The Grouchy Old Man
I never meant to be a grouchy old man but look at me now, over here killing it. No matter how deeply I pledge to get through the day without harumphing or grouching about one damn thing or another, it always happens anyway. I get up in a pretty good mood every day and any wine-ish residuals are quickly washed away in a sea of coffee and nicotine gum . While I would not describe myself as little Sammy Sunshine, I am generally in a good mood. It never takes too long however before some fucking moron just pisses me off.
It should be difficult to be grouchy today. Innovation is moving forward at lightning speed and all kinds of things are happening to make the world a better place to live. I can actually download all the books I need or want as well as do all my banking and shopping right from a little hand held device. I have access to all the baseball I want to watch right on the same little device. My Kindle holds more books that some libraries and has driven the cost of my reading addiction down by multiples. I have a little box I use to back up my files that can hold something like 2 million pictures, tens of thousands of documents and still have room left for a couple of hundred movies. I can send messages to friends on the other side of the world in a nanosecond or two. It is a wonderful time to be alive.
That’s on top of all the other wonderful run of the mill good shit we inherited through the simple act of tumbling though a vagina and into the world. There is the aforementioned wine and sex as well as sunsets, music (although I do struggle to be grateful for this crap my youngest listens to. Shit sounds like two screech owls stuck in an old tin garbage can being rolled down a steep cobblestone street), books, oceans, lakes, ponds, alligators, sunrises (although I avoid those most of the time. They need to be rescheduled for later in the day so lazy people can enjoy them as well), friends, lovers, soft kisses and moonlight. All good stuff that should in and of themselves, make it very difficult to be grouchy.
Thanks to the world of medicine and biotech that life is lasting longer and can be of a higher quality. We are seeing cures for diseases and relief for debilitating symptoms being developed every day. Research continues to prove that wine, caffeine and orgasm can all extend life which is the bedrock of my plan for personal immortality. Today doctors can replace limbs, organs, pretty much whatever needs to be fixed. Except brains. And that’s where the problems usually come from during the course of my average day.
I walk outside and accidentally talk to people or see things like some asshole doing 60 down the residential road in front of my house on a street where people are walking babies in strollers and puppies on leashes. It is a god damn epidemic. It’s a fucking residential street not the backstretch at Daytona. Not only are they cruising at madly excessive speeds, the majority of the geniuses are texting while doing so. We have had one dog killed in front of the house and 4 or five trees knocked down on the street while we have lived here. It is only a matter of time before it’s a kid or some over zealous excercise freak on a bicycle. I love driving fast and can blaze up and down the Turnpike and on the toll road, but speeding in a residential neighborhood is inconsiderate, selfish and it makes me fucking grouchy.
Or I find myself interacting with some helicopter parent who thinks their child is the most precious in the whole wide world and should be given whatever they want while being protected from every possible danger or threat. Poor kids leave the house wrapped up like the bubble boy with a helmet and even then are not allowed to leave the yard. Due to parental demand these kids are graded on a curve when they are graded at all and given trophies just for showing up some of the time. How in the fresh fuck are these kids going to grow to deal with the real world of work and interacting with people and no curve? These are the poor little bastards that will grow up in fear of trigger warnings and desperately needing safe spaces and it makes me grouchy.
I can be in a great mood all day and then drive up to the middle school to pick up the youngest. Watching these kids spill out of the school and immediately disappear into their iPhones and Galaxies makes me lose faith in the universe. Exposing kids to technology at a young age is a fantastic thing but these little slipshods are not using it to learn, discover and explore. They are sending cat videos and Dr. Who quotes, arranging a meet up with their dealer or some other asinine activity. All the stuff we used to have to do face to face they do on their little phones. That includes bullying other kids. In my day to be a bully you had to risk the other kid growing a pair and knocking your nose into next week. The idea that we have sheltered our kids so much that cyber bulling leads to suicide bothers me no end and makes me a little grouchy.
Then there is the school systems we send the little darlings to. Never have so many spent so much to accomplish so little. I have had kids in public school and institutions of higher education for more than 30 years now so I am pretty familiar with the system. I used to work at a firm that underwrote a lot of municipal bonds so I have read hundreds of school budgets in my day. The problem is not money. It is standardized testing. Its low pay and long hours for teachers. It is a bureaucracy that consumes far too much of the cash before it ever gets to the classroom. We spent something like a trillion dollars at all levels of government last year on the education system and got damn little in return. That makes me grouchy.
There is no easy fix but parental involvement is a big one. If we had as many parents at the school board meetings as we do at high school football games the education system would get better faster. Unfortunately most parents do not give a shit and just rely on the bureaucracy to do the job for them. Bureaucracies do not give a shit about getting the job done. They care only about protecting and further entrenching themselves and that makes me grouchy.
Then there is the real, overriding and underlying reason for all of my grouchiness. It is the vast horde of Absolutely Convinced Motherfuckers walking around on the planet. For a variety of religious and political reasons these ass wipes are sure beyond any shade of doubt that they know how I should live my life, spend my money, raise my kids and conduct my affairs. They know to who and under what circumstances I should gift another with my heart or genitals. They and they alone are the arbiters of what goes into my body as well as how and what comes out. They know which books I should read, what music I should listen to, what neighborhood I should live in and what imaginary being in the sky I should pledge my undying and unwavering fealty to. The fact that all the evidence points to them making things worse over the decades rather than better does not phase these folks at all. All is dogma and dogma is all. If it is in the book or the party platform it is the gospel damn truth and I should abide by it by any means required. They are the bane of my existence and the only remaining law that needs to be passed in this great country is the establishment of the length and terms of the Absolutely Convinced hunting season that will allow us to cull the herd and manage the population of these truly dangerous fuckers.
I should not be grouchy. I have a wonderful wife and incredible family. My kids are doing various stage of well at life and their futures are pretty bright. I have a great network of friends all over the world.I have books, I have music. I live in Florida and haven’t seen snow or ice that wasn’t in a cocktail in years now. My Orioles are in pennant contention and Navy Football started off the year with a win. There is a new Carl Hiassen book out tomorrow and offerings from favorites like WEB Griffin and Randy Wayne White on the way soon. The wife and I are off to Captiva in a couple of weeks to celebrate the 6th anniversary of her not killing me in my sleep. Life is good and I should not have to be grouchy.
All I ask of the universe is this. Let me enjoy the world that whatever Deity there is created with all its wonders and pleasures and quit doing stupid shit that makes me grouchy. Close your mouth, open your mind and move beyond dogma and dictates. You don’t know and the sooner you understand and accept that,the less grouchy I will be
Keep your hands out of wallet, your nose out of my business and your kids off my fucking lawn and life will be a dream, Sweetheart.