Today, December 23rd, being the sacred day of Festivus, I am obliged by dictates of ritual to take part in the traditional Festivus Airing of Grievances. Orthodoxy states we must” lash out at others and the world about how one has been disappointed in the past year.”
This is going to be difficult because I haven’t really been disappointed by anyone or anything over the past 12 months. In fact, (and I almost don’t want to commit this to paper) I’ve had an exceptionally good year, personally. I will qualify that by saying that I don’t quite know how or why that should be so, since a good percentage of the people I know have had an exceptionally ungood year.
It never feels quite right to be enjoying good fortune or feeling happy when people close to you are suffering in some way. And yet, I know if someone else were writing this on their blog, I’d be the first to comment and tell them to savour the pleasant times because who knows what’s around the corner, carpe diem, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth and other platitudinal stuff like that.
It’s interesting that when you’re miserable, people will try to cheer you up by telling you how lucky you are that something even worse didn’t happen to you. “Oh, you’ve been demoted from Managing Director to Mail Room Clerk? Well, you should thank your lucky stars that you still have a job.”
Nobody ever says, “Oh, you got promoted to Managing Director? Don’t be happy, just think how much happier Irwin is – he got promoted to CEO!”
Whatever is happening in your life, has to be the most important thing to you. Wallow in it. Let yourself feel miserable if it’s something crappy and, for this moment, to hell with all the zillions of people in the world who are worse off than you. And if you’re happy, by jiminy make the most of it. You can share your good fortune, which will only make you happier, but don’t pretend it doesn’t exist because that benefits no one.
So all this is totally not in keeping with the spirit of Festivus. And although I’m generally content at the moment, I do have some overall grievances that deserve some airing. I’ve probably mentioned these somewhere along the line before, but for the record, here they are:
- Customer Service. Yes, the whole damn concept. I get that work sucks and that working with the public must suck squared, or even cubed, because the public sucks. However, this is where you’ve chosen to work and/or have been obligated to work, so why not make the most of it. It costs you nothing to smile and treat people like human beings and will probably make your day a little better because a few people might smile back. And business owners – why not put a little effort into keeping your staff sweet? Give them some training, a few perks, maybe a livable salary and you’ll be surprised how your profits suddenly and magically increase.
- Motor Vehicle Operators who believe they are the center of the universe. Okay, you have a car and pay through the nose for it and for the insurance and maintenance and you think you pay too much for fuel although the rest of the world pays 5 times as much. Unfortunately, all that money you’ve forked out only buys you the vehicle – not the entire world and all those in it. You still have to share the roads with all us lame-assed pedestrians (and cyclists and motorcycles). And we’re going to slow you down and insist on crossing streets and not getting run over. Also, would it kill you to take one minute extra on your commute and not cut us off as we’re trying to negotiate a cross-walk during a blizzard? It means the difference between hypothermia and no hypothermia to us, FYI. Also, could you not park your car in the crosswalk, please? The light won’t get green any faster just because you’ve positioned yourself to bask in its glow. I really hate it when you do that and one day I might walk right across the hood of your car. (Or “bonnet” if I’m in the UK)
- Keep Moving People. If you’ve decided to live in and/or visit a city there are a few things you need to know. First, there are a lot of people in a city. When they’re out and about it’s because they need to get places. They haven’t come out to stand and chat on the sidewalk. They haven’t come out to stand and chat in grocery aisles. They haven’t come out to stand in doorways and chat. And they sure as hell have not come out to ride mall elevators. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – they’re stairs, ya’ll. But don’t listen to me. Rick Mercer says it so much better:
Happy Festivus Every One!