Ran into my friend the Old Curmudgeon last week at at Jim Ellis’ blacksmith shop in Barnstable where he was having his edge honed.
The Ellis family have been forgers for a century or so, whereas the curmudgeon has been crabbing full-time only since he retired, back at the turn of the century.
The mudge (as we call him when his hearing aids are turned off), likes to keep his edge keen, lest he be out-kvetched by one of the legions of arriviste curmudgeons being minted as the population ages.
“Those whippersnappers”, he fulminated, “where were they when the country started going to H-E-double toothpicks back in ‘63? …in pantywaists, that’s where!”
World-class curmudgeons like my friend know that there are guidelines for virtuoso grousing. First off, it helps to be a bit mossy; those who agree with you will think you a canny old geezer, while those who disagree will be unlikely to resort to actual mayhem lest they run afoul of Elder Abuse statutes.
Furthermore, old curmudgeon decidedly out trumps young curmudgeon, an oxymoron connoting mere peevishness and an annoying tendency to whine about nits**t.
I usually like to stick around to hear the Mudge’s gripe-du-jour, but when I realized that the sun had gone over the yardarm and the siren call of a frosty Beach Blonde reached my ears from the Dolphin down the street, I beat a hasty retreat to more convivial surroundings.