Thursday, August 11, 2011


I was chatting with my sister a few weeks ago about the
epidemic of pessimism that seems to exist in my family.

Yes, I’m a closet pessimist. I fight it, but it’s deeply
embedded in my DNA. Probably why I take the opposite tack as much as possible.
I mean, it’s exhausting! And I have better things to do than focus on the great
whack-a-mole bat poised above me all the time.

But I know it’s there.

Yup. You know that one. It’s more subtle than the inner
critics. ICs are easier to deal with. Toss them to the Kraken and keep my hands
on the wheel.

But the bat…that’s more like the wind and there is no
telling how it will blow.

Or to use the whack-a-mole metaphor, when that bat will
smack down on you…the moment you think… “Oh! Sunshine! I want to feel sunshine
on my nose and whiskers…” And you carefully pop up to sample the sweet
weather…and the bat hits. Like lightening, suddenly, your whiskers are bent,
your nose hurts and you’re dizzy.

(Mixing a lot of metaphors today, ain’t I?)

My sis and I were going back and forth about how hard it is
to relax and enjoy good fortune… In my family, and I’m sure, for a lot of
people, we tend to look sideways at good fortune. Wondering where the stick
is…nothing good happens without a ‘trick’ involved. That sort of thinking. And
when you have a run of good luck, you tend to hold it close, for fear that if
you crow about it you’ll attract the attention of the gods, who will smack you for

I have no idea where this mindset came from. My parents
didn’t use the old bait and trick crap. No trickery of any sort. But maybe a
touch of fatalism? Just not sure, really.

(I do think it may just be part of the Irish psyche.)

But let’s face it, right now I think all of America is
running scared with this sort of thinking. The economic recovery, however you
look at it, leaves us all looking over our shoulder…waiting for that bat to
come out and smack us if we peek out of our safe little holes.

Though living in a hole really isn’t all that safe, or
scenic, or life affirming. Wow, it is hard to look beyond it.

I’m published, but keep waiting for the bat. I look at my
slow sales and feel that this is the bat, right there. Should have never let
myself feel good…see? That’s what comes of thinking things were looking up.


Yeah, that’s me, slapping myself. I really hate feeling this
way and know it does no good…in fact, it can attract more bad luck! Ha! There I
go again! I can spin good luck into a magnet for bad luck and I can spin bad
luck as a way to attract more bad luck!

It’s a gift.

Or is that a curse?

How do you feel about
this metaphor? Are you the bat, always missing the moles, who laugh at you? Or
are you the mole, peering into the sky, knowing that bat is out there?


Marnee said...

I'd definitely say I'm the mole, most days. Particularly with writing. I'll be moving along, feeling good, then WHAM! I hit a roadblock. Or a bat, I guess. It leaves me reeling, rubbing my nose and soothing my whiskers.

Right now I'm trundling along. I'm about through reworking the parts I wrote last year. SO, I'm about to head into the downhill slide on this story. But I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. And I"m trying really hard to pretend the revisions aren't going to be that bad. LOL!

Love the picture, Chance!

Donna said...

Great post, Chance. I've always used the Whack-a-Mole metaphor to describe life, but I've never thought about it from the mole's perspective. LOL That was enlightening!

I wish I could stay to discuss this topic more, because I'm fascinated by how we're all afraid of good fortune, even suspicious of it, so we can't enjoy it, even for a moment. (Yeah, I'm part of that crowd too.) I've got to dash off to work though. Maybe I can stop back in at my lunch break.

Bosun said...

This reminds me of the old saying "Sometimes you're the windshield and sometimes you're the bug." LOL!

In this case, I'm the one swinging the bat. Those annoying little moles are always popping up, digging new holes in my nice level yard. I whack 'em as fast as I can, and most days, I think I stay ahead. But on those days when they have they're Wheaties, it ain't easy.

I've also never thought of this from the mole's POV. LOL! I grew up with a mother whose favorite saying is, "If it weren't for bad luck, we'd have no luck at all." Took me YEARS to stop thinking that way. And NOT thinking that way changed things completely.

