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Ossimism

My business mantra for the past three plus decades has been --- "Well. . . it could have been worse. . ." You might say it is 'out of necessity', but I don't think so. It is just my natural inclination toward cynicism and pessimism. I prefer to think of myself as an 'ossimist'.

This 'ossimism' has helped me navigate dozens of trials and tribulations.

For instance:

Example #1 "What was that? You dragged 50 brand new top-of-the-line Extrasport lifejackets 5 miles down the highway? Destroying most of them?"

Example #2 "Our wetsuits were stolen from our van on the Methow River and tossed on a lady's lawn where? In the next county? One lawn or more?"

Example #3 "You put diesel in a gas engine, and the bus, which is full of the day's river gear, is stranded on which Pass?"

Example #4 "'Someone forgot to check the oil in the bus and the engine blew up where outside Gold Bar?"

Example #5 "You mean to tell me that the bus we are driving to Central America from the Pacific Northwest caught FIRE on the way home?"

Example #6 "The main lunch course is our famous tuna salad and we are missing which ingredient? Tuna? But we still have relish, sunflower seeds and apples?"

Example #7 "A raft is wrapped on a bridge pillar, the river is rising, we deflated a tube by shooting it with a .22 rifle, and it is STILL stuck on the pillar?"

Example #8 "You are telling me the bus is blocking what highway? The Mountain Loop Highway? What the hell?"

Example #9 "Can't you see I just sat down to eat dinner? The bus is stuck in a ditch, and blocking what highway? The White Pass (Highway 12) Highway?"

Some people like to look at the glass as half full. I admire that tendency. But my preference is seeing it as half empty. I think either philosophy is just a means of coping with the situation at hand. Neither necessarily better than the other.

I am thrilled with incremental improvements. I never expect miracles. I am never letdown because I anticipate the possibility of negatives. This does not prevent me from flipping my wig, either overtly or covertly, when I get those calls at 3 a.m. or 3 p.m. But it tends to even my keel quickly.

I am comforted with the notion that we have elected a man as president whom I believe sees the negatives, is tinged with cynicism but still has the audacity to hope. How could Barack Obama not be tainted with cynicism having grown up black in America?

No drama Obama. I am certain that during his presidency he will appear to casual observers like the proverbial duck gliding back and forth on the placid pond. On the surface --- cool, calm and collected. Beneath the surface? Duck-paddling like hell.

His temperament is upbeat and positive, yet pragmatic. He is going into this wide-eyed knowing that the possibilities of what might unfold will lie all across the continuum. But no matter what, he will be able to even his keel quickly and say, "Well, it could have been worse. . . "

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