What a Day!

In the summer of 2008, when the world seemed to be falling apart – in addition to the recession, my mother had just died – I began visiting an elderly neighbor each morning to walk her equally elderly dog.  Neige, as he was called, barely tottered along while my own two-year-old pup strained at his leash.  My neighbor, Mary Jane, had additional grief: she was recently widowed and had broken her arm in a fall.  Despite our heavy hearts, however, or perhaps because of them, we began each visit with a sit-down to discuss the One Good Thing we each found in The Washington Post that morning.  It could be a big deal or a little nothing — the pandas at The National Zoo frequently figured in these conversations – but it had to be good enough news to make us smile and feel glad.

  I thought of those visits, now a decade ago, this morning when I read The Washington Post and the New York Times.  Most days, I approach the papers with trepidation.  The news typically ranges from disastrous to appalling and can be quite frightening.  The occasional feel-good story is overwhelmed by wars, droughts, shootings and melting ice caps.

But today – April 18, 2018 – what a day!  Here’s a list of Good News reports in no order:

  • A baby gorilla was born and is thriving at the National Zoo.
  • A Californian, Desiree Linden, won the Boston Marathon in teeming rain.
  • A 19-year-old DC opera singer was offered a full scholarship to Juilliard.
  • “Superagers” retain their intellect into their 90’s.
  • Fashion takes to the runway in Saudi Arabia.
  • Immunotherapy is successfully treating lung cancer.
  • Stories are being dispensed (free!) from kiosks around the country.
  • Pulitzer Prizes were awarded to some of our best and brightest.

Now isn’t that a splendid way to start the day?  Yes, other news gives ample cause for angst and dismay, and David Brooks grimly ponders loneliness and the breakdown of social relationships.  But, even so, at the risk of entering Steven-Pinkerdom, I feel grateful for this day and hopeful that there will be another one.

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