In unhappiest U.S. city, one man spreads joy

marc acito
marc acito

Business Week ranked Portland, Ore. the unhappiest city in the U.S. due to the number of suicides, sales of antidepressants, high unemployment (still in the double digits) and 222 cloudy days. Likewise, MainStreet.com ranked Oregon dead last in its Happiness Index (although I'm suspicious because Nebraska is number one and who wants to live in Nebraska?).

But here in the Northworst, there's one ray of sunshine I can depend on: the smile on Mick's face.

You can't miss it. Unlike the sun, Mick ("Just call me Mick," he says.) shows up every day, standing on the sidewalk along the suburban thoroughfare Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, holding up a sign that advertises lunch specials at Round Table Pizza. Unlike most bored looking sign-holders a third his age, this 75-year-old Navy veteran can't contain his happiness. He waves, he whoops, he points at passing drivers as he makes eye contact with them.