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Happy to debunk ‘Happiest States’ report

Happy to debunk ‘Happiest States’ report
By Dick Yarbrough
Happy to debunk ‘Happiest States’ report
By Dick Yarbrough

Somebody named Abigail who works for something called Scholaroo just sent out a report entitled “ The Happiest States in the U.S.” Alas, Georgia – that’s where you and I reside – is not a happy place to live. We are like 40th out of the 50 states (or 54, if you listen to Joe Biden.) I have a feeling that Abigail isn’t from around these parts. Bless her heart.

Abigail says this “groundbreaking study” is now its second edition. I must have missed the first one. Shame on me. I sometimes get so obsessed with rearranging my sock drawer that I fail to pay attention to the important stuff.

The report looks at, among other categories, such factors as personal finance, leisure and mental health. In these three categories, the Great State of Georgia (my words, not Abigail’s) received some of its lowest scores.

If we didn’t do well in these three areas, don’t blame my fellow Georgians, Abigail. This one is on me. As for personal finance, my bank, which has merged and merged and remerged and is now run by computers, recently sent me a note saying I had overpaid my credit card bill by $4.93 and if I didn’t get this handled promptly, they would charge me a $35 penalty and turn things over to a collection agency. How I get them to pay me the $4.93 they owe me without having to pay a $35 penalty and then having to explain all of this to a collection agency, took up much of my leisure time this week and greatly affected my mental health.

Frankly, I think my bank bears some responsibility for this low score, but since they have moved to North Carolina taking my $4.93 with them, I doubt they give a flying fig about wasting my leisure time and seriously impacting my mental health being that I am in Georgia and they are not.

Where Abigail and I disagree most is that she and her Scholaroo colleagues think the happiest state in the union is – are you ready – Massachusetts, followed by Illinois, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. Seriously? If folks are so happy there, how come everyone, save Connecticut, showed a population decline last year – and Connecticut’s growth was less than one percent. According to the Census Bureau, New York saw the biggest population decline among all states based on both percent and numeric decreases.

I believe the reason these states are losing population is that people are moving to Georgia, where they can make fun of the way we talk. It makes them feel important. The ones that stay behind evidently don’t know any better and are happy living in a place where it snows ten months a year and all their buildings are rusted. Abigail and Scholaroo give Georgia low marks in other categories, too, such as employment, where they say we rank 47th, even though our job growth rate is 5.3%, the third fastest in the nation behind only Texas and Nevada. Go figure.

They don’t think much of our personal relationships, either, which includes among other things, dating apps and friendship app searches. The report evidently doesn’t cover Kiwanis Club lunches, potluck suppers, band booster organizations or visiting the sick and shut-in after church.

In the Physical Health category, Abigail says Georgia ranks 34th. That includes drinking too much and sleeping too little. I’m not sure how we would rank if we drank too little and slept too much. Maybe Scholaroo will address that in the third edition of their groundbreaking study. I can’t wait.

Finally, we come in 34th in Social Policies, which includes a lot of stuff I’m not going to get into except to say that California ranks No. 1. I will leave it up to you to figure out the rest for yourself.

It has distressed me to have to share with you how unhappy we are in Georgia, courtesy of Abigail and the folks at Scholaroo. I guess we will just have to make do with the Blue Ridge Mountains to the north, the Golden Isles to the south, sweet Vidalia onions, the Masters, Friday night football, sliced watermelons, camp meetings and the greatest state song in the history of the world, “Georgia on my Mind” as sung by Ray Charles Robinson of Albany, Georgia.

As for Abigail and Scholaroo, I would suggest they take the second edition of their groundbreaking study and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. That would make me very happy.

You can reach Dick Yarbrough at or at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139

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