Today, the guy behind the counter in my local Tesco, a slightly podgy Indian chap with a big boil on the side of his nose, caught sight of one of my badges.

He frowned. ‘Why you say… We can’t all be astronauts?’ He pointed at the big blue badge, with the title of my soon-to-be-actually-published-and-real-book on it. His face broke into a beaming smile. ‘Because we can! We can!’

‘Well… not all simultaneously,’ I said.

‘Yes we can!’ the man retorted, nodding with rare vigor. ‘Of course we can!’

I picked up the bag containing my microwavable lasagne. ‘Not everyone in the world at once.’

The man behind the till threw his head back and laughed.

For some reason, the encounter really cheered me up. All the practical limitations in the world seemed a little flimsy in the light of that laugh. I mean, sure, it might be simply that he’s an imbecile, who could spend many hours in happy enthrallment at a hen hidden beneath a dishcloth, but still. My life needs more gentle optimism and less ‘yeah but’s.

(cartoon courtesy of Moe)