If the anas platyrhynchos (duck) could not dismiss water from his back as easily as a shake of the tail, he would wind up 80 pounds of soggy feathers sunk to the bottom of Old Barnes Pond. Maintaining flotation is essential to his, and our, optimism. So seek out your local ducks and see how they do it.

They don’t absorb the water; therefore, they don’t get weighed down. Now you try it. Let that big deadline, or relationship issue, or chronic worry about your 401K, roll right off your spinal column. Give that problem an extra back kick with your heel as it nears your ankle for good measure. Shake off  your worries and dry yourself off in the sunshine.

In addition, ducks are expert at eluding their enemies, either by flying, swimming, running or diving for protection. And when it’s time to migrate, ducks fly in a “V” formation, taking turns up front to provide ballast for those in the rear. They know there’s no “i” in team. No “d”, “u”, “c” or “k” either.

Boy, there’s a lot to learn from ducks.

NOTE: Paddling furiously in circles while looking completely calm is another good duck move worth study.

Whatever kind of day you’re having, here’s a reason to feel fortunate: At least you’re not a Hippocampus borboniensis.

Despite living in salt water, far from the stresses of human existence, only five in a thousand seahorses survive to adulthood.  While there are many reasons for their short life span,  if you had to spend your days swimming upright using only a dorsal fin, you might expire early too.

Because their shape and body type make them one of the slowest-moving fish in the world, they’re easy prey for Asian fishermen who capture them for consumption in Chinese medicine. They’re prescribed for impotence, wheezing, nocturnal enuresis, and pain (though no clinical studies have been performed to validate these cures.)

On the plus side, their eyes can move independently of each other, which can be a great trick at parties.  But all things considered, if you’re 18 or older, consider yourself lucky you’re not checking your Apple Watch every five seconds like the seahorse to see if your time’s up.

Still feeling blue? The seahorse could use a friend. So why not save one? Helping others is a surefire cure for the mopeys, and they can make good pets for your saltwater aquarium.

Seahorses can set you back about $100.00 for 10 dwarfs. Just like picking stocks, do your research before diving in. We recommend buying seahorses that have been raised in captivity. These are healthier and will be easier to care for.

One thing to note: seahorses also require a lot of care. So if you’re not home much, maybe you should settle for this nice seahorse pillow instead.




Cimex lectularius (bed bugs) are getting some serious press attention these days, and on both sides of the aisle. The President of the United States is denying one of his “luxury resorts” has an infestation, claiming he’s the victim of a liberal conspiracy, while The New York Times has recently discovered that the small, brownish insects are feeding on its journalists.*  

People really freak out over bed bugs, to a degree that’s not warranted. These aren’t like having a deadly whistling spider in your your bed, or waking up to a kissing bug making a meal of your mouth.

First off, it doesn’t hurt when a bed bug sucks your blood. And while bed bugs can harbor various pathogens, transmission to humans has not been proven and is considered unlikely, as any medical professional will tell you, Good news!

And sure, it’s a bit of a nuisance to get rid of the pesky creatures. But look at the positive side. It will force you to clean your carpets and curtains. They were due for a wash anyway, right? Same goes for your clothes and linens — now you won’t have to do the laundry for awhile! Plus you’ll be motivated to get rid of some of the clutter that can serve as a bed for bed bugs. Marie Kondo would approve!

What’s more, getting rid of bed bugs will also eliminate non-target pests, like spiders and ants and maybe centipedes too!

So while it may suck (literally) to discover bed bugs in your home or office, we’re here to tell you that things could be worse. For one thing, you could have scabies. There, don’t you feel better now?

Still looking for a safe, non-toxic response to the issue? Here’s one for your consideration. It’s called Ecoraider.

*Also if someone calls you a “bed bug,” don’t take it so hard. As we’ve pointed out, bed bugs are pretty tame compared to some other pests. If someone calls you a Formosan termite, well, that could be something to get worked up about.

And thanks to SuperOptimist Matt Olsen for giving us the itch to write about this important topic.

Henry Bergh? Who is that, you ask?

Here’s a hint: This man with the drooping mustache was a dog’s best friend. And a cat, horse, gerbil, parakeet…

Any animal you could possibly grow attached to owes a debt of gratitude to Henry for his dedication to their well-being. For on this day in 1866, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was founded in New York City by the indomitable Mr. Bergh.

After stepping in to prevent a carriage owner from beating his fallen horse (a not untypical scene in the mid-1800s), he realized there was much to be done to protect helpless animals. So he decided to resign his diplomatic post and devote the rest of his life to advocating for all creatures great and small.*

Among other achievements, “The Great Meddler” (as newspapers dubbed him for  upbraiding those who treated animals like slaves) developed the clay pigeon, to spare live birds from being blown to bits by thoughtless sport shooters.

To say he had a big heart would be like saying Lassie was just another collie. So in honor of this early animal rights activist — who, in true SuperOptimist fashion, turned unfortunate circumstance into positive action — we encourage you to partake in Wear-a-Mask Wednesday. (It only seems fitting that Henry looks a bit like a Bloodhound mixed with a Weimaraner, sporting a Yorkie Poo mustache.)

Want to go further? If you’ve got a few bucks to spare, a donation to his favorite organization would help matters.  Or if you’d like to assist animal shelters, that would be swell too.

*Fun fact: Henry got in a tussle with P.T. Barnum over the showman’s treatment of snakes and other “performers” — which Barnum stoked for its publicity value.  But over time, Barnum came to appreciate Bergh’s mission, so much so that he left sizable donations to humane organizations in his will and even erected a statue in Henry’s honor.

