June 18th, 2010
10:04 AM ET

Letter to the President #515: 'A few thoughts on optimism'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/US/07/04/us.poll/art.flag.gi.jpg caption="Truth is, it’s nice when things go right now and then, and in fairness I think when we get a lot of bad news (as we have lately) we can all use reminders of how good we have it in this country, and how much reason we have for optimism" width=300 height=169]

Reporter's Note: President Obama is hard at work again this week, and considering how many problems he is facing, it might be easy for him to despair. Fortunately, he has my daily letters for encouragement…or at least as a distraction.

Dear Mr. President,

Well, believe it or not, I have yet another new phone! As you may recall my cell phones have been having fatal accidents with more regularity than mob informants lately. To recap the action: One was crushed beneath the wheels of my auto in a car wash after falling off of my belt; the next one was dunked in a sink full of dishes; and the last one…well, nothing actually happened, it just went crazy. Kind of like an aunt I had who decided she was a llama for one extremely hot week one August. “Agh! I’m burning up! Take me back to the mountains of Peru!” We avoided the flight, but did have to keep her tied with a halter to the back porch for a few days eating fistfuls of grass.

But I digress. The touch screen on that last phone periodically started rejecting and/or misinterpreting my touches with no warning, so that the commands I was trying to give it became more like insane suggestions. My younger daughter would text “I’m on the way home,” and when I tried to reply, the phone would inexplicably dial some guy named Lars in Belgium…or something like that.

Anyway, I took it back to the phone folks fearing that I was simply going to be out of luck in the whole refund/repair/warranty department, but they didn’t put up the slightest fight; just gave me a new phone with a big smile and sent me on my way. Not to be cynical, but it kind of makes me wonder what they are up to. Ha! Just kidding.

Truth is, it’s nice when things go right now and then, and in fairness I think when we get a lot of bad news (as we have lately) we can all use reminders of how good we have it in this country, and how much reason we have for optimism.

For example, I was sitting in a shopping mall for a couple of hours the other night waiting for one of my daughters who was at a meeting. I had purchased a few books and was reading them in a big stuffed chair outside of a store (Bleak House, by Dickens…which is..uh, bleak, and The Mourner by Richard Stark, aka Donald Westlake…an oldie but a goodie. If you have never checked out this series of crime caper books revolving around Westlake’s character, Parker, you have really missed out. Seriously, great, great, rollicking reads!) when a couple of young kids came along and sat down nearby to fill out job applications. They were not together, seemed suitably earnest in their efforts, and were dressed appropriately.

And yet, as I watched them work over the top of my books, I found myself thinking about all the negative stories I’ve heard about the job market for young people. I started imagining what they were up against, and that they would most likely go through all the steps for nothing or at best for a polite, “We’ll call you,” that’ll never turn into an actual call.

But after they left, and particularly today after my phone experience, I found myself thinking that maybe I’ve let too many of the negatives in the news get to me lately. Sure, a lot of things have gone wrong, but some things have also gone right. So maybe those kids scored the jobs after all. At least, I’m hoping so.

Kind of a rambling letter, I’m afraid, and I apologize for that. But I’m watching the NBA Finals final game while I write and like I’ve already told you, I’m off this week, so what can you expect? Call if you get a moment. Better letter tomorrow…I promise!


Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

Filed under: Letters to the President • Opinion • Tom Foreman
soundoff (One Response)
  1. V Deutsch

    Love your letters, Have a great day off.

    June 18, 2010 at 12:35 pm |