Complaint season never ends

Betsy PickleOpinion

Perhaps you’ve noticed: America’s pastime isn’t baseball. It’s complaining.

This week we have “It’s too hot.” Two weeks ago you heard “It’s cold for May.” Gardeners moan, “We need rain!” Soon it will be “When’s it going to stop raining?!”

2020 brought record amounts of complaints. According to research (my memory), the average American complained 100 times a day once the pandemic started.

Some of the griping was serious – not enough healthcare and emergency workers; shortages of PPE, hospital beds, ventilators. Some of it was childish – “I don’t like wearing a mask.”

My biggest complaint was all the complaining, especially from the privileged classes. “Waa, waa, waa, I can’t go out to eat or drink.” Hello? How about the servers and bartenders who had no work, or restaurateurs and tavern owners faced with unpredictable shutdowns and possibly losing their businesses?

“Boo hoo, there’s no toilet paper at the stores.” OK, whiner, there were people who couldn’t pay their water or electric bills.

“I’m going crazy stuck here in my four-bedroom house with a home theater, game room and hot tub.” (Do I have to spell this out?)

“I can’t shop at the grocery or Walmart after 9 p.m.!” (Yeah, I’m guilty, too.)

As far as I’m concerned, the only people with legitimate complaints were those who contracted the virus and their loved ones; and students and parents at a loss over the future of education. For most of us, inconveniences were minor or at least tolerable.

Fortunately, there were (and are) those who responded with positive messages: gratitude for blessings, kindness toward those with medical and financial problems, creativity regarding ideas for learning. I encountered many of those – thank you all. As we insist on returning to a “normal” that probably isn’t going to exist again, I hope such people multiply.

If you’re still griping, there are plenty of ways to adjust your attitude. I have my own set of go-tos: “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” from Monty Python’s “Life of Brian” is a good mood booster (or watch the whole movie). I’ve become addicted to several cat groups on Facebook, and there are countless other animals that have legions devoted to them. Don’t forget baby goat videos on YouTube!

You might try yoga, walking, mountain biking or bird watching. You might even plug into a faith community.

Complaining has its place – it’s a way to get rid of injustice, tyranny and illegal activities. But in daily life, being positive is a much more attractive characteristic.

Marvin West’s column on NIL (name, image, likeness) deals for college athletes made me think about the most incredible missed opportunity of the pandemic: mask advertising.

Maybe businesses didn’t want their brand associated with a worldwide tragedy. But honestly, that kind of deep thinking doesn’t happen with most people.

I’ve enjoyed seeing masks with designs on them. Special kudos to those who coordinated their masks and outfits. But I would’ve thought Apple or Nike or Coke would have figured out a way to cash in on this.

American ingenuity has let me down.

I may have missed some earlier this year, but the monthly SoKno Social is back at SoKno Taco Cantina, 3701 Sevierville Pike. On Wednesday (May 26), the restaurant will donate a portion of all sales from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. to Ijams Nature Center.

Ijams staff members will be hanging out from 5 to 7 p.m. to share news about what’s going on at the nature center. There will also be prize giveaways.

I’m curious about a special “Avochanga” on the menu that day. Avocado is my middle name! (And you thought it was Dill.)

Betsy Pickle is a veteran reporter and editor who occasionally likes to share her opinions with KnoxTNToday readers.

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