Seeking a happy place

Reading the news is such a downer these days. So many terrible things are happening in the world. People are incredibly cruel and hateful to each other. Donald Trump keeps finding new ways to be a total numpty. And so does the daughter of Numpty Trump … pretending she’s a diplomat at G20 … FFS …

It’s little wonder our anxiety levels are off the richter scale.

And it’s tempting to think all the good has been leeched from this earth. But that’s not true. There are so many good people and things to celebrate – they just don’t have the same click bait potential for news outlets as the bad stuff.

The slow, agonising death of newspapers have given rise to a very skewed world view in the media.

Newspapers don’t know what ever single person is reading inside the paper, news websites do. Sales success for newspapers is generally attributed to what’s on the cover. The rest of the pages are filled with what journalists and editors decide are the best news stories of the day, rather than simply the most controversial, clickable ones.

However, most news websites, even the “serious” ones, are crammed with salacious reads because it’s all about the clicks.

And I think that’s pretty dangerous, because it means the balance is gone.

It all gets amplified on Facebook. If you click on a couple of “car crash” headlines, Facebook decides that’s what you’re interested in reading, so it serves up a ton more. Suddenly your news feed is filled with shockers and your world view gets skewed.

Where am I going with this?

I was having a rant about it to DD and he suggested I start a good news site.

Bloody good idea! If I win that lottery I haven’t entered yet I will.

And I’ll fill it with positive stuff, without any doom or gloom.

I’m not saying we should bury our heads in the sand about the gloomy stuff, but it would be nice to have a happy place to escape to … filled with stories about grandfathers knitting jumpers for penguins and dogs being reuinited with their owners and lovers finding each other after 50 years apart and … Carrot Man!

Carrot Man popped up in my Facebook feed yesterday, from Humans in Melbourne. He was asked why he carries a giant carrot around the city. And his reply was so, so wonderful:

To make people smile… You see, one day I went to an op shop and I bought a giant turnip. I was carrying it home and noticed how much it made people smile. That made me feel really good!

So I decided to try carrying other giant things around. I carried a giant octopus and a giant squid… then I made the giant carrot and carried it around town and I noticed a big difference. The diversity of people smiling and the number of people smiling was much greater. So I just kept carrying the carrot around because it was the most successful thing at making people smile. 

Personally I would have loved to keep carrying the squid but it was the carrot that everyone loved…

I’m on a disability pension, you see, and this is my way of giving back. I’m a part of the community, putting smiles on people’s faces.

Like today for instance, I was at home watching a DVD, and I just thought, ‘Nah, I’m going to go out and make hundreds of people smile instead with the carrot.’

Last year there was a big protest at Parliament, right wing people and anti-racism people and I was at home watching it on TV thinking ‘how awful, this could end up in a riot.’

So I picked up my carrot and wandered down. It worked so well, people started smiling when they saw me and the carrot and I think it helped calm them down.

I try to get out as often as possible but you have to be in the mood to do something like this… today I’ve been out here for about an hour and a half and I’ve had hundreds and hundreds of smiles. This is what’s so good about it, if I want to do something good I just grab my carrot and head on out.

We need more people like Carrot Man in our Facebook feeds, don’t you reckon?

Song of the day: Pharrell Williams “Happy”

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