Just the other day, Liane Hansen (Weekend Edition, January 27, 2008) explored the roots of the Pollyanna story, written by Eleanor Porter in 1913. Talk about good.
Pollyanna, an orphan, takes up residence with her mean, but wealthy and powerful aunt, and has a magical affect upon an entire town due to her incurable optimism. Even her mean old aunt comes around, eventually.
It's one of my favorite stories. You can read the book or watch the Disney version (with Haley Mills); both are charming. If you do, however, you might want something to counteract the sugar, perhaps guacamole and salsa.
Can it get sickening, so much optimism? Oh, yes. But the positive psychology movement can, too. I've ranted a little that it's not so easy, nor is it necessary, to erase all sadness. On the other hand, lest you forget, Happy is Better. Hands down.
Whatever your psychological politics, learn to play Pollyanna's Glad Game.
Wickipedia sees it as an attitude more than a game, a way of dealing with adversity that our girl P learned from her father, not a wealthy man. To play, the challenge is to find something to be glad about. . . when a situation feels anything but gladful.
The game originated one Christmas at the charity barrel "grab bag." Pollyanna, hoping to get a doll, reaches into the barrel only to find a pair of crutches. Her father makes up the game on the spot. What's good about this situation? How can a girl be glad, here?
Be glad about the crutches because "we don't need 'em!"Oh, what a winning suggestion.
To tell you more would surely ruin the story.
An NPR gem that I hate to have liked tells the bittersweet story of abortion. Women are asked to write into the NPR BlogOfTheNation with personal tales of life following the procedure.
Sure to bring tears to your eyes, should you need a good cry. Check out that post at NPR.org/blogofthenation.
Now you need a pick-me-up after that, so how about today's broadcast on candidate theme songs? I've not been particularly impressed with such things, but Bill Clinton's Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow still gets me foot tapping and I voted for him, so there probably is something to this. You can hear that story at NPR.org , as well.
My real thoughts on America and this year's campaign trail, tomorrow.