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Sue Spitulnik

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts

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grouch

Keep “Em Guessing

It’s National Do a Grouch a Favor Day. I love the picture they chose, it reminds me of a teacher or grandparent ready to scold a small child who is a might rambunctious, or maybe one that just brought a frog into the class room. I’m curious why they picked a man for the picture. I know quite a few grouchy women too, and, interesting that the person is older.

I tend to be a complainer myself. It’s something I am not proud of, and would love to be able to change easily, but I’m not doing well at my goal. I do however think there is a difference between being a complainer and being grouchy. I see a grouch as not remembering how to have fun and laugh at the world, a practical joke, or him/her-self.

You never know what is in a person’s background that has made them a grouch. I’d be willing to wager it has to do with personal loss,  disillusionment with, or expecting too  much of themselves. I’d also wager they will never tell you, they might not even realize it. This applies to the grouch I know best. There is pain inside the person doesn’t know what to do with, or how to heal from.

Let’s keep the grouches we know guessing by being nice to them. Say hello in a most pleasant voice. Ask them how they  are and wait for an answer. Maybe even take them a plate of cookies, or a single rose. I realize if you are nice, you might get stuck with them as your new best friend, but maybe that is just what they need. Do a grouch a favor, it could make their day.

 

 

Grief Can Do That To You

Today is National Grouch Day. Sesame Street has Oscar the Grouch and he is constantly complaining, about something; anything. He’s a glass-half-empty kind of fellow. The picture above shows a definitely unhappy child: maybe he’s hungry; he didn’t get to have a new toy; he doesn’t know when he’ll see his Mom again because she left in her military uniform; or his father is crying and he’s never seen him do that after talking on his cell.  The reason for the tears: he just found out his favorite uncle died.

My husband and I spent the last couple of days at the funeral of his cousin Jerry. The first of fifteen cousins in his generation we had to say good-by to. It can be frightening to think our age naturally puts us in line for it to happen more often and closer to home. The fear of the unknown date can cause you to get grouchy; the riled emotions and sadness can cause you to get grouchy; trying to find a funeral home in a big, unfamiliar city can cause you to get grouchy; and so can the noise being made by other guests in the hotel you are trying to sleep in.  It’s an emotional time for everyone involved, especially for the spouse left behind that has to figure out what the “new normal” is going to be.

Jerry had been sick for a long time. Sometimes you couldn’t even tell there was cancer in his system; other times, you didn’t think he would last another week. So when the end finally came, it was not a surprise. How much it hurts was a surprise. We all said it was a blessing he was no longer in pain. We added, he wasn’t here long enough to suit us.

I’ve been to far too many funerals already. I’ll share with you that both of my parents funerals were like a party week. The relatives came, the neighbors, the friends. People we hadn’t seen in a long time made contact with calls, cards, and flowers. It was festive. The pain set in afterwards when the house was quiet, and the company disappeared. Then the mind asks, “What just happened?”

Jerry’s funeral was like that. Cousins converged on Baltimore from Chicago, Boston, Knoxville, TN, Rochester, NY, and Miami. Friends came from next door, Washington, DC and Maine. We laughed about some memories and cried over others. We hugged each other; we said I love you. One of the family members didn’t speak to me and it really hurt my feelings. I thought he was mad at me, but then I found out he didn’t talk to hardly anyone. Grief can do that to you when you aren’t ready to face it yet.

I know this isn’t my usual type post, and there are lots of other reasons to be a grouch, but this reason is on my mind. The National Day of calendar suggests spending time with a grouch on this day and give them a reason to smile or pass them one of your own. It may help them be less of a grouch, and just maybe help them to heal from the pain of loss.

 

 

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