Charles at the Beach: Pessimist finds positivity positively challenging

Charles M. Kelly

I’m a pessimist. No, I don’t say the glass is half empty because that’s factually incorrect.

Even if put water in a glass to the middle point of the container, the bottom half of glass will be filled with liquid and top half will be filled with air.

I want to know if the water is fit for human consumption.

Perhaps a better example: one day when I was 9 I had a revelation—one day I would die and the world would continue without me.

(It might be genetic. My mother worried constantly that I wasn’t pessimistic enough.)

Earlier this year, I said something negative in the office. My co-worker Donna got fed up with my negativity and challenged me to be positive for an entire day—her birthday.

I’ve tried this before. Many years ago, I tried to say something positive and the editor at the adjacent desk said I was depressing him. (Just the other day, my boss said life is wonderful. I said, “For as long as it lasts.” A co-worker groaned.)

Fortunately, I had a month to practice positivity. While I can’t prove it, I’m convinced my co-workers were placing bets.

None of us was sure I could pull it off.

The day came, a Friday. A couple of co-workers said it was a little creepy. (Gee, guys, thanks for the support.)

By the time I was ready to go home, Donna was happy.

I was exhausted all weekend.

A couple of weeks later, I turned 61.

I hope Donna doesn’t want to make this a tradition.

That said—I’ve always wanted to publish a pair of opposing opinions at the same time in the Sun—a “point/counterpoint.” Problem: people send in their opinions randomly. I wouldn’t want to hold back one person’s opinion until another person sent in an opposing opinion.

Anyone out there want to argue positivity versus pessimism, 800 words each? Or would you like to debate “said is dead,” a writing “movement” I profoundly disagree with?

Note: This column is based on a post I put on my personal social media account.
It was ironically inspired, ironically enough, by a suggestion from Dr. Marissa Pei, author of “Eight Ways to Happiness.”

Charles M. Kelly is associate editor of the Sun Newspapers. He’s also a grouch.