A Story For Our Times:
A group of psychologists were testing the most pessimistic and optimistic children they could find. They finally narrowed their search down to two 8 year-old boys. They set up two rooms: one with every toy imaginable, the other with a pile of horse manure.
The first boy, the pessimist, was put into the room with the toys. No sooner was the door shut when he began to throw the toys against the walls. Smashing, and throwing, he wasn't finished until he had broken every toy in the room. When asked why he did that he said, "When I saw all those toys, I knew they'd never be mine, and I didn't want some other kid to get them, so I broke them."
The second boy, the optimist, was put into the room with the manure. The boy's eyes lit up and he dove into the pile, flinging it in every direction. The researcher, wondering if he'd made a grave error, interrupted the flinging fest and asked, "What are you doing?"
The boy said, "With all this poop, there's got to be a pony in there somewhere!"
John has been trying to win a scratch and sniff contest for many days. Each day, when he makes his "Happy Hour" libation, he takes a new plastic Solo cup, pulls off the outer "peel and scratch" label, and carefully scratches off the black "stuff" to see what he has won.
Until tonight when he actually read the cup.
The contest instructions were not there. Then the truth dawned -- that chalk-boardy scratchable rectangle was meant to be a place where one could fingernail-engrave one's name, ostensibly to be sure that one's cup was not accidentally appropriated by a reckless partier who would either infect it with any manner of pestilence and disease, or in the swap leave one with something undrinkably dreadful -- like a Mad Dog or a light beer.
So John learned: there is no contest, no pot of gold at the end of the red plastic rainbow, no free beverage, and no pony at the bottom of the manure pile.