SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

We're The Happiest State, In
The Whooooooole U-S-A!!!!



February 23, 2015
Monday PM

Ketchikan, Alaska -
Yep, yep, yep that Donna Fargo song is going through my head right now! (and now yours too).

jpg  Dave Kiffer

Speaking of which, what kind of name is Donna Fargo anyway? Sounds kinda like Hannah Montana or Bucky Kentucky or Alexis Texas. Yep, pretty made up . I'm gonna start calling myself Jerome Nome or Jack Sparrow Barrow or Snowbank S. Fairbanks.

Well, perhaps, not.

Anyway, those relentless polling folks, the Gallups, say that, as of right now, Alaska is the "happiest" state in these United States.


I would have thought "inebriated" was the happiest state in America.

But what do I know?

After polling some 176,000 of "our fellow Amaricuns," Gallup has determined that Alaskans are simply more happy, content, sanguine or whatever about their states of being than the residents of any other state in the country.

Certainly that is the case these past few weeks as some of us have sweltered in the 40+ temperatures as most of the rest of the country has been gripped by an "ice age" more dense than all those "global warming" deny-ers out there.

Of course "the global warming doesn't exist” folks point to the fact that the Great Lakes are 90 percent frozen as a sign the earth is not actually warming. What they don't realize is that the freezing of the Great Lakes this year was actually caused by Obamacare!

Get your conspiracies straight, people.

So, like I was just a saying, the Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index has determined that Alaskans have a greater sense of well-being than anyone else in America. This is not a complete surprise because we have finished in the Top 10 of these rankings four times in the past ten years.

But it's first year we are truly the pinnacle, the mighty acme, the gran queso, the happy-dappy-dappiest!

I mean, how often does anyone get to say they are "happier than a Hawaiian???"

Gotta wonder what happened in Alohaville to cause them to come in at number two.

Are they less happy?

Or are we just more happy?

Could it have anything to do with the fact that we legalized pot last year and the state legislature is now considering making "Don't Worry, Be Happy" the state song?

Possibly, but other chemically induced happy states like Colorado (6) and Washington (28) aren't nearly as happy as Alaska. Even Oregon which always has the greatest sense of "well being" in the universe (just ask its residents) checks in at a seriously "meh" 27th.

So, to what do we ascribe our greater sense of well being?

Gallup says that Alaskans are the only state in the top ten in all five categories in the survey: Purpose Well Being, Social Well Being, Financial Well Being, Community Well Being and Physical Well Being.

We are first over all in Purpose and second in both Financial and Physical well beings.

I've not sure about the "physical well being" part of that.

Just last week, it was reported that the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District believes that more than 40 percent of its students are suffering from serious pudgebutt-itis, which is the technical term for "not as lean as they oughtta be."

Perhaps the rest of the state is better off physically than Ketchikan, but I’ve been just about everywhere, Alaska-wise, and I don’t think so.

Just try riding in Steerage Class on Alaska Airlines and tell me the average Last Frontierian can’t afford to skip a few “in flight” snacks.

Of course, the KGBSD are the same well-meaning yahoos who sent us a letter last year warning us that our son - at that time around 5'4" and 98 pounds - was "overweight."

Since he can fit both his legs, his hips and both arms into one leg of my jeans, I do not believe he is overweight.

Because that would mean that I should shop in the "Mature Orca" aisle at Tongass.

Meanwhile, back to the point.

Breaking down the categories offers some clue as to why we did so well (and not just because we, Alaskans, are simply naturally awesome and darn right proud of ourselves).

The category that we topped the list in was "Purpose Well Being."

No, not porpoise well being.

Our Dall Porpoises are certainly highly self actualized and remarkably good at swimming around "porpoising." But you've seen "Flipper," right? Clearly bottle-nosed dolphins have to be the happiest fish (ok, mammal) on earth!

Purpose Well Being apparently means "liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals."

So how does that apply to day to day life in Alaska?

Well, except for the handful of Alaskans who truly do live on the edge of life and are one bad hunting trip away from starvation, we Alaskans like to overemphasize our own closeness to that wild, rugged, on-the-edge, stereotype that you see in all Alaskan-based reality TV.

Actually, Alaskan Based Reality TV is redundant. All reality TV these days is based in Alaska.

I know that is true because they just started filming "Real Wives of Meyers Chuck."

Anyway, we all simultaneously want everyone to believe that we Alaskans are "rugged, tough, outdoorsy, homesteading frontier folk" while at the same time we want to decry the fact that reality TV seems obsessed with video of "rugged, tough, outdoorsy, homesteading frontier folk." Which, of course, we realize is totally faked for the camera.

But, I'm sure that when Gallup called, the Alaskans who answered emphasized that we really "liked" being "rugged, tough, outdoorsy, homesteading frontier folk" and we were highly "motivated to achieve our primary goal," which was to survive, amongst the bear, wolves and mosquitoes the size of tractor trailers. That's our story and we're sticking to it.

We've already noted that the Physical Well Being has been called into question.

What about the other area where we ranked above almost every other state. Financial Well Being?

It's odd that we would feel good about "money" if we are indeed spending our whole lives bartering our whale blubber for our neighbors' sea otter pelts.

But, in truth, we Alaskans like to have a little jingle in our pockets. Always have. That's why gold is our state mineral. That differentiates us from other states like New Jersey where graft is the state pocket jingle.

Not that we don't have corruption here. It's just that if VECO-Gate taught us anything it was that our politicians can be bought so cheaply the crime barely rises to the level of a misdemeanor.

But I digress.

It should also be noted that these rankings are pretty fickle.

For example between 2013 and 2014, North Dakota went from No. 1 to No. 23. During that same period Alaska jumped from 16 to 1.

And even within a year there can be big changes, for example in 2010, Louisiana had a very high well-being index rating prior to Super Bowl XLIV (Geaux Saints!) and then Deepwater Horizon blew up a couple of months later and the state well-being cratered.

Fortunately, we Alaskans have a stronger sense of self importance than that. If fact, we ranked second in smugness, being edged only Oregonians!

And past surveys have had odd little outliers. For example, last year, North Dakota was number one over all?

The smuggest place in the whole country?


It is hard to imagine any reason why anyone living in "The Frigid Wasteland State" would be happy about it. Even if the state sport of "fracking" does sound vaguely naughty.

Then again, maybe Donna “Fargo” was on to something after all.

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Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
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