169
September 29, 2000

Pursuit of Happiness

We as a nation declared our independence based on, among other things, the right to pursue our happiness. But what does it mean, over two centuries later, to grow up in a country with an inalienable right to pursue happiness? Stories of people pursuing happiness, and sometimes, achieving it.
Act One

One Man's Treasure Is Another Man's Trash

David Rakoff tells a story about an actual pursuit—a scavenger hunt—that takes hundreds of hours to create ... done for the sheer pleasure of it. (18 minutes)

Song:

“Everybody's Gonna Be Happy” by The Kinks
Act Three

When Irish Eyes Are Smiling

Every year, the Emerald Society, an association of Irish Chicago police officers, flies in policemen from New York City for Chicago's two big St. Patrick's Day Parades. Every year they're met by a group of Chicago South Side women, who are big big fans of the NYPD. This American Life producer Julie Snyder tells the story. (11 minutes)
Act Four

How To Be Happy, One Man's Guide

Finding happiness is serious business. At least, for most us, it requires an act of will. Nancy Updike tells the story of a boxing coach named Marcus Johnson, and how he decided to turn something that made him unhappy...into the opposite. (18 minutes)