Pine nuts: The happiest place on Earth |

Pine nuts: The happiest place on Earth

McAvoy Layne / Columnist
McAvoy Layne

Is Disneyland really the happiest place on Earth? No, actually, for the sixth year in a row it happens to be Finland. While Mickey & Minnie are being distracted by Florida’s governor, Finland’s national animal, Otso the Big Brown Bear, is as contented as, well, a teddy bear in his lair.

So why is Finland rated the happiest country in the world, anyways? My guess is because they know when they have enough, while we Americans (#15) are always craving more. There is zero moral guilt in America for possessing more than one needs, while all too many Americans are unhoused.

Finns recreate in their abundance of nature, make more music than most, and swim more than we do. But we have pickleball, and pickleball will be the saving of us.

Finns exercise their freedom much like Robert Frost, “You have freedom when you’re easy in your harness,” while we exercise our freedom with road rage. Road rage is so prevalent in America today that Antsy McClain’s song is no longer as funny as it is commonplace: “I was just flipped off by a silver haired old lady with a ‘Honk if You Love Jesus’ sticker on the bumper of her car.”

I would humbly suggest we adopt a new international hand-sign to mitigate road rage, the “OK” sign. That should help to calm everybody down. Then too, when we get home, we can cast a shadow of that OK hand-sign up onto the wall, and tell the kids it’s a bunny traffic cop.

So then, why is it that America remains so alluring to hordes of refugees? Easy, we remain one of the countries on Planet Earth that is ruled by laws and not men, so far. 

Our mutual friend, Mark Twain, tells us, “We all do no end of feeling, and then mistake it for thinking.” Perhaps that’s where we find ourselves in this 21st century, feeling too much, and thinking too little. Twain had his finger on the pulsebeat of America when he warned us away back in 1899, “America, you are eating too much mental sugar; you will bring on Bright’s Disease of the intellect.”

Finland has a broader safety net than we do, which provides more security, which in turn provides more contentment. And then maybe Finns aren’t any happier than we are after all. Maybe their expectations are more moderate. We aspire to the American Dream, while they content themselves with acquisition of basic needs.

Some Finns are suggesting that their happiness might be greater than it is, if they were to drop to second place in the happiest places ledger, and free themselves from the scrutiny of being number one.

Meanwhile, Otso continues to stand atop the world for happiness, while Mickey & Minnie duke it out in court with the governor…

In closing, I would like to repeat and emphasize my maxim, “Pickleball will be the saving of us.”

Hope to see you…

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

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