Is our glass half full, or brim-full?

A couple of weeks ago, I referred to the Teessider's innate pessimism.

A couple of weeks ago, I referred to the Teessider's innate pessimism. The person, who when asked how he is, answers "Surviving".

The type who is perplexed by the excellent campaign, Passionate People, Passionate Places.

Our Teessider would feel much more comfortable with a less ambitious tone. "Realistic people, and that building could do with a slap of paint, not that it ever stops raining long enough up here," for instance. The world is changing. And change is either scary or exciting. Only a sex change has the potential for both. And the North-East isn't renowned for its enjoyment of change.

We have world class businesses and outstanding people. We have wonderful places to live in, and visit. I want the region to be happy. Yes, we have our issues, there's no denying it. Did you realise, for instance, that you're never more than five feet away from a public sector employee? Particularly if you visit cheap and dirty public houses. Knee deep in them, you are then.

We have more accountants and solicitors than you could shake a stick at. They go to the slightly better pubs, but interestingly drink far more than their dishevelled, unshaven public sector counterparts, sat slurping in their foul dens of iniquity.

We have five top quality universities in the region, turning out hundreds of graduates each year. These young minds must now compete in a global market. India and China turn out millions of science graduates each year. Which makes me think our graduates should, instead of competing with so many, give online gambling a serious prolonged whirl.

No, of course not. Our young hairy graduates should see themselves as uniquely well positioned, able to take their skills anywhere in the world. In the short term they'll settle for drinking in public sector dominated public houses, however. We're becoming a knowledge economy, which is a blow to the thick out there. However, even the thick should take heart. We'll always need taxi drivers. We just don't need them to express their views.

I want the North-East to cheer up, be happier, be more positive. We have a huge amount to celebrate. We have a fabulous sense of humour, as exhibited by the extraordinary number of season tickets we sell in the region every year. We have hundreds of things to celebrate, one topical example being water.

Thanks to the far sighted folk of Northumbrian Water, we have ample supplies of the glorious key ingredient for alcohol and tea.

Happiness starts with the Man In The Mirror. Ask not what the region can do for you, instead ask if you haven't got anything better to do than read this nonsense?

We need to start with making sure we do our bit, and cheer up. Apparently there have been surveys done on happiness. We're told that possessions and income per se don't mean you'll be happy. If everyone does well, no one really feels much better for it. Apparently the key is to have more than those around you. You're happy if you do better than your peers. If you have nice clothes, but hang around tramps, you're truly blessed. Corinthians, Chapter 6, verse 19.

Kielder Reservoir is a regional jewel. We need to treasure it. Go and sit by it. Take pictures of it, and send them to people we know in the South-East. Better still, send video images of you having a water fight. You hosing your garden. To the gasping throng down south. I guarantee you'll feel better for it.

On an individual basis, hang around with unfortunate folk. I do, all of the time. At work I'm surrounded by drunks and underachievers - and I feel great. What makes you happy generally - and specifically in the North-East?

robert.cuffe@btinternet.com

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