Tag Archives: Positivity

I’m great, I’m terrific

When people ask me how I’m doing, I always tell them, “I’m great,” bare minimum, I’m doing great. You know, you like positivity, right? Well then why settle for anything less? I tell people how great I’m doing and they like it, they appreciate the jolt of good vibes I’m sending their way. I even like to say it aggressively, like, “I’m great!” but short, like a really intense response, I’m staring at you directly in the eye, that hand shake we’re engaged in, doesn’t it hurt? Not a lot, but just a little bit, right? That’s because it’s a great handshake.


But like I said, that’s my bare minimum. So actually, if you ever run into me on the street, and you say, “What’s up Rob? How’s it going?” and I’m telling you that I’m great, well, honestly, I’m not really doing that well. Because that’s my bare minimum, that’s the basest level of interaction I’ll allow myself with another human being. If I’m just great, yeah, I’m glad that I got to maybe spark some positivity with my left hand, as it smacked your right shoulder while we were in the middle of that ultra-firm handshake. But your great, that’s my not-so-great.

And things aren’t usually that bad in my life, I don’t have too much to complain about. Which is why most of my day-to-day interactions will fall more “terrific” on the scale than they will merely “great.” I say it like an affirmation, “I’m terrific, how are you?” with added emphasis on the “rif.” Ter-RIF-ic. I might forgo the handshake for a high-five, not a regular five, OK, my hand is all the way up here for a reason, and if you present an outstretched low open palm, don’t expect that I’m going to come down to make contact. No, I’m going to stand here with my hand all the way up, and if you don’t make a move, eventually I’ll force it, I’ll say, “Come on man, high five!” and then when we make contact, I’m looking for an audible slapping sound, all right, yeah, it might hurt, but it’s not real pain, that’s the feeling of you not having experienced a real high-five in quite some time, so you’ll get used to it, all right? Terrific, I’ll repeat it again after that slap, it was loud enough that everyone around turned their heads in our direction, and I’ll extend that spotlight to you, I’ll say it a little louder, “We’re doing terrific over here.”

And again, I don’t want to get too hung up on levels and scales, my terrific equals your OK. But that’s exactly what it is, if I’m terrific, I’m just OK. And I don’t know about you, but I really hate settling for just OK, no way dude, life’s too short to go around feeling just kind of all right. Which is why, don’t get too hung up on the high-five thing. Yeah, it’s a little aggressive, and definitely loud, but I try not to really let myself get too comfortable feeling simply terrific. I’d say that the majority of people I run into say hi to me, and when they ask how I’m doing, I’ll tell them that, “I’m better than ever.”

Now we’re getting into some genuine good emotions here, some truly positive positives. Just embrace it, I’m not trying to rub it in your face, because, again, don’t read too much into it, all right, this my way of how you would say that you’re doing fine, everything’s fine, I’m fine. But I’m better than ever. Just hop on, there’s plenty of room on my express bus to outstanding good feelings.

Just don’t tell me that you’re doing well. I hate it when I ask someone, “How’s it going?” and they’re like, “I’m well.” I’m just like, man, what a buzz kill. Who says well anyway? Like I know it’s correct, and I know it makes sense to write it out that way. But to say it? In actual conversation? You’re well? You sound like a textbook. And now I’m just of great again. And I won’t even say anything, I think I see my friend Jim over there anyway. Maybe he’s got what I need to recharge the batteries here.

And no, I don’t think it’s disingenuous, trying to come across as better than I actually am. I’m just constantly reaching, like maybe if I tell you that I’m better than ever, maybe you’ll light up a little inside. Maybe I’ll inspire you to a higher level of however it is you’d describe yourself at the moment. And then I look at your eyes widening, I can see all of that positivity weaseling its way inside your head, I think, I did that, that was me. And I get pumped up. So when I said I was better than ever, maybe I wasn’t. But now I might be.

And so I’ll correct myself, I’ll add something like, “You know what? This is one of the best days of my life!” (emphasis on that life.) And then a high-five isn’t going to do, OK, I need something better, maybe I’ll get up real close and I’ll shadow box, like I’ll give you two or three fake punches to the gut before letting out a really intense laugh, “ha HA!” and then sidle up next to you, my left arm wrapping around your neck, like a noogie without the actual noogie part, and with my right hand, I’ll pat you on the gut, like we’re brothers, like we’re two guys just horsing around, reveling in the unlimited potential of our out-of-this-world dispositions. Hey come on, let’s go get some ice cream. Yeah, the ice cream place two blocks down, come on, I’ll race you! Let’s go! Ha HA!

