How to Curmudgeon

So I noticed this morning that my gray chest hair is slowly beginning to overtake my dark blond chest hair.

In any other forum, that might be TMI, but this is my forum and in my forum there is no such thing as too much information.

Now . . . to some . . . gray chest hair might seem like a terrible thing.


More gray?

That means that one day I'm gonna die.

But existential crisises aside, I found myself to be pretty pleased.

See, if my body starts doing old person things, then it's finally starting to catch up with my old person personality.

I totally get how some people can be gender confused, cause I've alway been generationally confused.

I just never felt like a young vibrant guy.

I mean, I played one on stage from time to time, but even the centrifical force of the entire spinning of the earth isn't enough to help me get out of bed. I don't like to "do" things and my answer to everything is "no", I don't like people touching my things and the one thing I've ordered for breakfast hasn't changed in twenty years (Chicken fried steak, light gravy, hash browns, sourdough toast, if you must know.)

And it's not the I have an "Old Soul" as the spiritualists might call it. Nope. I was just born a grouchy old man, and now my chest hair has finally conceded.

Being a curmudgeon is different than being an adult, or an older person, a senior, or a retiree. Being a curmudgeon takes a certain skill. It takes a certain know-how. And it's more than just barking at people or letting go of farts that linger for entire afternoons. It's a calling. A manifest destiny.

But it's not just a one shot. You can't just be cranky once in a while. You gotta feel it. You gotta become one with your lower chakra. You gotta be okay with lonliness, for if there is anything curmudgeons hate . . . its other curmudgeons.

Yet . . . if you too see nothing but dark clouds and squish your face together when blinded by the silver linings, and feel as though you're only half way there, then today's How To Tuesday is for you:

Step One: Strong Opinions about Everything.
There is not one topic ever uttered outloud that you don't feel strongly for or against. And it absolutely does not have to toe the party line. In fact, it can't. You have to be both hard core fundamentalist and absolutely disgusted with hard core fundamentalism. You have to be the most outspoken Libertarian while screaminhg for the government to tax the shit out of the rich. You have to believe it is a god given right to own a gun as long as you use that gun to aid in second trimester abortion.

Step Two: A Chronic Injury that can Predict the Future.
Do you have a trick knee that can tell you when it's going to rain? A lazy eye twitch that signals another earthquake? A scar that flares up when Voldemort is angry? I, myself, have a herniated disc that tells me in the morning whether or not it's a good a idea to get out of bed. It hurts whenever I'm gonna have a bad day. And it always hurts.

Step Three: An Outdated Piece of Technology the You Rely Upon.
Do you have movies on betamax that you don't have anywhere else? How about a watch that is also a calculator? An 8-Track in your car? How about an AM radio? You absolutely get points for a phonograph or a Wulrizter, but you lose points for vinyl. (I don't make the rules, vinyl's cool, and you can't be) Not only do I have a micro-disc player (if you don't know what that is . . . you never will) but I also rely upon a totally outdated Sure SM58 when I perform. The thing is, they keep making them, and I keep buying them.

Step Three Point Five: Have an outdated skill.
I can replace the water pump of a Ford 289 in under ten minutes. God willing . . . I will never have to do that again.

Step Four: Your Christmas List is not a Mystery
You like underware, socks, and golfballs. I like the new Stephen King book and Scotch. You can't get me enough of either of those things. And if somehow I get the same scotch from two different people, it means that their love for me is equal.

Step Five: You don't hate EVERYBODY
Hating everybody is boring. And just shy of sociopathic. No . . . you don't hate everybody . . . but there are people that you do hate. And you hate them so much your hands shake and you begin to stutter everytime you come across them. People that clog the aisles of grocery stores. People that write checks at grocery stores. People with too many kids to handle at grocery stores.

Basically you hate people at grocery stores.

People that don't know where they're going and don't pull over to read a map.

People that don't know how to read a map.

Now, I personally don't hate people that get up early and mow their lawns. Good for them. I shouldn't be still in bed at 11:45 anyway. I also don't hate kids playing on my lawn, but I am a little disappointed that my rose bushes have yet to bloody any of them.

Step Six: Overseason your food
My grandpa use to dowse stuff in Lawries (Straight up MSG), my father in law has to add salt to every dish. My dad uses hot sauce on everything from eggs to angel's food cake. I like garlic salt. Grosses my wife out, but I can't get enough of the stuff.

And speaking of gross food,

Step Seven: A dish no one else will eat.
One word. Brussel Sprouts.

Step Eight: An unvaried wardrobe
Once I've found a thing I like, you can get me like, twenty of them and I'll be happy. Not just sorta happy, like, super happy. My wife found a plain white T-Shirt from Costco seven years ago, which happens to fit snuggly and adds length to my gekko-like torso. It's the only T I've ever owned that doesn't pop above my belly button when I raise my arms.

I now have nine of them.

I will wear them everyday and in just about every social situation. It's is cold I'll put on a jacket. If it's warm, I'll take off my socks, if it's professional, I'll put on something else.

I've have the same dress shoes for twelve years.

There is a single black button up shirt that I wear for almost every performance. The cut is perfect, so why go with anything else. We're scouring the internet for different colors.

Thing is, curmudgeons don't like fashion, really, at all. We don't like spending time thinking about what to wear or what we look like, and why would I care what that dress makes you look like when I'm perfectly fine with you being naked? Especially when my calculator watch is telling me we're almost late?

Lastly: Know when to not Curmudgeon.
When your wife stands between you and the football game, it's not because she wants to ruin your night and it's not because she doesn't realize the game is on (she knows), it's because she needs a little bit of attention. Give it to her. Same goes for helping your son with his homework. Same goes for unsolicited advice from your father-in-law, and same goes for Girl Scouts in front of Safeway.

Those are the times when you can smile and give someone your attention, for they probably deserve it.

Same does not go for Green Peace at Trader Joes, nor for the guy behind you who only has two items in his grocery basket is huffing and puffing because he's in a hurry.

If he was in such a hurry he shouldn't have spent so much time at home picking out his shoewear.

He can wait.

And if he keeps huffing and puffing . . . then it's time to get out your checkbook.


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