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Report: Californians Both Unhappy and Suicidal, Bucking National Trend

Some wacky new statistics are out this morning on a seemingly backward worldwide trend: In general, states and countries with higher rates of happiness also happen to have the highest rates of suicide. Weird, right? The study's authors have a theory: "Personal unhappiness may be at its worst when surrounded by those who are relatively more content with their lives."

But not in California! We're happy (slash depressed) to report that Californians rank in the very bottom of U.S. states for happiness, and the very top for suicides.

At least we're consistent?

Chicks in candy bikinis apparently aren't enough to warm our collective West Coast heart: California ranks 46th among U.S. states for "life satisfaction." That's not quite as bad as New York, which comes in at a frowny-faced 51st, but considering the sunshine ratio between us, we're ashamed to even be within a few spots.

Anyway, in most other states, New York included, a public aura of gloominess is enough to make everyone feel like -- hey, at least I'm not as depressed as everyone else! -- and not go so far as to kill themselves. But here, we just do it anyway: California ranks 4th for most suicides in America.

Goddammit. Not a good day for our national reputation as a shiny, happy Hollywoodland of convertible joyrides and infinite groupies.

That's us, way over in left field:

Report: Californians Both Unhappy and Suicidal, Bucking National Trend

Hamilton College

Ouch. At least neighboring Nevada can commiserate.

So we have a theory (stick with us here): We think Californians are so good at pretending they're happy, what with all the Xanax and perma-smile facelifts, that they fool all those on the brink into thinking they're surrounded by superhuman sunshine machines. The false sense of satisfaction in the air thus sets off the same trend of suicides that would occur in a place like Alabama, where more residents are (inexplicably) stoked on life and more likely to convince the depressed among them to kill themselves.

In conclusion: Can we just agree to tell each other how truly unstoked on life we are, instead of all killing ourselves because we can't live up to some false ideal?

Phew. Happiness is so complicated these days. Just this weekend, another peace 'n' love drum circle at Venice Beach turned into a total stabfest and a sweet Valley high was slathered in swastikas.

Cheer up, California! And please, put down the pills. They're making your French manicure look fat.

[@simone_electra/swilson@laweekly.com]