Now it may seem that this is a complaint, that my intention is to highlight the inadequacy of the seasonal gifts I received. But this is not at all the case. Far from it. I was not upset or insulted by my Grumpy underwear. Instead I felt affirmed.
To be grumpy is no more than the natural right of anyone who has lived life. To be grumpy is the inevitable result of living life. To be given a pair of Grumpy nicks is to have one’s life experience acknowledged and to told ‘You, sir, understand life!’.
Here I just a few reasons why I am grumpy:
Long telephone conversations with recorded messages.
Especially the ones that repeatedly tell you ‘Your call is important to us’ before leaving you hanging on for another ten minutes. And another. And another. Very often they will fill those minutes by playing happy music, apparently in the expectation that this will make you feel better about wasting a significant portion of your remaining life waiting for their understaffed call centre to get round to answering you with a real person. They are wrong.
The big ones for double beds. Huge entangling, enveloping, fabric monsters. When washing them they fill up the machine, when drying them they never hang properly on the line, and when trying to put them back on, they resist to the last button, leaving you sweating and gasping and having to explain to your wife that the reason it doesn’t fit properly is that it turned itself round, not that you put it on wrong in the first place.
Now, I know I’m on controversial ground here. Many people are bicycle enthusiasts, including some people I count as friends. I respect their life style choice, but I do not understand their attitude in this, and will never agree with them.
I have always hated and feared bicycles. When I was young, and people tried to make me get on them, I flatly refused. It was clear to me that the contraption was inherently unstable and fundamentally dangerous, and I was having none of it. What I hadn’t realised was that bicycles, as a species, are spiteful and vindictive. What is more, they have long memories, and never miss the chance to repay me for my rejection of them.
When I’m driving, they bunch up in front of me, reducing my progress to their crawl. If I manage to get past them, then they wait until I’m held up at traffic lights then sneak past (often illegally, on the pavement) and get in front again. Even at rest they are dangerous. Come too close to one that appears to be quiescent and it will lash out with its handlebars, seeking to poke you in the ribs or the stomach. And never get caught in a confined space with a bicycle! It will hack at your ankles with its pedals, trying to trip you up. If it succeeds and gets you on the floor then you’re doomed.
These are the lessons life has taught me, some of the many reasons to be grumpy. In their gift to me, my family have recognised my superior experience! They have acknowledged that I am, and have every right to be, Grumpy.
I will therefore wear my grumpy boxers with pride. Pity the things are so uncomfortable - they seem to have been made with a built-in wedgy - but that’s life.