Coming across some good news I wanted to share it and that made me think of reason number one, which you may have missed when it happened long ago:

1. Reasons To Be Cheerful, Pt 3, by Ian Dury. Great back-up band. Hone your cockney by catching the words. Here are some of them:

A bit of grin and bear it, a bit of come and share it
You’re welcome, we can spare it – yellow socks
Too short to be haughty, too nutty to be naughty
Going on 40 – no electric shocks

The juice of the carrot, the smile of the parrot
A little drop of claret – anything that rocks
Elvis and Scotty, days when I ain’t spotty,
Sitting on the potty – curing smallpox

2. Along the lines of curing smallpox, did anyone catch the results of the The Global Burden of Disease Study 2010 which came out last month?

“The study underscores significant achievements, such as the dramatic drop in child mortality, which has fallen so quickly that it has beaten every published prediction.”

I went hunting for more statistics and found this chart, above, from the WHO, labeled “Global under-five mortality dropped 41% since 1990.”

3. Did you know these stats about rape and domestic violence in the US?:

Few people realize it, but Justice Department statistics suggest that the incidence of rape has fallen by three-quarters over the last four decades.

Likewise, the rate at which American women are assaulted by their domestic partners has fallen by more than half in the last two decades.

A friend writes “In my bleaker moments, I think of my work as like the musicians who played while the Titanic was sinking — trying to create some beauty and ease and comfort while the ship, inexorably, goes down.” Maybe we’re all thinking like that, a good deal of the time. I do think that the best cure for the paralyzing helplessness that can follow reading the news, a despair I have been prone to at times throughout my life, is not so much reading the good news, as getting stuck into work that helps people.

Still, the good news can help. So maybe the ship is going down. But in the long run, we’re all dead, the planet fries and the sun explodes. And today, it helps me to concentrate on the work I can do, to recall how despairing I was about the world population explosion, global poverty and child mortality forty years ago, and then to realize how much has improved, due to the work of people who didn’t allow despair to paralyze them. Who knows what can result from a bit of grin and bear it, a bit of come and share it?

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