Inspiring! Determined Spider Finds Amazing Way to Prove Wilbur the Pig’s Worth! (iStock) (t-lorien/iStock)
Columnist

If you liked the heartwarming story of the furloughed federal employee who pawned her wedding ring, only to have her family buy it back for her, don’t worry! There are plenty more stories where that came from!

One of the more depressing angles of being alive in this wonderful corner of time is our relentless tendency to try to put a positive spin on horrifying situations: This isn’t a horrifying story about someone without access to the medication they need to live; it’s a heartwarming tale of how 50 strangers got together and bought insulin! This isn’t a harrowing account of how teachers supply classrooms from their own pocket; it’s a feel-good story about the Mom Who Bought 90 Glue Sticks and a Truck! (My friend Jessica M. Goldstein has written about this “Feel-Good Feel-Bad Story” phenomenon repeatedly.)

If we are going to continue this relentless insistence on presenting fundamentally alarming tales about the system’s deep brokenness as uplifting stories of human friendship, here are a few more readers should love:

Beautiful! Down-on-Their-Luck Young Couple’s Sacrifice Lets Them Surprise Each Other with Hair Accessories and a Watch Band

Heartwarming! With Help from Animals, Family Manages to Use Stable to Give Birth

Right in the Feels! This Little Match Girl Was Finally Reunited with Her Grandmother!

Inspiring! Unused Baby Shoes Find New Home

Heartwarming! After Fired Employee Dies on the Street, Former Factory Owner Takes in and Raises Her Child as His Own

Uplifting! Struggling Bohemian Rodolfo Selflessly Dumps Girlfriend So She Can Get Medical Care She Needs

Uplifting! Self-Sacrificing Employees Demonstrate for Shirtwaist Factory Owner the Importance of Keeping Doors Unlocked

Inspiring! ‘The Jungle’ Shows Neat Tricks Sausage Craftsman Uses to Reuse Wastewater and Stay on Schedule

Warm Fuzzies! When Winston Smith Was Forced to Spend Time Confronting His Fears, He Realized He and Big Brother Had More in Common than They Thought

Inspiring! Salesman’s Whole Family Gathers to Support Him

Heartwarming! Black Beauty Draws Strength from Friendship with Fellow Cab-Horse

Inspiring! Fighting in World War I, Poet Wilfred Owen Gained New Perspective on Old Latin Verse

Beautiful! Boys Keep One Another Alive After Island Plane Crash, Mostly

Uplifting! After Spending Time with Allied Master Supercomputer, Ted Finds He Can’t Complain

Heartwarming! One Guy Was Sort of Nice to Enslaved Violinist

Inspiring! Friends Share Food with Family Staying Free in Annex

Wow! Blanche DuBois Gets to Do What She Loves: Depend on the Kindness of Strangers

Read more from Alexandra Petri:

What I meant when I said there was no collusion

No State of the Union? That would be wonderful!

There is nothing toxic about my masculinity!