Yesterday I told someone it was a good day because nearly all the traffic lights between my house and the office were green. I breezed right on through to work. The person replied, "Makes you wonder what's going to go wrong." Since I was at work, I was nice. But the voice in my head was screaming "DON'T SAY SHIT LIKE THAT!!"

Irisheyes said...

Maybe it is an Irish thing, Chance! In fact, I was just talking to my sister about this a couple of weeks ago. She asked me if she thought we would ever to get enjoy the good things in life without waiting for something horrible to happen to us or our loved ones. We tend to attribute it to our pessimistic father and our religion. I used to be a whole lot worse when I was younger. I think I got better because as I got older I distanced myself from the guilt and negativity of the church and my parents. My parents were great people but very much set in their ways and didn't have a whole lot of vision. They were also very, very Catholic!

I think it also helps to surround yourself with Tiggers instead of Eeyores! The more I see people just like me living fun, fulfilling lives and getting to have nice homes, nice cars, great vacations, fun toys (and not having to pay for their good fortune with a deadly disease, catastrophic natural disasters or losing loved ones, etc. etc.) the more I believe I can have that too.

2nd Chance said...

Marn - Yeah, with the writing, I would say we, the writers, are the the bats and our characters are the mole. What was it Donna wrote of Wednesday? Up the stakes?


But we are also the moles, reaching for that sunshine and praying that bat don't whack us!

Donna - Never thought about it from the mole's perspective? Is there another? Honestly, what is wrong with me?

I do like to believe that most of us moles do enjoy our good fortune, I mean that sun on the face is nice! Which is why that bat is such a bugger!

2nd Chance said...

Yeah, Terrio, I agree...Why say shit like that? But the conviction that the bat is swinging away up there is a pervasive one! I'd like to think it also contains good fortune...look at all the pretty stars!

I mean, a change of perspective can be a good thing and the bat can deliver one of those also.

I'll be honest, I've never played the game but I can see where being the bat could prove exhausting. I mean, there is never a shortage of moles...

2nd Chance said...

Irish, I do wonder if it's the Catholic thing... I grew up Catholic, but I mean, California Catholic...mass outside, holding hands, guitars and folk songs... But I did have the nuns, so it's possible.

Double that up with an Irish fatalism and *wham! I'm a mole!

I much prefer being Tigger, good parallel!

Bosun said...

I've never imagined myself living in a hole looking for the sun, but I can relate to being whacked on the head out of nowhere.

I didn't get negativity from growing up Catholic. Just the guilt. Which was enough.

2nd Chance said...

Don't ya think the guilt is part of the package? You know, guilt about when you do well that a)if you crow about it you're being vain and b)if you don't show enough gratitude if will all be taken from you?

Man, it's amazing how things can be twisted about!

I do love working guilt into my books, btw. Great tool!

Hellion said...

I usually feel like the mole. (Running around my yard trying to get rid of moles seems like an incredible waste of time. Pretty sure the moles were here first, but I'm not an actual homeowner and can't speak from the same sort of aggravation that my father...and clearly Terri does.) But yeah, usually poking my nose out to enjoy some fresh air, and boom! something catastrophic happens.

Terri's always saying, "Don't borrow trouble." It's hard to get out of the mindset. It feels that the minute you do get out of the mindset, something happens that says: See, you shouldn't have let your guard down.

I like Irish's analogy. I'm definitely an Eeyore, and I need to surround myself with more Tiggers. I have several, and sometimes I can be the Tigger when I'm on my passionate writing or painting or Harry Potter quest. I think we're all half-Eeyore, half-Tigger, with the tendency for more one than the other. But even my Dad, who is an Eeyore of the Nth power, can get excited and Tiggerish if he gets to go to his steam engine show AND have a open roast beef sandwich.

I guess it's a matter of remembering the little things that make you happy with the big things let you down.

2nd Chance said...

Hels, I like that idea! Treasure the little Tigger moments and embrace that those little things can balance the bat/Eeyore stuff.

I think I'm split in two...Tigger on the outside, Eeyore lurking inside.

Yer Dad is into steampunk and has a steam engine? How COOL! ;-)

And I do hope the big things won't always let me down. I mean, I do have a happy marriage and still own my home and I did survive sudden cardiac death...I've had my share of good things if I stack them up. It seems it's more of attitude than anything else.

