Sunday, January 22, 2006


It never fails to confound me how optimism works. Here is this ass standing in the middle of a junction, holding up traffic in three directions whilst he debates whether to cross or not, thinking “Of course nothing will happen to me!” and shockingly, nothing does!

If life were a cartoon he would DEFINITELY be run over by a bus and reduced to a two-dimensional figure. However if you have a normal person out there, thinking “I’m done for!” then five times out of ten, he is! Reality has a keen sense of irony. She only gets the logical ones.

Or so you would come to think if you have read as many motivational books as I have… But having read enough of them, all boringly repetitive on the themes of
1. Kiss-Ass,
2. Work-Hard-And-Expect-Nothing-In-Return, and
3. Be-Optimistic-Even-At-The-Wrong-End-Of-A-Seriously-Disturbed-Kid’s-Machinegun,

I begin to wonder.
I can, of course, display the intermittent spurt of optimism, if the occasion begs for it…But by instinct, I am a Murphy’s law aficionado (I hate word-processors. I had a much nicer spelling for this word).

I find it profoundly irritating to watch people who never cover their bets getting away with it and looking happier into the bargain. All my unrequited “I told you so” ’s (Hope I got the punctuation right on this one. I’m a little obsessive compulsive here) come seething to the surface, almost choking me… I mean, wouldn’t it be nice to see an occasional judgmental thunderbolt hit them?

I’ve often tried being them... i.e Foolishly Optimistic Maddy Goes to The Market.
I go to the superstore and pretend earnestly to myself that the salesman means every word he says. Of COURSE this refrigerator can grow tundra and preserve milk for two generations! To believe is everything. If I can only subdue my inner sceptic, all the magic that is this refrigerator can be mine!

But I’m ashamed to say that my inner sceptic is far more powerful than me. I may have to seek professional help and join the Pessimists Anonymous for it.

So here I am stuck with all the crappy merchandise ever manufactured in spite of
1. Having done extensive internet research on company time
2. Examined each item from every angle and debated every risk
3. Minutely judged the chances
4. Two backup plans
5. Overpaid by 50%
Understood the true meaning of purchaser karma

And WHAM, the minute any item reaches my home, it implodes quietly. I think it must be this powerful force field of ineffectuality I have created inside my home.

And then there are these folks I know, who saw an advertisement, had an epiphany (translated loosely – thought GOSH! THAT’S COOL!” ) and went out and bought it. And to my intense frustration, it IS COOL. There should be a law against it.

This leads me to ponder - What is optimism really? A stubborn disregard for the facts? Rose-coloured spectacles? A testimony of hope?

I’ve finally worked out this principle – Be optimistic when I can’t influence the outcome (e.g. Nuclear Disarmament) and be pessimistic when I CAN (e.g. my exams)

In short, if I have a hand in it, I’ll find a way to mess it up. Amen.


  1. Hilarious di, characteristic maddy style of cynicism.
    Keep it up

  2. Be optimistic, nevertheless. ;-)
    Nice blog. Had a good time!

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