Northwest Missourian Opinion

Bright smiles can be seen shining from sea to shining sea. Some states, though, have a few more smiles to see. And Missouri is apparently not one of them.

WalletHub ranked “2019’s Happiest States in America,” and Missouri falls at a whopping 41st. That means there are only nine states less happy. Alternatively, there’s also only 41 states between us and victory. And a good underdog story makes everyone happy.

With all the new windmills going up on this side of the state, it’s only a matter of time until we blow the other states out of the water. 

Then, no one will be playing Maroon 5’s “I am in Misery” as they drive into the state.

WalletHub claims the listing is backed up by a lot of science, something proven to improve moods.

“Previous studies have found that good economic, emotional, physical and social health are all key to a well-balanced and fulfilled life,” the WalletHub article said, explaining how it defined happiness.

It gave each state a ranking in three main categories “Emotional and Physical Well-Being,” “Work Environment” and “Community Environment.”

Apparently, WalletHub was unaware that I get to work for five hours straight in a cold basement every week and only make significantly less than if I was back home in Nebraska. Every once in a while, I even earn enough to buy a Whataburger. Oh, wait, we don’t have those here.

Missouri garnered a spot in the top 33 in the physical well-being category, which makes sense, because I see so many people smiling during yoga at the fitness center. Then again, that’s primarily during downward dog.

The United Health Foundation had an equally flattering rank when it named Missouri the 39th healthiest state in 2018. The correlation between attitude and health is obvious. 8-year-olds have never been happier than when they’re sick, home from school and getting to watch all the daytime Disney shows they usually miss. Missouri has way more of those than over 50% of the other states. 

Hawaiian children, who live in the state WalletHub ranked as the happiest and healthiest, probably never get to experience that joy. Instead, they’re stuck hiking up volcanoes, exploring jungles and surfing on beaches.

Besides, when people refer to the “greatest thing since sliced bread,” they’re not talking about Hawaiian rolls. Thanks Chillicothe, home of sliced bread, for giving everyone a reminder of Missouri’s superiority.

Since the attempt at making Missouri beachfront property by flooding Nebraska didn’t quite pan out, we don’t have to worry about the dangers of that cowabunga lifestyle.

Nebraska, with its fresh wetlands, and Iowa, with whatever it secretly has to offer, both ranked in the top 15. Honestly, getting beat out by Iowa is the most disheartening defeat since Missouri lost its No. 1 meth production crown in 2017.

Also, both have an unfair advantage in the community environment category when the community is predominantly cows. With only 24 people for every square mile of land and three cows for every person, Nebraska’s community environment is more of a petting zoo than anything else. 

In the competition for happiest state, the southeast region of the U.S. has the makings of a classic, stellar movie about a ragtag team of misfits coming together. Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Louisiana, Virginia and Alabama all join us in the 40s as well. We can all live unhappily ever after together.

Happiness isn’t necessarily required to be the best. Despite being WalletHub’s 41st happiest state, Missouri reigned at the 33rd best state to live in, according to a ranking published by WalletHub in June. 

Tony Robbins, a renowned life coach aka professional happiness teacher, said, “It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.”

And Missouri consistently falls right around that remarkably mediocre ranking of best states to live in.USA Today named Missouri 36th best, andWorld Population Review let Missouri break top 30, at 28th. 

As Joseph Heller in Catch-22 said, "Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them."

In this moment, Missouri has had mediocrity thrust upon it. So, Show Me State, show me a smile, because we are living with a delightfully mediocre level of happiness.

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