The Centers for Disease Control did a phone survey which they say reveals the state-by-state sadness levels of citizens, and surprise, New York did not win, place, or show.
Kentucky — yes, the home of bourbon and jes’ settin’ on the porch — is the winner, with a frequent mental distress (FMD) occurrence of 14.4 percent, followed by West Virginia (black lung, poverty) and Nevada (home of Las Vegas, the suicide capital of the world). The least-unhappy state you can probably guess: Hawaii, at 6.6 percent, followed by South Dakota, which makes sense because nothing ever happens there, and Washington D.C. which can only be explained by their tendency to spin bad news.
But New York at 9.6 percent comes out somewhere in the middle — the sadder side of the middle, true, but still less suffering than Oregon, New Mexico, Florida, and even tiny Delaware and Rhode Island, which presumably have no inflated sense of self-worth to trouble them.
Can our suffering really be so unexceptional? Our economy sucks, we’re taxed to death, we live under constant stress, and we have a long romantic tradition of noirish gloom. No one considered making Taxi Driver in Kentucky. Once again, we fear, those contented rustics upstate have spoiled it for the rest of us. Photo (cc) Mel B.