WHEN did we all become so wary of good news? And why?
The simple answer is, we’re just not used to hearing much that is positive any more.
Take a recent trip on the London Underground, for instance. Even when just visiting, the law of averages will mean there’s likely to be a problem with the Jubilee line or a signal on the blink.
So as soon as the tannoy at Victoria stuttered into life two weeks ago my heart sank in anticipation of news revealing the tube to Brixton had swine flu and wouldn’t arrive until Tuesday.
An instant look of gloom spread around the platform as we prepared for the worst – only to hear a mumbling Cockney tell us... everything was running just fine!
The trouble is, you see, even if there is good news floating about it often merely sweetens the pill for something bad around the corner.
Call me negative or conditioned, but it just seems better to look on the bleak side, because looking on the bright side of life can swiftly lead to the land where disappointment is king.
The people who put together the 10 o’clock news know this and have always had it the right way around. Get the miserable stuff about giant kids, the economy collapsing and public pools being turned into cesspits because someone stole all the copper pipes and then throw something light and jaunty to the viewing millions.
So it is down to the staff dressed in panda suits at a Chinese zoo to blow away the heavy grey clouds of news. Unless you manage to find small crumbs of humour in Gaddafi having to re-arrange his clothes after dislodging them during another crazy rant, that is.
Generally, though, perceived good news doesn’t really hit the mark. One of the prime examples arrives through our letterboxes every day in the form of junk mail.
We all know the missive that if something sounds too good to be true it probably is.
Oh, you’ve got a voucher for £40 off a case of wine. ‘Sounds good, where do we sign?’ Ah, hang on, only if you spend a week’s salary in the first place.
The good news placebo extends to those mailouts telling us how we’ve been selected for the final draw to win a selection of massive prizes that include more cash than the Queen, with the moon as a runner-up prize.
To many, and not just the terminally cynical, the offer will be paper thin and the envelope simply something else for the already bulging blue bin.
Sadly, for a few who are so desperate for a little luck or sunshine in their life, it will appeal and be worth succumbing to. And that’s another reason for being wary of good news.
Anyway, must go now, I have to plan a drive to Plymouth. I’d catch the train but even with diesel costing the same as a bottle of Gordon’s per litre it was still cheaper to get behind the wheel. Poor environment doesn’t stand a chance, does it?