Do you know what I’ve discovered? The Federal Government wants to start measuring our happiness as American citizens. After all, our constitution does guarantee us the right to the “pursuit of happiness.” What a hoot! They’ll probably call it the GNH (“gross national happiness”) as opposed to the GDP (“gross domestic product” or the sum of our economic output), and that will be one more thing to worry about. (Note to the Feds: please do not give me a survey on my opinion of our sorry-ass Congress or the state of the Republican Party before you give me the survey about my GNH—results will definitely be misrepresentative of my actual state of being which will be highly agitated.)
Kingdom of Bhutan—“Land of the Dragon” (Photo courtesy of buddhanet.net)
The term, ‘gross national happiness,’ was coined in 1972 by Bhutan’s then King Jigme Singye Wangchuck but according to Peter Whoriskey’s article in The Washington Post (“If you’re happy and you know it . . . let the government know”), “. . .statisticians will first have to define happiness and then how to measure it. Neither is a trivial matter. There is even some doubt whether people, when polled, can accurately say whether they are happy.”
Photo courtesy of businesspundit.com//Google Image
Right now the Mega Millions Lottery which covers 42 states is worth $640 million, and I’m sure most Americans are secretly fantasizing about what they would do with that much money if they won it, because they are all assuming it would make them super happy. But research has borne out the facts that 9 out of 10 lottery winners end up worse off than before they won the lottery and many wish they had torn up the ticket. Because, you see, humans are creatures of extremes: whatever shit you were addicted to before you were flushed with cash will simply get magnified once it is infused with $640 million. Data has shown that if you were a gambler before the jackpot, you’ll simply become a person who bets higher stakes until the money is all gone; if you have an addictive personality before you win the extra Benjamins, you’ll become a junkie who uses a gold tipped syringe to “shoot up” rather than a stainless steel one. And if your cash-infused habits don’t get magnified to the extreme, then relatives you never knew you had will come out of the woodwork and torment you for handouts until the day you die or give away all your money—whichever comes first.
Daily News/Google Image
So I’ve given this entire “gross national happiness” concept a lot of thought and since I’m old and have learned a few things along the way, I thought I’d write an open letter to our President in this week’s blog to offer him some suggestions as to what he should look for to determine if his American peeps are really happy or if we are just bullshitting him (not counting Fox News or the Tea Party—there is nothing that would make them happy except Ronald Reagan coming back from the dead).
OPEN LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES
Dear President Obama:
First of all: How you doin’? My name is Eleanor Tomczyk and I’m one of your biggest fans. While reading The Washington Post the other day, I noticed that the Feds want to start monitoring GDH. Personally I don’t know how you’re going to accomplish that since we are such a desperate, angry bunch of humanoids. But if you were to ask me, if you really wanted to know how to do this, I thought I’d send you a few tips to pass along to your census takers.
IMHO, Mr. President, all your questioners need to ask are three non-sectarian, bi-partisan questions and they will be able to determine the state of mind of any American in the land.
GROSS NATIONAL HAPPINESS SURVEY
DO YOU NAP?
Nap Time/Google Image
Here’s the deal, Mr. President: I’m sure you’ve noticed that you are in charge of a bunch of really cranky, partisan people. We are perennially pissed off about everything, and some of us are really bent out of shape because you slipped by them into the White House! On top of all that angst, we love us some guns almost as much as our religion and lack of sleep and guns are a volatile mix! Why, today, in a neighborhood not too far from where both of us live, one neighbor shot another neighbor over three trees bordering the property that wasn’t the property of the neighbor who got shot. And the shooter wasn’t even the owner of the house—the owner’s father shot the other dude on his behalf who was the friend of the neighbor who lived down the street—all because of three fuckin’ trees (pardon my French)! I think we Americans are on the verge of losing our minds just because we are so freakin’ tired. I don’t mean to sound like an “old fart,” but we haven’t had a good attitude about life sense the Sunday Blue Laws were struck down. Even if you weren’t religious and didn’t go to church, no matter how rich or poor you were, at least you could catch up on your sleep and read a good book. It may be my imagination, Mr. President, but we could use a national nap time to up our “happiness quotient.”
