Siesta strategy for longevity in the fast lane

GORDON BURNSIDE
Last updated 07:34 27/12/2012

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OPINION: If you're reading this, obviously we're all still alive and the Mayans either didn't know what they were calendaring about or we didn't know how to read it.

I can tell you now I never believed for a moment that the world was going to end.

I reasoned that if the world was going to end the CIA would know about it and so would our SIS and every other acronym ever dreamed up. They would have told John Key, Barack Obama, Julia Gillard, Nelson Mandela, Harry Duynhoven and every other world and business leader and they would have spent all of our money instead of only wasting 99 per cent of it.

I was also comforted somewhat by the silence from the guys of Gisborne. We heard from them loud and clear before the new millennium - the last time the world was going to end - that they'd be the first to see it, but this time, not a dickie bird.

On a good day I would think that was positive reinforcement of it being all rubbish, but on a bad one it would be more likely they were too terrified at the prospect.

The feeling doom might have been approaching did have an effect, though, even on business. I detected an air of dejected inevitability and loss of focus just under the skin and it was hard to complain about much.

If the truth were ever known, and it won't be, more than a few, including me, would not have been surprised if it had been all over on the predicted day.

I even idly wondered if it was calculated on GMT (our time) or United States West Coast time and whether they'd allowed for daylight saving.

At least I mused that if it was GMT it would be of brief consolation to know the Yanks would finally realise there was another place in the world besides their joint, if only for a brief instant in time when it ended a day early for them. Just because you made the movie doesn't give you all the rights, as Peter Jackson and his Hobbits might learn very soon.

So now we can all be happy; the end of the world is going to happen on some other date and we can get on with it again with a new confidence. Happiness is an interesting phenomenon whose secret might still elude the bulk of us for some time. We see in a recent worldwide happiness poll we are not even mentioned, at least in the top 10 countries.

South and Central American countries dominate the list, filling seven of the top 10 spots. Why? They have no money or wealth as we know and value it? Maybe it's because they got rid of those pesky Mayans with their natural tendency towards doom and gloom.

When we delve a little further into that top 10 most annoyingly happiest of people we see it also includes the Philippines; nowhere near South America but sharing with the others the simplicity of national and personal brokeness.

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They also share another and perhaps more unique factor - they are all former Spanish colonies. So they are largely corrupt but very sociable; they are tribal but they look after each other; they are lazy but they are also very passionate; they enjoy siesta (nana naps) every day and enjoy fiestas all the time.

Also, they have no real healthcare but when someone dies they all mourn for them and share, then they are fantastically happy again.

Typhoons and hurricanes regularly smash the result of the work they do get involved in but they just shrug and get happy again.

They're nearly all Catholics but somehow they escaped the associated guilt, so what could be their secret to happiness?

It can't be a strong work ethic; otherwise we'd be at the top of the list and they'd be at the bottom. It can't be our welfare system, because we don't see Winz employees leapfrogging to work delighted by the prospect of another day dealing with their happy clients.

It can't be slaving after money, or the biggest and best TV, jetski, boat or house. I think it's actually something we could do here to great and happy effect for everyone. I think it's the siesta.

Have a fantastically happy New Year! See me on facebook.com/ burnside.of.life - but not during siesta time!

- Taranaki Daily News

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