Do you know someone like Grandma Ethel? For example, perhaps your mother is like my friend Steve Flesch’s mother, who when asked what she wanted for her 70th birthday answered: “An easy death.” (Fifteen years later, she was indeed granted her wish.) And then there is Tamar Kipper’s grandmother, a perennially pessimistic soul, who, like my Grandma May, started life in Warsaw, Poland. From an early age, Tamar did her best to bring a little sunlight into her grandmother’s day. Once, while visiting her grandmother in Israel, eighteen-year-old Tamar pointed out some roadside flowers in glorious bloom. “Grandma,” she said, “aren’t the flowers beautiful?” Grandma’s response: “Yes, but like people, they die, too.”

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Do you have a favorite pessimistic quote (not just a negative quote, but a pessimistic quote) that you would like to share? With any luck, I’ll include it the next edition of Pessimisms, assuming that anyone buys the first edition.

If you send a quote, please include where you heard or read the quote, your name, and your contact information.