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Can we look on the bright side?


I still don’t feel there is any reason to joke about what has been happening in the world, but are there reasons to be hopeful looking beyond our current crisis?

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HUMAN beings are remarkably resilient. We can take a lot of pounding and still come through. Physically a human body can take a lot of abuse – think of people who cycle for hours on end, or those who run marathon distances for ‘fun’.

Oh how I miss the wide open spaces, travelling, the open road, seeing new things …

Anyway, have you ever seen the trauma that a rugby player endures during a tackle? Have you seen a punch connecting with a face during a boxing match in slow-motion?

I’ll say it again, humans are resilient. But we are not only physically resilient, no, the human spirit also manages to rise above some pretty dark circumstances.

People have a way of finding positivity in the midst of almost any crisis. I once heard someone say that a human can endure anything except their own death.

And it goes beyond just being positive and hopeful. I would honestly not be surprised if there were jokes out there of every single dark chapter in history or of bad situations in people’s lives. Some people just have a way of always being optimistic.

I once heard the story of Jerry who would constantly irritate his friends with his eternal optimism. No matter how horrible the circumstance, he would always reply, “It could have been worse”.

To cure Jerry of his annoying habit, his friends decided to invent a situation so completely bad, so terrible, that even he could find no hope in it.

So, on the golf course one Sunday morning, one of them said, “Jerry, did you hear about Tom? He came home last night, found his wife in bed with another man, shot them both and then turned the gun on himself!”

“That’s awful,” said Jerry. “But it could have been worse.”

“How in the hell,” asked his bewildered friend, “could it have been worse?”

Jerry didn’t blink. “Well,” he said, “if it happened the night before, I’d be dead now!”

Then I did some more checking, and I found some other positive news. I learned that, on the bright side, selfie sticks – the poles with a cellphone camera at one end and a pout at the other – are also lightning rods.

I check the weather report daily.

Even death cannot separate people from some ray of hope. For example, Ed’s best friend Frank died, so Ed went to see Frank’s wife.

Ed sat across from Frank’s grieving widow and said to her “look on the bright side, at least he’s not suffering anymore.”

“But he wasn’t sick, he died suddenly,” she replied.

Ed nodded and said “I know, I meant the suffering of being married to you.”

Apparently, Frank’s widow no longer speaks to Ed.

And for those who are dreading old age, there’s good, positive, encouraging news too. I recently read a story about an elderly man who visited the doctor for a check-up.

“Mr Smith, you’re in great shape,” says the doctor after giving the old man a thorough once-over. “How do you do it?”

“Well,” says Mr. Smith with a tiny smile on his face, “I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, and the good Lord looks out for me. For weeks now, every time I go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, He miraculously turns the light on for me.”

Concerned, the doctor finds Mrs Smith in the waiting room and tells her what her husband said.

“I don’t think that’s anything to worry about. I don’t think he’s losing his mind,” she says to the doctor. “And on the bright side, it does explain who’s been peeing in the fridge for the past few weeks.”

So if there’s a bright side to everything, I thought about it and wondered if there were any bright pinpricks of light during this Covid situation in which we find ourselves. Look, I still don’t feel there is any reason to joke about what has been happening in the world. People have lost loved-ones, families have been left devastated and economies are in trouble.

But are there reasons to be hopeful looking beyond our current crisis?

Here’s a few positives that I came up with, see if you can find your own ports in this storm.

I love the fact that escalator handrails are cleaned so regularly. I remember those rails being very grimy in the past. I am happy that cleaning them has now become a matter of life or death. The same goes for ATM keypads, remember how grimy they would be? At one time it became so bad that I decided to do all my transactions through online banking, not wanting to touch an ATM. Things generally are much better now.

Stores and offices are much cleaner than a few years ago, and I think that’s a good thing, as is the fact that queues, though still long and frustrating, are not as claustrophobic for me as they used to be.

So with the positives here and there, I am hopeful that we will come through this better than Sally …

You see, because Sally was becoming frustrated because of lockdowns and travel restrictions, her husband purchased a world map and then gave her a dart saying, “Throw this and wherever it lands – that’s where I’m taking you when this pandemic ends.”

Later that night, Sally sent a text message to her best friend: “Just want to let you know, when the borders open again, Hank and I are spending two weeks behind the fridge.”

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