Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery






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Monday, August 22, 2005


Half-Full, Dammit

I come from a family that is largely Swiss. When thinking of the Swiss as a people, one might assume that they'd have to be at least somewhat optimistic. Eating all that chocolate and cheese, it would be safe to assume, should leave them with a sunshiny outlook. Their actions during World War II also seem to indicate optimism. I can just picture them thinking, "Hey, the Jews are gonna come through this whole 'ghetto' thing, we better keep their money and artwork safe for them until they get back." Oddly enough, then, optimism doesn't come especially naturally to me.

As a kid, I didn't bother to clap to bring Tinkerbell back to life because the odds were that Peter Pan was just going to shit all over her anyway. When I was single and dating, I had an uncanny knack for imagining the myriad ways that a girl in whom I was interested could cut me off at the ankles, a very effective way to talk yourself out of asking someone out. I kinda figured that President Douschehose would get re-elected last year and I was fucking right.

And yet, despite a tendency toward pessimism, I try. I believe optimism is important. I believe you really have to try to see how things could go well, no matter how bleak things look. Because the alternative is to give up crawl into a sack of cat turds.

So I'm going to try to be as hopeful as I can. I'm going to fight my impulses. The Indians just swept a series with Baltimore, they're only eight and a half games back of the suddenly slumping White Sox, they're gaining ground in the Wild Card race and they've got stands coming up against Tampa Bay, Toronto and Detroit. The Tribe has a pretty good shot at the Wild Card now and they could even conceivably win the AL Central. Sure, this is usually when they'd go on a twelve-game losing streak and fuck themselves right out of contention, but I'm going to do my best to assure myself that that isn't going to happen. They're going all the way, baby!

I just read a story this morning on Salon about a group of Democratic money-men (sorry, "money-people") who have set up a fund that will give grants to think-tanks and other organizations who will work to train young liberals. The GOP has been doing this shit for decades and it's paid off big-time for them. They've out-thought the Democrats pretty much since the '94 congressional elections (Clinton's '96 re-election had fuck-all to do with the Democratic party; he was just cool) and it's come time for us to do something a bit different. A pessimist might see this as too little, too late. Not me. I think that Bush has just fucked up too much too visibly. I think that this is the time for Democrats to seize the momentum. I think that money put toward teaching a young generation of liberals--who might otherwise waste their time smoking pot and listening to Coldplay on their iPods--how to stop a charging Rove is money well-spent.

There's a new Terry Gilliam movie opening soon. This opening has, I believe, been bumped back a couple of times. The film stars Heath Ledger and Matt Damon. But I'm not going to assume that it sucks. I'm not going to buy into that line of thought. I'm going to assume that Gilliam's vision as a director will trump any script problems or the shortcomings of his leading men. I'm going to march into the theater on opening weekend and enjoy the hell out of it, perfect or not.

Cynicism is funny. And it's cool. But if I took nothing else from years of Star Wars movies and Justice League comics, I took at least the notion that it's good to believe that things can turn out okay.