Pursuit of happiness doesn’t mean you get what you want


Guest Columnist

I wrote a tongue in cheek article about the Declaration of Independences statement of the “Pursuit of Happiness.” This is a partial response to a guest editorial in the Record a couple of weeks ago that ended with a comment about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

In the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence it says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

These are the results of my own pursuit of happiness.

When I was small and bawled and squalled because I didn’t get what I wanted, I got a swat on the bottom for my pursuit of happiness.

When I was older and whined and cried because I didn’t get what I wanted, I had to stand in the corner and cry for three to five minutes depending on the severity of the injustice I created in my pursuit of happiness.

When I started grade school and didn’t think it was necessary to follow the general guidelines of the teacher I was deprived of outside recess and made to sit quietly and read a book in my pursuit of happiness.

When in high school and skipped last hour study hall in my pursuit of happiness, I was suspended from school and had to bring my parents into school to get reinstated.

Still in high school, when I couldn’t behave in last hour study hall, I and a couple of others were locked in a room across the hall, yes locked in – in my pursuit of happiness.

Also in high school, in my higher algebra class I was given 79 to the 50th power for some infraction of the teacher’s rules in my pursuit of happiness.

I worked for a farmer in the summers of my high school years. This farmer had lots of pigs and I shoveled a lot of liquid pig manure

for 60 cents an hour in My Pursuit of Happiness.

After high school I left home the following summer to go to Montana and did not write or call home very often much to the disappointment of my parents in my pursuit of happiness.

I was laid off from work and I was docked two days of unemployment compensation because I didn’t take a one-day job that I was offered — in my pursuit of happiness

I could cite many more instances where I didn’t get my way in my pursuit of happiness because I didn’t agree with the rules or the values of others that were being forced upon me.

In my pursuit of happiness in later life, there entered another presence, a being of higher power, a creator, whom I choose to call God.

When this creator entered my life, my pursuit of happiness became easier.

A continuation of the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence says, “That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any forms of government become destructive to these ends it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such forms as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

In reading the Declaration of Independence, there is nowhere that I can find that it says the government shall provide nor guarantee my happiness.

And my journey continues in the pursuit of happiness.


Peter C. Larsen is a resident of Freedhem.

  • John Snell

    Ah, but they do even though it’s not in writing. Its what the government does that enables you to pursue your happiness. You probably don’t see it.