Picks and Pans Review: How to Be Hap-Hap-Happy Like Me

updated 10/24/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/24/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Merrill Markoe

Markoe is the funniest woman in America and, please, let's have no arguing, okay? And talk about a social conscience. She wants everyone to lead cheerier (at least more bearable) lives and shows how by slavishly following the advice in a 365 Days to a Happier Life calendar. "As I eagerly placed my mental well-being in the capable hands of a well-known greeting card company," she writes in her introduction, "I vowed to follow all of their suggestions.... Day one started out just great. 'Imagine your life has just begun' was the first suggestion. Amazing, it worked. I was happier right away. 'This is sensational,' I thought to myself. 'I am one day old and already a homeowner. Plus I'm starting out with the verbal skills of an adult.... The only thing that concerns me just a little is the rate at which I'm aging. I mean if I'm starting out looking like this, what can I expect by the time I hit high school?' "

Undaunted, Markoe presses on. At the calendar's suggestion to "enroll in a class or lecture that interests you," she takes a class with "Internationally Known Dominatrix Ava Taurel." Encouraged to "extend a social invitation to someone you've always been afraid to approach," Markoe, a former head writer on Late Night with David Letter-man, arranges a dinner with supermodel Fabio. "I cannot help feeling a pang of envy at the way my companion-to-be has achieved a career as a best-selling author without having to suffer the fatigue, torture and endless irritation of actually having to sit down and write. If only he will share his secrets with me."

Not everything in How to Be Hap-Hap-Happy is fab-fab-fabulous. There's little bite in Markoe's account of her visit to a San Fernando Valley state fair or her take on the Amy Fisher story. Then comes Markoe's attempt to put into practice the party-giving advice of Martha Stewart, who is "always somewhere picturesque ladling something steaming into something gleaming" and all is hap-hap-happily forgiven. (Viking, $18.95)

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