This is something different.
For one time only, I am not going to even utter the words Iraq, Bush, Hussein or Rumsfeld, or even use “middle” and “east” in the same sentence.
No feigned indignation, no jokes about Laura Bush’s sex life, nothing.
Current events might be craptastic, given how the world is on the verge of breaking into an orgy of terrorism and mini-wars that will make the 20th century look like a cakewalk, but it isn’t all bad.
There are little things to make up for it.
Philadelphia went through one of the worst winters in memory.
Between multiple blizzards and periods when Delaware Valley temperatures rarely rose above 30 degrees, life was not that good.
There were lots of nights spent sitting at home, compulsively drinking coffee, while dreading the walk to TLA video because your block, and every block surrounding it for a half a mile, was covered in ice.
But today the college is alive.
I have met more people in the past two weeks, just being outside, than I have met all winter.
There are a bunch of kids playing soccer in front of the Bell Tower as I’m typing this, and the crowd of people lounging in front of the Student Center is three-deep.
Things are not that bad at all.
I’m happy because of the little things. Getting to play sports outside instead of being cooped up in a gym. Late nights hanging out on my stoop with other South Philly Temple kids.
Rooftop parties in Center City. Road trips. Seeing the whole damn place come alive after four months of hibernation.
Hell, even the free entertainment of just watching life go by is making up for everything else that is so wrong now.
Imagine this scene: You’re at a South Street bar and happen to run into the professor who gave your friend a C-minus last semester.
You know, the one in his mid-30s who is convinced he is the cool professor all the kids love, while never picking up on his students not-so-secret resentment of him.
You watch the professor try to mack it to a girl not a day over 19, using pickup lines so corny they make you cringe.
The girl laughs in his face and pours beer over his head. You feel vindicated for your friend. What could be better than that?
Forget taking joy in the misery of others.
The good stuff going on right now could be as simple as time spent with friends or going home to visit the family.
Proving everything that’s said about students being apathetic wrong, and going out and doing some work for the community.
Yes, volunteer work is good. You heard me.
Or even just knowing that the pendulum swings both ways and that eventually, all the paranoia and alarmism on the six o’clock news will fade into the sunset.
Spend time making this world a better place for yourselves and others, and don’t let the cynicism of presidents and generals drag you down.
As long as we keep on doing that, we’ll be fine. And that’s what matters.
Neal Ungerleider can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.