Saturday, January 3, 2015

One Muppet and a Curmudgeon

“What’s happened to The Globe Trotters, allowing women to play?”

I looked over at the man in the bed next to me, wondering if he was aware that it was fifteen years into the 21st century, and decided to look up the meaning of the word curmudgeon.

I don’t remember everything the online dictionary said, but I do remember the words grouchy, negative, and man.

He shouted, “There’s no way one pill can do all that!” He shook his fist at the television.

“You know that yelling at the television is a sign, right?” I said to my husband of thirty-plus years.

He popped a fistful of Vienna fingers into his mouth.

“A sign of what?”

“Being a curmudgeon: negative, grumpy, excessively critical of stuff, old.”


I snuggled into the ten to twenty pillows propping me up in our bed as a voice-over declared that the Eggstracker egg peeling machine would CHANGE MY LIFE, freeing me from the horrors of having to peel eggs by hand.

I shot straight up in bed, as alert as a coonhound spotting a treed raccoon and shouted, “That is bull bark! Seriously, I don’t think my egg peeling woes are keeping the world from turning for me. What freaking nonsense.” I pointed an arthritic finger at the smiling woman happily pumping out perfectly peeled eggs with her Eggstracker.

“Darn straight,” my husband said as crumbs tumbled onto his chest.

That’s when I knew. We’d become Waldorf and Statler—two curmudgeonly old puppets from the Muppet Show. When had it happened? How had it happened?  And why had we sunk to the level of grumpy puppets?

It’s the bed.

After watching John Adams, the HBO mini-series, I felt inspired to drape our four-poster bed with curtains that can be drawn closed, effectively shutting out light, air, drafts, and the world. Then I bought a pillow top mattress that at full price cost as much as a used golf cart. We got the mattress on sale, after a markdown, on closeout.  It was almost free, but dang, it’s a good mattress. And finally I bought a night-light that I ridged up to a pocket that holds the remotes, phones, tablets, and chewable fiber meds.

Or as Zoe (age 10) said, “Wow, if I had that light and stuff on my bed I’d read all night.”    

That’s when I knew. We’d become puppets, unable to move without sticks up our . . . fluffy stuffed puppet hands and stuck in the cushion of our pillow topped Muppet stage.

What? Grumpy shouting at television personalities that can’t hear us is our culture. It’s our way. And if you don’t respect it, it’s because you’re a diversity hating, ethnocentric, culture crushing prig. And you probably hate puppets and puppies and John Adams.

So remember, curmudgeons are people too—old man people, possibly their wives also.

Linda (The One on the Right) Zern


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