On the Benefits of Pessimism


Pessimism has great benefits. Admit it. We’ve all had that time when we knew something wouldn’t turn out right, and we waited for the inevitable, only to find that we were completely right the whole time. It’s a great feeling. Very freeing. Knowing you were right the whole time makes me, like, kinda smiley all over. Or something to that effect.

Let me give you an example. I recently received a package containing a miniature nuclear bomb and an abnormally large but quite sociable guinea pig. My immediate thought was, Someone is trying to kill me. I mean, why else would they have sent me a nuclear device? The parcel also held a notecard reading, “Have a nice day, you arrogant son of a rather sizeable bottle of Russian dressing.” Since I don’t speak Russian, I’m not entirely certain what they were saying, but it couldn’t have been good. Then the guinea pig bit me, apologized profusely for his poor manners, and scampered out of my hands and out the door. I put the nuclear device back in the box and shoved the package through someone else’s mail slot. I didn’t feel bad giving it away, because whoever sent it didn’t even care enough to get my name right.

You may be wondering what this has to do with pessimism. Well, I am, too. My original idea of someone trying to kill me is more like paranoia. I am paranoid, too. But that’s a story for another time. Oh! I know what this has to do with pessimism. Yeah, it’s because I didn’t look both ways before I crossed the street coming home from the mailroom. I was hit by a truck backing up at high speed. The driver visited me at the hospital, and said it was too bad he hit me. Apparently, he was backing up to save gas. He told me that when you drive backwards, it reverses the gas-burning process, actually filling your tank. The guy was wearing a denim jacket, so he must have been right. He also demanded back the piece of his “Meat is Murder” bumper sticker that had fused to my forehead in the collision.

But to bring this all back to pessimism, I – Oh, come on! My computer is about to die. That means I’ll lose all my work, and my acting teacher is going to get really mad with me, and I’ll probably lose a toe, and then my computer will die again, and then I’ll have a really bad ending to an otherwise decent piece of writing.

Until next time, this is Xavier Yes. Stay classical. Meanwhile, I’m going to investigate an explosion next door.

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