Thursday, September 06, 2007


One of the cool things about gmail is that they have little snips of news stories, recipes, sometimes even quotations on the page above your emails. You can scroll back in case you missed one, or forward if you find that one more story on the Subprime meltdown will send you to the looney bin.

Yesterday, my gmail displayed the following quote from Paul Harvey, "I've never seen a monument erected to a pessimist."

I thought about that for a second. Almost immediately I came to the conclusion that Paul Harvey is an idiot. He's wrong, of course, because thousands of monuments exist paying homage to pessimism in many forms.

Here are the monuments I’ve seen that were erected to pessimists:

Lenin: Yeah, lots of those.

Stalin: He was such a pessimist he slaughtered or caused the death of between 3 and 50 million of his own people. Not everyone was so cool with him after that, so most of monuments are gone.

Chairman Mao: Not only was Mao Tse Tung a pessimist, he was a paranoid pessimist. I guess he and Stalin would have been BFFs if they'd only identified on that particular facet of their personalities.

Joey S., "You know who else I don't like?"
Mao, "Who? Intellectuals?"
Joey S., "Totally. Intellectuals suck. Also, everyone else."

Speaking of paranoid pessimists, how about the monuments erected to Kim Jong il and his dad, or Saddam Hussein?

Just about every paranoid, pessimistic despot in the history of time has had a monument erected to them at some point. At this point, I'm wondering if you can have a monument that isn't erected to a paranoid pessimist?

Lord Nelson wasn't a paranoid pessimist, was he?

In the Austrian town where we lived there was a monument to the black plague in the center square. I’m pretty sure that if you were to personify the plague, you’d get a pessimistic guy. At the very least, the black plague is a downer (like feline AIDS.)

I don't think I would define myself as a pessimist. I am a worrier, well, more of a horribilizer, really. Although I like to imagine all the things that could go wrong, I try to keep a 'half-full' approach. I was almost cheerful the other day when I was scrubbing paint out of the carpet. OK, I was cheerful because I knew that if I got upset, then Other Half would want to wring El Guille's neck. As much as I want to wring his neck, I also wanted to keep him alive (See: Motherhood Conundrum.) I was crusading for the cause of keeping a lid on things.

On Sunday, when Other Half woke up on the wrong side of the bed and stayed there, I was cheerful to the point of mania. I was not going to ruin our Sunday feelings by giving into his grump-master routine. I even growled at him through a big smile during the passing of the Sacrament to "Lay off the attitude." Yet, I remained happiness personified even as I walked the halls with the baby and the preschooler. I probably deserved a monument after that day.

I think to be a pessimist you have to remain down and out even during the best of times. I like to think that I am hopeful, even optimistic, at least 50% of the time. Every once in a while, it is fun to be a little pessimistic. Lewis Black is a self-acknowledged pessimist and he's hilarious. I could step up the pessimism and become a roaring success, don't you think?

Then again, how can I be an affirmed pessimist when there are cats out there named Chairman Meow?

Now, who was uncomfortable that I said "erected" so many times?

Mao, "Want to hang out this weekend?"
Joey S., "Sure. I might have to finish up a couple five year plans, but I should be done by Friday."
Mao,"Five Year plans? I have a couple of those hanging over my head, haha! What do you want to do?"
Joey S., "Let's collectivize some farms and shoddily industrialize manufacturing."
Mao, "Sounds wicked-cool."


compulsive writer said...

I love this post.

And your momument will have so much better fashion sense. I'm sure of it!

April said...

Joey S. hahahaha Loved it!

wendy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Engineer: martha griffiths; Conductor: j. bradley griffiths; Restless Riders: norah corinna, lucia louise, j. abram; On the Caboose: tequila the foxdog said...

love this post.
i sometimes am a horribilizer too. all the things that could go wrong drive my husband nuts.

Queen Scarlett said...

I would pay to see your act. I love Lewis Black. I always laughed whenever my clients...male - would want to include "thrust" as a descriptor of where they (the company) were going in the market... no matter how often I'd change it...they'd change it back.

Loved your chit-chat btwn the horrible despots.

I'm a horribilizer too... but generally in a hopeful mood. Did we marry the same guy?

You should wiki that motherhood cunundrum.


Ashley said...

Eat it Paul Harvey!

b. said...

I would never say you are a horriblizer. Quite the contrary. You have very good say-it-like-it-is-ness and common sense. A TRUTH teller is what you are.
I thought the first couple of times you said erected was funny, then I became a little uncomforable.
That's a lot of erections, if you ask me.

more caffeine, please said...

So tell me more about the gal in the red jacket you hinted at for my bro. This has nothing to do with dictators, though, my brother is actually quite optimistic.

Michelle said...

I agree pessimism can be fun, sometimes it can be downright hilarious! I'm also a pro at pulling a happy church attitude to balance out my other half's agnostic grimaces at church!

Ryan and Susie said...

Yours would have a fabulous handbag of course.

Ahhh...Narcissistic dictators...gotta love them.

Livs said...

You are a mutha-lovin' genius!! Love the five-year plan refs and the shout out to good ol' one-armed Horatio Lord Nelson. Woot.

Geo said...

This post is so good I made Rob read it with me. Thanks for introducing a good family discussion.

Lindsey said...

This is great.

And I think I'll go pour me a half-full glass of something to drink.

(p.s. I went back to that dumpling place again before I left town. Thanks for the suggestion. When I move back I'm going there weekly.)

kristenlibrarian said...

"eat it paul harvey" indeed! hahahahahahaha!

azucar, you never fail to make me laugh.

Eliza said...

I don't know who you are but I LOVE you!! Who are you????

AzĂșcar said...

Eliza, I'm me! The Jet Set!

Wendy, how kind of you. Some of my favorite people are Wendys.

Ashley, you said it. Amen and Hallelujah.

b., Truth teller, I should embrace that.

Michelle, One of us has to be happy to be there!

Livs, I need you to email me, I have a v.v.important q. My profile has the address.

Linds - my only thing is that they should have MORE dumplings. Can you imagine a decent place for dim sum and dumplings? Well, you can imagine it because you live in the proximity of a Chinatown and I, sadly, do not.

KLB- Yet another awesome mix, you never fail to make me smile.

Geo- a read aloud? The highest compliment!

Tiffany said...

Those conversations were a riot.

"Let's collectivize some farms and shoddily industrialize manufacturing."

You, my friend, are hilarious.

db said...

May I add the following photograph to your Lenin monuments?

I like this one because it was always covered in Pigeon Poo.