Are You Happy?

30 Mar

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

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 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).


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.



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.”


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.


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 ||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

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Posted by on March 30, 2012 in Uncategorized


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26 responses to “Are You Happy?

  1. Dienna

    March 31, 2012 at 2:08 am

    Those flowers are lovely. And the twin girls just turned seven.

    • etomczyk

      March 31, 2012 at 6:27 am

      Thank you so much for bringing me up to date on Kian and Remee. They are just gorgeous and their Mom’s comment in the Mail Online is illustrative of the point I made in my story: “They are such a perfect example of how it should be. They are not bothered about their skin colour. It’s not the big issue everyone else seems to see it as. It isn’t important to them at all – it’s about what they’re like underneath.”

      All the best.

  2. An Observant Mind

    March 31, 2012 at 2:13 am

    Love this and love the gorgeous photo of you! I am going to spend the weekend working my way (backwards!) through your posts that I have missed. Looking forward to it as i know it will be a very enjoyable journey! xx

  3. momshieb

    March 31, 2012 at 7:42 am

    I hope you send this letter, and I hope he reads it!
    Funny, I was tempted to buy one of those lottery tickets yesterday (It would have been the second one ever for me) but my son said pretty much the same thing to me that you wrote here. “Mom. Would you really want your entire life to change all of a sudden?”
    Great post; you always make me laugh and think at the same time, and it doesn’t even hurt!
    And those are some SERIOUSLY beautiful babies!

    • etomczyk

      March 31, 2012 at 10:19 am

      Momshieb: Was it our son, Matty (the contemplative one), that so wisely told you about the downfall of winning the lottery? From how you’ve described him, it sounds like something he would day. Thanks so much for stopping by and for such encouraging comments. I loved your post about the “letter to Romney” by the way. Here’s hoping he never gets anywhere near the White House. Cheers!

      • momshieb

        March 31, 2012 at 12:22 pm

        Yes, it was my “Middle child”, Matt, who gave me those words of wisdom! I wish I could say that he learned such common sense from me, but it must be from his Dad.
        And here’s hoping that you are right about the Mittster!
        A car elevator, indeed……!

  4. becomingcliche

    March 31, 2012 at 7:46 am

    My husband thought about buying a lottery ticket, but he didn’t because he was afraid he would win, and all the money would wreck our lives. Part of happiness is being content with what we have, and I think that’s where we are in our lives (for the most part).

    I could get behind a federally mandated nap. And it should be made retroactive so that we spend the next 20 years catching up on our sleep.

    • etomczyk

      March 31, 2012 at 10:44 am

      BC: Your hubbie is correct. I did a lot of research on lottery horror stories before I wrote this blog piece. It was soooooo depressing. Most people didn’t realize how happy they were until that avalanche of money ruined their lives. There is one horrible story from West VA where the man had owned a successful business, happily married with a beautiful granddaughter, and who really had all the money he and his family would need and then some (he was one of the wealthier dudes in town and well-respected). When he won the Mega Millions jackpot, he was inundated with millions of handout requests (had to hire a fulltime staff to field requests), got robbed and beat up, wife got cancer, house got invaded and burglarized, granddaughter got ostacized by her high school friends who were jealous which made her turn to drugs (her grandpa bought her 4 cars, a house, and gave her $2,000 a week for allowance at 15 years old [silly man]), and her dead body was eventually found behind a dumpster–killer still unknown. The grandfather calls the winning of the lottery “the curse.”

      Thanks for stopping by.

      • becomingcliche

        March 31, 2012 at 1:59 pm

        What a sad, sad story! Makes me happy to be living with less!

  5. societyred

    March 31, 2012 at 8:42 am

    I think you said it all Eleanor! Great work!

    • etomczyk

      March 31, 2012 at 11:13 am

      Thanks Societyred. I liked your post on growing up in the South, as well. All the best.

  6. Tina

    March 31, 2012 at 11:18 am

    You are so right about gardening. Way cheaper than therapy too! I appreciate the way you separated the difference in meaning between happiness and joy. That’s something I needed to hear today.

    • etomczyk

      March 31, 2012 at 12:16 pm

      Thanks Tina. The understanding between the difference of joy and happiness came late to me in life, but when it did it set me free. People can try and do all manner of things to me and I’ve learned that I am the only one who can determine how I respond and where I go with my thoughts and attitude. Once that is established in my mind, I’m free to find joy in and around the situation at hand. My enemies cannot steal that away from me. My enemies don’t own my joy–I do. What a relief.

  7. Elyse

    March 31, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    Terrific post, Eleanor. You made me very happy. 🙂

    • etomczyk

      April 1, 2012 at 6:57 pm

      Thanks Elyse. I like making people happy. All the best.

  8. Maggie

    April 2, 2012 at 12:50 am

    Eleanor, Fabulous! Happiness really is circumstantial!!!! Poop happens and you can end up on a roller coaster going up and then down, especially if the ups are based on money! Being from the family I am from, I know that well!! And when your self image is all wrapped up in what you are worth financially, you can end up suicidal when “it” is all gone!!

    • etomczyk

      April 2, 2012 at 6:38 pm

      Thanks Maggie for stopping by and leaving a comment. I take it that you didn’t win the Mega Millions. 🙂 I am happy AND joyful and I know it, and that is good enough for me. Cheers!

  9. aFrankAngle

    April 2, 2012 at 8:59 am

    This may be the best letter to a president I’ve ever read. … and to think that “Buy Eleanor bling” was on my lottery list.

    • etomczyk

      April 2, 2012 at 6:42 pm

      Hi Frank. I’ve got to tell you that I would have accepted the bling had you won the lottery, because I am into some serious bling. Just ask WW. Every once in a while, he’ll look at me and say, “Tell me that fairy tale about how you grew up a poor black child in the ghetto because right now, I’m not seeing how that is feasible with your bling tastes!” LOL! Good thing he loves me. Take care.

      • aFrankAngle

        April 3, 2012 at 8:18 am

        LOL … and thanks for telling me I have the soul of a black woman.

  10. Lindy Lee

    April 2, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    Thank you for another really entertaining post; laugh, sigh, happy, joy…

    • etomczyk

      April 3, 2012 at 6:57 pm

      Thank you Lindy Lee, my resident poet. I am always honored that you read my stuff and like it. Take care.

  11. blaqsmith26

    April 3, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    You continue to Impress me with your imfinite wisdom. I applaud you!! I knew it was for this I connected with you. Keep doing your thing. “Big brillant Moma “!!!

    • etomczyk

      April 4, 2012 at 6:47 pm

      Thanks Blaqsmith: Sure appreciate your support and dropping by to leave such a nice compliment. Blessings!

  12. imagesbytdashfield

    April 4, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Somebody has a green thumb I see! And yeah, I was too through when we didn’t win the lottery. We already had a financial plan for it and everything but alas some others got it. Hope they don’t lose it all in 5 years like the statistics I read. In the meantime I must go and figure out what chapeau to wear for this Sunday. p.s. I HEARD Wendy when you said “How you doin'” LOL

    • etomczyk

      April 4, 2012 at 7:04 pm

      Excellent that you heard Wendy because that is what I was shooting for! 🙂 I used to have a closet full of hats but don’t wear the any more because I don’t have access to a great hat shop like I used to. But you can bet that I’m going to rock some new platform heels. In fact I’m wearing them around the house to “break them in.” LOL! All the best. (Loved the pictures of the tulips by the way.)


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