I’m not a very good basketball coach

When my brother asked me to coach my nephew’s basketball team, I thought, I don’t know anything about little kids, about coaching, I don’t think I’m the right man for the job. But my brother persisted, “Come on Rob, I’m so busy with work, and the kids really need a coach. This could be a great bonding experience. Think of all the memories you guys are going to make together.” So I said, “All right, I’ll do it.”

kids basketball

And on the first day of practice, I could tell that it was going to be a struggle, trying to teach these kids how to do anything, there wasn’t a whole lot of raw talent to work with. “All right boys, let’s line up for some layups.” And they just kind of stood there, this one kid wouldn’t stop dribbling, even when I was talking, not even a good dribble, just smacking the ball with his palm, smack, bounce, smack, bounce.

I knew from as soon as I agreed to coach that I only wanted to teach by positive reinforcement, so I was like, “Jimmy, that’s some great bouncing right there. But do you think you could hold the ball for a just a second while we line up for layups?” And this little shit just kind of smiled at me, like he was thinking, bingo, I got this random dude pissed off, and what’s he going to do about it?

And what could I really do about it? I didn’t want to give up on the positivity, not just yet, and besides, the kid’s mom was standing over in the corner, and this I couldn’t understand, why so many moms had to show up and stay for the whole practice. When I was a little kid, my parents just dropped me off and drove back when it was time to pick me up. I mean, yeah, I guess it is a little unnerving to just leave your kids with some other kid’s dad’s brother. But do these moms really suspect that I’d be up to something?

Come on, and it’s like, you all have so much free time to stand around and watch the practice, maybe a few of you could have teamed up and coached. You think I know how to be a basketball coach? I don’t. And I don’t even have kids. So when I’m staring your way, because one of your kids won’t stop dribbling the ball, and I’m looking for a little help, like maybe you could shout out, “Jimmy! Listen to the coach!” but you’re not, you’re not even being helpful standing there, I’m feeling the constant scrutiny, your only purpose is to glare at me, that, “I’ve got my eye on you buddy,” stare.

“OK Jimmy, keep up the dribbling, keep practicing, you’re doing great,” and the extra positive reverse psychology didn’t work either, this brat could see right through me, he knew I wanted to yell, to take the ball away, something.

“All right kids, make two lines on either side of the net,” and I still couldn’t believe that nobody knew how to line up for layups, “No, I need two even lines, so like five of you have to move over to the other line. No, not all of you, just five of you. OK, see, now the other line is too big. Right? Moms? A little help here?”

There wasn’t any help. And then once I introduced the idea of one side shooting, the other side rebounding, all the kids made a rush to the side with the balls, one long line, everyone fighting to shoot next, nobody rebounding. After like two minutes, the whole thing devolved into the big kids shooting around, grabbing their own rebounds, everyone else kind of off to the side, I think they started playing dodge ball or something, one kid got pegged and one of the moms screamed out, “Hey! Watch it! Watch the face! Hey! You coaching over here or what?”

“Sorry!” I tried to act sincere, I was still trying to be positive, “All right kids, that’s some great energy!” I knew that I didn’t want to be responsible for messing these kids up, yelling at them, they’d be turned off from sports for years, I don’t know if there’s any truth to that, but they’re not even my kids, I couldn’t deal with the pressure, the responsibility, all I could do was offer blanket, generic praise, “You kids are so fast! All right! You guys are doing great!”

And then that Sunday it was our first game, I hadn’t really done any coaching yet, these kids never got past the layup line. But what could I do? I bought one of those dry-erase clipboards, the ones with the basketball court outline, for making plays and stuff. But it was a blowout, worse than the worst basketball I’d ever seen, just an overall poor example of human beings trying to do something together.

All I could do was stand there and clap, “All right Johnny! Nice shot!” it was an air ball. “Great hustle Timmy! Keep hustling!” all while the parents sat there on the sidelines and scowled at me. Some dude came up during halftime and got in my face, “I’m Jimmy’s dad. I don’t think he’s getting enough playing time. And did you guys even practice? Did you teach them how to shoot lay-ups? Which one’s your kid?”

