Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Complaint Department

Recently, I was accused of being "a complainer". Of "constantly complaining". Of being a person who "complains all of the time". And to be honest, these comments upset me a little. Shook me up some. And for the first time in a long time, I took a long, hard look at myself. It wasn't easy, it wasn't pretty. But despite all that, it did lead me to make a very honest and true discovery. The fact is, I don't always complain.

Sometimes I bitch.

Or grouse. Or grumble. Or rant. Or rave. Or just angrily mutter under my breath like a senior citizen trying to open up an e-mail attachment. It's what I do.

Now, do I actually have anything real to complain about? God, no. I'm a lucky bastard. Life is good. But here's the thing: the world outside of my house can be kind of a shitty place. Not always. Not every day. But sometimes. And on those days, the days when reading the newspaper makes you want to just crawl under the covers and cry, the days when you see pictures of fathers who'll never again tuck in their kids, the days when you wonder just what's the damn point anyway, on those days, on those crappy days, there is a lot to complain about.

But I don't.

Instead, I kvetch about wiping my son's bottom. Make jokes about my professional career as a Housefrau. Tell my depressed friend to cheer up because, hey, at least she's not married to Eliot Spitzer, right? Because for me, anyway, using humor to complain about the little, silly things in life is a hell of a lot easier than dwelling on the big, scary things I know are out there. Because those are the things I can't fix.

Are there better ways to deal with the world, to possibly improve the world, than through humor? Absolutely. And my efforts on that front are continuous and personal. But right now, today, if I know I can make someone laugh, make someone's step a little lighter, make my own kids see a happy, less crabby mother, by just sitting down and writing about how much I hate removing the dryer lint from the stupid dryer lint trap, sign me up. I'll do it. And you know what? I won't even complain about it. Much.


Anonymous said...

I'm right there with you. Definitely labeled a complainer. Definitely escaping the reality with stupid jokes nobody gets or only I find amusing.

I tried to change once and I was miserable. Made other people miserable, too.

You're doing great. Keep it up.

Cyn said...

Wendi, this is great. It descibes me pretty well, except that the joy I got from complaining is what got me through three pregnacies. Anyway, in my case, my humor is for me; sometimes humor is what keeps me glued to this world we call reality. If someone else connects, well, gravy.

Cooper Green said...

Excellent post. Superior, above average, better than most. No complaints from me, I liked it. Hit the spot. Right on target. Beyond reproach. Nice work, Wendi.

Lissa Jane said...

Complainer? hmm tell them to go stick their head up a dead bears bum.. if they commented via your blog, well DONT VISIT.. grrrr.. I complain too, I have pity party's that I forget to send out invites too, so its a pity party with one attendee.. life sucks sometimes and if you dont let it out, well you'll end up in the nut hut! I like reading your posts, makes me feel normal! LOL believe me, wiping bottoms does finish! they turn into 14 yo beasts though..

so give me bum wiping anydays to hormonal, horrid, hairy teenagers!

I get you! I get your gags, and you are living my life, 10 years ago!

quilty huggers to you!


diane said...

Hello, Sister-of-my-soul. I am no longer funny but still able to appreciate the humor in your observations. Many of us live lives much like yours, knowing so many more blessings than sorrows. We have so many choices in this life and that you have chosen to roll in laughter rather than wallow in pity is inspirational. Thanks, Sis. Diane

pat said...

and we thank you for your bitching....because frankly your writing is hilarious, helps keep me sane and makes me believe there are normal people out there!

Jenny Vee said...

damn skippy. i get brain freeze when i think about greenhouse gases, guns in schools, organic fruit, retirement funds, mean girls, aging parents, and republicans...all at the same time. the gears jam, and a sense of "wtf, why bother?" burbles up.

so i self-medicate with a steady diet of zoloft, people magazine, irony, browsing at target, and snarky girlfriends. i can't change the world, but i can try to keep my little corner healthy, happy and sane.

kim said...

Like Anonymous, complaining makes me feel better. It's like that scene in "When Harry Met Sally" when he stays up and moans.

You always make me laugh. And that's why I come back. And those other people? They're asshats! At least you're not one of the housewives on Bravo network!

WA said...

Wow wow wow. Thanks for all of the wonderful comments. Power to the curmudgeons!

