Just as I realize my sleeplessness is occupation related, I learn depressing news about the home twenty. 24/7 Wall Street which has nothing else to do it seems, reports that Americans are not happier than they were last year. In fact, they were slightly more miserable. How do you count that? How does the U.N. report the number of chickens in each nation? I wonder about the use of such stats, most of which are made up – at least by me.
Well, this pseudoscience source says Hawaii remains in first place (Mai Tai’s perhaps make all happy) and my home state of West Virginia is last. They claim we bottomed out in life expectancy, obesity, median household income, and low in well-being and diplomas. It is no comfort that the close to us misery states were in the South (5 of the 10) with Ohio and Delaware following closely in the bottom tier. Highest levels of well-being were either in the West or the Midwest.
Whoever 24/7 is, they are entitled to their opinion and stats. Mark Twain, supposedly quoting, but never proven, English Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, said: “There are three kinds of lies — lies, damned lies, and statistics.” We lawyers make our living by researching the law and finding our best version. So, with research by Psychology Professor Joe Forgas of the University of New South Wales, I can argue there are down sides to being really happy. The Washington Post reports that another psychologist, Edward Diener and others say happy people early in life earned less money than those less cheerful. Happiness may not benefit your career and happys are not likely to get a better job or get more education. Sad people it seems pay more attention to details and think in a more systematic manner, the story says. Happy people are easier to deceive, so read on you happys.
Well, cheer up, Guinness used to advertise that “Guinness is good for you”, implying medicinal value. In Bill Shakes’ day, the ceramic cups had a whistle baked in so you could easily re-order in a loud bar and thus: “Wet your whistle.” Likewise, beer came in either pints or quarts and when the customers got rowdy, the innkeeper often yelled: “Mind your P’s and Q’s.” So, I may wet my whistle to get myself out of the misery I did not know I even had. I do not care what you say, I am not moving to Cedar Rapids where everybody is happy, so there.
A writer who grew up in my home town, stringing for Gallup, reports that West Virginia has the nation’s worst statistics in 10 of 12 categories in the Gallup Healthways ranking. The local health director says: “I think someone is sending us a message that our approach to health care hasn’t worked.”
I am still feeling low and looking to “blame storm” for the cause and thus systematically paying attention to details. I am thinking it was politics. You see, the farm lobby was large back in the day and represented votes. They got Congress to enact farm subsidies. The government then had large quantities of farm goods which they gave away to schools. The standard lunches used commodity butter, cheese, pinto beans, and peanut butter. School lunches rotated these food stuffs and made everything out of them, including hats. Kids got fat, farmers got paid, and Congress got votes. I notice that these commodities are not the top choices in my Weight Watchers’ Wednesday classes. Of course, I am just there to set an example for the others in the office.