Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


-George Carlin (from

As I came to the end of my years in education, I had someone tell me that I was the most cynical person he/she knew.  I would occasionally joke the I was an optimistic cynic.  I always see the glass as half full, but I know it will eventually be empty.   I do want to set the record straight...I am not a cynic.  Sarcastic...yes.  Occasionally negative...yes.  Oddly enough I am more likely to trust someone until they give me a reason not to and even then they can usually win back my trust.  I've tried to never carry a grudge and I do not hate anyone I can think of (there are a few people I am not terribly fond of--sarcasm).  I don't have the energy to hate.  As Red Skelton said, "I don't hate my enemies.  Heck, I made 'em."

This is what a cynic is according to Mirriam-Webster Dictionary.  A cynic is someone who:

a : (is) contemptuously distrustful of human nature and motives
b : bases or reflects a belief that human conduct is motivated primarily by self-interest

I am not of contemptuous of human nature and do not believe humans are primarily motivated by self-interest.  Some are; some aren't. Some are sometimes and some never are.  We do have a preservation instinct, but that is very different than self-interest.  In every disaster I've ever seen, people show up.  They drive hundreds of miles to help clean up following a hurricane.  They risk their lives to try and save others in the Twin Towers.  They believe they can make a difference in the lives of students in a classroom or by leading folks sitting in a pew in church.  I went into teaching because it just felt right.  I stayed in it because I could not imagine doing anything else with my life.  I don't think that is cynical.  

I was perhaps cynical when I had to stand up and fight to protect what I believed in because what someone else wanted to happen would affect the education of students in what I thought of as a negative way. Perhaps in those cases, I did see someone who was motivated by ego or self-interest or power or stupidity or simple lack of understanding or a clash of beliefs.  

I am sarcastic, but I try not to be "cruel" but humorous.  If my sarcasm ever hurt your feelings, I am sorry for this unless it was the kick in the pants you needed. Hopefully,  I found out about it when it happened and made it right.  If I didn't find out that my edged wit hurt you, forgive me.  We all be human, after all. I did warn everyone through  my door with a sign that stated "Sarcasm spoken here; get used to it."  My nature though does not make me a cynic or pessimist or any other label you want to stick to me. 

We like to label folks. I honestly like the humor in some of the quotes for example: "An optimist believes this is the best of all possible world.  A pessimist fears that this is true."  Or -- "There are two types of people.  Those who divide people into two types of people and those who don't.  I am the latter."

It is easy to become negative.  I try not to, but hey it happens.  Labels are too easy.  We are far to complex to consistently fit in one label or another.  Bad people do good things and good people do bad things. Hey, even Luke redeemed Darth.   It doesn't make us pessimistic or cynical when we go through one of these spells, it makes us human.