A Happy Planet

That the pursuit of happiness could turn sour, seems …
well, an un-American thought, and yet it does.
Take “Hunky Dory World,” for example. You never
heard of it? I’m not surprised, it’s a planet at the other
end of our galaxy.

On Hunky Dory, happiness is the law of the land and
citizens are commanded to be happy under penalty of
death. A ridiculous idea, you say? Yes, it is, but
religious ideas could easily become ridiculous
impositions in a theocracy, especially, when
such ideas are taken literally. And Hunky Dory is a
one nation, one religion, one world theocracy ruled
by the Supreme Felicitous Council.

It’s said, in their Holy Book, that when the Supreme
Divine Prophet, Hilarious, was born, the twin suns
which circle Hunky Dory’s sky went dark at that
instant— a double eclipse; a good omen indeed,
since darkness is a rare commodity on a planet in
a binary star system. From an early age, Hilarious’
smile, his constant sunny disposition, his charisma,
made him irresistible. Crowds gathered around him.
His followers wanted not only to be with him, but to
be like him. They asked for his secret formula for
happiness. He had none, but out of compassion
uttered, what he thought, were some harmless,
self-evident truths:

“Suffering is bad, neither cause yourself, nor others
suffering. Happiness is good! To live happily, to make
others happy, is our sacred duty. The only life worth
living, is a happy life. I would rather be dead, than
live in sadness.”

He said many other wonderful things in his Gospel of
Happiness, but those above were the three main dicta
that as interpreted by the mad theologian,
Naggingjuna, transformed Hunky Dory into a
compulsory happiness police state. On that draconian,
happy planet, there is no sickness, deformities,
disabilities, ugliness, madness, and no crime. And of
course, no depression, or unhappiness. Anyone found
to be suffering from any of these, is summarily put to
death by order of the happiness tribunals. As if this
were not enough, the Reverend Naggingjuna exhorted
all citizens to be vigilant and kill any family member
who they suspected was unhappy, or caused
unhappiness within the family or state.

Outrageous, that could never happen on Earth, you
say? Don’t be so sure. Right here in some countries,
women are killed by their relatives with impunity for
dishonoring their families. And what is dishonor, but
just a form of unhappiness? In India, thousands of
women are killed by their in-laws for giving birth
only to daughters. But these things are too sad to
contemplate, let’s go back to our happy planet.

As you can well imagine, Hunky Dory, is sparsely
populated, and this is a good thing on a planet
where people prefer to live alone. Even “happily”
(what else?) married couples live in separate
households. And who could blame them? Imagine
waking up a little grumpy, and while sipping your
coffee, having your spouse cap you one behind
your ear for your own good. On Hunky Dory, to
practice euthanasia is more than a religious duty,
it’s a passion.

But let me be fair, it’s not that cities in Hunky
Dory are like South Los Angeles. Although,
euthanasia is the leading cause of death,
thousands of years of natural selection has bred
a very cheerful population, or at least, one quite
adept at faking happiness. True, when alone and
unobserved, Hunky Dorians could be moody and
irascible, and their furniture bears the marks
of kicks and other forms of abuse. In reality,
these people look with deep nostalgia to their
childhood, when they were allowed to be as
miserable as they wanted, when tears and
tantrums were considered normal.

Only the bravest of the brave dare live with
another under the same roof. Let’s imagine
a breakfast conversation between husband
and wife:

“John, my dear, what’s wrong with you today?”

John puts his newspaper down, and gives his
wife a concerned look, “I can’t possibly imagine
why you said that. I feel smashing! Never felt
better! I’m bursting with joy!” He burps softly.

“Excuse me.”

“Hmm! Never mind, it must be my imagination.
But frankly, darling, lately… you don’t seem
your cheerful self.”

“What rubbish, Matilda! If I were any happier,
it would kill me.” John laughs a little too loud.
“Could it be that you are projecting? Maybe, it
is you who are unhappy and can’t face the fact?”

“Oh, what nonsense! You are truly nasty, today!”
She goes to her bedroom and slams the door
behind her. He goes to his, locks the door, and
begins packing.

One Response to “A Happy Planet”

  1. keith Says:

    “The beatings will continue until moral improves”

    I heard one of the inhabitants was sentenced to be….

    Hung by the neck until happy.

    good story !

    could be good to have them read/dramatized

    google “escape pod” for details and examples

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