You’ve been dad since your dog Max died, really sad. And it’s made you wonder who in your town is really happy. Why not find out once and for all?

Start with the Lipschitz house. Mr. Lipschitz drives a BMW, has a kid, Bobby, who’s getting straight A’s, and his wife has her own real estate business that’s been moving some pretty well-to-do properties. That family is definitely a top-contender for having the best, happiest life. But when you sneak up to their window tonight at 7 PM, you’ll be shocked to find them quietly eating their dinner, none of them talking, all of them frowning. It will look like they’re actually angry at their food. Then the son, Bobby, will ask, “Can I be excused?” Mr. and Mrs. Lipschitz will shrug. Mrs. Lipschitz will say, “What’s it matter? It’s all just a game to pass the time before we’re dead and tossed into the incinerator anyway.” Looks like when you peek behind the façade it isn’t all wine and roses in the Lipschitz house, and they are definitely not having the best life in town. Next!


The Hannigans look like a loving family. Mom and Dad who are all smiles, and three beautiful kids with lots of warmth and lots of happy nights playing board games or baking cookies together probably. Spend tonight living in their basement and holding a stethoscope up to the ceiling to hear what they’re doing. You won’t be able to listen for very long. There’s something really painful about hearing an entire family’s sobs through the floorboards via a stethoscope. That’s all the Hannigans do at night. They walk around sobbing, asking each other if there’s any point, any point at all. The Hannigans are so totally not living the happiest life in your town. Jesus, they should just split up and fend for themselves in the woods.


Gerald Lawrence seems to have it all figured out. He’s stayed single, despite many trysts with gorgeous women. He’s got a nice split-level in the sweet part of town, a summer house near the links in Myrtle Beach, and his business upholstering van interiors seems to be unstoppable. Break into Gerald’s house tonight and hide behind one of his ficus trees. Try not to exclaim when you watch Dennis berate himself for abandoning his ideals while watching a VHS tape of Live Aid. He does that every night. He got tickets to Live Aid and it was the last time he felt a part of something that matters. It’s been downhill for Dennis since Live Aid, and he is very clearly not living the happiest life in town.


Just take a brief peek into the windows of Maggie and Benjamin Forrester. They’re poor so, super unhappy. No need to make a federal case out of it.


It’s time to check out the family that has to be by far the happiest not just in your town, but in the whole world. The Summers family. Rich and Mary Summers run a thriving restaurant that only sells cotton candy, and their five daughters are all professional jugglers who have part time jobs at one of those farms that only exists to provide a place for puppies to play. Install a camera in their house tonight and their dinner will seem to be going perfectly. They’ll say Grace, thanking God for the wonderful gifts they’re about to eat. They’ll sing a little song about how there are never any clouds in the sky ever. Then they’ll eat dinner and talk about their day. It’ll all be a perfect scene, until Mrs. Summers goes to the kitchen and comes back with a bunch of Bic lighters and shouts, “Dessert!” Then everyone in the family, Mom, Dad and girls, will light their lighters and hold their arms over the flame, all of them exclaiming how nice it is to feel something honest. “ONLY PAIN IS HONEST!” one of the girls growls, and all her sisters agree. Eventually they all pass out in their chairs from the agony. Summers family, welcome to the losers circle!


Might as well check in with the mayor of your town. He does run the whole place and he has lots of power so maybe he’s— Whoops, he’s on the news because he paid a prostitute to bury him alive and the prostitute left him like that and when he was rescued he told the rescuers he was angry because being alone in that grave was the first time he felt like he knew how life was supposed to be lived. That’s one unhappy mayor!


Spend the day at home. Hunting for the happiest people in town has made you really sad, and you don’t want to do anything but sit in your big chair, drink some cocoa, and stare at a picture of your dearly departed dog, Max. Remembering Max, you really feel at peace. It’s the happiest you ever feel. Perhaps the happiest anyone in your town ever feels. In that chair you realize, when you stare at a photo of your dead dog, you’re the one! You’re the happiest person living the happiest life in your town! You should move.

Bob Powers is the author of several humor books, including Happy Cruelty Day! and You Are A Miserable Excuse For A Hero. Read his writing daily at Girls Are Pretty and follow him on Twitter at @bobpowers1.