I don’t know who originated this statement, but I heard it from a friend of mine named Johnson.

“The way you see the world creates the world you see,” Johnson said, quoting I’m-not-sure-whom. When I told Johnson I might use it in my column, he said something about it being copyrighted.

Maybe that’s another way of asking if one’s glass is half-empty or half-full.

Perhaps that explains why some people have such dire, desperate and joyless outlooks on their communities and on society in general.

Some of you, for example, have referred to “this town” as “a joke.” If it’s that bad, I have often wondered, why don’t you leave? But I have realized there is no place for you to go that’s any better.

How do I know that? Just read the comments posted on newspapers’ Web sites in any given community, and their towns, too, are “a joke.” Inbred even, in some cases.

If you have a “worst enemy,” here’s a scenario you might wish on him/her: you’re brand new to a city council, having been appointed to fill an unexpired term following a councilman’s resignation.

You’re coming aboard on the tail end of one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult, issues the city has faced in years: water pipeline or water plant?

If you have three “worst enemies,” you could wish that scenario on all three of them.

Now, I doubt that Early Mayor Bob Mangrum, or the council members who remained after three resignations, brought Charles Matlock, B.J. McCullough or Joel Johnson aboard the council train because they saw them as their worst enemies.

And hopefully, Matlock, McCullough and Johnson don’t view their now-fellow-council members that way for naming them as appointees.

The first six items on Tuesday night’s agenda sailed right on by, but item 7 presented the recently reorganized council with its first conundrum: a neighborhood fencing dispute resulting from a couple’s request for a 12 1/2-foot variance in the setback requirement.

Veteran council members Benny Allcorn and Janice Bush had already heard Part One of the dispute, which had taken up a fair amount of time at an earlier council meeting.

Part Deux, with the three new councilmen, was Tuesday night. After hearing from several neighbors in another lengthy session, council members approved the variance.

Other matters came and went, and the council reached number 11 on the agenda: “Consideration of a treated water supply contract with Brown County Water Improvement District.

This should be badda-bing, badda-boom, I figured, since the previous council had done the heavy lifting, slugging their way to an eventual decision of pipeline-over-plant.

Former councilman David Gray, who had fought passionately for a new water plant, wasn’t quite ready to give up. Gray and his wife, Darlene, asked the council - now consisting of Allcorn, Bush and new members Matlock, McCullough and Johnson - to scratch the pipeline idea and go water plant.

The Grays said they were hearing from legions of Early citizens who favored the pipeline. Some council members wondered aloud: well, where are they? They hadn’t packed the council chambers for previous council meetings when the issue was undecided. The only citizen who’d spoken about the issue at a chamber meeting prior to Tuesday: Ray Bertrand, who told council members meeting that the pipeline made more sense.

“What do you want to do, council?” Mayor Bob Mangrum asked. Mangrum seemed to grow frustrated as agenda item 11 slowed, and nearly stopped, unable to make way against the Gray-driven headwinds.

Mangrum called for a motion so a vote could be taken. Bush made the motion: approve a contract with the water district to buy treated water.

Mangrum called for a second to the motion, but there was none. “Motion dies for lack of second,” Mangrum announced. After dragging almost to a halt, the process had lurched forward and perhaps council members were too startled to react with a “second.”

Wait, wait, wait! the council seemed to say, what just happened? Council members reversed course long enough to get a “second” - offered by Matlock - to Bush’s motion, then swung around again and moved forward with a unanimous vote to approve the contract.

Steve Nash writes his column for the Brownwood Bulletin on Thursdays. He may be reached by e-mail at steve.nash@brownwoodbulletin.com.