Grumpy New Man

Grumpy New Man

My wife told me the other day that my New Year’s resolution for 2016 should be to stop being so negative and grouchy. But my humor columns are dependent on those very qualities.  I’ve made a career out of people mistaking my crankiness for wittiness.
I once complained to the manager at Kroger that their entrance and exit doors were on the wrong sides. “I’ll never shop here again,” I told him. “I don’t know if I’m coming or going.” But did he call me grumpy? No, he burst out laughing—and told me I should use that line in my next column.
A few years ago I protested to a couple of Girl Scouts who came to the door selling cookies that their product was too high in fat and that eating S’mores would shoot my lipids through the roof. Their mothers called and thanked me, saying this was a good health lesson for nine-year-olds. These women must not have known I bought six boxes.
This past spring, I complained to some of my neighbors about their unkempt lawns.  I fussed at others who were putting their garbage out at the curb two days before trash pick-up, and I put my foot down about kids making a ruckus shooting hoops in their driveways on Sunday mornings when I was trying to sleep.  Instead of being annoyed, they made me president of the homeowners association. Maybe the problem is that I don’t have the right “old codger” look. I’m going to stop dying my hair and start hoisting my pants up to my ribcage.
I’m optimistic about 2016. I’ve already put together my top 10 list of stuff that makes me grumpy.
I don’t want the clerk to keep asking me if I have a Speedy Rewards Card. I don’t.
I don’t want to buy something in a bag that says tear here. It doesn’t.
I don’t want tech guys telling me it’s as easy as plugging it in. It’s not.
I don’t my wife telling me I can learn to load the dishwasher correctly. I can’t.
I don’t want my son telling me I should look at YouTube cat videos.  I shouldn’t.
I don’t want people asking me if I’m the guy who does the weather. I’m not.
I don’t want people asking me if my dog, Barney, is still alive. He’s not.
I don’t want some telemarketer calling to ask if I would like to try a generic Lipitor made overseas. I wouldn’t.

I don’t want people telling me they read my column in the Indianapolis Star. They can’t.
I don’t want my wife asking me when I’m driving if I know where I’m going. I don’t.
And finally, number 10, just to show you that I don’t end everything on a negative note…
I don’t want someone on the phone asking if I mind holding. I DO!

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YEAR IN REVIEW

THANKS FOR THE LAUGHS
Every December I look back at all the people who deserve thanks for helping me find a little humor in everyday life…
Thanks to the young man who came to our door and convinced me to switch my cable provider.  He asked how long it usually took me to get on the Internet.  “Well, I start in the kitchen, getting a beverage. Then, with this pesky knee of mine, it takes me quite a while to get down the stairs to the computer. By the time I find my glasses, we’re looking at eight to ten minutes.” 

Thanks to my plumber, Rex, and my computer geek, Kevin, both of whom charge 100 dollars just for walking in the door. Rex usually brings a plunger and is gone in five minutes. And Kevin, a couple of times, just plugged my printer back into the outlet. As my mother used to say, “They sure have your number.” They do.  But I’m glad I have theirs, too.

To Bruce at Butler Hyundai who sold me a new car that has a steering wheel with 12 buttons on it, more than a corset from the Elizabethan era, and probably just as difficult for an inexperienced guy like me to manage. There are also four buttons on the rearview mirror, including a garage door opener, which Bruce told me I would have to sync with my old garage door opener. Or was it my laptop? No, maybe it was my smart phone. No matter.  When he said sync, I knew I was sunk.

To my wife, who points at everything. “Look at the sky,” she’ll say and point—like I don’t know where the sky is. And when she wants me to turn right, out comes that finger. On a recent trip, she asked, “Don’t you want me to point out things of interest?”  “Yes,” I told her, “but I don’t want you to actually point at them.”
To all my friends at my 50th high school reunion, where I learned many things. Here are two. First, if you wear the wrong name tag, most people won’t know the difference for at least an hour.  And second, even though the guys I hung out with in 1965 didn’t take drugs, now we all do.  

To our friends from church who organized a bocce ball tournament. We didn’t know the rules, so I bought a book online called The Joy of Bocce. I already owned The Joy of Cooking and The Joy of Sex, although both of them were put in storage before we started to remodel our kitchen.
Thanks to Mary Ellen, again, who upon checking our email confirmation for our hotel in Washington, DC, last spring, casually mentioned that we weren’t as close to the downtown area as she had wanted. “How far are we?” I asked.  “About 2,300 miles,” she said. I had booked a hotel in Seattle, Washington, by mistake.

And finally, to the authors of my favorite publication of 2015, iPads for Seniors for Dummies, a book the publishers say is for people with no experience with tablets. Wait, seniors take several tablets every morning. The introduction says that with your new iPad you can “have fun, explore the online world, and look at naughty videos.”  It doesn’t really say that, but they could use something to get my generation into the Apple Store.

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