Perspectives: ‘All things considered, I’d rather have the Guinness’

The secret to happiness | Image created by Brett Barrett, St. George News

OPINION – When we find ourselves caught up in the growing economic uncertainty of our time, it’s sometimes necessary to take a step back in order to get our bearings once again.

Much of the unease being expressed today over the rising cost of living and the shrinking dollar has more to do with our ability to enjoy our favorite material pursuits and less to do with our ability to survive.

It brings to mind a tale from beloved British storyteller and veterinarian James Herriot describing a particular day during which his work took him from one economic extreme to the other.

Early in his day, he was called to tend to the dog of a man who had made a fortune as a shipping magnate. Herriot recounted how he marveled at the beauty of the man’s estate with its immaculate grounds, marble floors and the finest luxuries money could buy. But even those palatial surroundings could not offset the sneering contempt with which this man’s pampered wife and daughter treated him as they left the mansion to go shopping.

As he took his leave, Herriot related the impression he had of how lonely and powerless this captain of industry appeared in the midst of all his treasures.

Later that day, Herriot’s rounds took him to the far reaches of the county to a hard-scrabble farm atop a windy hillside where a tired old farmer in threadbare clothing labored tirelessly to meet his family’s daily needs.

As Herriot was preparing to leave, he noticed the farmer’s sixteen-year-old daughter stealthily wheeling a bicycle toward the gates and asked where she was headed. She replied that since her father had been up all night tending to a sick animal, she was going to ride into town to purchase a pint of Guinness as a surprise for him.

What made this remarkable in Herriot’s mind was the fact that she was about to undertake a sixteen mile round trip in cold weather, on a bicycle, for the sole purpose of bringing a smile to her father’s face.

Upon completing his work that day, Herriot wrote of how the stark contrast of the two homes kept returning to his mind.

One family was surrounded by enough material wealth to inspire jealousy in a king, yet they lacked any sense of real concern for one another. The other family struggled for existence in the most humble of circumstances yet loved each other enough that they were willing to give abundantly of themselves.

Herriot wrote that after carefully contemplating the two situations he came to the conclusion that, “All things considered, I’d rather have the Guinness.”

The great lesson illustrated by this story is that, as desirable as luxury and opulence may be, material things have never been the sole determinant of real happiness or fulfillment in life. Deteriorating economic circumstances may require a decisive tightening of our belts.

But it’s still entirely possible to find lasting joy in the things that have always been worth more in the long run.


Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright 2012 St. George News.

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  • Kate Dalley June 14, 2012 at 8:50 am

    Love this Bryan! Great story and a great point!

  • Murat June 14, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Another insipid article by Mr. Hyde. How often do we hear that money isn’t the only thing that brings us happiness? What was the motivation in writing this? Didn’t think the 3 million articles about similar anecdotes were enough? Just had to add one more banal commentary to the mix?

    • Jared Wayne Gifford June 21, 2012 at 8:57 pm

      And what sir are your motivations for writing your response other then to troll an otherwise good article about learning to appreciate the small things in life. If that is your purpose should you not be living under a bridge eating goats?

  • Mark June 14, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Excellent article my friend!

  • Kelli June 14, 2012 at 10:57 am

    What a delightfully charming story. This is a theme that truly never gets old. In the hustle-bustle of daily life, it’s so important to stop for a moment, take stock of how you’re treating others, and realize how lucky you are. And it’s nice to be reminded of that. Thanks for the story!

    • Murat June 14, 2012 at 11:15 am

      Why is it so important to take stock of how we are treating others?

      Who is ‘we’? And how lucky are we? Insanely, outrageously lucky? In what sense? Compared to what?

  • ron June 14, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Wow! What sort of lives do people lead who carp about articles like this one? Some of us appreciate a reminder to look around and enjoy what life has to offer. If this sort of thing bothers you, just move on.

    • Murat June 15, 2012 at 12:21 pm

      If it bothers you that people are bothered by this, move on.

  • Kelli June 14, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    It’s just an opinion. You don’t like the article, I do. Are you doing ok? B/c you seem to be having a really rotten day. Hope things get better for you.

    • Murat June 15, 2012 at 12:20 pm

      I despise mindless drivel.

      • Kelli June 15, 2012 at 2:02 pm

        Me too. But you have a right to speak your mind, so we tolerate your comments anyway 😉

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