Scene 5: “The Six Sources of Negativity”

Dave: (1) “The FIRST source of negativity is FINDING FAULT WITH EVERYTHING: the neighbors, the weather, the grocery store, the church, etc., etc., etc. And sometimes that is accompanied by a ‘woe is me’ pessimism.”

Patti: (2) “The SECOND source of negativity is CRITICIZING and CORRECTING PEOPLE TO THEIR FACE… correcting their statements… scolding them… “straightening them out”. Some people find it easy to correct people You can’t just have an easy-going conversation with them; it’s more like an exam. The trouble is they’re usually correct.

“The passion for setting people right is in itself an afflictive disease.” Marianne Moore

Steve: “You can call it scolding… being a scold… telling people thay are not doing right.”

Joe: “Scolding today is perpetrated by people who seem to have an affinity for it… it comes easily for them, telling people they are not doing right. They have exerted a lot of effort to make their own lives go right and they can’t understand why others haven’t done so also. The people they scold probably deserve a scolding but today it is out of place to scold people. You never, ever want to become a scold! People will avoid you.”

Patti: “If you are ever scolded by a scold just say, “Stop scolding me”, and they will stop because no one ever really wants to be a scold.”

Dave: “And let’s not forget sneering… contempt with a grin. Young people can sneer at you if you don’t know the latest about computers or anything else.”


Gainsborough: “Are you so delicate that you can’t take a little criticism once in a while? A little contradiction? What planet do you live on?

David: “That’s a reasonable objection. In the give and take of real life someone is bound to tell us that our idea is stupid. We’re trying to put a diaper on the kid and someone yells, “Hey, you’re doing it all wrong.” We’re cooking supper and we didn’t cook the string beans long enough. Someone’s going to tell us, “Hey, these aren’t cooked right.” Etc., etc.”

Gainsborough: “And be honest. Isn’t it fun sometimes to make fun of people; isn’t that what comedians do?”

Joe: “You’re right. But they’re not criticizing you to your face. Big difference. Yes, the world would be too serious of we couldn’t have fun about people. We don’t want to be a goody two shoes. And there is also what Jewish people call “kvetching”, a normal kind of complaining about present difficulties.”

Steve (3) “The THIRD source of negativity is ANGER. We have to be very sensitive here. Eddie Glaude, professor of Black Studies at Princeton University, admits: “I’m always dealing with my rage.” Psychologists say that anger like Eddie’s is linked to sadness. And I would add is tied to “getting gypped”. Since we do not live other people’s lives we would do well not to assume we can appreciate anger of this sort. So lets just let it be.”

Krista: “But there is a normal kind of anger. It is part of who we are. Lord knows there are occasions where anger is just going to erupt what with the immature people around us doing dumb things. People got angry the other day when Cecil the lion got shot in Africa. I got angry at God back in the day when the Challenger went down with Christa McAuliffe aboard. And very important: Children should be allowed to express all feelings including anger.”

Krista: “Years ago it used to be considered cute for a woman to have a “bit of a temper” or for a man to be “hot tempered”. There were even movies featuring red headed Irish beauties with a temper… the “Taming of the Shrew” types. But flying off the handle is out-dated now. It’s unattractive and not classy. It probably came over from the old country and we’ve outgrown it.”

Steve: : “And years ago it was acceptable for someone to be cross. Some teachers in school were cross. It was common to discipline children by correcting them in a cross manner. Every time you gave an order to anyone it was done crossly like sergeants in boot camps. Today if you do that you are definitely uncool. Even guards in prison are not usually cross with prisoners.”

Dave: “Then there are people who do not tolerate problems well, although life is made up of lots of problems… little ones and big ones. Such folks are described as having an attitude… which means that they’re cross a lot.”

Krista: “Some people always seem to be saying, “Don’t do this and don’t say that (with spouse or children.)”

Patti: (4) “The FOURTH source of negativity is being OUT OF TOUCH, meaning I’m out of touch with YOU. I seem to be either not interested in you or I talk about my own stuff. If you tell me a little episode that happened to you I will interrupt and match your story with one of my own. (Very common.)”

Joe: “One time I did something wonderful. I planted three peach trees. And they actually bore peaches. I also planted a plum tree and that was bearing. I was very excited about it. I took a co-worker out to see them. I can remember the disappointment to this day. She didn’t even look at them… she just kept talking about something else. She couldn’t care less about my fantastic peach trees.”

Patti: “Here is a common out of touch scenario especially with older folks. You start to tell them something and immediately it reminds them of a similar incident in their life so off they go telling you all about their incident leaving your incident unsaid.”

Steve: “If you come home from work and you drink two bottles of beer you are going to be out of touch with your kids for a while afterward. If you are bringing up kids go easy on the beer until they are grown up… 20 years.”

Dave: “Sometimes we are so out of touch with people we do stuff that annoys them… like cutting grass early Sunday morning. I am getting pretty careful how I treat people: If I am going to make a phone call after supper, for instance, I always wait til the hour or the half hour in case the person is watching a TV program.”

Steve: “If you go on a trip or put on an event and you are out of touch you don’t plan ahead well… don’t organize well. Don’t anticipate what might happen and plan ahead… read directions, what could go wrong? So sometimes little disasters happen.”

Dave: “Sometimes (more rarely now) the culture you were brought up in leaves you out of touch with the culture your children are living in.”

Ricky: (5) “The fifth source of negativity is LOW SELF ESTEEM, which. among other things, can result in getting connected up with troublesome characters.

Joe: “Yes it’s just the source of so many other problems, too: Being easily led in order to fit in, taking up bad habits. In Scene 9 we will discuss how to fix your self esteem. Read it carefully.”

Turn to Scene 6: “The Sixth Source of Negativity”