Friday, November 23, 2012

The post-Thanksgiving Curmudgeon

Yesterday was a day of warmth and family, sitting around the table and sharing what we were thankful for. So today I'm eating leftovers and having a few thoughts about what I'm not thankful for. Don't get me wrong. I'm awfully grateful for many things--my family, my career,my friends, for living in two places that are so beautiful, for having the chance to travel, for recovering completely from my horrible accident earlier this year.

But if I had a little chat with God, I'd have to tell Him (or Her) of some small ways he goofed. For one thing--I'm not thankful for insects, especially spiders. Anything creepy, crawly with lots of legs is a nightmare to me. My daughter tells me that if there were no insects corpses would never decompose. Couldn't God have made self-decomposing bodies, or better still let us never die?

And I'm not thankful for the way people sing these days.  The louder the singer screeches, the more the audience applauds. What happened to sweet, melodic singing? What happened to good lyrics? I still miss the Beatles and Yesterday.

And in a more modern vein, I'm not thankful for cell phones. I know they are extremely convenient and these days a plane lands and everyone whips out a cell phone and says those magic words, "I just landed." But for all their convenience they have robbed society of one of its most important aspects--interpersonal communication. Watch people in restaurants, in parks, anywhere in public. They are not talking to each other, they are in private universes, texting and reading messages on their smart phones. We'll have a whole generation growing up for whom the art of conversation will be lost.

And do share--are there any particular things you are not thankful for?


  1. i'm not thankful for the fact that Christmas songs and commercials and movies start playing over a month before Christmas

  2. I am not thankful that apparently we are supposed to shuffle Thanksgiving off as soon as possible so we can get on to the sales - and that the poor people who have to work those sales have to give up their holiday & family time. The Friday sales are bad enough, but the opening Thanksgiving night is just wrong, in my opinion. And I agree with Paul, just for double curmudgeon points.

  3. Laraine in Santa MonicaNovember 24, 2012 at 8:26 AM

    Well, although I'm happily able to be appreciative of (if not always completely casual when surprised by) insects, I've more or less made my peace with some of holiday music (I have choices, and can turn off holiday tunes at home if they arrive too early) and don't shop much so don't have to deal with it otherwise, I'm just about with you on cell phones, Rhys. Mine is practically my best friend because it is so cunningly useful and a multi-faceted resource. Whether I'm in the clinic and need to examine a drug side-effect or at dinner with friends and want to look up movie times or resolve a trivia question, it is so darned convenient!

    However, I do think that you will/we will gain relief from the dark sides of these in due time.
    A few years ago, everyone was reading e-mail all day long and into the night, and now, few of us are spending anywhere near as much time on e-mail as we used to, because it is so much easier to make a Skype call, and phone rates have all gone 'unlimited' so it doesn't cost anything (relatively speaking) to chat with whoever we want, practically anywhere in the world.
    I will be so bold as to predict that social discourse in public will return--I spoke happily with two complete strangers yesterday, not at great length, but in welcome exchanges. It will return. Especially with charming conversationalists like yourself to promote community and civility!

  4. I understand many of your comments, but I also remember that MY mother thought the Beatles were an abomination of noise ad silly lyrics (I Wanna Hold Your Hand). I agree that cell phones are a necessary evil, but the need to community is so strong in the DNA, I think folks will figure out how to rebuild conversation. I will check my phone if it vibrates during a social event, but only answer if it appears to be an emergency. Now spiders, for those I see no redeeming value! I'm totally with you on that one!