I've Got Happy Feet

Pam Johnson, founder of the Irving-based Secret Society of Happy People, may be onto something. As she says on the group's Web site (www.ssohp.com), "Somewhere between The Ed Sullivan Show and The Jerry Springer Show, talking about being happy became politically incorrect." People are almost afraid to be happy these days. After all, we think, isn't there too much crime, too much poverty, too much pollution to be unabashedly happy? Isn't gung-ho happiness the mark of a simpleton? Isn't it much more fashionable to be cynical, sardonic, and just a tad depressed?Johnson isn't put off by naysayers, and in fact is doing her cheery darnedest to reverse the trend. She started the SSOHP in August 1998, and in the two years since has seen the establishment of chapters in 11 other states. Her Web site boasts joy-inducing information (indoor plumbing is the happiest event of the 20th century!) and links (iskip.com for, um, skippers). Those who want to spread the word can buy T-shirts or bumper stickers to aid them in their jolly sloganeering. And this is the time of year when these happy hordes should be out en masse, as Johnson and her gleeful cohorts last year dubbed August Admit You're Happy Month.

In honor of this happiest of months, Johnson will be at Borders in Lewisville signing her book Don't Even Think of Raining on My Parade: The Adventures of the Secret Society of Happy People. In addition to spreading merriment through anecdotes about the society and other grin-generating stories, the book explores the different types of happiness (of which there are at least 300, of course). And no get-together of happy people would be complete without the requisite fun and games.

Drop by Borders, and maybe Johnson and her Secret Society of Happy People will get to you. Maybe you'll break out of your semi-doleful, complaining rut and let a big ol' goofy grin be your default expression. Then again, you'd better not. There's a reason it's a secret society.