Sunday, October 4, 2015

Paths To the Cranky Side

Three years ago, inspired by a Direct TV ad, I blogged on the “Chain of Consequences.” Walmart has a new commercial for Star Wars swag that echoes this in describing a chain that leads to “the dark side.” A grandfather, in his bathrobe, is sitting on the porch with his grandson, who is playing with Star Wars toys. Gramps explains that Jedi are old men who like to be comfortable, so they wear loose fitting robes.

“Tight fitting clothing leads to chafing. Chafing leads to anger. And well, anger is the path to the dark side.” Brilliant copy writing, delivered impeccably, and an inspiration to do a retirement blog on more paths to the dark side. Or, as I prefer to describe it: The Cranky Side.

One thing I’ve learned as a recent retiree is that condo communities can get more bogged down in meetings than Park Avenue corporations do. Meetings with six or more women lead to stress. Stress leads to migraines, and migraines are a sure sign you’re headed to the Cranky Side. I now avoid meetings where I can’t count the attendees on one hand.

My friends know that I’ve never claimed to be a happy homemaker. Cleaning house leads to lots of dust in the air. Dust leads to post nasal drip and post nasal drip leads to bronchitis. Bronchitis is usually a stop on the road to Cranky. So I clean house just twice a year, or whenever we have company, whichever comes first.

I do not suffer fools gladly. The older I get, the less patience I have. Being retired enables me to be a lot pickier about those with whom I spend my time. Brainless comments by those around me lead to sarcasm on my part. Sarcasm leads to never being invited again. Never being invited leads to alienation and alienation can actually be a path away from Crankyville for me.

Eating out with friends can involve going to restaurants that serve mostly fried food. For those of us who generally avoid fried food, eating it leads to heartburn. Heartburn leads to a sleepless night and sleep deprivation lands you at the front gate of the Cranky Side. Maybe that’s why my husband and I rarely go out with friends.

Fashion magazines feature clothing I can’t afford on models with bodies I’ve never had, neither of which can I aspire to, especially in retirement. Flipping through those periodicals leads to envy. Envy is a direct route to Cranky. I wish my husband would stop getting those publications for inspiration for his store. He’s so used to living with Ms. Crankypants that he doesn’t realize they make my condition worse.

Retirees are especially prone to trying the pricey food samples that markets give out on certain days of the week. Some of us shop on sampling days just to get the freebies. Others try to be disciplined about eating between meals, but we can’t avoid inhaling the aromas. Inhaling leads to sampling, and sampling leads to buying. Buying leads to feeling guilty about blowing the grocery budget. And guilt, well, guilt is the superhighway to the Cranky Side.

Wearing magnifying glasses in front of the mirror highlights all the flaws on ones face. Seeing the flaws leads to plucking and tweezing. Plucking and tweezing leads to cuts and blotches that are visible even without magnification.  And that leads to… you guessed it: Crankyville.

Finally, there’s the warnings and contraindications that come with the growing list of medications that retirees are often on. “Severe pain, vomiting, low blood sugar.” And also “headaches, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting,” (mentioned twice, in case you missed it the first time). Now we’re hearing that many of our regular meds can lead to kidney problems. Reading about them will put you on the express bus to the Cranky Side, but skipping the pills is not an option.

It’s no wonder old men like to spend their days in bathrobes. And retired women spend their nights with a nice bottle of wine.

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