"let your boat of life be light, packed with only
what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, someone to love and someone to love you,
enough to eat and enough to wear
and a little more than enough to drink:
for thirst is a dangerous thing"

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

do you know a curmudgeon?

Isn't this a wonderful word.  CURMUDGEON!!  

I wish I had known it last week when I did the eulogy at Margaret's funeral.  The word described her perfectly.  A true, blue curmudgeon.

"A crusty irascible* cantankerous old person full of stubborn ideas"

Pixar's lovable curmudgeon Carl from Up.

I found the word when reading about the late poet and essayist Bill Holm who described himself as a "curmudgeon".  After some investigation I found this wonderful description by Jon Winokur:-

"A curmudgeon's reputation for malevolence is undeserved. They're neither warped nor evil at heart. They don't hate mankind, just mankind's absurdities. They're just as sensitive and soft-hearted as the next guy, but they hide their vulnerability beneath a crust of misanthropy. They ease the pain by turning hurt into humor.  . . . . .   They attack maudlinism because it devalues genuine sentiment.   . . . . .   Nature, having failed to equip them with a servicable denial mechanism, has endowed them with astute perception and sly wit. 

Curmudgeons are mockers and debunkers whose bitterness is a symptom rather than a disease. They can't compromise their standards and can't manage the suspension of disbelief necessary for feigned cheerfulness. Their awareness is a curse. 
Perhaps curmudgeons have gotten a bad rap in the same way that the messenger is blamed for the message: They have the temerity to comment on the human condition without apology. They not only refuse to applaud mediocrity, they howl it down with morose glee. Their versions of the truth unsettle us, and we hold it against them, even though they soften it with humor."

curmudgeon badger

I love it.  I love a curmudgeon as well (maybe two) but the one in particular is probably a bit young to be a curmudgeon (if we go by the dictionary description).   Not pointing any fingers either but "You know who you are!!"

I am really all over the place today - it is a busy day.  The post today was 2 poems I have by this curmudgeon (Bill Holm) that I thought you would enjoy.  Nothing like a bit of poetry on this wonderfully special day - the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens (and Jennifer Joan Pay (nee Rosslee) now Kotze).  

They are two very different poems but enjoy them both:-


Someone dancing inside us
   has learned only a few steps:
the "Do-Your-Work" in 4/4 time,
    the "What-Do-You-Expect" Waltz.
He hasn't noticed yet the woman
    standing away from the lamp,
the one with black eyes
    who knows the rumba
and strange steps in jumpy rhythms
    from the mountains of Bulgaria.
If they dance together,
    something unexpected will happen;
if they don't, the next world
    will be a lot like this one


Earbud — a tiny marble sheathed in foam   
to wear like an interior earring so you   
can enjoy private noises wherever you go,   
protected from any sudden silence.   
Only check your batteries, then copy   
a thousand secret songs and stories   
on the tiny pod you carry in your pocket.   
You are safe now from other noises made   
by other people, other machines, by chance, 
noises you have not chosen as your own.   
To get your attention, I touch your arm   
to show you the tornado or the polar bear.   
Sometimes I catch you humming or talking to the air 
as if to a shrunken lover waiting in your ear.

* i·ras·ci·ble adjective
1. easily provoked to anger; very irritable: an irascible old man.
2.  characterized or produced by anger: an irascible response.
1.2.  testy, touchy, peppery, choleric, short-tempered. See irritable. 
1.2.  calm, even-tempered. 

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