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THE LOWDOWN: Happiness is . . .

Richard Hoad

THE LOWDOWN: Happiness is . . .

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At the risk of getting more lashes, let me say white people is boss. The whole world wants to dress, look and live like white people. They define terms like “recession”, “development”, and even apparently, “misery”.
It doesn’t matter if you’re living in an island paradise with a sexy chick, enjoying local food and a daily sea bath in a crystal-clear, unpolluted lagoon. If the white people say you’re miserable, you are.
I only heard of the Misery Index recently. Venezuela is the most miserable country. Jamaica is at number five; so much for marijuana. We clock in at 27. But how is it judged?
One fellow blamed David Comissiong. He reasoned the white people check every country’s papers. David is in our papers nearly every day complaining about Venezuela, a man at Bushy Park, the police, something. So the white people figure we Bajans live in misery.
It isn’t nothing so. Apparently an American, Arthur Okun, defined the Misery Index as the inflation rate added to the unemployment rate. So I ran a check.
My inflation rate for old A69 is 26 psi in the front tyres, 36 psi in the back, average 31. Re: unemployment, I drive tractor on the farm, milk goats, bale hay, maintain everything. The wife cooks, milks goats, controls finance, bottles and delivers milk. Daughter handles kids, records, makes bayleaf/goat’s milk drink. Ten-year-old Raffie drives the tractor, chases goats. Three-year-old Dom steers the tractor, gives general instructions.
There is, however, one unemployed male member who hangs around doing nothing. He would like to get in on the action but my wife feels he doesn’t take his time to do a good job since he always finishes so quickly. So he’s reduced to exercising himself manually on a regular basis in case he’s ever required to rise to the occasion.
That’s one out of six or 16 per cent. Add the inflation and Okun would say I’m miserable as hell. But I’m not.
You know what ticks me off here? Okun could have called it the Unemflation Index, which it is. Or the Infloyment Index. No problem. But the Misery Index? Misery is a pejorative word denoting human unhappiness. That cannot be calculated from inflation and unemployment figures. The term “Misery Index” (like “junk status”) serves only to denigrate countries.
But why not instead be positive and come up with a Happiness Index? What would make for happiness in a country?
First, a friendly people. I love Bajan people who wave as they pass. Like a sexy female who shouted at me while power walking past my field on Monday. “Whuh yuh got for the poor?” I shouted back. “Only me,” she answered. “Ah coming.” “Ah waiting.”
A feeling of security and justice. I feel safe in Barbados. But we need to see the number of murders matched by murderers hanged except for self-defence, accidents or provocation.
Good food, and ours is the best in the world.
The nook-nook situation. Are we keeping up with the accepted three times a week average?
Wife quarrellings per annum. For men married over 20 years, I understand the record is three days claimed by a fellow whose wife had laryngitis. The rest of us would be happy if for just one day in a year we didn’t get quarrelled with by our wives.
Intact sovereignty. Monday’s NATION carried an article from the Financial Times where Harvard economist Martin Feldstein had predicted that the euro could lead to renewed conflict in Europe, even a third world war. It went on: “At a time when anti-EU sentiment is at an all-time high in nearly every eurozone country . . . nobody believes ‘more Europe’ is a realistic solution.” Yet there are still jokers clamouring for more CARICOM with us reduced to parish status.
Horlicks availability. With thanks to Mr Michael King of Collins for sending me a most welcome supply.
My Barbados is a happy place undeserving of any misery rating. To top it off, Dr Sparman has quoted research on how one can identify male homos: their first (index) finger tends to be longer than the third.
What evolutionary advantage this affords them I don’t even want to know. But it means it’s now safe to be with such a fellow if your back is to the wall.
But only if . . . 
• Richard Hoad is a farmer and social commentator.