Friday, 21 July 2017

Always look on the bright side

David Davis is in bullish mood, as befits his Brexit Bulldog persona portrayed on Radio 4’s Dead Ringers. Meanwhile the malcontents of Remain spin yarns of endless protracted ‘transition deals’ which sound like nothing so much as the case of Jarndyce v Jarndyce in Bleak House, whereby the lawyers effectively spend all there was to be inherited. It’s as if some would prefer to see the country punished; brought to its knees in chains before the high and mighty EU and becoming a burden, rather than running free and becoming richer, to the benefit of all.

But this is the great human dichotomy, the contrast between optimism and pessimism played out every day on both the national stage and at the kitchen sink. Glass half full, glass half empty – for every positive outlook there is a Newtonian opposite reaction to dampen the mood. In every cloud, some find the silver lining; and while the optimist proclaims we live in the best of all possible worlds, the pessimist fears this is true.

Take the climate debate, for instance: None can know the future but just as preachers prophecy the end of days and the heavenly hereafter, the climatists claim to see the fireball of hell that awaits us – global warming – and set to appeasing Gaia by using yet more of her resources to build massive altars on which to sacrifice the nation’s wealth. Christopher Brooker’s excellent article is a must-read for those who see the futility at the heart of every shame-driven green project.

Where are the cheery bright-side observers? We need more men like Joe; the eternal optimist. At every bad situation he would always say “It could have been worse.”. The Somerset Levels floods? According to Joe it was a mere blip. The great financial crash? A simple correction. “It could have been worse” he blithely recited, with a grin, “It didn’t affect me at all, because I had no investments and nothing to lose.”

His three best friends hated this cheery acceptance of every ill wind as bringing sub-optimal gloom, so they came up with a story they thought not even Joe could find a worse scenario for. The next Saturday, only two of his friends showed up for their regular tee time. When Joe arrived’ slightly late, he looked at his watch and asked “Where's Geoff?”

One of the others said ”Didn't you hear? Yesterday, Geoff found his wife in bed with another man, shot them both, and then turned the gun on himself.” Joe looked shocked, but then shook his head and declared “That’s terrible... but it could have been worse.” His friends were aghast and one asked, “How the hell could it have been worse? Your best friend just killed himself, his wife and her lover!” And Joe replied, “Yes, but if it had happened two days ago, it would have been me!”

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