Weekly Excerpt: Whining

Whining wasn’t my native tongue. I only became bi-lingual during my rebellious youth. It was the late sixties and while other more progressive thinkers were protesting injustice, hallucinating at Woodstock, and conscientiously burning bras, I was fully engaged in discovering the fulfillment of chronic complaining.

My family of origin maintained strict virginity about whining. Every evening at the dinner table, in between the vocabulary games, spelling tests, and history lessons, my father forced us to recount at least one good thing that happened that day.

Daddy allowed no mention of bad things. On camping trips, he insisted that it was the hardships that made it fun. The freezing nights, the pouring rain, flash floods, congealed food on metal plates, bears in the garbage and of course blankets of mosquitoes – I’m tearing up just remembering all those good times.

Only upon entering the workforce did I discover the joys of incessant grumbling, the official language of adulthood. Or was it victimhood?

I was eighteen and eager to make my mark in the world by rejecting as bogus everything my parents taught me. To earn my way through college, I took a job as a long distance telephone operator at The Mighty Phone Company, primarily because I got to sit down on the job.

There we sat, 100 women elbow to elbow on a long switchboard the length of a football field. The large, heavy headset put a dent in my Aqua-Net intensive bubble hairdo. For those of you whose baby pictures are in color, Aqua-Net was a shellac-based hair spray that came in a half-gallon size aerosol can costing 98¢ at the Safeway and was capable of invincibly gluing your Jackie Kennedy coif to your head.

I think Aqua-Net was solely responsible for global warming prior to the invention of environmentalists.

There’s something about estrogen in confined spaces that causes it to explode into a mushroom cloud of kvetching. It was my first exposure to pervasive, unrestrained griping, and these women were professionals.

As with all new languages, at first I just listened to the grammar and inflection, the tone and texture, the rhythm and melody of the dialect around me. Then I hesitantly ventured a simple sentence, “It’s too cold in here.”

Within a few short months I could add a passive aggressive twist, “They should know it’s too cold.”

Later and with practice I could assert a tentative accusation, “They keep it too cold in here on purpose.”

But it took a long time to master the full fledged character assassin, and helplessness, so favored by expert linguists, “They’re too stupid to know it’s cold and too mean to care.”

The problem was I never truly fit in with the whining women of the headset world because my heart wasn’t into the game. I was just a foreigner with an accent because somewhere along the way I’d ring the kindly supervisor and ask her to please adjust the thermostat.

I also began to fear that if I didn’t get out of this Twilight Zone of negativity I would spontaneously morph into a crabby old woman, gain 50 pounds and wear pink stretch pants.


Excerpt from The Sooner You Laugh the Faster You Heal by Anne Barab.   This book is an intentionally funny self-help about changing yourself.

It's the unconscious junk in your head that creates your problems. We'll illuminate some of these assumptions, laugh at their absurdity, readjust your mindset and heal what hurts.

If you're ready to laugh about the unconscious assumptions that keep you painfully paralyzed, then BUY THIS BOOK, start laughing at yourself and let the healing begin.

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