PlazaJen said...

Yeah, I got labeled "angry all the time", because I've got a bombastic personality and I enjoy getting riled up as a form of processing it. Indignation is second nature to me, and for those who see it as "drama" or overreacting or complaining? Well, let me tell you what that makes me angry, indignant AND a little pissed. To quote a great curmudgeon, they can Kiss Mah Grits. And yours, while they're down there!

Grandma Bert said...

Andy Rooney had taken complaining all the way to the bank for years now. And I enjoy YOU a lot more than I enjoy Andy. [I think he is shooting for Crusty Curmudgeon but has long wandered off into Whiny SOB territory.)

Bert in Rice, WA

Tracey R. said...

As a New Englander now living in Texas, I've been accused of bringing my "Northeast mentality" to this shiny happy place more than once. Apparently, it's like, impolite to be a negative Nellie here.


But I'm right there with you in shaking my fist at the injustice of this random chaos we live in.

And I also feel like a shitty not-yet-in-real-life friend, because I go back to work tomorrow morning and never e-mailed you about getting together. I have no good excuse...I was just a sloth after returning from Vegas.

We must plan something!

Anonymous said...

I love your blog. I usually check it at work and my office staff knows that I'm reading it because I usually laugh so loud they can all hear me. Your humor makes dealing with breast cancer patients easier.

Thank you.,

the mama bird diaries said...

When I read your posts, it makes me way less crabby.

There is always something that just cracks me up. This did it to me this time:

"Or just angrily mutter under my breath like a senior citizen trying to open up an e-mail attachment."

You are genius girl.

Kelly Jene said...

Amen to that! Seriously. When life gets crappy and you're tired of the news, what better then to laugh and lighten the mood. If we're supposed to walk around all day with a fake smile and mask on our face, forget it. Give me a good laugh and honesty in this world any day. Keep it up!

maria said...

You're on my favourites list because you make me laugh.



Queen Goob said...

I don't "complain" I “casaoid a dhéanamh” it in Gaelic.

Actually, I think I have perfected the art of constructive criticism in lieu of bitching but hey, I don't give a crap what people say, they can all "Póg mo thón"!

Amber in Albuquerque said...

Bitching + Humor = Devoted Blog Readers. Wendi, that's why I read you! And now you've gotten me so ticked off I'm going over to my blog to rant. Love ya!

Marie said...

Dude, what else is a blog FOR???

Jonny's Mommy said...

I love your blog. Cracks me the heck up every time I read it.

I have my "mommy blog," and another blog at

Feel free to stop by, even though my writing is not as good as your writing is.

Again, love the blog and especially this entry, that had me laughing and sighing at the same time.

MsDolfinn said...

I don't consider complaining through humor to be true complaining...more of a commentary on everyday trials that everyone deals with. Besides does the world really want to hear humor about sunshine and daisies? I don't think so. That would be funny for about a nanosecond. Keep doing what you are doing bring a lot much needed joy and laughter to people's lifes. Thank you!!!

marathon mom said...

Whoever told you that needs more ethanol in their diet.

Sarah said...

Amen to that one, Sister!

Karen MEG said...

I loved this post... and I'm not kidding, I just had dryer lint in my hand not longer than one minute ago before I stopped in front of my computer.
Complain away. You're blogging to the converted, the original Ms. Half-Glass Empty.
Love your blog.

shay said...

ha ha. I love this!
"Or just angrily mutter under my breath like a senior citizen trying to open up an e-mail attachment. It's what I do."

I'm a bit of a whiner myself! Go girl!

mammaren said...

I second this

"what else is a blog FOR??"

oh and the Sr Citizen comment had me rolling.. and I still giggle..

So go grab another Diet Coke and keep complaining..

Christy said...

Once again, sisterchick, you've said it all. I want to leave a funny comment, but you've out funnied me. Stop doing that.

MadMad said...

You tell 'em, sister! (And how come I didn't get this till now? What is UP with my reader?!)

Melissaria said...

Oh please carry on being crabby. It makes the rest of us malcontented ratbags laugh, and also feel a bit better about ourselves at the same time!

Steph said...

What the hell would we mothers talk about all day long if we couldn't complain???

The weather?!