Complaining about complaining

Joe Weaver - Contributing Columnist

I have noticed something about people lately. I think its always been there, but as of late, it has become more prevalent. I see it personally and professionally and it’s on the verge of becoming an epidemic. No matter what happens, good or bad, people will ultimately find something to complain about.

There used to be a barbecue place here in town that was locally owned. The owner retired recently and it has been taken over by a small chain. It’s more expensive and the food isn’t the same, but that’s not where the complaint comes in. The complaint came when the old owner ran the place. Hushpuppies were sold by the half dozen and dozen. Rarely did you get an exact count. Once, my wife and I ordered a dozen and received thirty-two hushpuppies. They really should have sold them by “small bag” and “big bag”, but they didn’t. I sat next to a guy who actually complained that he paid for a dozen and was not happy that he got nineteen. If he wanted nineteen hushpuppies, he would have paid for nineteen hushpuppies. The fact that he got seven extra hushpuppies at no additional cost was lost on him. I like hushpuppies a lot and would have relished seven extra. I wondered if the guy counted the ice in his drink to make sure the large size had the correct amount of cubes. I imagine he would have sent his sweet tea back for a full refund.

Life is full of points and counterpoints. This brings balance to everything. You know, the whole “either/eyther, neither/neyther” thing. The yin and yang. It seems as if most folks are leaning toward the neither and the yang and taking the negative route.

Imagine winning one of those super lotteries and getting your gazillion dollars. Naturally, neither you nor I can think of something to complain about. It sounds just about perfect, until that guy who won tries to get that giant cardboard check into the back of his car. A six foot long check is not the kinda thing you can fold three times and stick in your wallet.

I know someone who is the “Queen Of The Buts.” She will compliment something, gushing all over it and hit you with it when you aren’t ready.

“Your hollandaise sauce is delicious.” she once told my wife, “but I think it has a little too much lemon for most folks’ tastes.”

I said to my wife, “I like her enough, but she’s a little annoying.”

This woman had taken a trip to Hawaii, all expenses paid, and complained about the towels in the hotel. If I had gotten a free trip to Hawaii, all expenses paid and didn’t like the towels at the hotel, I would have kept my trap shut and made a trip to Bed, Bath and Beyond. After all, I saved a bundle by getting a free trip.

This is an election year. People have a lot to complain about. A lot of it is justified. Most people, myself included, have strong opinions about the candidates. A weird thing is happening, though. Supporters of both candidates are praising their candidate, then taking a page from the “Queen Of The Buts’” book — they complain about the person they are supporting.

“I like Candidate X…….but he’s a little too blunt.”

“I like Candidate Y……..but she never talks about (insert issue here).”

I get the feeling a lot of people don’t have confidence in their opinions and have to counterpoint themselves.

I know it sounds like I am complaining about complaining. I guess if you look at it a certain way, you just might be right. I’m not immune to it. My wife is also not immune. I was told this very evening that, while it was appreciated that I loaded the dinner dishes into the dishwasher, I did it all wrong and the bowls go this way and the plates go that way and the glasses go right here, just like so. When I asked her where the coffee mug went she said something I can’t repeat in a family newspaper.

It’s probably just going to get worse. We live in a society where if you complain enough, you get basically rewarded just to stop complaining. If you complain enough in a restaurant , the staff will eventually give you a free meal. I don’t know if this is to provide satisfaction or to shut you up.

I’ve been accused of complaining about a lot of things. I guess that comes with being a curmudgeon. It’s probably true that with every bad thing, there is a silver lining, and with every good thing, there is a lining that is made of something that begins with “S” and certainly isn’t silver.

Contributing columnist and Baltimore native Joe Weaver is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.

Joe Weaver

Contributing Columnist

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