Someone on Facebook posted a challenge the other day, for people to go 24 hours without complaining.
I thought, well, that’s a piece of cake. Easy as drinking water. Easy-peasy lemon-squeezy.
And other than the fact that I was wrong, it did sound like a walk in the park.
The ‘not even once’ part of the challenge suggested to me that once a complaint passed my lips on any given day, I was a Fail for the rest of that day. I could complain all day long, and just restart the challenge next day.
It seemed a non-issue, though, because being a non-complainer, I was pretty sure I’d last a week, at least, at which point I’d welcome a good long complaining rant. Some might call this ‘optimistic’. Another word for it is ‘delusional’.
On the first day, approximately one nanosecond after telling Jim about the challenge, I complained about the weather. Instant Fail.
On the second day, Jim and I went for a bike ride together, and the gleeful non-stop chorus of complaints as we rode along was appalling. It was like Tourette’s, except with complaints instead of four-letter words. It seemed that the very attempt not to complain had stirred up some dark part of our brains, the Complaints Department area. At some point, we realized we could call it a Fail for that day, without being wrong.
On the third day, it was time for a more serious effort, and we gave it all we had. However, the effort mostly involved catching each other out in complaints, which led to valid complaints that the complaints about complaints were, in themselves, complaints. It was a Complaint Fest, a Complaints Endless-Loop, and as such the day was another Fail.
In the end, we did manage to last a week complaining non-stop, which was not really what I had in mind.
It made me wonder, were Jim and I chronic complainers? Or had the Complaints Department part of our brains simply been irritated from being rubbed the wrong way? It was hard to know for sure, but an educated guess suggested that being silenced by death was likely the only way I was ever going to meet the challenge.
Dying seemed too extreme, though, so I explored other options. One was to actually do it, to stop complaining for 24 hours, but that option was dismissed as completely unreasonable. Another was to pretend I didn’t hear myself complaining. This had some merit, but when I tried it, Jim was right there to fill me in every time I didn’t hear myself complain. Bastard.
In desperation I thought of every sleazy quick-fix workaround imaginable to solve the problem. Finally, it came to me. Why, I hadn’t been complaining at all. I had been ‘objecting’. And objecting, unlike complaining, is a good thing. I object to the weather, I object to most if not all that is posted on Facebook. I object to that driver in front of me. Most of all, I object, your Honour, to complainers. Most heartily. Hate ‘em. And you know what, I’ll bet not one of those sorry whiners could pass the 24-hour complaint challenge that I breezed right through.