Cer­tain in my un­cer­tainty

The Covington News - - Front page -

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.

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