Do you have a spirit animal?  If not, the owl is a very wise choice.*

By claiming the owl as your totem, you’ve picked a symbol with deep sagacity, not to mention “gut instinct.” With the owl by your side, your ability to see what’s hidden to others will flourish.  Let the owl guide you beyond illusion and deceit to the true reality. But don’t flinch: often this reality isn’t what we’ve been led to believe by our teachers, parents and local news outlets.

In addition, if you’re ready to explore the unknown, with its potential for mystery and magic, the owl offers the courage necessary to venture into a parallel universe without fear.

*Here we reveal the SuperOptimist totem named “Oooty,” performing a ritual known as “meditating as if one’s hair is on fire.” Stare at this rendering and you’ll soon absorb the intuitive knowledge that will keep you awake, alert and in touch with what’s really going on!

According to the market research group Nielsen, American adults now spend more than 11 hours per day watching, reading, listening to or simply interacting with media. 11 hours!  That leaves just 3 hours for meals,  2 hours for naps, and 8 hours for a decent night’s sleep.

The best way to combat and reverse this trend?  Put down the iPhone, lap top and tablet and go for a stroll outside! Not only will it help your visual system relax, it’s good for the rest of your body too.

As for missing your screen time, there’s an amazing show worthy of an Oscar, an Emmy, a Tony, and whatever award they give to blog sites right outside your door.  Whether you live in the city, the suburbs, a rural area, or on a flotilla somewhere off the coast of Newfoundland, the best entertainment is that which nature has provided.  (And by nature, we mean anything other than being connected to a  gadget at the expense of missing out on life itself.)

As if getting some fresh air and sunshine wasn’t reward enough, we’re happy to report the time outdoors will also reduce your risk of becoming nearsighted. A recent article published in the “Optometry Times” proves the more time individuals spend looking at their electronic devices, the harder their focusing system works, causing accommodative spasms and stress on their visual system. As a result, people are suffering from head aches, dry eye, and becoming myopic at earlier ages.

So head for the great outdoors! And while you’re out there, here’s a wonderful uplifting song that can instantly raise your serotonin levels to a brimming cupful should you sing it out loud in the company of strangers:

Zip a dee doo dah, Zip a dee ay,

My, on my, what a wonderful day!

Plenty of sunshine, headin’ my way,

Zip a dee doo dah, Zip a dee ay,

Mister bluebird on my shoulder,

It’s the truth, it’s natural

Everything is satisfactull,

Zip a dee doo dah, Zip a dee ay,

Wonderful feeling, Wonderful day!*

Granted, this ditty comes from the Disney film “Song of the South”, a movie that has been labeled “racist” and “backwards leaning” by those offended by its depiction of Uncle Remus as a slave on the plantation.  Disney defends “Song of the South” by saying Uncle Remus could leave the plantation freely, any time he wanted. The same as any of us can leave our jobs in the corporate slave trade, if we are willing to forgo a weekly check and not mind the stigma of having “time on our hands” instead of constantly checking our iPhones for important missives from corporate communications. So here’s hoping you have a bluebird on your shoulder, instead of a Galaxy Note 9 in your pocket.

As America continues to lead the world in racing from place to place, grasping at riches and attempting to stay busy for fear of missing out (on what, we’re not sure), we are reminded of an old adage that exhorts us to pause in our frenzy and actually acknowledge the moment we find ourselves in.

For that, we have a Mr. Walter Hagen to thank. The dapper Mr. Hagen was neither a Buddhist practitioner or a self-help author, but a seminal figure in the world of golf. His winning ways ushered in a world of riches for professional athletes, as he became the first to earn a million dollars playing a sport for a living.*

What he said was: “You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way. ”

Notice Hagen didn’t just choose roses to sniff. That’s a relief, as it gives us more opportunity to appreciate all flowers along the way. Jasmine, hyacinth, peony, wisteria: each deserves our undivided attention.

But why just limit your olfactory sense to flowers? To be truly awake and in the moment, we suggest you take a good whiff of everything that crosses your path.

We’re not just talking about the good smells either — a fresh-baked cherry pie cooling on the window ledge of Aunt Millicent’s kitchen, or that sweet huff of unleaded gasoline while you fill up at the Exxon station. Focus your nose on the questionable smells too, like a New York subway platform on a hot summer day, rotting fish left out to wither in the sun at the seafood market, even a freshly minted poop from your labradoodle Sadie. Such smells wake us up to the moment, and should not be pushed away just because we find them off-putting. They’re just as valuable in our ongoing education as the waft of evergreens in a forest or a demitasse of freshly made espresso.

And speaking of Sadie the labradoodle, you might notice just how devoted she is to smelling the world, whether it be a pant leg, a tree trunk, or a Goodyear steel-belted radial. Like all dogs, Sadie possesses up to 300 million olfactory receptors in her nose, compared to a mere 6 million in humans. And the part of a dog’s brain that is devoted to analyzing smells is, proportionally speaking, 40 times greater than ours. No wonder the cops are always walking a Labrador around the airport in search of the odd bag of cocaine.

So take your olfactory senses for a walk and get a whiff of everything. Though when sniffing fellow humans, be discreet. Some take offense if you get to close.  Even though it is only natural!

*Hagen once stated that he “never wanted to be a millionaire, just to live like one.” A fortunate man, he achieved both!

Many birds actually enjoy bowling. You don’t see them at the local lanes much, because the owners of American bowling facilities don’t rent bowling shoes in sizes that small.  The key idea is this: no matter what rules or limitations are imposed on you, there’s an inventive way around that blockage to get some satisfaction, 99.9% of the time. Everybody should be able to engage in the kind of fun they want. But you might have to be willing to compromise, and participate without shoes. A refreshing change that airs out your feet. Win-win.