Reality is good, but my wicked imagination and the point of focus is sometimes very stuck on being the mole!

Bosun said...

I work hard to remember life is never going to be ALL good stuff. There is going to be the not so good. It's the nature of the beast and something I can't control. However, I can control how I react to the not so good things.

Growing up in a family of chicken littles taught me I don't want to be one. And for me at least, not sitting around waiting for the next shoe to drop has resulted in less shoes dropping. It takes effort, but it's worth it.

2nd Chance said...

I can see why growing up with 'chicken littles' can be a learning experience and it makes sense that it would prompt you to live the opposite way. And I totally commend you!

I think that's why I do tend to push myself to be Tigger, despite the inner Eeyore!

And I do think not waiting for it to drop does result in less shoes dropping! It's the energy of magnetic attraction!

Hellion said...

No, dad is not into steampunk per se (because that's fiction or non-reality), but he IS into science (esp the tangible kind) and steam engines.

2nd Chance said...


Ah, too bad! Steampunk people adore steam engines. And actually, he might find them an interestering group to chat with. They are very knowledgeable about the engines, etc!

Hellion said...

That part he'd really like. He likes talking to knowledgeable people about how engines; and he also knows how they work too. He used to own a steam engine, but recently sold it. (It'll be at this fair.)

As long as they did not start talking about England or Harry Potter, he'd be fine.

Scapegoat said...

I've always been the mole, but a mole who is positive for everyone else, but hard to be for myself.

I've had people nickname me Eeyore before actually.

And I don't think most people would immediately think of me as the mole when they first meet me, but oh yeah, I'm the mole.

2nd Chance said...

The real technical people really get into the historical and engineering details, Hels. He'd enjoy it!

Scape! You're an Eeyore? I wouldn't have thought it! But just goes to show that appearances can be deceptive. You seem so sunshiney, but I do know how that can be a burden in and of itself!

So, you're the cheerleader mole? The one who takes all the whacks for the rest of us?

Man, when I named you Scape, I really hit the nail on the head, you sweet thing! I may have to re-christen you!

Bosun said...

Shouldn't that be you hit the mole on the head? Heh. *ignores groans*

I'd have put Scape in the Pollyanna club with me. You really are good at hiding that inner Eeyore!

2nd Chance said...

I sometimes think all things in life can be explained using Winnie the Pooh. I read the Tao of Pooh and the Te of Piglet...excellent books, really!

So, someone is feeling punny, today.

Okay, crew... Let's rush 'er!

Bosun said...

I'll sic Artie on you.

2nd Chance said...

Yeah, least he's affordable.

Bosun said...

I just came *this* close to spitting pizza all over my keyboard.

2nd Chance said...

Don't you think that's a very Eeyore way of looking at things? He's affordable. With hiring hitmen, a man who strangles two for $1 is a deal!

What do you think is easier to write, Eeyore or Tigger? I've done both, written heroines that are Eeyore and ones that are Tigger...

Bosun said...

My current heroine is more a forced Tigger and she's not as much fun to write because she's not sarcastic. My hero is a total Eeyore, but not the fun, sarcastic kind, so he's not funny either.

My WIP is not funny! (Revelation that came to me last night. I'm still dealing with it. Not well, obviously.)

I think Rabbit would be more fun to write. With a little Owl thrown in. (Janga is totally an Owl.)

2nd Chance said...

I like to toss Piglet into my characters, too! Rabbit would be fun, yer right. A forced Tigger is tough, but so would a hidden Eeyore. ;-)

2nd Chance said...

Hmmm. Maybe we need to approach a writing class from the Pooh-spective!


And I'm off to walk the dog. She's getting whiny... ;-)

Enid Wilson said...

Some of my siblings are pessimistic, some are risk avoider. So I've to fight against their advice of "don't do that", "don't do this" a lot. But life is short and you only live once. Why worry about the possibility of something that may not happen? Concentrate on what we can do, to experience life and to give to society. Oops, sounds very preachy here.

Every Savage Can Reproduce

2nd Chance said...

Enid...I walk the walk of an optimist, really! But inside? I'm a quaking pessimist.