From a little pamphlet by Reverend Bruno Hagspiel, S.V.D., Divine Word Missionary, 1950’s


PESSIMIST: One who turns out the light to see how dark it is.

THE OPTIMIST: We’re always glad when he drops in

—the pilgrim with the cheerful grin,

who won’t admit that grief and sin are in possession;

there are so many here below,

who coax their briny tears to flow,

and talk forevermore of woe, with no digression!

The man who takes the cheerful view

has friends to burn, and then a few;

they like to hear his glad halloo, and loud ki-yoodle;

they like to hear him blithely swear

that things are right side up with care;

they like to hear upon the air, his cock-a-doodle.

The Long Felt Want he amply fills;

he is a tonic for the ills

that can’t be reached with liver pills, or porous plasters;

he helps to make the desert bloom:

he plants the grouches in the tomb;

he’s here to dissipate the gloom of life’s disasters! WALT MASON

The pessimist looked out at the street.

Raining again. It had been going on for hours.

He held his head and moaned.

“Do you think it will ever stop raining?” he asked.

The optimist smiled.

“It always has,” he replied.

Face the sunshine. You will find that the shadows always fall behind you.

God helps those who help themselves.

But the optimist applies this knowledge: he believes that God will help him only if he makes every effort to help himself.

“Twixt the optimist and the pessimist

the difference is droll;

The optimist sees the doughnut,

while the pessimist sees the hole.


On May 6, 1896, the first successful flight of a heavier-than-air machine was made. Dr. Stephen Langley was the inventor. Most people and a vast number of scientists remained skeptical, especially since the first official plane commissioned by the Government (in 1898) from Dr. Langley met with an accident in launching on December 8, 1903, and failed to fly but fell into the Potomac River instead.

Langley, wounded by the scorn of scientists and the neglect of the public, died of a broken heart on February 27, 1906. Only a few days after his unsuccessful attempt, on December 17, 1903, Wilbur Wright made the first flight with the Wright airplane.

In 1914 the old Langley airplane was taken from the Smithsonian Institution, and with Mr. Curtis in the pilot’s seat, was flown, SUC-CESSFULLY, over Lake Keuka..

If only Dr. Langley had kept on trying longer. . . .

What indeed does not the word cheerfulness imply? It means a contented spirit; it means a pure heart; it means a kind, loving disposition; it means humility and charity; it means a generous appreciation of others, and a modest opinion of self. -THACKERAY


Promise yourself —

to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind;

to talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet;

to make all your friends feel that there is something in them;

to look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true;

to think only of the best; to work only for the best; and to expect only the best;

to be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own;

to forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future;

 to wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile;

to give so much time to improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others;

to be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble. ~CHRISTIAN D. LARSON


At the time of the Johnstown flood, Hank and Dave were neighbors. Hank saw the waters rising and climbed out on the roof and lit his pipe calmly. Dave launched his boat and was about to leave the house when he saw Hank on the roof.

“How be yeh?” he cried.

Hank reflected a moment, removed the pipe long enough to spit, and replied: “Not bad, considerin’.”

“All my fowls been washed away,” groaned Dave; “how about your’n?”

“Mine, too,” said Hank; “but they wasn’t much and the ducks kin swim.”

Dave took up his oars and started to pull away. “I see the water’s up to your windows already,” he warned as he left.

“Oh well,” smiled Hank, as he nudged the chimney on top of the roof more comfortably, “them winders needed washing anyway.”

Physicists tell us that there is a saturation point — for instance, a sponge can hold just so much water and no more. Put one more drop of water into the sponge and another drop will form and separate itself from the sponge. The sponge has reached its saturation point.

In pleasure and pain alike there is such a critical moment also.

There comes a moment of tedium in every pleasure which must be survived lest the pleasure perish.

First comes the fear of death — followed by the joy of battle; first comes the shock of the icy water, then the cheery glow that floods the bather; first comes the moment of abnegation, then the ecstasy of martyrdom.

This “instant of potential surrender,” as Chesterton calls it, is what gives life its piquancy, as salt makes a dish palatable.

Do not therefore allow yourself to linger on the gross and displeasing moments which accost you in life: else the further acquaintance of life itself will be for you an endless misery.


Keep your troubles to yourself,

put them on an upper shelf;

far away as they may be,

where no eye but God’s can see.

Other people have their share

of affliction, pain and care;

why should you, though sorely tried,

burden them with yours beside?

Give of treasures you possess

loving care and tenderness,

cheerful smiles or sordid pelf,



It pays to have an eye on the future, but not too much so. . . . You can easily take such good care of the future that you will find it “ain’t there” when you arrive.

People who look too far ahead for opportunities to solve their troubles remind me of little Willie, who was invited to a birthday of a pal.

The cake, candy, nuts, fruit, were all just grand, and Willie did his share in putting them where they would do the most good.

“Won’t you have some more, Willie?” asked the hostess smilingly.

“No, thank you,” replied Willie, “I’m full.” He seemed well satisfied with himself.

“Well then,” went on the lady, “put some fruit and cookies in your pocket to eat on the way home.”

Again appeared that air of smiling satisfaction. “No, ma’am, thank you,” replied Willie, “they’re full too.”

Before harvest must come a storm of rain.

Before a tree takes root, the kernel must rot to pieces to liberate the seed.

In the immortal words of Francis Thompson:

“Nothing begins and nothing ends,

that is not paid with moan;

for we are born in other’s pain

and perish in our own.”

An optimist and a pessimist looked at some roses.

“What a pity,” sighed the pessimist, “that next to the roses are the thorns — and such large and sharp thorns too!”

The optimist smiled quietly. “Thank God for this wonder,” said he, “that He has so marvelously arranged everything in nature that next to the thorns He has placed the roses, the queen of all flowers.”

When a man tells his troubles to another he usually exaggerates them so they really sound bad. After a while he believes them himself . . . and then they ARE bad.

A man in charge of an aquarium divided a small tank into two sections with some plate glass, and in one section put small minnows, and in the other a healthy black bass of the vicious “small mouth” variety.

For three days the bass kept charging into the glass partition to get at the minnows. At the end of that time, he desisted from further efforts, and surrendered to pessimism, melancholy and a sore head.

The keeper then removed the partition and the minnows of course swam all around the bass. But he paid no attention to them.


Death is the only thing that comes to the man who waits. If you want success, work for it. Don’t wait for it.

It is not even wise (not to mention Christian) to be knocking all the time. Only a woodpecker can engage in constant knocking and get along all right. And he lives on grubs and insects.


Nothing to do but work,

nothing to eat but food,

nothing to wear but clothes

to keep from going nude.

Nothing to breathe but air,

quick as a flash ’tis gone,

nowhere to fall but off,

nowhere to stand but on.

Nothing to sing but songs,

as well! alas! alack

nowhere to go but out,

nowhere to come but back.

Nothing to see but sights,

nothing to quench but thirst,

nothing to have but what we’ve got,

 thus through life we are cursed.

Nothing to strike but a gait,

everything moves that goes,

nothing at all but common sense

can ever withstand these woes.

Few things are more important in a home than its conversation, and yet there are few things to which less thought is given. The power to communicate good which lies in the tongue—is simply incalculable. It can impart knowledge; utter words which will shine like lamps in darkened hearts; speak kindly sentences which will comfort sorrow or cheer despondency; breathe out thoughts which will arouse and quicken heedless souls; even whisper the secret of life giving energy to spirits that are dead. -J.R. Miller

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