Mere Cheer by Thomas C. Reeves

Mere Cheer

Thomas C. Reeves on the Unbearable Gravity of Being a Curmudgeon

Throughout my rather long life I have never been attracted to cheery people. Especially those who read the evening news, sell cars or insurance, and work as college administrators or preachers. I have usually dismissed the cheerfulness of such people as either mindless or insincere.

Often, of course, it is both. The inevitably perky, young, and physically attractive woman who smiles through a televised account of world horror called “the news,” evokes growls from this professor. The sight of Pat Robertson’s smile can send me out of a room sputtering fulminations. The works of Dale Carnegie and Norman Vincent Peale have always struck me as the worst sort of hypocrisy, sweet talk designed for people making business contacts at Kiwanis meetings.

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Thomas C. Reeves is a retired history professor who lives with his wife Kathleen in the Wisconsin countryside. Among his numerous books are biographies of John F. Kennedy and Fulton J. Sheen. His latest book is Distinguished Service: The Life and Times of Wisconsin Governor Walter J. Kohler, Jr. (Marquette University Press).

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