Here's a depressing thought to kick off your week: Every year, a Gallup poll asks American adults about their quality of life, then sorts the results by geographic area. The queries include things like, "Did you experience feelings of happiness during a lot of the day yesterday?" and "Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your job or the work you do?"
Yesterday, the New York Times published a national map of the 2010 survey results. And lo and behold, Florida's 17th Congressional District -- stretching from Hollywood south to North Miami -- took the prize for the "most people who felt sad a lot during the previous day."*
Damn. So that sinking feeling in our guts is actually statistically significant? How can
It's not the pill mills or the acres of foreclosed homes. Perhaps it's the incipient political corruption or the lack of artistic culture beyond tramp stamps and Jimmy Buffett cover bands.
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Surely it's not the dating scene, which is truly euphoric for those over 75. And it can't be a scarcity of intellectual stimulation, because Florida's public education system is stellar.
It's not that we live in gated communities, surrounded by strip malls and isolated from the few neighbors who aren't convicted sex offenders. It's not the fraud or the dead bodies that keep showing up in canals. It has nothing to do with our penchant for bulldozing forests and draining swamps in favor of condo complexes.
The fact is, we live in a land of abundant sunshine and glittering beaches. Isn't that enough for you people?
*Note, the sad statistic appeared in the print edition of the map, not the online version.