Morning. I?m running late to work as usual. I?m rushing out of the door, buttoning myself up on my way. There?s Ivan Kuzmich sitting on the bench. Everybody calls him Grandpa Kuzya, he is about 80 years old, but his mind is not that of an old man at all.
– You?re in a hurry again? ? the old man asks.
– Yeah, no happiness in personal life, – I reply finishing buttoning up.
– That?s because you don?t know what happiness is, – he reproaches me.
It?s hard to put up, pay no heed that being 49 something I haven?t known happiness.
I stop short, realizing that now I?m sure to be late. But to catch the old man in his overweening delusion is far more important that telling-off at work. What could an elderly person know about happiness? If he ever had it, it was forgotten long ago.
– Ivan Kuzmich, and do you know what happiness is? Did you have a cool Mercedes, sexy mistress, pretty wife? And maybe you used to be The Party?s Secretary General? Or a major research worker? Maybe you found and proved the formula of happiness? Tell me. What is this all about?
– I?ll tell you just in a word as you?re in hurry. Just briefly and understandably.
Listen. Being at work do not think about alcohol and holidays. Celebrating a holiday do not think about work. Being next to your wife, do not think about mistress, while being with your mistress do not think about her husband. Don?t talk to a policeman about money and with kids and neighbors about your problems as the first won?t understand while the late will be glad. Don?t lend money, in the evening don?t borrow salt, don?t throw out garbage. Bring your salary home, don?t be jealous about your wife, check your kids? marks, walk your dog sometimes. And the main thing ? always think before you say something. Don?t say anything just to say. You know, a word spoken in past recalling. And for the head working well eat cereal in the morning.
– So you want to say that if I think only about my wife, don?t think about vodka, don?t talk about money with cops, don?t borrow salt from my neighbor and eat cereal in the morning, I?ll be a happy man? Is that you formula of happiness?
– That?s it, that?s my formula of happiness, – the old man replies with joy, – and you should find yours yourself. When you find it, you?ll feel like a happy man.
– Hey, it looks like you?re talking just to kill time. Cereal, vodka, cops? why should you tell me all this?
– Well? yesterday I?ve been to a dentist. Been installed new dentures. He said that I should speak a lot to get used to them. And here you are, I talked to you and seem to get used?