The Secret Society of Happy People Spills the Coffee Beans

Cheers: Ten years have passed since we last spoke with Pamela Gail Johnson of Lewisville, founder of the Secret Society of Happy People. As you might have noticed, life for many has deteriorated somewhat since 1998, when the society, which promotes happiness, was created. So, we wondered how she was faring.

The society is into blogging now on its site,, and we couldn't help but notice the posts seemed a little thin, so we wanted to make certain Johnson was holding the line, happiness-wise. We also figured if anyone could give us a reason to feel cheerful, Johnson was that person. Apparently, we're not alone.

"It's ironic that anytime there's what you call a global stress point, we get a lot of hits on the [society's] Web site," Johnson said.

Personally, when Buzz is feeling globally stressed, we prefer hits from a bottle of Irish whiskey, but if posts titled "I Still Believe in Santa Claus" or a video of a terrier that likes to pop balloons can cheer up visitors to the society's Web site, who are we to judge?

Johnson has been busy compiling the society's list of happy events in 2008, which we imagined must be pretty short, but strangely, it's been easier this year than 2007, which "was a tough list," she said. This year we had a historic election and falling gas prices. That's pretty happy news, she pointed out—unless, of course, you're Republican or employed in the oil industry, in which case you're probably somewhat miserable.

Heh, heh, that Johnson...we knew she'd say something to cheer us up. Strangely, "schadenfreude" isn't on her site's "happy moment inventory," which includes 31 types of happiness.

Buzz reminded her that we last spoke 10 years ago. "Wow," she said. "I feel old." Great, we thought, we're bumming Ms. Happy. To change the subject, we asked her to tell us something to make us cheerful. She paused. "Is there a Starbucks near you?" she asked. It's cold, and so we could get something warm to drink. That should make us happy.

Not unless Starbucks has started serving Bushmills, we thought, but bless her heart, she was trying. She continued gamely: "At the end of the year, people have the tendency to express the best in themselves...During the holidays, people are looking for reasons to be giving, which is a type of happiness, by the way," she said.

She's right, of course. So, if anyone is looking to give Buzz an Xbox, say, or a bottle of booze, please know that you'll make both you and us very happy.

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Patrick Williams is editor-in-chief of the Dallas Observer.
Contact: Patrick Williams