If you say so

I have an odd twist to share: two completely unrelated stories in today's Eastern Iowa newspaper that seem to contradict each other.

The first is a lovely little article about a new survey by MainStreet.com that has Iowa ranked as the second happiest state in the Union. The site rated states on their financial health, such as unemployment and foreclosure rates. So this survey apparently equates happiness with financial security? I question that. Maybe it's the Midwestern air, since the No. 1 state was Nebraska, the No. 3 was Kansas. But I wonder. I've lived in the Midwest most of my life, haven't had a load of financial problems, and still find myself on a cocktail of meds and an insane amount of therapy to keep myself on the path to some semblance of "happy."

So we Iowans are happy. Hoo-ray! Many of us were on Friday, with the Supreme Court's ruling. Iowa once used for its tourism campaign the slogan, "Iowa, you make me smile." Could be that they're on to something.

Then again, perhaps not. Several friends and acquaintances of ours have recently been laid off. If there's one thing that'll put a damper on all your financial joy, it's a pink slip. There's talk of furloughs and pay cuts in Tim's workplace. The house next door to ours has been empty, in foreclosure, for more than a year.

...which brings me to the second article I ran across in the paper. It seems that someone found a dead body yesterday on the trail we frequently run, walk, and bike on, near our home. Not a very happy day for the dead person or the unfortunate individual who discovered him.

Police say from all signs it appears to be a...suicide.

This would be the point at which I insert the REM tune, "Shiny Happy People" and fade into black.

No. 4 on the list is Hawaii. If I'm going to live in a "happy" state, I think I'd rather be there. All that sun and sand and ocean breezes and sweet pineapple and roasted pig would go a long way toward making ME smile.

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