On Mother’s Day, my siblings and I returned to Perthshire and gathered around our dear Mama’s feet, to watch Herbie Rides Again and the 2003 remake of Pollyanna.
This wasn’t the plan, per se. It just sort of happened. Mum wasn’t feeling well and there was nothing much on TV, so we all flaked out and watched the aforementioned programming gems.
I mentioned this in passing to Captain Tact who, rather than spending the weekend with his own mater dear, was engaged in selling books to idiots. That’s sort of his wont, these days. Anyway, his reaction to my news was something along the lines of “Polly what now?”
Naturally I was scandalised – surely Pollyanna is a fixed point in our culture? Apparently not. It’s not a very manly book, I suppose.
For anyone else similarly in the dark, Pollyanna is an oppressively cheerful child from literature. She was written by Eleanor H. Porter in 1913, and spends most of her time waging war on unhappiness. Evidence for the case against child labour laws, you might say.
The only thing that stops her terrifying campaign to ensure that everyone in the village is happy ALL the time is someone ‘accidentally’ mowing her down in a car, leaving her paralysed from the waist down. And even then she bounces back, it just takes her a little bit longer than other sad things that have happened to her (including the death of both her parents).
Pollyanna’s MO is centred around ‘the glad game,’ invented by her tirelessly optimistic father (who ironically died tragically young). The basic premise is that in a negative situation, you look for the good side.
Witness an example:
Yeah. She’s like that all the freaking time. If I was Pam Ferris I’d smack her in the mouth.
Her brand of inane happiness would probably get her beaten up if she bandied it about in this day and age. The closest modern equivalent, I suppose, is that person who tells you to, “Smile! It might never happen!” as though it’s socially acceptable to go about your everyday business with a big stupid grin etched onto your face. I must have missed that facebook update. The fact I’m not smiling all the time doesn’t indicate I’m having dark thoughts, I’m probably just thinking about something else.
Having said that, I was trying to think of themes to blog around, and it struck me that the glad game might be a fun one to do. Lots of things make me glad – broccoli soup, amusing graffiti, implausibly bad television...
But as aficionados of the game are no doubt clawing at the screen to point out, listing things that cheer me up is missing the point. You’re supposed to think of something sad, bad or other negative emotion, and then find the upside.
Much more of a challenge. I will see you tomorrow for day one.