Happiness is an elusive thing. Some people seem to come by it naturally, while others keep waiting around for it to show up.
Some people are willing to go out and look for it. My brother Todd is like that.Last year he contracted a case of giardia - from the drinking water from his kitchen faucet - and after taking a deluge of antibiotics thought he was cured.
Todd wasn't permanently cured. He had a bout again this weekend and called to say he had to cancel his plans to go camping with a group of us.
Then, about 11 o'clock that night, Todd and his family pulled into our campsite.
"What are you doing here?" I asked him. "Are you feeling better?"
"No," he said, "but I figured I could be sick out here as well as I could be sick at home. At least this way I have a chance of having some fun."
Even though the Declaration of Independence explicitly mentions that Americans have the God-given right to pursue happiness, it seems that many of us are not very good at it. According to Psychology Today, the United States ranked 12th among 39 countries rated in a recent study on happiness.
The study makes some interesting points.
It turns out the adage that money doesn't buy happiness isn't true. People in rich nations are generally happier than those in poor ones. Who can blame them? Unfortunately, a few die-hard Americans are still trying to prove the saying true.
For some reason, one-third of the wealthiest Americans are less happy than the average man on the street. So material comforts alone don't lead to lasting happiness.
Cold weather doesn't seem to hurt happiness either. Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark all made the top 10 in the happiness survey.
Some people study happiness, even chart its course on a global basis.
Other people pursue it. I asked Todd at the end of the weekend if he had fun. "Yeah, I did," he said, smiling. "It was definitely worth it."
So there it is. Happiness is attainable if you're willing to look for it - with or without diarrhea.