Economists have a mythical figure called the misery index. It is the total of the unemployment rate added to the inflation rate. This summer in the U.S. it’s running about 13.0. The lower the better. In both the ’90s and ’00s it’s been as low as 7.

To calculate indexes like this, the conclusion can be broadly accurate. But, to make it more personal, one can include more variables. For instance, take one inch of rain as a factor. The misery index of an alfalfa farmer with hay on the ground would be 15.6. It would have been 16.0 except his prize pumpkin patch was getting parched.

Or say you were entered up in Cheyenne at the big rodeo and that one inch of rain fell the hour before you were to compete in the bull dogging. Your misery index could be as high as the weight of your hazer!

Another broad category would be the temperature. At the Winter Olympics, the misery index would rise as the temperature did. But say Billy Bob went to the three-day tailgate party at the Oklahoma vs. Kansas football game. The hotter it got in the parking lot, the more beer you could hold! So the misery index would decline!

To personalize the misery index even more … and remember lower is better, you could include factors like:

• years since you bought a new pair of boots + unemployment + inflation or