Wednesday, November 16, 2005


A guy I work with told me the other day that if he didn’t complain he’d have nothing to say. And that got me thinking – do I complain a lot? I like to think I don’t, but a further analysis of my conversations has revealed that I bitch incessantly. And here’s some news – you’re a whiner, too.

Think about it. There are only so many things worth talking about. The old stand-by was, is, and forever will be “the weather.” That's because the weather is something we all have in common, and it’s also one of the two things in life over which we have absolutely no control, so you can bitch about it freely without blaming anyone.

But once we’re done talking about the weather, what else is there to say? As a courtesy, we've adopted the custom of asking one another how we're doing. Regardless of how I feel, I usually say I’m good – which isn’t entirely a lie, but not entirely the truth, either. It’s just that I know people don’t want me to tell them how I REALLY am, because that would involve a litany of pointless complaints.

“Fine, thanks. Well, actually, I’m not doing so great. My property taxes doubled, I’ve got an escrow shortage, my condo assessments are on the rise, business has been slow, my car is acting up on me, I’ve got a bad cough, the White Sox won the World Series, and I just got the worst haircut of my life. How have YOU been?”

The fact is, no one wants to hear that shit because we’ve ALL got problems. And, of course, we all think our problems are the worst. Ah, the ultimate relativity of distress. By the same token, no one wants to hear how GREAT someone else is doing, either. If there’s anything worse than a chronic complainer, it’s a person who couldn’t be doing any better.

“I’m fantabuliffic! Things could not be going better. My property taxes went down, an uncle I didn’t even know existed left me $43,000 in his will, a publisher contacted me out of the blue for a book deal, that mysterious lump I found turned out to be a golden testicle – I’m having it removed next week – I just got a massive raise and promotion, won 6 tickets to the Super Bowl, my doctor says I’ve got the cholesterol level of a Japanese fisherman, and my dick seems to have gotten bigger. Can you believe that shit? So, how are YOU?”

People like that suck. The truth is, life is hard work and is full of disappointment. We worry about our health, our finances, our jobs, our loved ones…and so much more…day after painful day. We’re under the stress of so many commitments and obligations, it’s a miracle any of us ever find the time to sit back and reflect upon how amazingly wonderful it is to JUST BE ALIVE. But we’re all lottery winners in that regard. We’re here – fortunate enough to have shit to bitch about day after day.

So, yeah – my taxes doubled. That sucked. But I’m still breathing. And yeah, business isn’t what it could be. But I’m still breathing. And yeah, this is the worst haircut I’ve ever had. But I’m still breathing.

Basically, life is good. So if you hear me complaining, don’t let it get to you. I’m just making conversation.


Sheila K said...

Our pharmacist used to say, "Every day above ground is a good one." I guess unless you live in a garden level apartment, it must be true!

Resident Weevil said...

I once took to heart my parent's advice that "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." That ended with them taking me to a speech therapist.

Anonymous said...

I'd complain about this posting, but I suppose it would do me no good.

Peter N said...

Not to mention the Cubs. You've gone way past that point.