According to recent polls, over 70 percent of New York City residents remain ridiculously optimistic about their futures despite overwhelming indications that nothing in their personal or professional lives will ever change for the better, thereby proving that hope really does - stupidly - spring eternal. Even in the Big Apple.
For instance, 39-year-old Jenna Christianssen, who lives on New York's Upper East Side, explained that for the twelve years she's dwelled in Manhattan, she's lived hand-to-mouth, paying her bills - barely - by working grueling temp jobs that leave her with little time or energy to pursue her dream of being a commercially successful pop singer.
Nevertheless, Jenny feels good about her prospects.
"All it takes is one big hit, right?" she says, her brown eyes stupidly shining with genuine hope. "And it could happen any day. I just want to be able to enjoy the moment when it comes."
42-year-old Jerry LeBlanc's sights, on the other hand, are set on a more personal goal: he aims to lose weight, get healthy, and get off his Type 2 diabetes medication for once and for all.
"People say it's impossible," he recounts with a shake of his balding head. "And they've been telling me that for years, since I first started taking insulin eighteen years ago. But I know I can do it. And even though I haven't managed to turn my health around just yet, I know that I will do it. It's just taking a little time."
It's clear from his vehemence that Jerry's hope levels are right up there with his blood sugar levels.
And, in the realm of personal relationships, too, hope is a frequent, if unexpected, player.
Nikka Reilly, a 49-year-old woman who hasn't dated anyone seriously in fourteen years, apart from a man from OKCupid with whom she twice had casual sex ("Twice!" Nikka points out. "How 'casual' can that really be?"), remains confident that she'll soon find her soul-mate, someone with whom she connects on multiple levels - emotionally, intellectually, spiritually and, of course, physically.
"I haven't met a ton of great guys here in the city," she admits, "but when you think about it, all it takes is one! It could happen tomorrow. And when it does, I know it will be worth the wait."
In fact, the very vision brings a tear to Nikka's blue eyes which glisten with, you guessed it, genuine, idiotic hope.
If you find it baffling that hope manages to survive in situations like Jenna's, Jerry's, and Nikka's, you're not alone; the omnipresence of hope in even the unlikeliest and most illogical of circumstances has been confounding psychologists for generations. One proffered explanation for hope's ongoing survival is basic determination.
"Hope's a stubborn little guy," summarizes Jungian analyst Paul Wonder. "Tough to completely kill. Like a cockroach."
Possibly the more significant factor, however, posits psychotherapist Laura Wheeler, Ph.D., is sheer stupidity.
"We talk a lot these days about emotional intelligence," says Dr. Wheeler. "Well, hope is clearly not one of the smarter emotions. It's very sweet, though."