On the bright side

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - VOICES - BRENDA LOOPER As­sis­tant Ed­i­tor Brenda Looper is ed­i­tor of the Voices page. Read her blog at blooper0223. word­press.com. Email her at blooper@arkansason­line.com.

Be­tween the sum­mer heat and the con­stant drama com­ing from D.C. and else­where, it’s hard to main­tain a sunny de­meanor … not that I al­ways have one.

No, nei­ther Oba­macare nor Trump­care is the best idea for health care. The best so­lu­tion would be to elim­i­nate or fix the parts of the Af­ford­able Care Act (which polls show is very pop­u­lar) that aren’t work­ing rather than to scrap every­thing and risk the health of Amer­i­cans. But, you know, that would re­quire work­ing to­gether, and that’s just silly.

No, Ju­nior’s emails aren’t the fi­nal nail in the col­lu­sion cof­fin, nor are they free of stink, so both sides should just calm down and let Robert Mueller do his job. The truth will even­tu­ally come out, and likely sooner than some­one’s tax re­turns.

To keep our minds off such crazy things over which we have lit­tle to no con­trol, what say we fo­cus on the weird, the sweet and the good for a few min­utes?

● Mike Tin­g­ley of Grand Blanc Town­ship in Michi­gan de­cided to use a smoke bomb to rid him­self of a nest of bees in his unat­tached garage (don’t try this at home, kids). No word on if the bees sur­vived, but the garage sure didn’t, es­pe­cially af­ter fire­works stored in the garage started go­ing off. Fire­fight­ers from three town­ships ar­rived to bat­tle the blaze while the un­in­tended fire­works show was in progress. Tin­g­ley said, “We re­ally weren’t go­ing to cel­e­brate the Fourth of July so much.” Luck­ily his home wasn’t dam­aged.

OK, so how many times do we have to have this hap­pen be­fore we re­mem­ber that it’s cheaper to call an ex­ter­mi­na­tor than to re­build a garage? I know, stupid ques­tion, be­cause fire­works are fun. Mom wasn’t kid­ding when she said you could put your eye out … or burn down the house.

● Else­where in Michi­gan, in Dear­born, a 5-year-old boy named Adam Hous­sami gave a free cup of Kool-Aid from his front-yard stand on a hot day to a let­ter car­rier who had no money with him. The next week, a note and $20 showed up in the mail­box, thank­ing Adam and telling him that good things hap­pen to peo­ple who do good. Adam’s mother Krista told Detroit news sta­tion WXYZ, “It makes me feel re­ally good to know that there are still peo­ple in the world that care. I think that shows no mat­ter what you should help peo­ple. That small ges­ture was some­thing re­ally big.”

And when you do good with no ex­pec­ta­tion of re­ward, it’s what makes some of us have hope in hu­man­ity again.

● Sun­day was Na­tional Ice Cream Day, and some peo­ple weren’t feel­ing the love at McDon­ald’s, since the phone app that would get them a free cone at the restau­rant wasn’t work­ing. A few jokesters opined that it gave the restau­rant a chance to get the soft-serve ma­chines, no­to­ri­ously in­con­sis­tent, up and run­ning.

Which is why I just bought the ice cream I wanted at the store Sun­day. (Yar­nell’s Home­made Choco­late, yum!) And I didn’t have to stick yet an­other app on my phone. I need space for bet­ter things, like funny pic­tures to text to my mom.

● Luck­ily for me, I’m not among the 7 per­cent of Amer­i­cans (about 16.4 mil­lion) who were found by a re­cent poll to be­lieve that choco­late milk (or ice cream) comes from brown cows. Those of us who grew up in the coun­try know that dairy cows come in many col­ors, but the col­ors have noth­ing to do with fla­vored milk. Of course, for peo­ple who’ve never con­sid­ered the agri­cul­tural sup­ply chain be­yond the gro­cery store, there’d be a bit of dis­con­nect. Not ev­ery­one can have a best friend grow­ing up whose fam­ily raised dairy cat­tle, or have a cat with Hol­stein spots; I was lucky to have both.

Now if Belted Gal­loways (think Oreo cookies) were dairy in­stead of beef cat­tle, I might be­lieve cook­iesand-cream ice cream came from them. Of course, there is a Dutch Belted dairy breed …

Un­for­tu­nately, all the good/ weird/sweet news in the world won’t solve our prob­lems, es­pe­cially since so many peo­ple seem to be wait­ing to be of­fended, which is just a sad way to live.

So here’s an idea. For 30 min­utes, shove away what offends you and try to think only of things that make you happy, like the beauty of a rose, or the scent of a freshly changed baby, or the grease and dirt un­der your fin­ger­nails when you’re work­ing on a car. Let your­self laugh at ab­sur­dity. Let that feel­ing stay with you as long as pos­si­ble.

Then, with your at­ti­tude ad­justed and blood pres­sure down, you might find that what both­ered you isn’t that big of a deal. Or if it is, that time you spent calm­ing down might have kept you from say­ing or do­ing some­thing you’d re­gret. Like, I don’t know, us­ing a smoke bomb to get rid of bees.

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