Friday, December 17, 2004

Me Grumpy, no way.

If there is one thing that I really dislike, its someone who's feeling irrepressibly up when I'm immovably down.
One day recently, I phoned a friend to ask if he and his wife would like to come around for dinner. "How are you?" he asked as soon as I'd announced myself in something less than ecstatic tones. "Tired and suicidal", I replied reasonably, sensing that an extreme emotional state was demanded. "How are you?"

"Great, things have been going really well." And he went on to bore me with the details of his latest triumphs. "I won lotto, got a promotion, received a knight hood, won another world trip and all my children have just come top in their class in every area and are all now spring cleaning and painting the house, while me and my wife are desperately trying to think of something to do while we lay in our new spa pool surrounded by all our wealth and greatness. We are looking forward to the next challenge in life."

When your feeling down, the last thing in the world you need to hear is a cheery voice. Its like opening the door to the Jehovah's Witness when you have just tripped over the cat, knocking over the china cabinet which punched a hole in the wall bursting a water pipe and you just cant remember where the shut off valve is. The dogs just drowned and if you don't get to the phone and ring a plumber the kids will soon follow the same fate as the dog.

Have you ever had one of "those days"? You must have heard of these. As a child I can remember my mother and father both saying "they have had one of those days". It left a deep impressing on me and I often wondered just what "One of those days " meant. What was the difference that marked one day from the next, what made one day a normal one and another "one of those days." I knew that I had something to do with them as my mother would always glare at me as she spoke about "one of those days". I think it had something to do with me "being the black sheep". I never understood that either. I wasn’t black although in summer I did sport a dark tan. I definitely wasn’t a sheep. "Adults are silly" I thought…….

Many years later I was introduced to the less glamorous sides of life and began experiencing these days, often with alarming proximity of each other.

I have come across a similar tendency in other people when I tell them I'm feeling great "ha ha, he he," not that I seem to have an abundance of the cheery stuff these days. In fact, I've been spending quite a bit of time with the grumps. It must be low testosterone, or male menopause. Perhaps men do get PMT but it wont be discovered until a few hundred years. Then we will be justified, but it will be to late for some of us. Perhaps it's just an inherently pessimistic nature. George Bernard Shaw (he was a real smart aleck writer back in the olden days) said, "The secret of being miserable is having leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not." I don’t really understand that, but it looks like an intelligent statement and so I have added it to this writing.

Another thought has crossed my mind. Perhaps my grumps have to do with starting work at 5am and getting home at 5pm. Anyway, I do get irritable I admit it, especially when the neighbors dog barks at any occasion. I am sure its completely mad and it deserves to be shot. Drivers who refuse to drive according to my standard and my rules really get under my skin. Who do they think they are anyway?

I always thought I was easy going, lighthearted, always smiling. Instead I become Mr. Grumpy, and once he arrives he is not easy to shift. My wife's and children’s sympathy helps as does the well intentioned advice from others, but Mr. Grumpy is hard to shake off.

Its strange though, how grumpy-ness hates company. Sometimes it only takes my wife to finally explode that "she's fed up to here with my grumpy mood around the house". Immediately a miraculous transformation takes place and I become tolerant, good natured and joyful, denying that I was even down, and my wife then takes over where Mr. Grumpy left of, sadly becoming Mrs. Grumpy. Perhaps its catchy.

Grumpiness is not a permanent state however. It seems to take over for a day or two and then vanishes, leaving only the occasional residual snipe in its wake. Perhaps it is actually a chemical thing and I only need a spoon full of sugar.


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