Saturday, May 03, 2008

"Just direct your feet... the sunny, sunny side of the street." Sunny Side of The Street, Jimmy McHugh, performed by Louis Armstrong.

There are some people God placed in the world who, whether intentionally or no, bring a ridiculous amount of joy to everyone they meet. I do not refer to the "uber-happy" people (who always seem to have it all together), nor to the compassionate people (who care so deeply for everyone that, though they too are a gift from God, one is sometimes in danger of drowning from care in their ministrations); I am speaking, of course, of the grumpus.

What is a grumpus? Well may you ask. I myself was unclear as to precise definition until quite recently when I began to seriously research and collect data on the subject. Not an easy task, actually, for grumpus seems to be a dying breed, which is most unfortunate.

A grumpus is first and formost male. They come in no other variety. There are similar personalities of the female gender, but they are not grumpuses. Usually a grumpus is older--say, over forty, though this is not always the case. Some gentlemen achieve grumpusdom very early on in life. Be at what stage the grumpus may, a sure mark of grumpusicity is that no one can imagine him to be any other way.

More marks of grumpusness:
  • Notedly sarcastic sense of humour.
  • A passion for some obscure or at least unique hobby/collection/political leaning/topic of discussion. (For example, pre-eurasian poetry, or the history of barbed wire, or bats.)
  • Usually educated, but if not, certainly in possession of a frustratingly thorough amount of common sense.
  • Acouturel--that is, outside (or above) fashion. Generally seen in muted colors such as rown or beige, and often in tweeds.
  • Always welcome wherever he appears, always missed when he departs.
That last is rather important, and I'll explain why.

A true grumpus is not really grouchy, or uncaring, or bored--though he often pretends and always looks it--rather, the grumpus has a genuine care for individuals. People in groups or organizations hold no interest to the grumpus, only persons by themselves, with their own precious quirks and quibbles and freckles and crooked noses and lives.

If anyone seems grumpusish but lacks this essential quality of mere appearance of grouch, he is no longer eligible for grumpusness, but has gone down into grouch, or grinch, or possibly just a grumpy-old-man.

It's a curious thing, how these particular people are always some of the most treasured friends. There is something about going beyond the initial prickles and seeing into the caring and curious souls of these grumpuses that make their friendship some of the most blessed, the most rewarding.

Final note: every grumpus will be respected almost unanimously--that's a good way to spot 'em, if you're on the look out.

Isn't life ironic?

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