Happy | porchlight - Indiana Public Media

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There is a global survey you may have heard of called the World Happiness Report, conducted annually by the United Nations. This study statistically analyzes the planet’s 156 countries and ranks them on a subject that’s probably more subjective and personal than any other. Attempting to answer a timeless question: Happy, just how exactly?

Obviously, where you wake up every morning is extremely important in determining this, although it appears the numbers being crunched here have more to do with broader measures like life expectancy (which trends higher if you live in a country with clean drinking water, clean air, ample wilderness, and no megacities). There’s also the Gross National Product to factor in (Note that in 2020 the top 20 countries in the survey included five colonial powers from the 19th and 20th centuries while only two of the countries had once been colonies themselves).

A temperate climate can apparently help with happiness. Material wealth can be pretty influential too, especially if, like the climate, it tends to avoid the extremes.

Strangely enough, my bank was able to provide still another source. I really appreciate the presence of live bank tellers, in spite of the fact that they all have the advantage of knowing something very personal about me. In the course of our brief interactions, I am always looking for a way to narrow that gap somewhat. Both of us being on a first name basis will accomplish that.

I always look for the nameplate of my teller. Recently, I dealt with Merry, that’s M-E-R-R-Y. This woman genuinely wears her name well. Cheerful and engaged, in no way rote with her responses. So much so, I felt safe in asking her: How did your folks come up with your name? Her reply: My mom always told me I came out laughing.

Wow. Is there a practicing OB/GYN listening? Let me ask you: Have you ever experienced something like that in a delivery room? Sure, infants often laugh once they begin to make eye contact, and crying or even being stoic in those first moments is pretty common for newborns, but laughing during that transition into the big wide world? Kid, I know you can’t talk yet but please share the joke.

Well, maybe it was just Merry’s mother making up a story to account for an exceptionally good-natured child. I mean that native happy that somehow stays with you throughout life. So was the story of Merry’s name fact or fiction? A reputation like that might get you there either way.

 Artist, Album

Beautiful Morning, The Rascals, Very Best

New Morning, Bob Dylan, New Morning

When You Awake, The Band, The Band

World On A String, Frank Sinatra, Great Performances

World On A String, Neil Young, Tonight’s The Night

Happy, Pharrell Williams, Until The Morning

Happy, The Rolling Stones, Exile On Main Street

If It Makes You Happy, Sheryl Crow, Sheryl Crow

Love And Happiness, Al Green, Greatest Hits

I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, U2, Joshua Tree