How to Become an Optimist

That was the title of an article I read a few years back. It brought up some good points on living a more positive lifestyle. Since I have been a doom and gloomer most of my life, I decided to give it a try. However, the Universe immediately spoke up and said, “Oh yeah? We’ll see about that!”

This Universal Smackdown happened while I was on vacation with my family in Las Vegas. We were trying to get out the door to pick up my younger son and his girlfriend at the Flamingo. Then get them to the airport. As my wife, my other son, and I hustled out of the hotel room, we were met with the sound of faint alarm bells ringing (ruh-roh). As we got closer to the elevators, it became clear that’s where the noise was coming from.

No elevators were running, at all. We waited as long as possible, but it soon became obvious we were going to have to hoof it down the stairs. It wasn’t too bad, since we were only on the third floor. However, a new shrieking noise awaited us at the bottom of the stairs. Someone had propped open the door and the fire alarm was blasting away at full volume.  

I suffer from tinnitus, and I can’t begin to describe the pain that shot between my ears as we exited the building. We hustled over to the parking garage, with that blaring alarm still rattling around in my brain. We had rented a beautiful Dodge Caravan for the trip, and as we ran up to the minivan, I noticed two cars parked on either side of our vehicle. However, while backing out, I did my typical left-to-right visual scan. I saw a car to my left, but it was all clear on my right (or so I thought). Then I backed out, cut the wheel hard, and heard a loud “CA-RUUUUNCH!!!!”  

It turned out the vehicle parked to my right was a Smart Car (a grownup version of the Little Tikes Cozy Coupe). They recommend to their owners that they park toward the back of a parking spot, so nobody will hit their car while pulling into a space. Yeah, right. When I heard the screeching crunch, I thought I had flattened some poor old guy in a golf cart. Close. I had taken out the side of the Smart Car while backing out of the spot. Since we needed to go, and fast, we told the security guard at the booth about the accident and let him we would be back as soon as possible to fill out a report. 

We barely made it to the airport in time. However, my son and his girlfriend, ignorant of the accident, made their flight with a couple of minutes to spare. Then we returned to the hotel parking garage to take care of the paperwork associated with my misdeed. Ugh!  

After we returned home, the bill came due for the accident, $495. Just under my $500 deductible. Then, a ray of sunshine. A wonderful lady named Mary Parker from Fox Rental Car, came to the rescue. She pointed out that since I used a Citi credit card to rent the Caravan, it came with additional insurance. Citi wound up covering every dime of the damage. So, there was a silver lining to the incident after all.  

However, what I learned from my brief flirtation with optimism is that the Universe will see how committed you are to a rosy outlook, and fast! At this point, I would paint my outlook on life as cautiously optimistic, with the emphasis on cautiously. I’ve learned my lesson! If you decide to give optimism a whirl, be prepared for instant Universal Blowback. You’ve been warned!!

As usual, thank you for taking time out of your busy day to read this article. I hope you will continue to enjoy and follow this blog. Please feel free to share these stories with your family and friends!


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