Tuesday, March 28, 2006


A few months ago, I encountered a new type of human being while blogging.

Or then again, maybe not.

Maybe I've encountered people like this in real life, but it's just more obvious in print.

This particular individual was going through some tough times in her/his life, so I made some sympathetic, supportive, and, I hoped, helpful comments.

Much to my surprise, and initially, my dismay, I was roundly ignored.

But, after further consideration, I realized that the response, or lack thereof, was consistent with this particular individual’s approach to life in general.

Back in my parents' hayday, there was a song called "The Sunny Side of the Street." I can't remember all the words, but this sample fits me like a glove:

"Some people walk in the shade
with their blues on parade."

When we went to Israel this past August to see my parents, my ex-sister-in-law expressed her concern that I seemed always to be talking about the challenge of finding full-time permanent employment, and never about anything enjoyable. I hadn’t realized just how negative I sounded.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so surprised. By nature, I'm a "cockeyed pessimist, " a worrywart. I tend to think in terms of worst-case scenarios, and to imagine bad or sad things happening to good people, myself and my family included. I always expect the worst.

Some other people are, in the words of that old Rogers and Hammerstein song from the musical South Pacific, "cockeyed optimists." They take this approach to life:

"Just direct your feet
to the sunny side of the street."

"Cockeyed optimists," or "sunny-siders," take an approach to life that's the opposite of mine. They don't want "tea and sympathy." Whenever possible, they prefer to deal with their responsibilities and problems with a shrug of the shoulders, a wry smile, a roll of the eyes and a chuckle. And they prefer to have their friends and acquaintances approach them with the same wry attitude. They’d rather make people laugh than sigh.

When I returned from Israel, I made an "Elul resulution" to try to develop a more positive attitude. I haven't had much luck, thus far. But that’s one of the reasons why I’ve been making an extra effort to say brachot (blessings). I’m hoping that being more aware of all the things for which I can be grateful will help improve my outlook.

Truth to tell, I'm jealous. I can't help thinking that, if only I were a "sunny-sider," I would have been a much better mother, and I'd be a much better wife, as well. Who in their right mind would not want to bring more joy into the lives of those they love?

This post was inspired by this post. I hope that the kid in the vid grows up to have an attitude as positive as the one expressed in the song that she's singing.


Blogger PsychoToddler said...

Oh, that kid always has a sunny disposition.

Unless someone takes the TV remote control. Or eats the last bowl of her favorite cereal. Or makes her put away the dishes. Or won't get off the XBOX. Or the computer. Or tries to read the comics before her. Or wakes her up too early. Or too late. Or tries to get her to eat fleishigs when she's in the mood for milchigs. Or picks up the book she is trying to read. OR....

Tue Mar 28, 12:26:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...


Tue Mar 28, 10:18:00 PM 2006  
Blogger PsychoToddler said...

...or she runs out of clean school uniform shirts, or...

Wed Mar 29, 01:55:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Some people like poppy seeds on rye. Others like Papa on wry. :)

Thu Mar 30, 09:04:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Ezzie said...

I'm a sunny-sider, just about always. Some people I know are worry-warts, and it's depressing to see what they do to themselves - exacerbating every problem they have with worry. It's amazing how many problems disappear simply by not worrying about them.

Fri Mar 31, 02:30:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

"it's depressing to see what they do to themselves"

Yeah, that was pretty much my ex-sister-in-law's reaction.

Keep that sunny-sider's attitude, and pass it on to Elianna. It's a precious gift.

Sat Apr 01, 09:51:00 PM 2006  

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