Grumpy old men and other random discords

One of our undercover field reporters, a retired fighter pilot who prefers to be anonymous (can that be achieved on South Whidbey?) tipped this overinformed columnist of some big gossip overheard at the Community Thrift Store last week.

  • Saturday, February 24, 2007 1:00pm
  • Opinion

One of our undercover field reporters, a retired fighter pilot who prefers to be anonymous (can that be achieved on South Whidbey?) tipped this overinformed columnist of some big gossip overheard at the Community Thrift Store last week.

Are you ready?

Our reliable undercover anonymous field informant, hereinafter referred to by his acronym, ORUAFI, was informed by a not so anonymous volunteer sales person while ORUAFI was purchasing incredible thrift store bargains — “Everybody’s grumpy today.”

Gee, why wouldn’t everybody be grumpy?

Like the window sticker displayed on a Whidbey Island driver’s Grand Cherokee says “Never thought I would miss Nixon.”

Why not be grumpy?

Last month I received my Screen Actors Guild annual residual payment schedule.

What a year it was!

I made almost $6 gross from my eleven word, two sentence role as a bar patron in the 1997 biopic, “Prefontaine.”

That includes 58 cents from the video/DVD residuals, 84 cents from domestic free TV residuals, $2.03 for foreign distribution and a whopping $2.54 for basic cable residuals.

No wonder Dad worried about me when I left the practice of law for Hollywood.

Why not be grumpy?

My Commander-in-Chief, Richard Milhouse Nixon, is on the cover of the latest U.S.News & World Report as one of our most dismal presidents.

How can that be with his Nixon sense of humor?

In her new book, “Presidential Humor,” author Liz Carpenter, former press secretary to Lady Bird Johnson, relates some great vignettes from the back rooms and front porches of the White House.

As shared by Hearst Newspaper columnist Helen Thomas in her Nov. 26 column last year, Nixon, after losing the 1960 presidential election, “told Ted Sorenson, President Kennedy’s chief speechwriter, ‘Ted, I have to admit that I listened to that inaugural address, and there were some words that Jack Kennedy said that I wish I had said.’

Sorenson replied: ‘Well, thank you, Mr. Nixon, I guess you mean the part about asking not what your country can do for you.’

‘No, no,’ Nixon shot back, ‘I mean the part about ‘I do solemnly swear.’”

We can all get grumpy. It’s easy.

Look at all the practice we have had and continue to seek.

Grumpiness can be measured in degrees, not unlike my favorite bar-b-que sauce, Gates, available in three different seasonings.

There’s the Original Classic Grumpy, usually a long-time local who continually resists what persists — change.

There’s the Sweet n’ Mild Grumpy who attends all community functions with some degree of regular dissatisfaction as to why he or she should not have bothered, but weren’t the kids cute anyway?

Where would grumpiness be without Extra Hot Grumpy, no doubt those first amendment zealots who attend city council and commissioners’ meetings, standing tall in church parking lots as they judge, not lest they be, all the way home.

Grumbling is not new, nor is complaining, criticizing, scolding, backbiting, bad mouthing, bullyragging, beefing, bellyaching, bitching, biting, crabbing, cussing, digging, dressing down, griping, grousing, knocking, lacing into, lambasting, lipping, needling, picking on, pinning the blame, pooh-poohing, putting down, ragging, raking over the coals, riding, roasting, scorching, shooting down, sitting on, slamming, sounding off, squawking, squelching, taking it out on, tongue-lashing, wigging, yawping, yipping or whining.

What is missing in the above synonyms of disgust?


Plain, sweet harmony.

The kind we do not get much anymore unless we are with like-minded friends and family.

It’s a sad situation when harmony disappears, as noted by Dr. Orison Swett Marden in his eight-decade-old epic, “Be Good to Yourself.”

“Man is so constituted that he does his best work when happiest. He is constructed on the happiness plan, so that when he is most harmonious, he is most efficient.

Discord is always an enemy to his achievement, as well as to his comfort and happiness. It is the greatest whittler away of vitality and energy we have.

When the mind is full of discords, worry, and anxiety, when brain and body are out of tune, it is impossible even for a genius to express the perfect music of a full, free life.

People do not realize how rapidly vitality is wasted in friction, in worry and anxiety, in harsh, discordant notes which destroy the harmony of life.

How many completely exhaust themselves in needless worrying and bickering over things which are not worth while!

How many burn up their life force in giving way to a hot temper, in quibbling over trifles, in bargain hunting, in systemless work, in a hundred ways, when a little thought and attention to the delicate human instrument on which they are playing would prevent all this attrition and keep the instrument in splendid tune!

We cannot do two things with our energy at the same time.

If we use it up in friction, we cannot expend it in effective work.

The keynote of life’s harmony is cheerfulness.

Every muscle and every nerve must be tuned until it responds to that vibration.

As the piano tuner eliminates the least discord in sound, so the coming man will tune out the discordant notes of passion, of hatred, of jealousy and of worry, so that there shall be no inharmony in the instrument.”

Someone please call Deano the Clown, also a licensed professional piano tuner.

We have a few folks around hear that may need to be fine-tuned.

Do you ever hear the birds grumbling?

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