Whenever La Cieca (center) feels afraid, she doesn’t just hold her head erect or whistle a happy tune (though she’s been known to do both on occasion), she reminds herself, “You know, things could be a lot worse than what they are!”   For example, during the late unpleasantness of the George W. Bush regime, while it was true that our country was plunged into a quagmire of a war, civil liberties were being flouted left and right, such important causes as health care reform and marriage equality were being systematically swept under the rug, and, well, a lot of other unpleasant stuff was going on, La Cieca never took her eye off the bluebird. And what did that little birdie always chirp to her?  “Cheer up! Cheer up! The housing market is booming and real estate prices never go down! Never go down!”

Soon enough, La Cieca found out that, in fact, things could and did get a lot worse, the way things always seem to have a way of doing. And so, it is no surprise for her to hear that no matter how slipshod a way you may have thought New York City Opera may have been run over the last couple of years, it could have been quite disastrously worse.

According to a piece by Zachary Woolfe in this week’s New York Observer, some members of the NYCO board last spring sought to oust Susan Baker (La Cieca can hear you right now saying, “is there a down side to this?” — but, wait for it) and replace general manager George Steel with Joe Volpe. And you know that to La Cieca that idea sounds about as palatable as “President Giuliani.”

So, the next time you’re down and out, or if you’re sitting in the middle of a performance of Esther thinking to yourself, “There surely must be something on HBO right now,” just recall these magic words that will snap you right out of your funk:

“It could be Joe Volpe.”