It is my duty to report to you on the state of the state in which you find yourself. I am talking, of course, about the Great State of Georgia.
While we are blessed to be home to the Blue Ridge mountains, the Golden Isles, the Vidalia onion and the greatest state song in the history of the world, “Georgia on my Mind,” as sung by the late Ray Charles Robinson, of Albany, Georgia, it seems we are only moderately happy people.
That news comes from a group called WalletHub, located in a swamp known as Washington, D.C. They have rated all 50 states on happiness and Georgia comes in at 22nd. When not telling us how happy or unhappy we are, WalletHub says it offers free credit scores and personalized tips on how to save money. Bless their hearts.
I haven’t talked to any WalletHubbsters and I suspect you haven’t, either, but I hope they are better at financial stuff than picking happy states. They have California rated as the 6th happiest state in the nation. Yes, that California — the one with never-ending forest fires, earthquakes, mudslides, high taxes and Nancy Pelosi. What Californians have to be happy about escapes me at the moment. Maybe they are happy that the San Andreas Fault hasn’t slid them off into the Pacific Ocean yet.
Even New Jersey whips our tail. WalletHub rates it the fourth happiest state. I’m not touching that one. The fearsome Woman Who Shares My Name was born in New Jersey although she moved South as a wee child and speaks fluent Southern. But, I know she has good memories of summers spent at her grandmother’s beach house on the Jersey coast. Therefore, I am reluctant to say something snarky and run the risk of getting broccoli rammed up my nose.
Before you ask — assuming you care — WalletHub rates Hawaii as the Happiest State in the U.S. just ahead of Utah. Poor old West Virginia comes in dead last, which ought to make Mississippi happy.
So, how did WalletHub reach their conclusions? — again, assuming you care. They assembled a panel of experts (I must have been out when they called) who say happiness is more than a feeling of joy or excitement. It is about emotional well-being and job satisfaction. I am happy to hear that. My emotions seem to be well and I love my job.
What I am not happy about is another survey I got right after WalletHub. This one came from a company called LawnStarter. They don’t do free credit scores or personalized tips on how to save money. They cut grass and spray for weeds.
For reasons that totally escape me, LawnStarter felt compelled to send out a release announcing the Best and Worst States to Visit this Fall. I’m not sure what that has to do with cutting grass and spraying for weeds. They rank New York as the most desirable state to visit in the fall and Alaska second even though they allow that Alaska has the least number of pumpkin patches after Hawaii. Pumpkin patches in Alaska and Hawaii?
One of LawnStarters’ suggestions was to “skip the South” this fall. Say what? They claim three of our neighboring states are targets for hurricanes, although not us. Still, they rank Georgia the 41st worst on the list of 47 states. (Washington, Oregon and happy-sappy California are excluded because of wildfires. They didn’t mention that the wildfires in Oregon come mainly from thugs trying to burn down the city of Portland.) Even West Virginia beat us. That hurts.
Despite a plethora of pumpkin patches in Georgia and lots of friendly folks, LawnStarters dismisses us because they say we don’t measure up in the categories of parks and forests, entertainment, trails and natural hazards.
However, we did come in 3rd in yard size. I’m happy about that but if they are thinking about mowing my yard, they can forget it. Skip the South, remember?
If this unsettling news disconcerts the immigrants from the land where it snows 10 months a year and all the buildings are rusted, remember our highways are two-way. The road that brought you here is available to take you back from whence you came. The rest of us love our Georgia just as it is, thank you very much.
As for WalletHub and LawnStarters and their cockamamie studies, here is my personalized tip for you both. Kiss my grass. I hope that makes them happy.
•Dick Yarbrough is a four-time winner of the Best Humor Column by the Georgia Press Association. Reach him at email@example.com or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139.