A Balcony View: Siding with optimism, against the odds

I've been trying to adopt a more enlightened way of seeing the world. This newfound philosophy is fairly simple: I try to view everything that happens as having a good reason.

Admittedly, this has been hard because I am a cynic by nature. Whether my critical view of the world is the result of a deep-seated defense mechanism, or a way to delight my followers and anger my haters is unknown at this time. And how long I can keep this mantra of positivity going? Who knows? My personal drug of choice is mockery. Like it or not, that's my voice as a writer. I am drawn to it like the moth to the flame.

Granted, this "New Age, Leading Edge" positive thinking is not always so easy to follow. I would agree that it's often difficult to turn the other cheek and see the good intentions in someone like, Lizzie Borden, for instance. But I suppose rather than judge, it's more generous in spirit to say she was doing her best, given the fact that she was beaten and forced to regularly eat spoiled meat at the hands of a tyrannical father. That, and the fact that assault rifles were not invented made the ax her only real alternative to exercise good intent. So there you go.

But that's an example of seeing the good in someone a couple of centuries ago on the other side of the country. What about right here in our own backyard? How do I see the good in say, Glendale Water & Power? OK. That might be too big a chasm for me right now. I'll come back to that.

Let's start with something small, like the coffin found on the side of the road last week. How do I see the good in that? Since coffins do not just magically appear on a residential street, there's a pretty good chance that somebody stole it and dumped it. Or was it that sinister? Perhaps someone no longer needed it and were on their way back to Coffins-R-Us when it innocently fell off their truck, much like those mattresses and broken TVs always seem to do through no one's fault.

Either way, the coffin is "accidentally" on the side of the road. At some point, whoever dropped it there might have had a good thought like: "We might as well just leave it there. After all, every 18 seconds, someone dies. So there will be a need for it sooner rather than later."

With that good intention launched into the universe, the original coffin owner leaves it for some other lucky person and off he or she goes to enjoy a coffee and delightful guava turnover at Porto's, their conscience clean as a whistle because of their philanthropic effort to help a fellow stranger bury a recently departed loved one.

But alas, the good intentions of the former casket owner is temporarily undermined by the likewise good intentions of the police, who happen upon the coffin first. Instead of waiting for some bereaved citizen to find and use the coffin, the police decide it is best to take possession in hopes that it may be returned to its rightful owner, if it is indeed stolen. So the police strap the coffin onto their patrol car and drive it back to the station, where it now waits for someone to claim it or else it will be auctioned off.

As a side note, I'm wondering if the police should start using their patrol cars to pick up all those abandoned mattresses and TVs in hopes of returning them to their rightful owners as well? That might be nice. Could picking up and auctioning off roadside dump-stuff be an untapped revenue stream for Glendale law enforcement? Perhaps they could have month-end rummage sales? Remember, these are just suggestions made with the best of intent. I'm doing my best to help out.

More specifically, it got me to thinking how this random coffin might actually do some good for all of us in Glendale.

If the casket is actually auctioned off, the money collected by the police could then go to pay part of their higher Glendale Water & Power bill, leaving their coffers freed up to fight more crime instead of paying rising utility costs.

So, when all is said and done, the act of dumping the coffin by the side of the road will have resulted in more money for law enforcement. And whatever the original intent of the person who dumped it, something good came of it. And my new way of seeing the world thus remains intact.

Now, as for finding something good about the recent Glendale Water & Power rate hike, let's see… Um…Uh…Er…

Maybe next week.

GARY HUERTA is a Glendale resident and author. He is currently working on his second novel and the second half of his life. Gary may be reached at gh@garyhuerta.com.

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