M. SCOTT MORRIS: Looking at the positive side of things



With help from a Tulsa, Okla., company, the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau has a new slogan: “Center of Positivity.”

That theme along with a new logo with a multicolored crown and a stylized font for “Tupelo” cost $75,000.

My first thought was I could come up with something better than “Center of Positivity” if someone gave me $75,000 and a few months to think about it.

Then I remembered former Mighty Daily Journal business editor Gary Perilloux.

For a time, he worked at an advertising company, where he’d spend half a year investigating a client then come up with a three- to six-word phrase that said all there was to say.

I found Gary’s job infinitely fascinating.

Though I can ramble on and on – seemingly forever, I’ve been told – I respect short, punchy phrases that distill communication to its essence.

If you don’t share my appreciation, maybe you should have a Coke and a smile and reconsider.

That brings us back to “Center of Positivity.” Does it say everything that needs to be said?

How big is the center? Does it extend as far as Verona, Saltillo or Shannon?

What about the “Perimeter of Positivity?” Could it reach Corinth or Oxford? How many square feet are we talking about?

I don’t want to mock Tupelo’s new phrase.

I’m a newspaper man, so my poll numbers hover a few points below Congress, and that’s on a good day.

A little positivity might do me good by distracting readers from my twisted, sarcastic heart of doom.

In an effort to get with the program, I’ve taken inspiration from a fictional character.

In the 1990s show “Northern Exposure,” Maggie O’Connell (the delightfully effervescent Janine Turner) thinks she’s causing the deaths of the men she dates. She doesn’t actually kill them – one gets hit by a satellite – but they die just the same.

A few seasons into the show, Maggie gets involved with a guy who suffers from a debilitating illness, then he makes a remarkable recovery.

This convinces Maggie to cast aside her past negativity and become a positive force for good.

I think it’s a nice touch that this transformation takes place during the town’s mosquito festival.

The celebration of annoying things seems like positivity in action, unless it’s actually a “celebration,” which would bring us back to my wretched, nihilistic territory.

A dramatic switch from negative to positive will take real effort, so I’m also taking advice from a real person, Tupelo’s own Zell Long.

I saw her Friday morning and asked about positivity.

With a bright smile, she said, “Fake it until you make it.”

I’m sure I could’ve taken the CVB’s $75,000 and come back with three to six words of solid gold, but I’m not going to worry about that because I live in the “Center of Positivity” and life couldn’t be better.

M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal feature writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or scott.morris@journalinc.com.

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