You Too Wuss
"Ring Christmas bells, merrily ring - ding, dong - ding dong!" And why not? Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, one and all. I understand this last year of the Millennium is unusual in that the Christian, Jewish and Muslim saturnalian days coincide for the first time in a long time. Couple that with a partial eclipse tomorrow here on the North American continent and the coming of the "real" end of the Millennium a week from Sunday and you'd think people would be projecting the end of North America if not the world itself. When do you schedule the end of a world? During an eclipse? Christmas morning before the presents have been opened? Midnight, New Year's Eve? Maybe we talked ourselves out of this end of the world business last year with the computers and that one armed bandit roll over from 1999 to 2000. "It's the end of the world as we know it... and I feel fine." I do feel fine.
I am, of course, barricaded in my apartment fiddling with the computer, working on web pages, listening to the radio, eating when I'm hungry, drinking Coca Cola. This is pretty good. This morning, since my usual cafe was closed for the holidays, I had coffee at the Starbucks on the other side of the hill and read a story in the paper about a recent worldwide study of "happiness". Denmark, The Netherlands and Norway were the big winners in this study - snow, cold and Ingmar Bergman movies aside - with the United States ranking fifth and California falling exactly in the middle among the states. And what makes people happy? In order: Close ties to friends and family, wide political freedom, high income and a narrow gap between rich and poor. Interestingly, "high income" translates into any income above the poverty level. Once you've climbed out of poverty, additional income doesn't matter much.
Countries that fell near the bottom? Greece for one. Are you paying attention here
Rien? You want to move from Dutch heaven to Greek misery out on an abandoned island: no income, just the wind and the sand and the stars (and your attractive life's companion)? Italy was close to the bottom too. You'd think, given the popular perception, that any comparison between Denmark and Italy would put Italy on top - all that lusty, ebullient Zorba the Greek joie de vivre and Neapolitan pizza - but evidently adequate social services and the lack of a well organized Mafia make Denmark (and The Netherlands) the place by a mile. I suppose being allowed to grow pot in your backyard falls under "political freedom" and of course it does, although that's going to be a stumbling block here.
Anyway, to all of us; to those of us who duck the holidays and hunker down until they're over and to those of us who fill their Wassail cups and rock into the night singing Holiday songs (Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Wiccan, not to mention Stonehengers painted blue in England) and to those of us who are rock solid in between: Happy fucking holidays, my friends, we seem to have survived another. You too Wuss.