What’s the Good Word?

Not everything is death, destruction, corruption and crime.

With increasing frequency, I’m compelled to avoid the news altogether. It all seems so bleak, so dire, so incomprehensible, so stressful. I can only take so much. I’m sometimes forced to give myself the day off just to maintain my own sanity.

Eventually, I have to stick my head back into that toxic waterfall, though. It’s not a good idea to be uninformed in this day and age. Much better to know when it’s time to duck and cover, or whip out one’s passport.

But the whole journalistic philosophy of “If it bleeds, it leads!” Means that the good news (which is also legitimate news, lest we forget), often gets buried. It’s easy to overlook that there’s decency in the world if you rely only on the major news outlets.

That’s why I’m really happy that a friend of mine turned me on to the Good News Network. It’s a tonic. It reminds me that not everything is death, destruction, corruption and crime.

And guess what. It isn’t all stories of puppies and kittens. (Well, yeah, there is a fair amount of that, but there’s other content, too.) On the day of this writing, some of the headlines were:

  • World’s Second Largest Coral Reef Has Just Been Removed From Endangered List

  • Bank Restores Stolen Funds to Oldest Living US Veteran After Identity Theft

  • Turkey Announces They Are Setting Aside a Ton of Money to Make Cancer Treatments Free

  • Sweden to Reach Its 2030 Renewable Energy Goal This Year!

  • Scientists Capture First Ever Confirmed Image of a Planet Being Born

  • Fishermen Save Starving Fox That Was Stranded on an Iceberg at Sea

  • When Pizza Driver Gets into Accident, Firefighters Deliver the Hot Pizza Themselves

Don’t you feel better already? I know I do. Maybe if more of us visit this website, the mainstream media will get the hint that we need a little more balance on this emotional rollercoaster of ours. So check it out.


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That Moment When You Realize You Have Horrible Taste

Hi, my name is Barb, and my curtains don’t match. My pillowcases don’t match my sheets, either. And some of the pants I wear to work are patched because I refuse to spend money on something that’s just going to get greasy. I’ve had pretty much the same hairdo since high school, and no one else seems to dress the way I do. I can’t be bothered to be trendy. I’d rather spend my money on travel.

I don’t wear makeup, I’ve never had a manicure, and I watch a lot of reality TV and true crime crap off of Youtube. I collect rocks. I also collect misfits.

I really ought to vacuum my car, but since I don’t even bother to wash it, what are the odds of that? And I’m sure my neighbors would say that my yard is in desperate need of attention.

The reason I appreciate my friends and loved ones so much is that they are willing to look beyond that surface stuff and see who I am. Underneath all that tacky sloppy stuff is a warm heart, a loyal friend, an intelligent woman with a killer sense of humor. I’m kind and compassionate and creative. And my dog loves me.

I admit I probably don’t make the best first impression. But I’ve always appreciated those people who are willing to delve deeper. Thank you all for that.

bad taste

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Good in the Aggregate

Life is pretty darned good. I have a job I love, and a house I love, and a dog I love, and a lot of people in my life whom I love. I eat regularly, I have indoor plumbing, a car that works, and I feel relatively safe. Statistically speaking, I probably have more than a year or two left in me.

I get to goof off a good bit of the time. No one but me has to cohabitate with my dust bunnies, and I seem to have reached a nice compromise with them. If they keep to themselves, I leave them alone. If they start being show-offs, it’s time to go.

There are also some not-so-good elements to my life. Tensions that I can’t seem to resolve. Financial stress. Donald Trump and everything he represents. Minor aches and pains. Loneliness. Grief.

But you know, anyone who claims that the smooth peanut butter of his or her life doesn’t occasionally get interrupted by crunchy bits is delusional. And really, smooth is boring. I like a little crunch now and then. (Within reason.)

To maintain your sanity, you really have to look at your life in the aggregate. Yes, there are a few lumps in the ol’ mashed potatoes, but generally speaking, I find mine to be quite edible. Pass the sour cream and butter.

Don’t focus on the crunches and the lumps. Look at the big picture. If your life isn’t 100 percent smooth, that doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It means you’re living.

Wishing you a life that is good in the aggregate, dear reader.

peanut butter

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Humor Expires

I used to know someone who would tell the same jokes and bad puns over and over and over again. They were funny the first time or two. But as the years went by they kind of got irritating. Then I started feeling sorry for him, because I’d see the looks on people’s faces when he’d trot out the same hackneyed quips.

I guess he figured that if they worked once, it was best to stick to the tried and true. But trust me: humor has an expiration date. Especially topical humor. I’m sure there were jokes about Abraham Lincoln, for example, but who would laugh at them now? And some humor stops being socially acceptable with time. (“I beat my wife up every morning. Ha!”)

The most annoying thing is that I can still hear him telling these stupid jokes in my head when the circumstances are right. That makes me grit my teeth. It’s like I’m stuck in a bad joke feedback loop and I can’t get free no matter how hard I try.

So here’s my advice for people who like to make others laugh: change your material frequently. The funniest people have creative minds. They are in the moment. They adapt to circumstances. If you stick to one never-changing routine, people will get sick of hearing it, whether they admit it to you or not. Predictable isn’t funny. Just saying.

old joke.jpg

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Bad Haircuts

As I write this, I look like a chia pet that has been caught in a wind tunnel. I feel like putting a pillowcase over my head to avoid all scrutiny. It’s my own fault, really. Never go to a hairdresser and say that you just want “something different” and that you “trust their judgment”.

I can’t really blame him. He’s done a great job in times past, and it looked good enough when I left the salon. But I’m a wash and wear kind of person. I’m not going to blow dry or curl or straighten or use a variety of hair products. I’d rather be out living life than standing in front of a mirror, primping.

Then, too, my hair has a mind of its own. Like me, it refuses to behave. Like me, it marches to the beat of a different drummer. It will not, absolutely will not be tamed.

And because of that, I now look in the mirror and see the same hairdo I sported in my high school yearbook photo. It was excruciating then. Now imagine adding 35 years and 75 pounds into the mix, and you feel my pain.

All is not lost, though. As a friend of mine says, “The only difference between a good haircut and a bad one is two weeks.” I’ve never looked forward to mid-May this much in my entire life.

bad hair

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