So we are, after all, a rollicking, jolly bunch. We stick our fingers in our ears and sing “la…la…la”. We believe in the power of positive thinking and even giggle appreciatively when some curmudgeon suggests we’d be better off sticking our digits in the fiscal dam that’s just about to break in this province.
Oh well, what shall do about the inveterately “happy” amongst us?
Give them all a kiss, a slap on the back, a high-five?
Sure, why not. After all, summer is the best two-and-a-half weeks of the year in these parts, and the rumors are that it didn’t actually die in 2015, after plummeting into a pothole sometime between the first snowfall and the last.
Maybe it’s time to accept the fact that despite what nature and man throw at us in this often-benighted corner of the world, we refuse to be sad, morose or even (gasp!) realistic about our present circumstances. Maybe it’s time to take the win, for a change.
According to a Statistics Canada survey released last week Saint John and Moncton are the fourth and seventh happiest cities, respectively, in Canada. This, despite the fact that downtown development in both bustling metropolises is moribund, house prices are plummeting, for-sale signs are springing up like tulips in an April downpour, and municipal mothers and fathers are just about at the end of their wits trying to figure out how to keep the figurative wheels from falling off their metaphorical trucks.
Still, reveals StatsCan, “Many factors account for differences in life satisfaction, and there is a growing body of international and Canadian research in this domain. This includes work that examines the role played by the physical characteristics of geographic areas, such as urban size and population density, natural endowments, economic opportunity or deprivation, and access to, and quality of, infrastructure, amenities and services.”
Sure, and why not jump aboard the “happiness” train? It goes to Pleasantville by way of the big, rock candy mountain. There, at that mythical depot, we will meet all who went away from us, and all who will return someday – just as soon as we can invent and sustain good, long-term jobs for them upon their arrival.
This “happiness” garbage is a pug’s game, played by the powerful to rook the penurious. If we spent more time genuinely examining that for which we are grateful, we might discover the joy that’s mere illusion to a vast swath of our fellow men and women, under the influence of daily propaganda.
I am, for example, grateful for a democracy in which periodic voting is not always a pro-forma exercise designed to establish and enable despotism.
I am grateful for knowing that I can still count on my neighbours – even some elected representatives of my province and country – to boost me when the economic chips are down.
I am grateful for my parents, siblings, wife, daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren and for the fact that they are alive and kicking against the bleak and black of daily imbecilities that seem to proscribe everyone’s life these days.
I am grateful for the home I can offer to them, for the absurd amounts of snow I shovel, for the weeds I pull, for the lawn I mow, for the people I meet at the local Sobeys and liquor store, for the guy I greet at the corner of Main Street and Robinson Court – the guy who needs a coin or two to continue singing and playing his acoustic renditions of Neil Young’s “Cinnamon Girl” and “Old Man”.
Am I happy?
Ask me after the next federal election.
For now, I’m merely waiting, with ears wide open.