And I really wanted to get right back in this guy’s face, like hey pal, what are you doing on Tuesday nights that you’re so busy you can’t be the coach, huh? And you’re going to come over here and start bossing me around? Why don’t you ask your wife about why the kids couldn’t line up for layups, she was at the practice, enabling your little jerk-off son, he just kept fucking smiling at me, slapping that ball, slap, slap, slap.

But what could I have done? I just tried to keep up that positive attitude, I told Jimmy’s dad, “Hey Jimmy’s dad, you’re doing some great cheering over there! I’m really happy with the energy you parents are giving off! Keep up that clapping, that’s what we need to keep doing, clapping and cheering! All right! We’re going to have a great season, it’s so much fun! Just thanks for being here! Thanks for letting little Jimmy be a part of our team! All right! Thanks!”

I say yes!

Without exception, when the universe asks me to do something, I always say yes. I say, “Yes universe! Yes, yes, yes!” not always out loud, but a lot of the time yeah, it’s out loud. Sometimes I scream it. Sometimes I’ll scream it while I’m spinning around in a circle, punctuating that final “Yes!” by pointing my finger straight in the air, like if there were a camera circling me from above, they’d see that last shot, that last “Yes!” like you could freeze-frame it, like you could put that photo on the cover for every spiritual self-help book, or you could make a spiritual self-help magazine, a monthly, maybe a bi-monthly, you could call it Yes! Magazine.

“Unlock your inner Yes!” might be the headline for the first issue. I don’t know, that was just one idea. We don’t necessarily have to go with it. It’s just that, I always say yes to any ideas that pop into my head. One time I read this article on how to be a writer, it said, don’t just write down anything that pops into your head. And I thought, jeez, that’s terrible advice. It’s like, what was I doing, reading No! Magazine? “Delete that last headline: Everything you write is terrible” might be the headline for No! Again, maybe it would be something else. I just can’t really picture anybody buying a copy of a magazine called No!

Well, I mean, I guess there are some things you should say no to. Like crack. Like crack cocaine, I mean, it’s part of the universe, right? Like it’s made out of the same star dust or whatever that you and I are made out of, that everything’s made out of, right? So maybe you don’t have to say “no” to crack. Maybe you can say yes, but then maybe just don’t smoke it? Like, maybe you can make some jewelry out of it. Like a nice crack necklace? Or what else can you do with rocks? You could collect a bunch of them and maybe line your garden with them? That could be kind of nice, maybe?

You see what I did just there? I was right in the middle of maybe thinking of an exception to saying yes to the universe, and what did I do? I wound up saying yes. I said yes to crack! Think about everything else we can say yes to. Like I used to get so bent out of shape, every time I went to the movie theater, every time I bought a popcorn and soda at the concession stand, the cashier would go, “Do you want to donate a dollar to charity?”

And I would get so mad. I’d be like, these stupid movie theaters with their stupid expensive soda and stupid dollar charities. I thought to myself, I want to say no. But I’ve already committed myself to saying yes! So I thought, OK, well what if I just say yes? Do you want to donate a dollar? Yes! And then I’ll just walk away, because they only asked if I wanted to give a dollar, not if I would give a dollar.

But I didn’t think it all the way through. The cashier was holding my change, so she automatically deducted the dollar. I said, “Hey, that’s my dollar,” and she said, “Didn’t you want to give it to charity?” and I said, “Well, yes … never mind,” and from that moment on, I made it a point to only pay for movie theater concessions in exact change. That way it could be a very simple, “Donate?” “Yes!” and then, “Goodbye!” walking away, me not having had to give up a dollar, but also not having had to say no either.

While the previews were playing, I started mentally laying out the contents of the first issue of Yes! Obviously I’d include the dollar charity trick. But what about some more tricky situations? Like, what if you’re waiting tables and some guy’s like, “Hey waiter, does this cheeseburger have peanuts in it? I’m allergic to peanuts.” It doesn’t have peanuts. But I’ve made a commitment to say yes!

Or what if I’m walking down the street and I hear a commotion behind me, “Hey! You! Stop! Wait!” and I turn around and some guy just totally barrels into me. We both fall to the ground, he’s holding a purse, he gets up, leaves the purse in my arms and then takes off running again. Two seconds later a police officer runs right up to me, lying on the ground, holding this purse, he shouts at me, “Did you steal that purse?”

