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Ann Cannon: Try not always expecting the worst — you will be pleasantly surprised

Published July 20, 2017 10:06 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Coachman's Dinner and Pancake House on State Street in Salt Lake City has the best sign in the history of the world.

"Come in," it says. "You will be pleasantly surprised."

Not amazingly surprised. Not outrageously surprised. Not spectacularly surprised. Just pleasantly surprised.

In a world saturated with hyperbole — Everything is awesome! Exclamation points are everywhere! Everything is capitalized! Especially in my columns! — it's refreshing to see an establishment that doesn't oversell itself. The sign is all, "Hey. We know. We're pretty much a diner. And yeah, we know how it is. Sometimes diners have crap food. But listen. We're pretty good. So maybe you should drop in and see for yourself."

See? The sign is genius at managing customer expectations.

Anyway, the other day, I posted a picture of the sign on my Facebook page and asked people to write about the last time they were pleasantly surprised by anything. AND THE RESPONSES WERE AWESOME! (Um. See what I mean?)

Here are just a few of the surprises mentioned.

Realizing that the diner by your house has cinnamon bun French toast.

Putting on pants from last summer and discovering that they're not only loose but that there is a $20 bill in one of the pockets.

Discovering that signing up for Social Security was much easier than anticipated.

Having a grandson ask you to make him soup after he gets braces because you make the best soup.

Learning that your pharmacy accepts your insurance.

Finding out that Season 2 of "Stranger Things" will start on Oct. 27 instead of Oct. 31.

Anticipating a huge bill, only to discover that necessary repairs are much cheaper than expected.

Replacing your neighbor's chickens because your dog killed them, and discovering that they are also cheaper than expected. SCORE!

Seeing that the first tomato of the season has ripened on your tomato plant.

Being invited to a family reunion after 20 years of not being invited.

Here's the last time I was pleasantly surprised: when I went to see "Wonder Woman" with my friends Doni and Caitlin. I hadn't planned on going. Frankly, I'm not a fan of superhero movies. Not that I don't like and respect superheroes. In fact, some of my best friends are superheroes.

It's just that I'd rather watch movies about characters with problems I can relate to, unlike the problems superheroes have, which include saving the planet from being blown up. Stuff like that.

But I went to "Wonder Woman," and guess what! I liked it. A lot.

For one thing, it was interesting to learn that Princess Buttercup eventually grew up to be a mature woman who wears animal skins and swings a lethal sword. Also, she's Wonder Woman's aunt. Way to go, Princess Buttercup, aka Robin Wright! (And take that, Sean Penn, you dope. Your ex-wife is way cooler than you are.)

I enjoyed the chemistry between Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). And I was surprised that the film portrayed the tragedy that was the first World War as well as it did. So, yes. I was pleasantly surprised. Which felt good. Which finally brings me to my point.

Unless I make a daily decision not to, I am that person who is always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Whenever the phone rings, I expect bad news.

Why do I do this?

I don't know.

I do know that it impairs my ability to fully embrace the good moments in a day — the pleasant surprises like the ones mentioned earlier. And, seriously, how stupid is that?

So here's to ordering pancakes and noticing all the small things.

Ann Cannon can be reached at acannon@sltrib.com or facebook.com/anncannontrib.






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