Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Moderately Miserable is Hard Work

Most people who interact with me on a day to day basis are familiar with my canned response when they query "How are you doing?" Ninety-nine percent of the time, I answer, "I'm maintaining my normal state of moderately miserable."

It happened just Monday night at the gym. I entered the facility with a woman, who is little more than a casual acquaintance that I met four or five years ago. She noted that it had "been awhile" and asked me how I was doing. Upon my response, she said, "I would expect nothing less."

For some reason, that kind of stung! An eye-roll, a snicker, or a giggle are the only appropriate responses to my sarcasm. Didn't she get the memo? After all, I'm just throwing out shtick here. Right? Surely, she understands that my sarcasm is just a "front" I throw out for shock value.

Or, IS IT?

Recently, I have been reflecting on the role I have purposely and intentionally taken on as the "grumpy old man." The CURMUDGEON! When first called that term on FB, I actually told myself it was a compliment. I had become Red from "That 70's Show." Minus the beer, I had become my TV hero, Red. I was a malcontent and I was surrounded by dumba***s and I liked it!

The problem with the shtick, however, is that, over time, it seemingly becomes REALITY! And I am only now realizing that "maintaining a state of moderately miserable" is hard work.

Well, actually, it's really not THAT hard! A daily dose of the news channels help. And it doesn't matter which one. Left or right! Those arrogant blowhards on Fox News anger me just as bad as that bitter, miserable chick on MSNBC. And I've actually blogged about that! Deep down, I know they are just doing their jobs. Their job is to produce OUTRAGE. That fact was discussed in this very same forum some time ago. I shouldn't fault them for simply trying to draw a paycheck.

The news channels, however, pale in comparison to this silly device I hold in my hand several hours a day. I am only just now realizing the power this thing lords over me. I fell for it. Hook, line, and sinker! Without even realizing how subtly it happened, I was following some of the meanest people in this county on the Twitter. And I wasn't just reading their tweets. I was reading ALL the responses. Some of these threads go on for days. And I couldn't miss a single one!

I don't know if there is any hope for me or not. Maybe I am just a curmudgeon and maybe I just need to own it. But I have taken baby steps in trying to lessen the severity of it all.

I unfollowed all those pundits on the Twitter. Even though I agree with 99% of what they say, I cannot participate in that vitriol. I've unfriended a good friend on the Facebook. I genuinely like and care for the guy. But he has NO filter! And he posts egregiously inappropriate GIFS and comments on my Timeline. It makes my blood boil. And I just can't afford to let that discourage me. And I am off the news channels. After all, I already know what they are going to say anyway. Their respective points of view haven't changed in years.

I'm not certain as to why the change of heart. My natural inclination is to stay in the problem. It's warm and squishy there and over time becomes normal and comfortable.

But I do know this. My energy is waning in my older years. And I just feel tired. I am tired of Harvey Weinstein. I am tired of the NFL. I am deeply saddened by the Vegas shootings. But I am tired of that, as well. And I am tired of the OUTRAGE!

I am just gonna have to leave that for those of you who are better equipped to handle it.

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