What do I say? How do I get out of a jam like that? Maybe I shouldn’t have taken such a strict yes-to-the-universe vow. Shouldn’t I have left in a little elbow room for maybe just a few exceptional “No!” scenarios? Yes?

Feeling down? I can help!

Let go of all of that pain and suffering. Inconsequential. Get rid of it. Take a deep breath. Deeper. Empty out your lungs first by pushing everything out, keep going. OK, now take a deeper breath in, as deep as you can, hold your arms above your head to let even more air in. Great. Now let it out, just let it go, everything. Did it work? I should have explained. That was a symbolic exhaling, the breath a representation of the pain, the suffering, all of that stuff I was telling you to let go of. Try it again, this time, you know, just think about it, what I said earlier.

Unburden yourself, let go of, or, not leg go, I already said that, but release, yes, release yourself. That’s kind of awkward. Unburden yourself by releasing, yourself. No. Take the burden, the one that you’re carrying, and let it go? Yeah, let it go. I’ll start over.

Imagine all of your troubles, picture them all in your mind, every one of them. Everything negative. All of the things unpleasant in your life. Yes, even what I was talking about before, the burdens, the unburdening. Is it pictured? Great, now, imagine all of that bad imagery transforming into a light switch. A wall mounted light switch. Just any regular switch. But this one’s giant. Or, giant for a light switch. Not actually giant. Let’s say like football-sized giant. And now imagine yourself trying to switch it off, but it’s really hard, because it’s so heavy, it’s just this really big, giantish light switch. But just when you don’t think you’ll be able to do it, yes, that’s it, keep reaching, there. It’s off.

Did that work? That’s another representation. Some more helpful imagery. Let it all go. Exhale it all out and switch it all off. OK, and now I want you take another deep breath, or, just do the deep breath trick again, and I’m just getting this now, it’s all just popping up in my head so kind of go with me here a little, but take it all in – ffsswwsshhhhHHH! – that was the inhaling sound – hold it in a little deeper, breath it in a little more, come on, just like before, OK. OK, now hold it. OK now imagine a balloon. A big one. Bigger. I know I can’t see exactly how big you’re imagining it to be, but just, however big your imaginary balloon is, make it even bigger. OK, and you’re still holding that breath in, right? And it’s everything poison, negative, all of the hate. OK, now let it go, into the balloon, and fill that balloon up. The balloon was deflated before, I forgot to mention that. But now it’s inflated. You inflated it. You’re inflating it still.

Keep going, don’t worry, it won’t pop, because you’re imagining the balloon to be unpoppable. Right? It won’t pop, trust me. And keep exhaling. More. Good. Now tie it up tight. Now imagine it to be everything terrible that you had inside, all of your fear, your despair, your self-loathing, all of that stuff. It’s turned the balloon black. It used to be red. Just, just trust me, it was a regular red balloon. But now it’s black.

Oh yeah and it’s heavy, like weighed down to the floor. OK, now imagine a machine, something that you can put the balloon into. OK … just, I don’t know like a microwave, but bigger. Just go with me here. Put the balloon inside. Close the door. Activate the machine. There’s only one button. Go for it.

Wait for it. Keep waiting. OK, and that’s it. Ding! It’s done. Take the balloon out. Now it’s glowing. And it’s not heavy anymore. In fact, it’s floating away. But that’s OK. Just imagine a ladder really quickly, and picture yourself climbing up the ladder really fast. It’s fine, you can do it, it’s your imagination. Catch the balloon. Hold it in your hands. Untie it. Suck everything back in.

You see what happened there? That machine, it made everything positive. All of that negativity, it’s been transformed into positivity. And then you just sucked it right back up. And so do that, picture that little thought exercise, it helps, it helps you let go, it helps you with that release, that unburdening. Just let it all flow over you. No, inside you, that’s what I meant. No, outside, then change it around, then back inside again.

It’s all in your head. You know, except if you have really bad back pain. I’ve heard chronic back pain is just the worst. You should really go see a medical doctor or a support group if you’re trying to deal with chronic pain. This is just for like emotional pain. But nothing too serious. If it’s too serious, you should go to a doctor for that too, that might be depression. I’m just talking about like moderate sadness. Not too moderate. Slightly moderate. Just, just go talk to a doctor. I’m not a doctor.

