easy | achieved without great effort; presenting few difficulties.

Easy is good. Unless it’s bad Easy. Then it’s not good.

I’m sure that somewhere, there’s a mathematical formula for this. But it eludes me at this time. Which is a shame. Because with a good formula at hand, the probabilities for effectively addressing Easy would be greatly increased. As it is, the statistical model is rather fuzzy, and the possibilities for adequate elucidation become diminished.

There is of course, The Big Easy, which in its own messy way endeared itself to everyone, until it got really messy. In other words, the Big Easy was Good Easy until it became Bad Easy. Then it really got bad.

Then there’s the proverbial Easy Street, where fortunate folks stake their claim, partaking of unfettered bliss; a well-deserved, reassuring compensation for years of toil on Main or Wall Street. This is generally perceived to be a good kind of Easy; until the day you find that the butler in fact did it.

There is also the placid instructional, Easy Does It, forwarding the notion that an ensuing action need not be taken in haste or undue stress, thus relieving the utterer from a needless sense of being involved in, or responsible for, the outcome of said action, if said action’s outcome happened to be less than fortuitous, in which case, the instructional evolves into I Told You So, a cagey afterthought.

Looks So Easy tends to surface when good, mostly middle-aged, folks in the throes of mid-life crises, witness feats of derring-do by accomplished, well-seasoned derring-doers. Consider for example, bungee-jumping, parasailing, parachuting, climbing Mount Everest, hunting elephants or big cats with handguns, crossing the Pacific Ocean on an outrigger, swimming the English Channel -or the Antarctic Ocean, acrobatic motorcycling, joining the Foreign Legion, or signing up for a sex tour of Bangkok. All of these enticing adventures and estimable activities seem so Easy and inconsequential, especially when watching them on TV, beer and chips in hand; An Easy Get.

As the years pile up, one, or rather, others, Ease Into Old Age, which typically entails Easing Into The Car (or the mini-van), and settling into the Easy Chair. This is when Easy evolves from being an asset into more of a required mannerism for perambulating, and is usually accompanied by This Ain’t Easy Any More as the bon-mot du jour, an ominous signifier of impending croak.

And lest we forget, there is the high-mindedness of Easy Comes Easy Goes –which with its attendant minimum requirements for a functioning intellect is Easy To Forget– basking in the spotlight of its own Macro-Everything category, equally applicable to all variants of Easy, providing in its wonderful brevity, a story, closure, abnegation, a moral, and pause for reflection. Plus the promise of a sequel. Which is why it is, in its essence, the favored plot of most novels, and TV and film scripts.

One of my perennial favorites, Easy On The Eyes, allows codgers to comment safely and unobtrusively on a woman’s physical attributes; which in this day and age are harder to appreciate without the threat of harassment lawsuits and court injunctions. It is an Easy Way Out if you will, which in other circumstances is something we all need at one point in our lives, a chance to start anew after having Eased In on a slam dunk (An Easy Shot) which turned out to be a clunker, which was Easy To Pass Up only in hindsight.

One can also, as a technicality at least, Ease Into a freeway lane from the access road, except that said act is Easier Said Than Done, when taking into account the congestion and traveling speeds on most freeways, the infrequent courtesies afforded by the driving etiquette in vogue at a particular place and time, the relative age difference between conductors of jousting vehicles, and the ratio between their respective GED equivalencies, which in themselves are an Easy Alternative to a real education.

In their daily dealings, many confront the age worn Easy To Fix which puts off reckoning with something inevitable that should’ve been Easy To Do Right In The First Place, a distinct pearl of wisdom usually proffered by someone untouched by unfortunate happenstance, and uninvolved with the fixing of the wrong that could have been righted from the start, if only attention had been paid, which is Easy To See.

Another favorite of mine is Easy Money, which begs the question all on its own, and the premise of which, in the world of mathematics, would probably merit its own particular theorem. Academic economists latch on tightly to this one with Zero-Sum theories, where all outcomes are Easy Enough To Calculate: Zero.

In a related vein, there’s Easy Access, which is what financial institutions promise account holders who transact online, a process that allows bankers to reduce payroll and paperwork costs, and helps banks rake in an Easy Profit. Customers receiving not much in exchange.

Still mining that vein is At Ease, which is where bankers and insurers want to put your mind, to avoid frequent and undue inquiries on the whereabouts of your money, and the expected windfall for your heirs resulting from your untimely demise. Different yet from an officer’s orders addressing troops at attention to relinquish officious deference to his/her command, allowing them to Be At Ease physically, yet not an encouragement for Easy Behavior which would be untoward and may lead to Easy Thought, which is a corollary to lassitude and very unmilitary.

Easy To Read, Easy To Understand, Easy To Learn, all become cosseted values for the harried, overtaxed intellects of John & Mary Q. Public, otherwise engaged and immersed in assumed daytime dramas, real or broadcast. For purveyors of Easy, personal betterment is Easily Achievable when our aspirations are attuned to sanctioned 7-, 10-, or 12-Step self-help manuals designed to make of our lives conduits for Easy Sailing. As the old song goes: “Living Is Easy, When You Know How…” which in retrospect, probably had less to do with learning the ropes than with just plain dropping out.

The sage-like, avuncular, Go Easy brings a measure of good sense and decorum to bear on caloric intake and medical dosages. It also points to the futility of tasking oneself with zealous overachievement, and is oftentimes the advice of Easygoing folks incapable of exertion, who are seditiously jealous and suspect of endeavors more capacious and energetic than their own.

And this is where we finally get to our point, which is short, sweet, and Easy To Make: If the point of so many things we do or say is to make things Easier, why is life still such a struggle for so many? And, in all this courting of The Easy, are we effectively dulling our edge, corroding our intellect, eroding our integrity, and fostering even more mediocrity? It certainly seems so.

Lacking a proven formula and working strictly from anecdotal observations, I venture to posit the following theoretic mathematical equation which is in itself a work in progress and can be used freely by those of more enterprise who may want to build on it: The result of a continuous pursuit of Easy is in inverse proportion to our general well being, and is in direct proportion to a lack of civic responsibility.

The underlying problem at the root of this equation is semantical and should be Easily resolved. If instead of Easing our way through life, we focused on Simplifying, making things less complicated and cumbersome, and more efficient; Easy, instead of being a weasel of a word, could justly and proudly reclaim its essential, original significance: Simple.

simple | used to emphasize the fundamental and straightforward nature of something : the simple truth.

This is the only Easy Way to address our best interests.

It is all in the making and it is what we make it to be.

Michael Mehl

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