Are you familiar with the story of Pollyanna? Originally a 1913 best-selling novel by Eleanor Porter, it is the story of a plucky little orphan (aren’t they all), whose optimism in the face of any and all adversity brightens up a whole town of formerly disgruntled and variously depressed townspeople, including her own, stern, spinster Aunt Polly.
Polly’s happy orientation is energized and bolstered by a game taught to her by her (now deceased) papa, who, of course, was a minister. Called The Glad Game, Polly sets out to share it with her fellow citizens. Here, in Polly’s own words, is the game explained:
“Why, we began it on some crutches that came in a missionary barrel.”
“Yes. You see I’d wanted a doll, and father had written them so; but when the barrel came the lady wrote that there hadn’t any dolls come in, but the little crutches had. So she sent ’em along as they might come in handy for some child, sometime. And that’s when we began it.”
“Well, I must say I can’t see any game about that, about that,” declared Nancy, almost irritably.
“Oh, yes; the game was to just find something about everything to be glad about–no matter what ’twas,” rejoined Pollyanna, earnestly. “And we began right then–on the crutches.”
“Well, goodness me! I can’t see anythin’ ter be glad about–gettin’ a pair of crutches when you wanted a doll!”
Pollyanna clapped her hands.
“There is–there is,” she crowed. “But I couldn’t see it, either, Nancy, at first,” she added, with quick honesty. “Father had to tell it to me.”
“Well, then, suppose YOU tell ME,” almost snapped Nancy.
“Goosey! Why, just be glad because you don’t–NEED–‘EM!” exulted Pollyanna,
This is frankly just the sort of smarmy shit I used to thrill from as a kid. Okay, true confession, I still love this treacle sweet, look on the bright side of the street, kind of thinking. So, I started thinking about being glad. I came to the conclusion that being glad is different from being happy. Happiness seems like more of an overall, encompassing thing, like, I’m happy I have family and friends. I’m happy my hair is naturally curly. This is, of course, just my own interpretation on this. Should you disagree, please feel free to write your own set of definitions. Glad seemed to me to be a little more fleeting, less weighty, more doll, less crutch.
I had actually started writing this post last weekend, and had started writing a list of “gladisms” by Kathi.
- I’m glad my neighbors got rid of their chickens, although I miss their sweet gentle clucks
- I’m glad shaved ice has reached the mainland and become a bit of a trend
- I’m glad Jimmy Kimmel got married and seems to have so many celebrity friends in real life, just makes his show seem more real
So, my big Glad finale was going to be:
- I’m glad Fig season is here because it will end soon and it won’t come around for another year
See, shades of Polly, right? But then, well, a couple of things happened. I got a stomach ache, my appendix ruptured, I was rushed into emergency surgery and I spent 3 days in the hospital. Today is my first full day home, finally freed a little bit from the overall shock, trauma and pain, and I had time to think about things other than, wow, what the f*ck just happened to me.
So for this week, a day late and a few brain cells short, I leave you with my final Glad. Here we go:
I’m (choke) glad my appendix burst, because you only have one.
Thank you, Pollyanna, and thanks to all of the family and friends who saw me through the last week. It really is not just a life, it’s a full adventure! And, I’m glad to still be in it!
The End, for now