I know people who, on a daily basis, make out a ‘gratitude list’, in which they write down all the things for which they, on that day, are grateful. It’s a nice idea, you know, positive-thinking and all that. And there is no question that I have many things in my life for which I am immensely grateful, and the mere fact they are part of me makes me feel blessed.
But, there is also a need for balance, for reality in our lives. Sometimes I think we in contemporary society have too much of an impulse to seek only “happy endings” to everything, rather than preparing ourselves to go face-on with those other realities — the crappy ones. Life is, after all, a trade-off. There must be a ‘yang’ to our ‘yin’ or we wouldn’t be strong enough to cope.
Bearing that in mind I, in a spirit of public blogger service, am about to help those who don’t seek to be wrapped up in puffy cotton, some of the things we must contend with — things that demand we expand our coping resolve. Don’t worry, they can only make you stronger and firmer in your resolve to never let the bastards grind you down.
I have my ‘things’, you have yours, so it behooves you to create your own list. But, as follows are the irritants that for me make life seem just a little bit less blessed, but in confronting or enduring at least, render me a stronger individual, rather than just merely pissed-off. No, these are not things that are so bad that they would tempt me to ‘go postal’, just little, less than charming things and circumstances: (these are in no particular order)
* We all hate fingernails scraping on a blackboard. This is a universal, primal detestation, so I though I would include it as the kickoff item.
* Snoring bedmates; snoring people in the next room; the next house; in extreme cases, one street over.
* Accidentally blocking the toilet in somebody else’s house, with the anxiety level rising proportionately if it is the toilet of a new love, your boss, prospective parents-in-law, or if the toilet just will not stop running and the water level is rising ominously.
* Being unable to remember the events of the “night before.”
* Slopping coffee, tea or a drink directly onto your crotch area.
* Having to provide a ‘specimen’. Having to produce one in the doctor’s office because you forgot to bring one with you. Having to hand that specimen to a nurse who turns out to be someone you had a huge crush on in high school or college or, in my case, a former student.
* Stubbing your toe, biting your tongue or cheek, bumping your head. No dignity here, just excruciating pain.
* Waiting up for someone who should have been home hours earlier.
* Responding to the smile or wave of somebody fantastic looking on the street only to find, to your mortification, their wave was directed at the person behind you.
* Parking your car in a rough neighborhood, returning to it at 2 a.m. to find a tire has gone flat, then being offered assistance by an individual who looks like he was rejected by the Hell’s Angels for appearing too morally depraved.
* Nearing the end of a four lane highway stretch only to find you are stuck behind an oil-burning ’57 Rambler or the largest RV ever manufactured, that is being driven by the oldest guy on record who still possesses a driver’s license.
* Being in unrequited love. This is almost as distressing as being the object of somebody else’s unrequited love.
* Flashing red and blue lights in the rear-view mirror, or a cop car going in the opposite direction that makes a U-turn on the highway immediately after you pass by knowing well you were going at least 20-per over the posted speed.
* Arriving in Levis and sweatshirt and realizing everybody else is in formal.
* Motel bathrooms with walls so thin you can hear somebody tearing off toilet paper as well as all their ‘functioning’ in the abutting bathroom in the next unit. Also, motel bedrooms with equally paper-thin walls that abut other bedrooms.
* The sounds of sirens at any time, but especially at 3 a.m. They can only mean something bad has happened to someone.
* Virtually all governments, at any level.
* Virtually all bureaucrats at any level — the lower on the food chain, the worse they are.
* High school reunions. Just plain evil.
*Lifestyle questionnaires that indicate you should have died five years ago.