If I were any better, I would be twins

I want to pass on a story I have heard/read before at least once but maybe more. I am sure that it is on the internet many time. As a matter of fact, just let me check…

… hmmm, it’s actually less than I thought, Google only found about 200 instances of the story. But then again, Google eliminates duplicates and so there will be more. I just checked Yahoo and then find about twenty thousand instances of a key phrase of the story I’m about to give you – that’s more like it.

But before I get into any ranting and philosophizing, here’s the story…

Jerry is the manager of a restaurant. He is always in a good mood.

When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would always reply, “If I were any better, I would be twins!”

Many of the waiters at his restaurant quit their jobs when he changed jobs, so they could follow him around from restaurant to restaurant.


Because Jerry was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was always there, telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him: “I don’t get it! No one can be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?”

Jerry replied, “Each morning I wake up and say to myself, I have two choices today. I can choose to be in a good mood or I can choose to be in a bad mood.

I always choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be victim or I can choose to learn from it. I always choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I always choose the positive side of life.”

“But it’s not always that easy,” I protested.

“Yes it is,” Jerry said. “Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk every situation is a choice.

You choose how you react to situations.
You choose how people will affect your mood.
You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood.
It’s your choice how you live your life.”

Several years later, I heard that Jerry accidentally did something you are never supposed to do in the restaurant business. He left the back door of his restaurant open.

And then ???

In the morning, he was robbed by three armed men.

They want?


While Jerry trying to open the safe box, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily, Jerry was found quickly and rushed to the hospital.

After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body.

I saw Jerry about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, “If I were any better, I’d be twins. Want to see my scars?”

I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place. “The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door,” Jerry replied. “Then, after they shot me, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or could choose to die. I chose to live.”

“Weren’t you scared?” I asked.

Jerry continued, “The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the Emergency Room and I saw the expression on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read ‘He’s a dead man.’ I knew I needed to take action.”

“What did you do?” I asked.

“Well, there was a big nurse shouting questions at me,” said Jerry. “She asked if I was allergic to anything. ‘Yes,’ I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, ‘Bullets!’

Over their laughter, I told them, ‘I am choosing to live. Please operate on me as if I am alive, not dead’.”

Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude.

I learned from him that every day you have the choice to either enjoy your life or to hate it. The only thing that is truly yours – that no one can control or take from you – is your attitude, so if you can take care of that, everything else in life becomes much easier.

OK, that’s the story! Obviously I like it, otherwise I would not have posted here on this site together with 20,000 other versions of it. The email in which I got it then continued on to indicate that now I had two choices as well, either to delete the message or pass it on. Mostly I don’t like to pass on email messages like this because, even though well intentioned, they add to the spam and interruption of my work flow. If I want to share I put it up on a blog and everybody interested in what I want to say is welcome to subscribe to the RSS feed for MerlinSilk.com.

If the unsolicited message is small and just contains a little story, then, in my eyes, it’s excusable to send, but many of the mails I get contain megabytes of video attached. It does not matter, time-wise, as I am lucky enough to be on a fast internet connection, but it is still wasted of band-width, as pretty much all those videos are on YouTube or any other video sharing site and a link to that video would suffice. All these extra bytes transferred just wear out the tubes of the internet and they might need replacing much earlier.

But now back to the subject at hand: why, if there are thousands of people posting this story on the internet (guess I am the 20,001st), are there so few practicing what this story suggest? I mean, I am throwing with stones here while sitting in a glass house. I was rather poopy with my loved once the other day. So this question is a real one, not rhetoric.

What do you do to keep up the good mood and don’t react to negativity in kind fashion?