The headline that grabbed me was for an article on America' 5 happiest and 5 most miserable states.
There's the link just in case you, like me, can't resist checking out those internet best/worst, most/least revelations on the chance that you might be able to find out where you stand. Or where you'd like to stand. Or where you're relieved you don't stand.
Now, I didn't really expect Ohio to be on the list of the top 5 happiest states, though it wouldn't have surprised to me if it had been.
But I did not expect to see Ohio on the list of the top 5 most miserable states; but there Ohio was, 4th most miserable state in America, ranking in miserableness only behind Indiana, Kentucky, and first-place West Virginia.
Though to John Denver it may have been almost heaven, the 2015 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index proclaimed West Virgina as being closer to the other place.
But Ohio? People, are we all really that unhappy? Is it really that bad here?
On the other hand, which state do you think was ranked the happiest? California? Florida? Colorado?
Nope. Alaska. Cold. Isolated. Dark half the year. Go figure.
The article also reported data on where each of the happiest and most miserable states ranked in the unfavorable categories of poverty, unemployment, obesity and poor mental health days:
Poverty rate: 9.3% (2nd lowest)
Unemployment rate: 6.5% (18th lowest)
Obesity rate: 28.4% (23rd lowest)
Poor mental health days (last 30 days): 3.1 (7th lowest)
Poverty rate: 16.0% (21st highest)>
Unemployment rate: 7.4% (20th highest)
Obesity rate: 30.4% (17th highest)
Poor mental health days (last 30 days): 3.8 (21st highest)
Now, is it just me or does the above data not appear to clearly correlate to either state's happiness or misery ranking?
But then the states weren't actually ranked on those categories.
The rankings were based on phone interviews to determine how good people felt about themselves.
According to the results Alaskans feel pretty darned good about themselves,
My son Tommy and I got to discussing the problem. I wondered if it was maybe, because we are such a diverse state - politically, ethnically, socially, and culturally, from Cincinnati to Cleveland and all the big towns, small towns and farm towns in between, maybe we're so all so variegated and non-homogenous that we're conflicted.
Tommy came up with a different theory. He proposed that Ohio's problem might be that it touches the top three miserable states, West Virginia to the east, Kentucky to the south and Indiana to the west so that those other states' misery leaches into Ohio on three sides. Or maybe it's that misery loves company so the miserable states hang out together.
Which might actually explain why Alaska is the happiest state: It's doesn't touch any other state. It's all by itself up there, happy as a lone polar bear on an ice flow or an island out in the middle of the ocean like Hawaii, which came in second happiest state.
Or maybe people are happiest when they're living at one extreme or the other.