Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I'm a Realistic Cynic

I’ve always thought of myself as a positive individual. But Cal says that I’m a glass is half-empty kind of person. So I re-christened myself a “realist.” But with the latest election stuff swamping the newspapers, my response has been to misquote Bertie Wooster, “It all sounds well enough, but it doesn’t actually mean anything.” Which makes me a cynic. And I wondered, “Have I always been a cynic or did it crept up on me slowly?” Then, I remembered elementary school.

When I was in elementary school, the teachers would occasionally have days when they were sick of the kids. On those days, they’d herd us into the big multi-purpose room, plop us on the indoor/outdoor carpet, and turn on an educational movie. Usually, the girls all sat together and braided each other’s hair. I was never big into hair braiding—I’m not sure how the other girls made the braiding take two hours.

Normally, we watched some kind of Mutual of Omaha flick where a cheetah stalked and ate a gazelle—I think they got these movies to keep the boys quiet. After all, they didn’t spend the time braiding each other’s hair. (I found out later these episodes were staged!) But one day, we had something different. A kind of weird cultural oddities movie. My teacher must have been late to the library and they were out of mayhem movies. Anyway, one of the oddities was a house without a roof. I think the house was in Southern Egypt. The voiceover announced that the house was cool because it had no roof. The people who lived in the house didn’t need a roof because it hardly ever rained in this area of the world. This would be believable if people were actually living in the house and it hadn’t been abandoned. But no one lived there (except jackals) and there wasn’t a stick of furniture in the house. And judging from the sand and dirt, no one had lived there in quite some time. Maybe the reason they weren’t living there...was the lack of roof!?

Even if you lived somewhere without a lot of rain, it seemed to me that you’d still need a roof to protect you from the heat of the desert during the day. Not to mention the wild animals at night. Or the sand storms that plague desert areas. But apparently, those considerations weren’t vital. At least not to the producers of the educational film.

So to answer my own question...yeah, I was born a cynic.

BTW, if you’re interested, I posted on my book blog about the physical tools I use for editing. Click here.


  1. As Bob the Hamster says, "Cynical and Optimistic are not mutually exclusive. I try to be both at once. The glass is half-full of emptyness!"

  2. I agree with your assessment of this roofless house. Haha. I tend to be more of an optimist.

    I saw this picture the other day that posited that technically the glass is ALWAYS full - half water, half air. :)