Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Curmudgeons, Unite!

I'm organizing the National Society of Curmudgeons, Unite! (or, if you're dyslexic, Curmudgeons, Untie!) for those of us over the mid-century mark who need a forum where we can bitch and whine and not be called grumpy old goats. Even if we are.

You'll find the qualifying exam below, and if you pass with 90%, for $29.95 you too may become a licensed, professional curmudgeon. (Heck, even if you don't pass the test, you can send me the $29.95 - I take PayPal.)

Each of the following statements is worth 10 points. See how many statements you agree with. If you yell "hell, yes!" you can add an extra five points per yell. If you can add to this list in the "Comments" section, you can add an extra big, fat TEN points per item. Such a deal!

1. You despise all cartoons, jokes, photos, virus alerts ("this one is not a JOKE!"), chain letters and liberal/conservative hate mail in your email box and you refuse to forward or return any of them, no matter the promises of good fortune or the threat of bad.
2. You hate all of #1 so much that you delete the mail without reading and don't care if it offends the sender. Sometimes you delete the sender's email address.
3. While hard porn may still titillate, soft porn in advertising really turns you off instead of on... especially when it isn't remotely subtle. You still can't believe that erectile dysfunction, condoms and KY products are advertised.
4. You haven't heard a good pop song since before 1989.
5. You consider extremely LOUD rap music in the car next to you a valid reason for the death penalty, even if you don't believe in the death penalty.
6. You remember when sizes 2, 4 and 6 were found only in the children's department, and size 0 meant newborn, 0-3 months.
7. You eat right, take your vitamins, exercise, drink plenty of water, never eat junk food, bad fats or sugar, and you still can't shed the last 20 pounds you gained simply by turning 50. You're starting not to care since gravity has taken hold anyway.
8. You don't understand Yoga. You think the human body just wasn't meant to achieve those positions except maybe on your honeymoon.
9. You've mastered the controls for your DVD player, DVR, VCR, digital camera, digital video camera, MP3 player -- but you never turn on your cell phone because someone might call you and you can't remember how to answer the damn thing.
10. All of #9, plus you never call anyone on your cell phone because you can't remember how to retrieve the numbers you stored the first day you bought it, when you were buzzed on caffeine.
11. In fact, you remember when all you had to do with a phone was pick up the receiver to answer, and stick your fingers in those little holes to make a call. Without area codes.
12. You remember when it cost a nickel to mail a letter AND the postman delivered mail twice a day during the Christmas season. And you remember life before zip codes.
13. You also remember that the Christmas season was CALLED the Christmas season and people wished others "Merry Christmas," and a nativity scene was often displayed on City property -- without a pending lawsuit from the ACLU.
14. You really hate it when a clerk or cashier grunts at you instead of saying "thank you," or, worse yet, says "no problem" when YOU thank them. Sometimes you even muffle the phrase, "I'm the customer, for crissakes. My purchase just helped to pay your minimum-wage salary, you dolt, so say THANK YOU!"
15. You feel that going out to dinner is sometimes not worth the stress because a) few places take reservations and you have to wait at least 30 minutes with strangers who look like they're having much more fun than you are and who step on your feet in the 5 x 5 waiting area; b) the music is so loud you can't talk over it, even to order; c) you no longer understand why they let kids under 12 eat in restaurants; d) you can't believe you're going to pay $35 for a meal that would cost $5 to fix at home; e) the temperature inside the restaurant in the summer is 90 degrees cooler than outside, and of course you didn't bring a jacket because it's 90 degrees outside.
16. You want to reach through the TV and smack every wise-ass, snotty, smart-mouth kid in every sit-com, and you know this is where your grandkids' friends get their attitude from.
17. You stand in line at the supermarket and don't recognize ONE person on the covers of any of the magazines or tabloids, except Liz Taylor and the Clintons.
18. You remember when TV news meant coverage of national and world events without the 15-second wrap-up slyly telling you how you should feel about the event. Ditto for the "experts" who are on hand to explain the nuances of major speeches - expecially when they are half our age.
19. Nothing makes you madder than hotshot techie Gen-Xers and yuppies who think they invented computer technology, when, in fact, YOU are the one who was the pioneer -- before Windows, before Apple -- when a 5 mg drive seemed like infinite storage capacity and OS and programs ran from cassette tapes. Heck, you can even speak in binary.
20. You're really convinced all parents of celebrity brats are insane and wonder what caused them to abdicate all responsibility when their kid turned 12 and wanted to be a star, at the expense of their life. You're even beyond sympathy for them.
21. You wonder where "common sense" has gone. Has it disappeared for good from the gene pool? Did they lose it when they were mapping the human genome?
22. You sometimes buy it, but you still can't believe you pay $5 for a cup of coffee.
23. You know that everything at the supermarket costs precisely 2.5 times what it should. Yes, that tub of cottage cheese really cost $4.99 and that loaf of raisin bread was $4.39. It's why you can only say "holy crap" when the perky little checker asks you what your plans are for the day.
24. You pay $60 a month for cable or satellite service, but you only watch 5 channels out of the 247 available because, well, who would posslibly watch that crap?
25. You scream at automated phone voice recordings, especially when you're on hold for 10 minutes and you're forced to listen to their commercials for products you've already bought. You're not even embarrassed when you realize the recording has stopped and you have a live human on the other end who has heard your ranting. Screw 'em.
26. You get really, really tired of Caucasian Christians/Catholics being the only demographic left in the US that is okay (almost required) to mock, bash, slander, and otherwise defame. PC language also pisses you off.
27. You seriously wonder that out of the 300+ million people in the US, the likely candidates for President are going to be two of the three current front runners. You're considering writing in either FDR's or Reagan's name on the ballot in November. Even dead, they'd be a better choice.
28. You remember when the natural cycle of love was dating, engagement, wedding, living as a couple, parenthood -- and you wonder how those stages got so ass-backwards.
29. You really hate being so negative and grumpy about living in our current American culture, but you see so little of value in this culture, and you seriously despair for your grandkids' and great-grandkids' futures. You know it's a serious sign of old age, but our lifestyle just seems NUTS.
30. You throw away all junk mail except the ads from mortuaries offering pre-planning services. Somehow pushing daisies doesn't seem all that unappealing compared to the absurdity of life today.


Anonymous said...

wow you worked on that one....I qualify...and passed...but I dont give a damn...and another thing...that pisses me off is left wing bedwetting liberal chatter women with short hair and birkenstock sandals...and another thing...is right wing long haired conservative tobacco chewing combat booted ugly bleach blondes.
and another thing...well you get my drift..

Anonymous said...

I got to #25, and then I was just
too depressed to go on. I'll take
a pill and read the rest later

annie kelleher said...

wow ...are you really this grumpy about this much? LOL.

Anonymous said...

I laughed until I wet my pants. Everything you wrote is so right. I might be our age, but I agreed with everything you said, and you said it so well. I always look forward to your blog.

Anonymous said...

There's a book on this topic that might interest you called "The Portable Curmudgeon." Then again, you've obviously already given the topic a lot of thought... It's possible you'd find a lot of that material redundant.

While my attention deficit whatchamacallit tends to keep me from analyzing deep topics to your extent, I *have* managed to come up with a defining characteristic of old age that people can use as a sort of litmus test on themselves. It's probably a little gender-biased but then, so is the term "gender-biased."

Old age starts when the number of pills you take each day exceeds the number of remote controls you have in your house.

I gained a little ground on old age shortly after digital sound became cheap.


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