It's easy to get sad while perusing CraigsList. A quick stroll through Casual Encounters proves how depraved humankind can be. Almost every page is plastered with reminders to be wary of scams. But one entry that appeared earlier this month intrigued us with its title: "Do you believe in Happiness????????????"
Those (count 'em) 12 question marks were typed by a truly sincere man from Kendall, Eddy Rodriguez. The Deerfield Beach resident is looking for people to proofread a Kickstarter page that hasn't yet gone live but seeks to fund something called the "Happiness Healing Hearts Festival." The gist is that 1,000 people will gather in November to wave at each other and break a Guinness World Record for the most people to simultaneously spaz out in a gesture of good cheer. Leftover cash would ideally help Rodriguez travel the East Coast, so he could wave at strangers and brighten their days.
It wouldn't be the first time the 56-year-old conducted a such a feat. In 2010, he he held a similar event at which more than 350 people waved simultaneously in Hallandale Beach. The next year, Rodriguez walked from South Florida to Manhattan with a contagious smile on his face and wrote a book about his experiences.
"It was all about the smiles and not about the miles," he writes on his Kickstarter about his first "Happiness Tour."
Rodriguez plans on driving this time and wants the generous fans of "Pay It Forward" to make his dream a reality by fronting his gas.
Listen -- it's goofy, and we all know how the Haley Joel Osment movie ends. But after reading Rodriguez's story and understanding his motivation, it becomes a bit endearing.
Life dealt this guy a few quick, successive blows to the chest a few years back. His step-daughter was killed in a moped accident in 2007, just four months before he suffered a brain hemorrhage. Rodriguez then lost his job and had his house robbed. All of this was recounted to Adam Kuperstein from NBC 6 in 2010, when the station did a story about Rodriguez dressing up in a bunny costume to make people either really happy or extremely creeped out. If waving at strangers helps him cope and makes at least a few other people giggle in the process, maybe we should throw in a few bucks to support his latest endeavor.
After all, the Kickstarter promises anyone who pledges $10 "A powerful guided meditation mp3 download, where you are taken on a journey from the beach to the peak of a mountain, where you can see all that you have accomplished in your life!"
Seriously. Eddy Rodriguez's Internet presence is like the textual version of an insulin attack.
That is, until we get to his "official" site. Then things start to get a little confusing.
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"What if there is really was a secret to HAPPINESS?" it asks. "You could End: frustration, sadness, loneliness and emptiness." Wait, is this a religion about smiling and waving? Because this is starting to read like a come-to-Jesus billboard on I-75 in North Florida.
We could ask Rodriguez, but apparently that would cost $50. At least that's what the happiness guru charges for a 15-minute Q&A, according to the pricing page that ultimately comes up if you follow CraigsList to Kickstarter to a page full of pseudo-Christian stuff and click a link that says "Are you ready?" Apparently, more in-depth life coaching sessions cost $125 a pop.
And we were so ready to believe in happiness, too. Thanks, Craigslist.