Thursday, January 6, 2011

Gumpy Old Men

Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.
Henry David Thoreau
Quiet desperation?  Recently, I have been confronted with a number of stress inducing events,(I do not include the family visiting for the Christmas holidays in the stressful category) and yet I remain optimistic. It is really irrational. Linda is not as sanguine.
Let me review: My "career" was interrupted at it's peak.(resulting in a "significant", if not staggering, income reduction) I have been unable to find useful work for over two years of trying. I "had" four jobs only to have the offers withdrawn; in one case one week before the scheduled training. I am still in an expensive legal quagmire with my former partners unable to extricate myself.  Our house is for sale and not one showing in three months. My 90 year old mother in law is in the hospital stressing my lovely wife to the point of distraction. I recently spent two months wearing a plastic boot, cutting off my ability to wade the stream. I was in the Emergency Room with my son last night until 2:30 am. (Mostly waiting in line for the CT scanner. Nothing serious it turns out). My aging brain has suppressed the memories of everything else. Which suppression  may be a partial explanation of why I am not so grumpy or angry.

I could go on all day and yet some how I am looking forward to tomorrow. I also think I am so unique, so special and different but maybe I am like a lot of other aging men.

As I was expanding my mind with reading, I came across an interesting article on why grumpy old men are not so grumpy.
  I include an excerpt from one Christopher Orlet, a "writer" who explained my state of relative bliss.

STILL, THE NOTION that old people are grouches is hard to shake. The study explains this misconception too. Supposedly, it takes more to ruffle gray feathers because oldsters have finally made peace with how pathetic and disappointing --  err, I mean ordinary --  their lives have turned out. They have accepted the fact that they aren't going to write the great American novel, or even a memorable Tweet, that they will never have that summer cottage on Cape Cod, and that their daughters all married knuckleheads. And that's okay.
Also, old people are happier because they no longer care about the nonsense younger people care about: i.e., ambition, popularity, looks, material goods, pleasing supposedly important people. In fact, they don't care about much of anything. I already don't care about those things, so I'm off to a good start.

None of this means old folks are not thoroughly disgusted with today's youth. Other research shows that old fogies get a boost of self-esteem reading negative articles about young people, because, basically, everything in popular culture and TV is aimed at them, except Matlock, and they had to go and cancel that.
Entire article here:

Should I add disclaimers? I never liked Matlock.


  1. Great post dad. Funny and meaningful at the same time. It turns out you are a great writer. Maybe you should write a book!