Optimism

Though reading the front page of most any daily newspaper can easily send the reader to the land of Grim and Despair where hand-wringing occurs more often than head-shaking, recent events prompt a growing sense of sunniness.

Social psychologists have sought to measure internal affective human states with paper and pencil instruments since the discipline began, early in the 20th century.

Typically, the survey-style devices offer a series of statements and respondents indicate how much they agree or feel the way the statement describes.

Happiness, loneliness, job affection and numerous other emotional states today have external scales judged valid and measured as reliable, each purporting to measure them.

The older one becomes, the shorter the future will be. Hardly profound, this certainly isn’t the first space where one can read such predictions.

Maybe we don’t so much acknowledge the future as we confront it. And then accommodate it. The future requires no acknowledgment, it’s inexorable, timeless and inevitable.

And, for the most part, the future is not dependent upon us, alone.

Faithful readers of the present Blog with good memories will recall my report on the lifetime subscription I hold with Rolling Stone magazine. In a nutshell: the rag’s mailing label predicts my demise in April 2054. This is immensely helpful for retirement planning.

Our recognition that change is inevitable may prompt us to mourn the loss of seemingly insignificant things.

Take pay phone booths, for instance. Seen one of them lately?

Probably the only person to whom this loss might matter is Clark Kent. Everyone else changes in their bedrooms.

Recent events, occurring in rapid succession, bode well for the future. Or, at least, my future. And the events suggest a novel way for measuring optimism.

A (weekly) periodical to which I subscribe mailed me a re-subscribe notice. The choices were: 6-month renewal, one year, two years and, “best value” they claimed, five years.

Since five years seemed unnecessarily (if not unrealistically) optimistic, I selected the two-year term.

Another periodical (also a weekly) alerted me that my (subscription’s) expiration (uh oh) was imminent – in October. I went through a magazine service and extended it by one year.

Just today, at the grocery store, I purchased for use at work the 35-ounce container of coffee whitener. I have no idea what’s in this. Powdered cancer maybe. But since I have no refrigerator, it will have to do.

The 35 Oz whitener is the largest size one can purchase. Maybe they make a 50-gallon drum of it, but the store doesn’t stock that size.

Between my subscription renewals, the lifetime Rolling Stone subscription and the Giant Coffee Colorer, things are looking good.

No bad news here.

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