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grumpiness

The other day my wife provided yet another unsolicited opinion to the effect that: "You are so grumpy you make Victor Meldrew seem like a sunny day." Some would have been offended but I took it as a compliment.

To paraphrase Malvolio, some are born grumpy, others become grumpy and some have grumpiness thrust upon them. Scots probably fall into the first category. I had little chance of being anything other than grumpy. My late mother had many strengths but being a glass half–full person was not one of them. If I hummed a popular ditty before midday I would be reminded: "Singin' in the morning, greetin' by nicht." I was even cast as Grumpy in our primary school production of Snow White. I may be eligible for a Grammy, (Grumpiness and mild misanthropy).

Scots are virtuosos of grumpiness. Think Mark McManus as Taggart and in his current role as Sir Alex Ferguson. When plain old Alex was at Aberdeen, we played in the same five–a–side team. I remember being prodded in my admittedly expanding midriff and grumpily informed: "Aye son, you'll have to lose that if you want to go on playing in ma' team."

It is important to differentiate between grumpiness and misanthropy. Misanthropy is essentially negative whereas grumpiness is a positive force for improvement. Grumpy people have high standards and expectations. We are grumpy because the world consistently disappoints. Bernard of television's Black Books put it in a nutshell when he observed: "Every day is another betrayal." Nevertheless we continue to grouch on behalf of those on the wrong end of bad service and shoddy goods. If things are not right, we complain. For example, we don't say: "Yes that's fine," to a hairdresser who leaves the back of our head looking like a ravaged crop circle.

Grumpy old woman Jenny Eclair suggested that grumpy people should resort to booing when dissatisfied with service in restaurants and shops. I recently queued behind a doyen of grumpiness who listened patiently to a myriad of excuses before delivering the killer riposte: "I think there is a case of mistaken identity here. You have confused me with someone who gives a ****"

For those reading this before setting out on the daily grind, I leave you with WC Field's advice: "Start the day with a smile and get it over with."

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