The positive aspects of negative thinking

It’s always like, global warming, things are about to get a lot hotter folks. Or it’s gas prices. Get ready to pay everybody. Don’t forget about that late night mugger. Keep those doors locked. Oh yeah and an economic crisis. Oh yeah and a war. Oh yeah and your toothpaste is toxic. Oh yeah and we just discovered eight new types of cancer that you didn’t even know you were probably infected with.

What’s it all about? What’s the idea behind generating all of this fear? I know it doesn’t work on me personally, because all I wind up doing is getting really anxious, and then I go drink a cup of coffee, which gets me even crazier. And I end up not trusting anything. If I were in charge of the media and I really wanted to get people to go along with whatever it is that I’m trying to say, I’d go about things completely differently.

Everything on TV and in the news would be smooth and calm and relaxing. This just in, breaking news, things are about to a whole lot better folks. Scientists have just discovered that tomorrow is going to be even better than today. Great job everybody! Keep up the good work. And I’d stare at the computer all hopped up on caffeine and think to myself, “Who the hell do these knuckleheads think they’re trying to fool?” Because nobody acts that calm and happy in real life. And so I’d automatically assume that something was off, that there has to be a threat looming in the background, and the TV just doesn’t want me to panic, so it’s coddling me, giving it to me like I can’t handle the truth, like I wouldn’t be able to come to grips with whatever new plague or assault is right about to crash my reality.

It’s like whenever I’m walking down the street, every once in a while I’ll pass by somebody and we accidentally make eye contact. I usually try to hang my head as low as possible, but every now and then it happens. I usually just twitch my head violently to the other side, to let the person know that I didn’t mean to make eye contact, that I’m not looking, and usually the other person does this also. It’s common courtesy not to get so involved in each other’s personal space. But sometimes that person will just smile. And I’m like, what the hell is there to smile at? Didn’t you check the ozone levels today? They’re terrible! And then I’m always forgetting if ozone levels are supposed to be low or high, and I’m concentrating on that and then I’m thinking again about this weirdo still smiling at me, so I make a run for it.

A lot of people have these ideas about smiling, about positivity, like if you give it to the world you’re going to get it back, or spread it or something. But I don’t think it’s like that at all. I think it’s like money. You give it up, you throw it away and then it’s gone. You start smiling at random strangers and all of the sudden whoever you’re smiling at is totally weirded out, and they do that head twitch thing that I was talking about before, and you notice it and feel stupid for putting yourself out there, for letting some of your positivity or niceness out to the world, it’s in you and then it’s out there and then it’s gone. You’re like a balloon, filled up with whatever you’ve got, and once you let it out, like if it’s helium or something, it’s really not going to be possible to put it back in. It just floats up to outer space, just dissipates, totally wasted. Or maybe it’s better if I describe it like lighter. You hit that lighter with your thumb and eventually it just runs out of gas. Or it gets really hot, so hot that your thumb starts burning and you can’t hold it anymore. What happens after that? No more fire. Well, unless you throw the lighter into an already blazing fire, then, well, yeah, or, if you use that lighter to set the curtains on fire, you could burn the whole neighborhood down. Yeah, I guess if it’s like fire than it’s a little bit easier to think of it like spreading. But I’m not talking about it spreading. I’m talking about it wasting away. So go back to the balloon. Helium, right?

Basically, what I’m trying to say is, the people who are the most cranky, mean, negative people in the world must only be that way on the outside. Inside that miserable exterior they have to be the exact opposite, filled with joy, happiness. You just can’t tell because they don’t go around wasting even an ounce of their positivity. They’re filled to the brim with it inside. Yes, joy is measured in ounces. I think the British invented the ounce. Ask somebody in England. But just think about your happiness, what little you might have of it, and never let it out, you don’t have to share it, waste it. And then, what was I talking about before, fear, right? Yeah, so if we’re all busy pushing each other out of the way and giving each other the finger and averting our gazes, the world would be a much more angry place, but only on the outside, which would really mean that the world would actually be a much better place. Inside. Right? Get it? You are nothing more than a nasty shell for your hidden, hoarded positivity. Hide your light from the world, keep it secret, keep it safe, because it’s yours, all yours, and the next time somebody smiles at you, tell them to fuck off. It sounds harsh, I know, but it’s all perfectly logical. I should be a life coach.