August 16, 2007

And Just What Trickery is This?

FULLY 94 PERCENT OF AMERICANS are either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with how things are going in their lives, according to a recent edition of The Harris Poll, while 92 percent of Americans believe their own lives will stay about the same or get even better in the next five years.

The poll also found that young people and people in my age bracket were even happier and more optimistic about their lives and the future than the population at large. As one might expect, I found these results surprising to say the least. Actually, to be perfectly blunt, I was stunned to hear about them.

Utterly gobsmacked. Completely dumbfounded. Totally amazed.

I mean, I don't know about you, but I only know a few people who are very satisfied with how things are going in their lives, and not all that many who are somewhat satisfied. Certainly I'm not, and I think I have a pretty good existence compared to most people. I mean, if I really wanted to dwell on things, I think I could come up with a good list of things I'm not happy about, even though my doing so would be unmanly and tiresome. (I wouldn't say I'm really unsatisfied with how things are going, but I'm kind of in this middle ground where I'm annoyed and alienated and full of vinegar and in a bad mood a lot. This makes for good blogging, so let's not upset the apple cart too much).

And I'm not the only one either. I mean, I think most people I know are feeling kind of blahed out right now for whatever reason(s) and are vaguely hoping or looking for improved circumstances, but they're certainly not expecting them to come down the pike anytime soon.

But a big reason I don't understand these results is that they come from The Harris Poll, which is conducted by one of America's best and most well-respected polling outfits. Normally, the company's data are beyond reproach, its methodologies are sound, and its questions are so thought-provoking and lively that no one would ever think to question their results.

We know this because The Harris Poll from Sept. 26 proved conclusively that the Pittsburgh Steelers are America's favorite football team. Fully one out of six football fans root for the black-and-gold, a ratio I would note beats out those of the goddamned Dallas Cowboys and the wretched Indianapolis Colts. The poll also found only four percent of the American football public are fans of the Cincinnati Bengals and even fewer like the Baltimore Ravens.

Sure, I know what you're thinking: "But how could it be otherwise?" Well, I agree this poll wasn't really necessary, as everyone knows the Pittsburgh Steelers are America's Team and the Baltimore Ravens are evil. But the fact the poll results squared so well with the reality on the ground speaks volumes about the polling company's inherent soundness, professionalism and commitment to the truth.

This was again shown in a separate Harris Poll on Jan. 9 that found football was America's most popular sport. Fully 42 percent of Americans selected professional or college football as their No. 1 Sport, while baseball was the favorite sport of just 14 percent of Americans. Professional or college basketball ranked third with a combined 12 percent, while auto racing was America's No. 4 Sport. (Hockey was tied for fifth, along with men's golf). The poll also found football fans were better educated, made more money, and were generally much more fun to be around than fans of other sports. (Despite what I wrote above, I am fun to be around during football games).

So I'm faced with the disturbing dilemma that faces all non-believers. For, as Graham Greene might have put it, could what these men say possibly be true? Could it be possible that nearly everyone in America is happy and I am but an outlier on the graph, stewing in relative solitude along with the few other angry and embittered souls out there? My God, what a disturbing circumstance that would turn out to be.

But until I can be convinced otherwise, I must believe that some sort of inadvertent error -- perhaps some results were counted twice, or Harris did its polling at Disneyland -- contributed to these wacky and strange findings. For although Tertullian's old maxim is ringing in my mind -- it is certain because it is impossible -- I just have to think there's a perfectly rational explanation for all of this. And once I figure out what that is, I'll be able to enjoy some peace of mind. Ahhhh, peace of mind ...

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at August 16, 2007 12:01 AM | TrackBack
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