed to pretend that I wanted to go left.

In later life, my Father and I wanted a dog. We purchased a Welch terrier that we named…Daisy. This Daisy was less smart but less nuts than Daisy #1.

Years later, when our son Steve was born, he was “the second child” in our family — Daisy was the first — and he was so enchanted with the dog that he wanted to help her by removing an ear or her tail. As you can imagine, Daisy wasn’t thrilled by this activity. Ergo, Daisy had to go.

In the late ’60s, I met and fell in love with a Maltese named Chatty who belonged to Pat and Ken Page. Chatty was a tiny, bright, and pretty dog, but I was most impressed that Chatty would hump everything he possibly could.

After a begrudging approval from my wife, I went to see the breeder who had sold Chatty to the Page’s.

I fell in love with a two-pound ball of white fluff named, would you believe, Floriana Annabelle. I forgot the Florianna, and she became just Annabelle, a name that suited her — even though my children quickly renamed her Anna, or at times Annear’s.

Annabelle traveled to New York from London on Pan American Airlines sitting in the empty first class seat next to me. She was a great chick magnet. Almost all of the passengers came to pay her a visit.

Everyone loved Annabelle, and she became a major part of our family. When Eileen would go to sleep, Annabelle would jump up on her bed and sleep on her pillow, above her head. When Steve would go to sleep, Annabelle would repeat the activity.

It seemed to take only a moment or two for my children to go off to college, for my wife and I to get divorced, and for my beloved Annabelle to die.

Then one day I met and fell in love with Valerie.

Valerie had recently returned to California from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, along with her two doggies, Pearl, an eight-year-old black lab, and Jerry, a six-month-old golden doodle. Jerry was smart, playful, crazy, clever, stupid, brilliant, and incredibly, incredibly adorable.

When Valerie died two years ago, the two loves of my life went away, as Jerry moved back to Colorado.

I remain dog-less.

I’m one of the few people in the world who doesn’t have a dog and keeps two boxes of dog biscuits in the cupboard and one box in my car.

I have a wonderful five-year-old granddaughter, Josie, in New York. Josie’s family has two cats. She and I have developed the following routine:

GRANDPA: Josie, what is grandpa going to get for you?


GRANDPA: Josie, what will the ENOURMOUS doggie have?

JOSIE: Gigantic sharp teeth.

GRANDPA: And what will this ENOURMOUS doggie with the gigantic sharp teeth do?

JOSIE: Eat the kitties.

I know, I know, what a terrible thing for me to do, but we all know it’s all in fun, and Josie and I laugh when we do the routine.

We also laugh because I hardly ever use the word “dog” or “dogs.” I’ve chosen to call them “doggies.”