I actually like those people who walk and talk as if they have life all figured out.
As if they know exactly what they’re doing, and do not rue all the things they aren’t.
As if all their life is a just-cleaned house—or a hotel room, with great sheets and a new-car smell!
“Toxic positivity,” is how a corporate communication friend describes his boss. “Everything is awesome!”
You know the type: Chuckling in fleece, philosophizing in corduroy, living their best lives in down vests.
They married their best friend, they love what they do, they wear an Apple watch
and they always get their steps.
They don’t portray their lives as perfect on Instagram; they do so in the bathroom mirror!
Even when the world feels like the late 60s to everybody else, it feels like the late 50s to them.
I kid these people because I like them—or at least I’m glad they’re there.
Because they balance out the other type of accidental oppressor, at least as common:
People who believe that life on earth is inevitable chaos, fighting, panic, hassle, sadness and mess
—and live each day in self-fulfilling prophecy.
(These people had a real rhetorical leg up during COVID, George Floyd and January 6, when doom-scrolling was the only scrolling. And some of them actually seemed happy then. As the cartoon blues man told Lisa Simpson, “You don’t play the blues to make yourself feel better. You do it to make other people feel worse!”)
One of the first people I met like this was my Aunt Z.
She had earned her grim view, as many grim people do.
She’d get drunk at cocktail parties and ruin them by delivering,
before my uncle drug her out, a set piece that became known by all the cocktail party regulars
as her “Life Is Shit” speech.
But you don’t have to have known Aunt Z to know the “Life Is Shit” type:
As rigid, and in their own way, just as suffocating to those around them as the “Life Is Good” people.
The “Toxic Positivists” run parallel with the “Life Is Shit-ers,”
Creating a set of rails between which the rest of us