It came as a big surprise when for the first time I saw Jolyon’s new signage. ANSWERS TO LOAD SHEDDING, it said. I just had to go in to see for myself. He looked very happy and confident. “I am going to make fortune out of loan shedding,” he told me.

“That’s fine,” I said, “but I have to point out that so far it’s making most people poorer.”

“That’s all right,” he said. “They’re poorer because they don’t have optimism, like me.”

“I see. What do you have to do to, apart from being optimistic?”

“Easy. You have to install gas appliances for cooking, or learn to cook on an open fire, fit solar panels on your roof to make use of our free sunshine, place wind turbines in suitable positions to make use of that free other resource, buy big batteries and inverters to look after what power does come in, if any, go over to eating salad that does not need cooking, build a fire place in the yard, close to the bathroom if possible, for heating water – and learn to eat less.”

“Is that all?” I asked.

“And be optimistic,” he said.

“And how do you make a living from your system?”

“People subscribe for my advice.”

“How many subscribers do you have so far?”

“Well, I’m just starting out. You have to bear that in mind. Everyone has to start somewhere.”

“I’m fascinated by the optimism part,” I said. “Is that important.”

“Very. No great enterprise succeeds without optimism. Handling load shedding is no different.”

“I see.”

“So when can I sign you up?”

“I’m giving it thought.”

“Don’t spend too much time thinking. If you’re too slow my vacancies may all be filled.”

“I don’t think I’m optimistic enough for your system though.”

“That’s a problem,” he said.

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The Born Optimist and Loadshedding