Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Day 2: Impediments

Let's quote the author of "A Complaint Free World," Will Bowen.

"I found that I could do very well around some people but not so well around others. Sadly, I realized that my relationships with some people I considered good friends centered on expressing our dissatisfaction with whatever we were talking about. I began to avoid them. I felt guilty at first, but I noticed that my bracelet stayed put. More important, I found myself beginning to feel happier."

Early on Day 1, I received a call from a friend. Quite honestly, a major and usually enjoyable part of our relationship involves complaining, criticizing, and gossiping. Our complaints, criticisms, and gossip are exchanged with good motives and intentions to seek improvement in our community. And while I do not expect to be avoiding old friends and acquaintances, I will admit that I couldn't have picked a worse time to embark on this experiment.

I am keenly interested in how our government serves us. I have definite ideas about how other institutions serve or disserve our community. I'm confident, inquisitive, and persistent. I express my opinions and use facts to persuade others. If one is displeased about something and feels they have something to offer, it's natural to complain or criticize. Doing so does not mean that no solutions are being offered.

But while being "natural" has its benefits, it conflicts with the experiment. How, I ask, do things improve if no one ever expresses dissatisfaction? How do people with similar interests exchange information, rightly believed, without it turning into gossip?

And with an election pending, is it possible to advocate and hope for change without criticizing or complaining?

So, how'd I do on Tuesday?

I didn't make it. Tomorrow becomes Day 1 (again) as I once more try to go 21 days without complaining, criticizing, or gossiping.

Suffice it to say that I was severely provoked while subjecting myself to an "unhealthy" environment. My downfall started when a whopping lie was told to a room full of merchants gathered to have a post-mortem on the recent Harvest Homecoming debacle. Still, I held out for more than 30 minutes. But when the current president of Develop New Albany started defending the self-appointed HH gestapo, I blew. And I mean big time.

I haven't been so angry in a quarter century, and as disruptive as my rant was, I at least had the courtesy to remove myself rapidly.

So, off we go. Tomorrow, we try again with Day 1.

Thanks to all who have been supportive and equally sincere thanks to those who a getting their kicks seeing their predictions that I couldn't do it come true.


Highwayman said...


I will readily admit that if you can pull this off, you are a bigger man than I.

One of the positives of being on the Southside of the half century mark is that I'm no longer as concerned about how others perceive me as I was in my younger days.

Being seen as a senile old crumudgeon by some is fine by me. I just chalk it up to the drug induced stupor I've been subjected to by the medical profession these past 10 months.

I am now more than ever inclined to speak my mind and let the chips fall where they may.

Thus your experiment would probably drive me to drink even more. Come to think of it, that may not necessarily be a bad gig!

All4Word said...

You Yankees always use "south" as a pejorative.

You're on the north side of the half-century mark. South is the good side!

But nothing about this project is about proving anyone is bigger. It's a challenge and I remain curious as to how hard it can be.