Column: Happy to be not happy for the holidays
Nov 29, 2012 | 2804 views |  0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I am a serial complainer. You probably know this if you’ve read this column a time or two.
No matter how many times my pastor tells me I need to live with a grateful heart, or count my blessings or be thankful … I always wind up back in the same place. And that place is filled with flaws — grammatical flaws, argumentative flaws, clothing flaws, you name it.
(And really, nobody who looks like I do should complain about someone else’s clothes. Where do I get the nerve? This is a whole different column.)
What inevitably slays me — as I’m sure it does you on occasion — are those moments when the people around me start complaining. About trivial things (note: none of my complaints are trivial as far as I’m concerned, and since this is my column that’s the narrative we’re sticking with).
We’ve all worked in an office where the temperature was too cold. Or too hot. Or it was neither — actually, I am perfectly comfortable — but someone else won’t stop complaining that it’s too cold or too hot.
Maybe the temperature isn’t a problem. But the computer is. The computer never works; or, if it does, it runs far too slow. 
You get the idea. Maybe you’re an Auburn fan working in an office full of ‘Bama people — they can really be insufferable. 
Maybe you want to drive 55 down this gravel road while texting, only the car in front of you won’t move out of the way. Maybe you’re the person in front of someone who just flew around you.
Somehow the frequency and depth of the complaining only increases around the holidays. Maybe it’s because of the necessity of spending time with extended families; everybody has a “can-you-top-this” story about the extended family (or their spouse’s family) they’re forced to endure every year at either Christmas or Thanksgiving.
The easiest two avenues for complaints, obviously, are sports and politics, if only because those are the two things most people understand universally.
“That football coach don’t know what he’s doin.”
“The president is a liar and a thief.”
“The referees are cheating us.”
“How come they pave every road in the city except ours?”
Inevitably, the people around me will tire of all this complaining. 
“Good grief, Will,” my dad said. “If it bothers you that much, turn it off.”
I’m floored by this suggestion.
“But I like watching this,” I said.
Maybe I should be thankful for the chance to complain in the first place.
(Thinks about it … Nah. Maybe next year.)

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