Monday, January 08, 2007


Today's Australian had a story on this report from the Orwellian-sounding Whitehall Wellbeing Working Group, detailing the sorts of things that are likely to make people happy. I've been feeling a little depressed over the last couple of months (which may explain why teh funny has been so forced around here lately), so I read the article with interest. Maybe it would shed some light on where I've been going wrong?

Unfortunately it did. This is what the Australian listed as 'Factors Contributing to Happiness':

1. Having lots of sex with the same partner.

I haven't even been having lots of sex with multiple partners.

2. Chatting over the fence with neighbours.

I think I acknowledged the old lady from next door once, by chance, at the hardware store. I believe there was a nod and a sort of half-smile. I've had more words with the man in the house behind mine, but it's usually along the lines of "No, I don't have any problems with your pergola extension", "I don't know why they didn't collect the recyling bins yesterday" or "When are you going to fix that fence you knocked down, you conniving Polish bastard!"

3. Caring about endangered species

Given that pandas have more sex with the same partner than I do, I think they should be the ones caring about me.

4. Getting a good night's sleep.

You'd think so, with all that sex I'm not having. But no. I sleep about as easily as a haemophiliac staying at Castle Dracula.

5. Gardening, going for walks and praying.

I tried that once, but right in the middle of an "I beseech thee" I tripped over the kerb and stabbed myself with the secateurs. Never again.

6. Getting a pay increase boosts happiness more if a colleague loses out.

That's not happiness, that's schadenfreude. And I do not need lessons in happiness from Germans, thank you very much.

The report lists other things too, such as being of average height and weight, living somewhere with nice weather, and working as a new product reviewer for Beer, Electronic Gadget and High-Performance Sports Car Monthly (although that last one was only implied). Oddly enough no mention is made of watching old MST3K episodes until you laugh up a lung, but I'm putting that down to deeply-ingrained British reticence.


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