Imagine with me, if you will, the jaw-clenching sadness I felt this week when I learned that my state, Colorado, was the second happiest amongst all the states. According to a Gallup Poll, which looked at the “emotional and physical health of residents in every state, it found only Hawaii was a happier place.”
This news put me in a funk. I used to be happy as a lark. Now I’m cranky as a crow. I used to stride with pride, my shoulders thrown back in a devil-may-care-atta-dude, and a smile as wide as the Rocky Mountains. But, now no longer. Now my smile is tentative as Mona Lisa. For you see, I and my fellow Coloradans are just second best. Up until now, we didn’t know. I mean, who knew? We thought we were most happy. Apparently, we lived in ignorant glee. Now, we’re bummed. After all, who remembers who came in second? To the victor go the spoils and all that such.
So Hawaiians must be leaping for joy. In Colorado, we’ve tempered our Joie de Vivre. Our leaps have slowed to a skip.
At first I was incredulous. The news brought a scowl to my once-happy face. How could the people of this Johnny-come-lately – the last state to join our Union be so unctuous? How could the citizens who live on that discombobulated group of land pods pull it together to be so happy?
On further review, I discovered how Hawaii might have won this happy title. The islands are beautiful, I must admit, and they are surrounded by the calm warm waters of the Pacific. Our state is divided by the majestic and often cold Rocky Mountains. They have beaches and sand. We have snow and only for part of the year. They drink Mai Tai’s there laced with rum and pineapple juice. We drink tepid beer from Rocky Mountain spring water. If you’re gonna get happy, a Mai Tai will get you there a lot faster. Hawaiians enjoy a melodic native language. Even saying “Merry Christmas” in Hawaiian sounds happier: Mele Kalikimaka. Puts a smile on your face doesn’t it? The Hawaiian Christmas Song was also made famous by Bing Crosby.
Our theme song was written by John Denver about being Rocky Mountain High which has taken on new meaning of late with Colorado’s legalization of marijuana.
Hawaii’s Governor is Neil Abercrombie. Sounds normal doesn’t it? Ours is John Hickenlooper, a bumpy name that doesn’t easily roll off the tongue and is one which headline writers gleefully like to shorten to “Hick.”
Hawaii claims to have had a president born there. We have Tom Tancredo.
Hawaiians are a genial sort and greet you with a gladsome “Aloha.” We greet visitors with a growl and the warning “Don’t Californicate Colorado” followed by a silly grin that can be interpreted as “Don’t let the screen door hit you on the way out, y’all.”
It is, indeed, a sad day for Coloradans, especially now that we’ve been told we’re not so happy. We no longer live in a state of contentment. We might as well be living in Mudville. So the next time you see me, I won’t be wearing my usual happy-go-lucky smile. I won’t be bubbling over with joy. You won’t see my usual jaunty step, or my intoxicating zesty eyes. No, from now on I’ll be simply contrite, wearing a forced look of bemusement on my face. You want happy? Go pound some sand.
After this gloomy news, I’ve decided I need a change in attitude, and maybe a change in latitude, to borrow a phrase. Think I’ll book a trip to Hawaii. I could use a Mai Tai about now.