Happy yet?

A question asked of the people of Somerville, Mass. The exact wording of the census question, according to the NYTimes, was: “How happy do you feel right now?”  Another asked, “How satisfied are you with your life in general?” One of the 7,500 replied rather wishfully: “I would like to be three inches taller and speak Quecha fluently.” For those not planning a trek to the central Andes of South America, the wish might be more local, to understand a family member, a daughter, say, whose boyfriend traveled to London to see the wedding. At home she’d be bitter, sullen, while both her boyfriend’s apartment and his spanking new 56 inch Samsung—bought a month earlier for “Nature” and “This Planet of Ours”—remained dark. The short man’s longings for three inches of growth, a kinship with Andean mountaineers, are all we know, even less of others in this “blue collar bastion with a growing population of professionals and academics.” The Times reporter dug no deeper.  A shame, I thought.