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Celebrating Negativity!

by aifricr


Life is tough for a pessimist these days. I'm not a grey pet, but I can imagine the feeling well – all around people telling you to perk up, look lively, think on the bright side. I am unashamed to admit it: I am a raging pessimist. I see the worst in everything! I worry! I'm scared of stuff! I can feel some of you readers nodding along with me. If you've been shuffling along, hiding your pessimistic ways, exult now! You are not alone. Grey Day is here, the one day of the year where it's okay to be negative, where we celebrate the downtrodden.

I would like to point out to the optimistic majority that sometimes negativity is good, and (dare I say it?) necessary, in this crazy Neopian world of ours. I want to celebrate some brave and wonderful pessimists of Neopia, who are 'grey' on the inside, if not on the out.

1. The Doctor – This nameless green Gelert works tirelessly in the Neopian Hospital diagnosing pets and recommending cures for their illnesses. This is a Gelert that never says, 'Oh, I'm sure it's nothing,' or 'That will probably heal up by itself.' Instead he looks at the facts and symptoms before him, whether the pet is hiccupping bubbles or suffering from swollen gums, and even when he's pretty sure it's just the Neo Flu he double-checks it's not something more serious like Neomonia. Aren't you glad? Without his pessimism, no pets would ever be cured of their illness. You can trust his negativity.

2. Nigel the Stockbroker – How many times have all of us who follow the stockmarket gone to Nigel for advice? He's always helpful and always cheerful, so you might be fooled into thinking he's an optimist. But you're wrong! Nigel has never once looked at my portfolio and said, 'I bet your MYNC shares will keep rising,' or, 'Don't sell now; I'm sure it'll reach 1000!' No, he's usually pretty negative. 'Sell now, it could drop overnight,' is something I often hear. I'm thankful he is the way he is, because his fearing for the worst means I'm prepared, and if things do go badly I'm never taken unawares.

3. The Soup Faerie – This is a faerie who every day prepares a huge steaming cauldron of soup to feed the hungry pets of Neopia. Does she ever wake up and think that maybe there won't be any poor, starving pets? Nope. If she did, it wouldn't help the problem. Just because she'd like to believe there are no hungry pets doesn't make it so. Instead of just wishing and hoping, she goes out and actually helps the situation – she serves out soup all day long, doing pessimists everywhere proud.

4. TNT – The Neopian staff don't get enough credit for their untiring, relentless pessimism. Before they release a new game, they do vigorous beta testing to check for bugs. They know if they don't there'll be huge problems with it and pets and owners alike will be outraged. When they get a bad painting submitted to the gallery they don't say, "Well, I'm sure this person tried hard." No, they admit that some people just aren't going to make the cut and select better work. They have steadfast rules in place for whatever is thrown at them so they have a way to deal with it. We pessimists salute you for keeping such order throughout Neopia, TNT!

5. You – yes, here's the surprise guest: YOU! You are a pessimist even if you protest otherwise. You prepare for the worst, you don't go around relying on luck and hope to get you through the day. Do you keep your darling plushie Draik as your active pet? No, because you want to be prepared that in the case of a Boochi event s/he doesn't get zapped. Do you rush out the door without a coat and hope it doesn't start raining? Do you save for a summer vacation or just hope you'll win the lottery? Even if you don't acknowledge it, you inherently understand that things don't always go as you wish, that plans get ruined, that there are plenty of things just beyond your control. You too prepare for the worst! Welcome to the club! Happy Grey Day!

Grey pets get a lot of teasing and criticism in their everyday lives and I think it's because they sometimes present a reality we don't want to know about. When your stocks go down, it's alright to say, 'Well, I'm sure in a month they'll be right back up again!' but it doesn't mean your disappointment isn't still there. It might be more enjoyable to believe the happier version, but that won't make it true. When you're sick and somebody says, 'You'll be better in no time!' that's all well and good, but it doesn't mean you don't feel grumpy and unwell right now. Bad things happen – random events, mistakes, glitches, and it's only natural to get upset over them.

I suppose the truth of the whole thing is that no matter what you think or what I think, outside of that there is fact. I might see the rain and be upset because I can't go to the beach, you might see the rain and be glad your plants are getting watered. Either way it's raining and both evaluations of the rain are true. It's alright to hope and dream, but your ambitions need to be kept in check by a healthy dose of negativity. You could win the lottery... but you might want to keep restocking just in case. Our aspiration should be to see the truth, the way things really are, and know when it's good to be negative... and I suppose that also means knowing when it's good to be positive.

When people see a grey pet, it reminds them that there's sadness in the world, but they're still a valid part of life. Embrace it! Don't just revalue the situation with a positive spin, change it for the better! HAPPY GREY DAY, EVERYONE.

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