Are you normally a pessimist or an optimist? I say "normally" because I don’t know too many optimists right now, what with our current economic, political and social mess. But, think back to when things were normal — like when you were polishing your brand new ’57 Chevy. Were you an optimist back then, or were you a pessimist? It’s something to think about. Personally, I’ve concluded that I might be a borderline optimist with just a dash of pessimism. Or, I might be a mild pessimist with heavy traces of optimism. I’m just not sure. I’ll give you a few examples, and you can see why I’m so confused.
Do you remember when that cops-and-robbers series "In the Heat of the Night" was filmed in Georgia? As I traveled around the country, I told people that my house was just around the corner from where they shot the show. I figured it was a good way to give folks a geographic reference, and I was sure they envisioned a land of mansions and sprawling Southern luxury… until I watched a few episodes. To my horror, many of the houses shown were anything but luxurious. The optimist in me said, "Surely, they don’t think I live near those dilapidated houses where the big chase scene took place." The pessimist said something that can’t be printed.
My confusion doesn’t stop there. Everywhere I go, people ask, "What kind of accent do you have?" The optimist in me always assumes they’re enamored with my rich, Southern vernacular, but recently, I’ve been wondering if these people are just laughing at my Georgia drawl. But, if that’s the case, wouldn’t they just say, "Hey! Where’d you get that ignorant dialect?" No…that’s not likely. I believe most people would just smile and say, "Oh my goodness! Where did you get your interesting accent?" Since that’s pretty much what I’ve heard for years, I’m not sure if I believe the pessimist or the optimist. Both seem to have a point, and since I clearly don’t know which side I favor, I’m going to forget about trying to put a label on my personality. Instead, I’m going to adopt a firm, unwavering, and heavily-fortified position of "clueless." Clueless is a good label. It works for so many people; I might as well join the club. As you know by now, I’m just enough of a pessimistic optimist to think I can get in… maybe.
David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Conyers, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.