Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Annoying “inspirational” messages

There are some venues that should be off limits …

I tend to distrust optimism. I have found that, in most cases, it is unrealistic. I can listen to a motivational speech by, say, Zig Ziglar, and I can understand how his energy and enthusiasm can inspire people to try harder. But I'm not one of those people. In the 1980s, Bobby McFerrin had a number-one hit telling people, "Don't Worry, Be Happy." I just couldn't buy in.

I tend more to favor the cynical view. I don't think that just thinking happy thoughts is going to make the rest of my life turn happy. And while, maybe, some positive thoughts are going to be positive for my performance, whether at work or at sailing, I don't think that they're going to have all that great of an influence, as compared to actually working at it.

I tend more to agree with such sites as, which point out the absurdity of the usual optimistic platitudes. One of my favorite sayings is, "The light at the end of the tunnel is really the headlamp of an oncoming train." Another is, "The early bird gets the worm, but it's the second mouse that gets the cheese."

Meanwhile, I have recently been attacked with motivational messages from a quarter that I would have thought sacred – the wrappers on my feminine-hygiene products.

This is a brand that I believe in; the products are superior to any others. The new product line, labeled "sport," is even better in terms of comfort and performance. However, because of the "sport" label, the manufacturer decided to put motivational slogans on the wrappers. So several times a day, I get a message such as "You go girl!" or "Keep your head in the game!"

This evening, I got one that is an insult to race committees – it assumes that either the race committee didn't set a square course or that there was a big wind shift during the race: "Reach for the finish line!"

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Blogger Tillerman said...

Not necessarily. At the Olympics (and at high level Laser events) the dinghy courses are trapezoid which often have a reaching finish. See for example.

Maybe the writer of your inspirational messages is a current member of the US Olympic team earning some money for her campaign in her spare time.

Mon Aug 10, 06:53:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Greg and Kris said...

Keep your chin up.

Mon Aug 10, 01:05:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Pat said...

Then of course there is, "Trust me, you can't miss it, everything's under control, I'm from the government here to help respect you in the morning with the check in the mail so nothing can go wrong. so watch this...."

Mon Aug 10, 03:56:00 PM MDT  
Blogger bonnie said...


That sounds possibly even more annoying than the (blessedly brief) span of during which my preferred brand cheerfully exhorted users "Have a happy period" in a message printed on the peel-off backing of their products.

I honestly can't quite picture what sort of marketing wizard thought that would be a good idea.

Mon Aug 10, 05:06:00 PM MDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" And if you should survive to 105,
think of all you'll derive out of being alive,and here the best part, you've had a head start, if you among the very young at heart"

Mon Aug 10, 05:59:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Carol Anne said...

Bonnie ... "I honestly can't quite picture what sort of marketing wizard thought that would be a good idea."

Obviously, a male one. Yeah, I remember that "Have a happy period" message, too.

Tue Aug 11, 07:29:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Pat said...

That's all fine and well for the period, but where's the happiness for the comma, the apostrophe, the virgule, semi-colon, colon, caret, acute and grave accents, and the exclamation point!?


Wed Aug 12, 10:36:00 PM MDT  

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