This I Believe
Every family has one person who is horribly pessimistic. Maybe it is the grouchy grandma or the illegitimate brother-in-law from Milwaukie. It doesn’t matter who it is just that they make the reunion a little more exciting. I believe that there are two different kinds of people. The first group is the optimists and the pessimists. Optimistic people are normally happy and if they aren’t then they are looking at things and hoping that there is a good outcome. Pessimistic people are normally angry and think that everything is going horribly wrong. The second group of people is the ones who are just generally sad. Something traumatic has happened to them that makes them feel like nothing can ever go there way. It is this theory that I have come to say that if everyone was optimistic than no one would need to say the words “What if”.
What if terrorists attacked our country? If nobody ever thinks that there is a possibility that we could be attacked than we wouldn’t prepare for anything. It is pessimistic people that keep us in check. They ask “What if” because they know that there is a chance of bad things happening. They ask themselves that question and begin to think what could happen in any situation. They think that everything will go wrong and nothing will go right. But it is these people that make the optimistic people begin the think of the plausible scenarios of bad fortune as well.
My dad is someone who has pessimistic feelings in all situations. On vacations he would always think that our bags would get lost and that we would have no cloths on our vacation. This never actually happened but one time his “What if” questions helped us out. In the summer we always went down to Florida for a family reunion. My father, for the ninth year in a row, did not want to go and thought that he would have no fun. During our ten day stay we went surfing numerous times. I usually just went with my brother but this time my dad tagged along as well. We were just about to leave when the worrying and question began. My brother told him not to be so uptight and within five minutes we were walking down to the beach. The waves were unusually big for the gulf that day. On one of our final sets my brother took a plunger into the water and tumbled in the wave’s current. He struggled to the surface quickly and indicated to us that his legs were tied together by the ankle rope. My dad dived into the water just in time to cut the rope, with the knife he had brought just in case of emergency.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.