A good joke
with a good message

Published 6:52 am Sunday, July 12, 2009

By Staff
We were honored last month to be invited to the Beaufort County Grange’s annual awards banquet.
The entire event was enjoyable, of course. We love dinner invitations from farmers. Officials from the North Carolina State Grange were there too, which was impressive. And, of course, seeing a number of worthy locals honored was very nice. Our congratulations to all of the honorees.
But the thing from the meeting that most stuck with us was a joke shared with the gathering by a preacher from the Hunter’s Bridge Church of Christ.
We think it has a lot to offer everyone. Here’s our telling of the story he shared:
There were two farmers, who lived next door to one another. One, who saw the good things in life, was an optimist. The other, who saw the bad things in life, was a pessimist.
One morning, the two men met as they were walking out their doors.
“What a beautiful day,” said the optimist. “This sun will help my crops grow.”
“This is horrible,” said the pessimist. “It’s a disaster. My corn will burn in this hot sun and I’ll be beggared.”
The next day, the two met again as they left their homes.
“Well, this is wonderful,” said the optimist. “This rain is just what your crops need.”
“This is awful,” said the pessimist. “It’s horrible. This rain will drown my crops, and I’ll be ruined.”
The third day, the two went duck hunting together. The optimist brought his dog, and the two men sat in a boat and waited for some ducks to appear.
When the birds showed up, the men opened fire — Bam! Bam! — and each dropped two birds.
Seeing the dead ducks, the optimist’s retriever jumped from the boat, walked across the water to the ducks, picked them up and walked back across the water to the boat.
“Wow!” said the optimist. “Did you see that?”
“I sure did,” said the pessimist. “Your dog doesn’t know how to swim, does he?”
Now sure, it’s a good joke, or at least it was when the preacher told it. (We make no guarantees that our own retelling is up to his standard.) But the message the humor masks is an important one, one our community should think about every day.
We’re not asking anyone to be Pollyannaish, or to mindlessly make cheery remarks even as the sky falls. But we do think that looking for the good before the bad is important.
And so we’d like to issue a gentle reminder: Honey catches more flies than vinegar, and can gets more done in a morning than can’t does in a week. Sure, it’s old-fashioned advice, but there’s a reason your momma gave it to you.