Happy New Year! You guys, I’m loving the optimism I’m seeing online. Obviously Time’s Up has been a real jolt of positivity, but even the New Year memes are all about how things have got to look up this year. I’m into it. In fact, I’m a bit of an optimist, no matter how much I try to talk myself out of it. But even I wouldn’t have predicted that Sarah Silverman vs. a Twitter troll could turn out quite like this.

Look, having someone call her a c-nt on social media must be a near-hourly occurrence. In fairness, she has a song that illustrates her familiarity with the word (skip to 1:10 to get to the, uh, goodies). Maybe that’s why she could tell that this troll was worth engaging with. Maybe that’s why she went onto his blog, discovered that he had back problems, and told him they had something in common. Who knows – maybe it’s a technique they teach you in therapy, or in some sort of Celebrity School after you get a certain number of followers. “Humanize yourself to defuse anonymous online anger.”

Then, of course, he folds like an oversize menu. I guess it’s no surprise that Sarah Silverman, a comedian whose sweet demeanor lets her get away with really, really rough jokes, is the one who knows that the most outwardly aggressive assholes are the ones who are most fragile and vulnerable. We all know that, at this point, but somehow she had enough patience and strength to engage anyway… to the point where she got this guy medical attention that he couldn’t afford for his slipped discs. 

Maybe I’m even more amazed that it actually happened on December 29th, at the end of the old year. Is she a superhero? Or am I a cynic, to think a wealthy privileged woman showing a little kindness is this incredible? 

Either way, I’m cool with using this as an early guiding principle for 2018. I’m not much for ‘turn the other cheek’, but I like the idea that maybe the key is to assume people will surprise you in the good way, say, one in 47 times. And then raise your expectations to one in 35 times. One in 12? It’s a pretty random, analog way to make things better, but hey, everybody’s got to do their part, right?