- DO YOU GARDEN?
E. Tomczyk’s “Blush” Hibiscus
E. Tomczyk’s prize-winning variegated yellow Princess Hibiscus
E. Tomczyk’s Violet Wave Petunias
Mr. President, enclosed is a small sample of my flower garden last year (aren’t they fab!). I’m recreating something similar on April 30th for the 2012 summer season. As I’m sure the First Lady has told you, there is something about digging in dirt that eases the stress and elevates the endorphins, especially when Puccini’s La Boheme (or Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”—whatever floats your boat) is playing in the background. (Personally, I’m rather suspect of a person who doesn’t like to garden.) Mr. President, my American sisters and brothers need to get back into the dirt. Anything as little as flower boxes outside our apartment windows to community gardens would help relax our minds and shrink our chubby waistlines. Whether a person gardens or not, will give the Feds an excellent understanding as to whether Americans are happy or agitated as hell because they don’t have any dirt to turn into something beautiful to soothe the soul.
- DO YOU GIVE A SHIT ABOUT ANYBODY BUT YOU AND YOURS, AND HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT CULTIVATING EMPATHY FOR OTHERS WHO ARE NOT LIKE YOU OR HAVE DIFFERENT EXPERIENCES?
Twins: blue-eyed white-skinned “Remee” and her biological twin sister, brown-eyed, brown-skinned “Kian” born in 2005 in Britain
Mr. President, I’m sure you know this, but I have discovered a secret: we are all God’s children—just different flowers in God’s garden. I know an alien from another planet would never believe that concept that we’re all created equal if “It” had dropped down into our country the past two weeks and witnessed the Trayvon Martin murder and miscarriage of justice, along with the attempted smearing of Trayvon’s reputation from the extreme Right, and Spike Lee’s stupid terrorization of that sweet old couple when he tweeted their house address by mistake in his attempt to flush out the murderer, George Zimmerman. (Really, Spike? Seriously, Dude?) Mr. President, if you see Spike when you’re out and about would you please ask him what the hell was he thinking?
The other day I discovered a phenomenon: Black and white twins born from the same parents. Did you know that the chance of this happening is only one in a million, but in one family it has happened twice? But don’t you think God purposely allows twins to be born of different skin and eye colors from the same parents just to mess with our heads and to illustrate a point: we are all sisters and brothers under the skin?
Triniti and Ghabriael Cunningham—twins born in USA/ABC news file photo
If we answer the “happiness” survey as people who try and consistently learn something that will broaden our perspective about those who appear different than us, then the Feds might find that our happiness equates to that openness. Might I suggest that you have the survey ask how many of us have seen or plan on seeing “Bully,” the documentary about the realistic portrayal of middle school and high school students who are bullied—some to the point of suicide? Have the Feds ask your survey takers if they plan on teaching their children not to stand by and watch the bullying of another child or if they plan on teaching them how to put a stop to it. Our country’s happiness and future depend on us becoming more empathic to the suffering of others, not becoming bullies ourselves, and joining together as a nation to stamp our this scourge.
Courtesy of www.thebullyproject.com ||Contact this site for distribution of the film in your city
Thank you, President Obama, for considering my input and here’s wishing you and yours an abundance of joy and grace. I’m pulling for you.
E. Tomczyk (a.k.a “Big Mama”)
P.S. I just have to ask, Mr. President: Are you happy?
I am discovering that money will come and it will go, things will always happen that we can’t control, and that happiness is temporal: Joy is what is eternal. Happiness is circumstance based and the circumstances can be destroyed in a heartbeat by mean people, the weather, or simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But joy is attitudinal and no one—absolutely no one—can take that away from you.
Author: “One Joy-filled Big Mama”//photo by J. Tomczyk
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”—Viktor E. Frankl
“Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” —Viktor E. Frankl
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