Archive | April, 2011

Bliss is Ignorance

19 Apr

Tom Cruise showing his ignorance

Results of a study released last week claimed that Americans are happier than the British. Wrong: Americans are just more ignorant. If they had any awareness of reality, they would wipe that smile off their collective face immediately.

The study, conducted over the past three months, measured ‘wellbeing’, based on factors such as emotional and physical health, work environment, and access to food and shelter. People in the US scored a higher contentment rating within these categories than those in the UK. But if they considered the facts, they would realise how foolish they are to feel so blissful.

For example, believe it or not, Britons are healthier than Americans. You may drop your KFC bucket in shock at this, but we Brits actually have lower rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol than our friends across the pond. The British have better basic access to healthcare, and are healthier eaters, consuming more fruits and vegetables than the Yanks.

Now, this information shouldn’t give us too much cause for British pride: we aren’t exactly the finest specimens of our species. With one in four Brits being obese, we are a nation stagnating in our office chairs and living-room sofas, eating ourselves to our necessarily oversized graves. What it does show is that, however apocalyptic the state of British health, the Americans are in a far worse shape.

President Obama showing his wisdom

They suffer slightly worse levels of obesity, don’t exercise nearly enough, and have much worse access to healthcare. Still waiting for that operation on the NHS? Your American counterpart doesn’t even have a place in the queue, and has probably resorted to crudely hacking at his own body à la 127 Hours, or having a stab at his own triple heart bypass. In fact, beloved childhood board game ‘Operation’ was invented in Illinois  – presumably to prepare American citizens for the necessity of performing their own surgery.

If Americans only knew better, they would see that there is very little cause for joy, whichever side of the Atlantic you’re from. As well as our health levels deteriorating faster than Colonel Gaddafi’s face, both our nations are also facing bleak economic prospects. Jobs are being cut, public services decimated, and prices are spiralling out of control.

Those of us who haven’t already retired will have to work until we’re 103, by which time we’ll be too old and decrepit to travel further afield than our local library – which by then won’t exist and will have been replaced by a Tesco Express – and we’ll have to live off a pension that’s barely enough to cover the cost of a Pot Noodle each week.

Wise beyond his years

In the meantime, we’re waging war with every oil-containing nation we can find, while half the world’s countries are being ravished by tornadoes, earthquakes or floods. Our carbon footprints are ballooning even more than our waistlines, fossil fuels will run out in our lifetime, and, whatever your attitude towards climate change, the polar icecaps are melting so fast that, before long, humanity will be a distant, drowned memory.

 

So there’s nothing to be happy about – but, unlike us Brits, the Americans don’t seem to have noticed.

Luxmy Gopal

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