Apr 25, 2010

The Whiner's Club

When I was young, I thought it would be cool to be a psychiatrist, because of their phenomenal hourly rate of pay. As I acquired wisdom, I realized that I had no interest whatsover in listening to people complain, no matter what the pay. Maybe they don't really listen. I don't know, but it's not something I could do. After a while I'd lose patience like Jesus at the Pool of Bethesda (John 15:1-8) and ask, "Do you really want to get well???"

There can be some therapeutic value to having others share your tale of woe. It's nice, I suppose, to know you're not the only one suffering a particular fate. A program called "Rainbows for All God's Children" exists in schools purportedly to help children deal with loss. ("Boo hoo, my parents are divorced." "Boo hoo, mine are too.")

Whatever. Let's get on with our lives instead of celebrating our victimhood, shall we?

Shel Silverstein wrote a poem called "Complainin' Jack" that sums up my feelings pretty well:

This morning my old jack-in-the-box
Popped out - and wouldn't get back in the box.
He cried, "Hey, there's a tack in the box,
And it's cutting me through and through.

"There also is a crack in the box,
And I never find a snack in the box,
And sometimes I hear a quack in the box,
'Cause a duck lives in here too."

Complain, complain is all he did -
I finally had to close the lid."

My kids are pretty good at complaining. Sometimes I just have to close the lid because I can't listen to it any more. When they have kids, they'll probably say idiotic things like "When I was your age..." because as you grow wisdom, you see what others are doing wrong.

Except they see it as you, complaining.
And they shut the lid.

What good things do you have to say today?

1 comment:

  1. Connie -

    It is precisely the "disgust" that you are expressing with "complaining" that has taught me over the years to keep quiet about everything. I learned from a very young age that certain people within families, church groups, social groups, etc are the designated "whiners" and are encouraged to constantly have a crisis. And when these people can't think up a crisis on their own, then everyone around them is giving them suggestions. These are the people who others always want to help, be there for, "minister" to. Then there are the rest of us. No matter what it is, real or fabricated, anything we ever say that is a complaint or a need, we are told that "we are being negative", or "start counting your blessings", or whatever other things people say when they really mean "I can't be bothered caring". So over the years I have completely shut down and shut down my spirit. I share nothing and I choose, for the most part, to not interact with people. Because, no, I'm not going to be a little fluffy, smiling, shallow, cliche quoter. You may share in both the joys and the sorrows of my life, or you may share in nothing at all. You may live through both the good and bad times with me, or you will live through nothing with me. If you don't want to know the whole person and the whole story, then you will know nothing. You do not get to pick pieces are parts of me for your convenience. You do not get to take advantage of my generosity and then tell me to suck it up when I have a need. I'd rather not share myself at all then have to refrain from sharing burdens when they come up.

    I also believe, as I expressed a number of months ago in one of my posts, that this is a large part of the reason that people keep suicide hidden behind smiles. And this is the reason that when suicide does occur, everyone shows up at the funeral trying to out-weep each other the loudest and swearing that they never knew there was a problem. Then to top it off, they always say, "I wish I could have been there". The truth is that they could have been there. In fact, it is likely that the person reached out many times and asked them to be there - blatantly or subtly. But they were told to "stop complaining". So they did - permanently. But that is a very complicated topic in and of itself which most people do not understand or care to understand.

    At any rate, in response to your final question - for the most part, I have absolutely nothing to say anymore, good or bad.