What is a Curmudgeon
All of us know a curmudgeon. We may not think so, because we're not sure what the word means. In a nutshell, a curmudgeon is a type of grumpy person, but they're more than just a grouch.
The dictionary tells us that a curmudgeon is a "a bad-tempered, difficult, cantankerous person." Synonyms for the word include: grouch, crank, bear, sourpuss, crosspatch. But, as is often the case, the dictionary on its own doesn't really bring out the living beauty of the true curmudgeon.
Curmudgeons are different from your basic grumps, grouches, or complainers in subtle ways. "Cantankerous" means to be peevish, hard to get along with and generally grumpy. But that's not quite a curmudgeon, regardless of what the dictionary says. (The dictionary ought to be changed anyway, and go back to the way it used to be!)
A curmudgeon often has a black sense of humor. They don't just complain about things, they do it with flair, style, panache, satire, and a sardonic view of life! That's what makes them memorable. They also, deep down (very deep down), believe that by saying something about it, life will change. Saying even more about it will hopefully make life change faster and sooner.
All it takes to change the world, making life the way it used to be, is for people to pay attention. Instead of running around like a bunch of chickens with no heads, people — particularly young people — should spend a few hours listening to curmudgeons. Then they'd know what the real world is all about.
Your average grump and grouch are just complainers. They moan and groan about how things are going wrong, they don't like this and they don't like that. But a curmudgeon has a world outlook. They see that entire societies and civilizations are going to Hell in a hand-basket!
A grouch understands that things are pretty bad, but they're probably getting better. A curmudgeon knows that things may be getting better, but that everything is about to get worse.
That being said, a curmudgeon isn't only a pessimist. Things may get worse, but curmudgeons have seen it all before.
In the movie "Grumpy Old Men", with Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon, Matthau is a true curmudgeon. Jack Lemmon plays a good-natured old fella, but Matthau is truly an old fart. It's a fine and subtle distinction, which is why we need to clarify the word.
Curmudgeonry is a character trait. Anyone can grow old — most of us do — but the way we handle that old age is part of our character. A grump or grouch doesn't have to be old, but a curmudgeon realizes he or she is now old. Nothing works the way it used to, and they're not happy about it. But deep down (very deep down), they almost accept that life just is that way.
Another defining aspect of a curmudgeon is the sure and absolute knowledge that the cause of all of life's problem is young people.
Aside from being too young to know anything, young people also are a principle cause of progress. Everyone knows that progress causes things to get worse, so young people are clearly making everything worse.
What ought to happen is for things to be the way they used to be! The key to solving the problems we face today is an advisory committee of curmudgeons, to explain to the world how things ought to be.
The International Society of Curmudgeons (ISOC), formed under the auspices of the World Health Organization (WHO), is the solution. Our mission is to authenticate true curmudgeons, distinguishing them from plain old grumps. Through a complex and sophisticated certification process, made possible only with advances in modern technology, we provide an authentic license to practice curmudgeonry.
We hold that a Master Curmudgeon probably has the solution to anything, no matter what. Such power should be used only for the good of mankind, and so we bring to the world a better way to seek out these wise elders.