Recently, I was accused of being “a complainer”. Of “constantly complaining”. Of being a person who “complains all of the time”. And to be honest, these comments upset me a little. Shook me up some. And for the first time in a long time, I took a long, hard look at myself. It wasn’t easy, it wasn’t pretty. But despite all that, it did lead me to make a very honest and true discovery. The fact is, I don’t always complain.
Sometimes I bitch.
Or grouse. Or grumble. Or rant. Or rave. Or just angrily mutter under my breath like a senior citizen trying to open up an e-mail attachment. It’s what I do.
Now, do I actually have anything real to complain about? God, no. I’m a lucky bastard. Life is good. But here’s the thing: the world outside of my house can be kind of a shitty place. Not always. Not every day. But sometimes. And on those days, the days when reading the newspaper makes you want to just crawl under the covers and cry, the days when you see pictures of fathers who’ll never again tuck in their kids, the days when you wonder just what’s the damn point anyway, on those days, on those crappy days, there is a lot to complain about.
But I don’t.
Instead, I kvetch about wiping my son’s bottom. Make jokes about my professional career as a Housefrau. Tell my depressed friend to cheer up because, hey, at least she’s not married to Eliot Spitzer, right? Because for me, anyway, using humor to complain about the little, silly things in life is a hell of a lot easier than dwelling on the big, scary things I know are out there. Because those are the things I can’t fix.
Are there better ways to deal with the world, to possibly improve the world, than through humor? Absolutely. And my efforts on that front are continuous and personal. But right now, today, if I know I can make someone laugh, make someone’s step a little lighter, make my own kids see a happy, less crabby mother, by just sitting down and writing about how much I hate removing the dryer lint from the stupid dryer lint trap, sign me up. I’ll do it. And you know what? I won’t even complain about it. Much.