CLIFF’S EDGE: How I get through days that are full of bad news

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I listen regularly to those who get paid to report to us what’s happening in the world. I listen, and I conclude that humanity is in a real mess.

On the other hand, as I’m hearing all that, I’m also coming face to face, day in and day out, with people who I believe can help bring us through that mess and out the other side.

No, I don’t wake up every morning humming “Kumbaya” into my pillow. But I do go back to bed most nights looking past the often discouraging headlines of the day.

How does this happen?

I expect part of it results from my inclination to meander through the day with a sappy grin on my face. That’s my dominant nature.

As I weave through daily encounters with my fellow humans, I just assume I’ll experience the best from them. That assumption holds until I encounter a genuine reason to fear otherwise. The latter seldom happens.

That grin, present or imminent, may help contribute to my relatively positive existence.

After all, faced with that expression why would those I meet respond with anything less? At least that’s the way it seems.

Whether it’s in the grocery aisle, walking across the parking lot outside, finding eye contact with a driver at a contested intersection, I’m not beyond nodding, saying “Excuse me,” or waving a hand, most often with a smile.

Often – not always, but often – I get the same in return. No big deal, but it sets the stage for a day-long favorable impression of the human race.

Of course, I can behave this way because I’m not concerned with convincing others – or myself – of my importance. I’m not sorting out those to blame for whatever’s not going right and bolstering my own self-esteem when something is.

That’s the difference, of course, when you’re not in a position of authority and concerned with losing it. It’s much easier to practice congeniality among the plain folks.

Cliff Rowe is a retired journalist and journalism professor. (He practiced both in a time before journalists and what they produced were considered “enemies of the people.”) He and his family have lived in the Shorewood area of White Center (then Burien) since 1969 when they returned to the Northwest after seven years in the Chicago area. There, following graduate school, he wrote and edited with the Chicago Sun-Times and with Paddock Publications in the Chicago suburbs. On moving here, he was with The Seattle Times for 11 years before turning to teaching journalism at Pacific Lutheran University for 35 years, retiring in 2015.

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4 Responses to “CLIFF’S EDGE: How I get through days that are full of bad news”
  1. B says:

    Enjoying the Cliff’s Edge posts!

  2. You remind me a lot of –Ican’t exactly remember his Name–Jerry Robinson of White Center News??!! But I Love Your Columns!!! Just up-Lififting!! Thank You!!!

  3. Elbowman says:

    Great attitude, Cliff!

    We get what we give.

  4. Linda P. says:

    Really enjoy reading something that suggests that there are still those among us that have respect and a smile for a fellow human being. Enjoy your column and attitude. Enjoy your posts.

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