I don’t like being grumpy, but I was born this way. My mother even said I was a colicky baby, and if that isn’t absolute proof of my predilection toward moodiness, I don’t know what is.
As I’ve aged, I’ve discovered my grumpy tendency rears its ugly head erratically and not just occasionally. And many times it defies any correlation with external events like rainy days and Mondays. But I may be wrong about that since in writing this, I’ve remembered that Karen Carpenter used to sing about how rainy days and Mondays “always get me down,” and she committed suicide. So there may be a little more than coincidence and genetics insofar as my melancholia is concerned.
Anyway, the holidays are here, again. It seems like it was just a week ago I breathed a sigh of relief that I could turn on the radio without being bombarded by a Home Depot ad for aluminum Christmas trees and now they’re back again–the deafening roar of glad tidings and the sparkling trees. It’s that joyous time of year when everyone must be happy, happy, happy or fear punishment from their Maker or whoever they believe might stuff their stocking with tsuris, which is the Yiddish word for problems. So I’m tolerating dreidels, menorahs, Santas and funny little elves with nasty grins.
But I’m still loyal to grumpiness. And that’s because of Scrooge. While I was never crazy about the old guy and his miserliness with the Cratchett brood, I still had great sympathy for him. After all, he did have an epiphany that led him to do a complete assessment of his crimes against mankind. Which is more of an accomplishment than Hitler ever managed and Hitler earned a huge place in history for his efforts. It’s true that it’s a huge, dark place, but the History Channel seems to give him a lot of coverage anyway.
Over the years I think people have been a little hard on Scrooge, spreading a “Screw Scrooge” philosophy. I know that most of the population have already made the moral judgment that he’s the scum of the earth (at least pre-epiphany), but who hasn’t been laid low once in their life. Maybe Scrooge had a promiscuous mother or an abusive father. Maybe he just didn’t like employees coming to work and using his machines to cybersurf for holiday bargains or order cookies from the bakery or stuff like that. The point is, there are mitigating factors for his behavior, and we need to take these into consideration when rendering a judgment on the old fart.
Plus I unfortunately identify now with the old fart, especially since I’ve recently become an orphan and am waiting for the doors of heaven to open and take me to the Land of Permanent Retirement. In the interim, though, I’ve decided to acknowledge my grumpiness and see if I can make lemonade from these lemons. And if that means looking for the up side of Scrooge, then that’s just what I intend to do. Today, I’m searching for him on ancestry.com and tomorrow I may consult wikipedia. Next week it may be Hollywood.com or whatever. I know I’ll turn up something nice eventually, like how he helped rescue Jews during the Nazi persecution or killed rats with his walking stick when the Bubonic Plague hit London. When I do, I’ll know there’s still hope for me…and other grumpy people out there. You know who you are.