Sunday, December 26, 2010

Half Empty

Having discovered that the Ambassador declared me a pessimist at a recent FAST* meeting, I've been trying not to brood on it. Because that would just prove his case, right? I mean, you don't think I'm a pessimist, do you, loving family?

"Um, Katie, did you see my birthday present for you?" Cue the presentation of David Rakoff's Half Empty. My eyes narrow. "Have you been talking to the Ambo?" Karyn thumbs through a few chapters. "You are kind of a pessimist -- but this book says that it's not so bad." I find this of little comfort.

I really don't like blindly upbeat people. I freely admit this. They tend to have a sort of ridiculous shininess about them that rubs me as insincere. They're the ones I picture with secret cutting addictions, drinking airplane cabin handouts of gin in a dark closet, desperate to hide their bulimia from their unsuspecting cats. I, on the other hand, feel I'm practical about life: a realist. Things aren't always rosy, but you deal with them and work to make them better. Maybe I would be more upbeat if I had a coke habit to cover up or something.

It is suddenly very important that my youngest sister appreciate this world view.

"Pessimism is only bad if you let it get the better of you, yeah? I mean, it's a planning tool. You have to constantly work to keep the worst case scenario from happening; things don't naturally turn out well." Optimism is merely reflective of a lack of imagination -- or an abdication of responsibility. Or brain trauma. One of those three.

She purses her lips in a funny Karyn way and nods. "I'll give you the book just as soon as I'm done with it."

*'First And Second Tour' officers. Every time you think you've escaped the grip of junior-hood ("Look, I'm tenured now!"), State broadens the definition.

1 comment:

Lee said...

you are still on your second tour? get with the program Kiser!