Rendered Fat Content


Anders Zorn: Our Daily Bread (1886)
" … I'm just blowing off stink."

I try not to whine, which under the Negative Objective Rule, means that I catch myself complaining more than I care to openly admit. Just between us, then, I admit to having a hyperactive internal complaint department operating 24/7. It never closes. I occasionally more publicly disclose its workings, but I usually just keep my complaints to myself, if only to demonstrate that I might have been raised right. I learned in my birth family, which featured five kids, just how necessary accommodation tends to be. One complainer can spoil every shared experience for everybody, perhaps most prominently for the complainer. Keep it up, and the belt might come off, encouraged by my mom and administered by my reluctant father, who always preferred to spare the rod, however warranted a punishment might seem. So I graduated into what passed for my adulthood with an advanced degree in stifling, a skill with a spotty record of producing real benefit.

The Damned Pandemic Lockdown has been teaching me complaining's hidden benefit, though.
Unmentioned, an authentic complaint tends to fester into a roiling boil. It might exhibit itself as a definite impatience, a shortness and briskness which might prove even more disruptive than a little heartfelt grousing. When The Muse and I were consulting, we'd often engage in what we called High Quality Consultant Humor, usually after an overlong day in the presence of a client's incessant complaining. As professionals, we were of course well-skilled in the finer arts of listening, exhibiting cherubic forbearance as our clients described impending dooms. By the end of those days, we were swelled up like engorged deer ticks with their troubles, and in need of some release. We'd retire to a restaurant or bar and commence to deliberately complaining about most of what we'd just witnessed, usually in the most scathing terms possible. Had the client overheard our ranting, he would have fired us on the spot for disrespectful insubordination, and we would have readily agreed with his decision. We kept our rantings private and they benefitted us enormously.

You see, usually, a complaint erupts without much volition. A limit's reached and the whining breaches the barricades surrounding propriety. Done deliberately, no such embarrassment results. Done as deliberate hyperbole, it's down right therapeutic, which explains why we so engaged. We called it Blowing Off The Stink. Done with a light heart, we'd soon find ourselves laughing ourselves silly and redeemed from the toxicity in which we'd so recently immersed ourselves. We'd finish the drink or dinner and proceed more light-heartedly, which demonstrated the purgative power of a certain sort of complaining. Done with some purpose other than to annoy a sibling, it might actually aid in resolving a difficulty, which explains what I've been recently finding (or re-discovering) during This Damned Pandemic Lockdown.

Excuse me, please, if you, dear reader, find annoying my occasional complaining, but I'm actually (usually!) accomplishing something. It seems that when I let an inner annoyance out for an airing, it shortly thereafter resolves, almost as if by magic. It seems as if by holding it inside, it had been festering. Once released, some of its defining stink starts blowing off of it and some fresh possibilities appear. Nobody else ever needs to hear me complaining, but once I put it into words, it commences to transforming. It might shed much of its problem to become a simple feature instead or finally appear in some more easily resolvable form. Whatever the transformation, I find that I'm less bedeviled than before. Maybe all I yield turns out to be a fresh problem rather than a festering one, but even that shift can feel renewing. I might realize that my complaint's nothing special, that everyone else has been stifling precisely the same one, and we're all stuck in the same bubble. How reassuring to suddenly not feel so damned alone and isolated in my little inner complaint department.

I'm growing to more deeply appreciate my inner Complaintant, especially when he shows the cards he's holding. He might still always be trying to draw into an inside straight, in typically hopeless straits, but also in a rather ordinary position. When he felt that he somehow held the sole inferior position and that he didn't deserve that fate, little could slake his thirst for justice. Once he learns that he's no worse off than anyone else, he sees that he's very probably been brewing his own poison. I'm not edging toward any departure gate, still unprepared to just break for some presumed exit into even greater peril, but until it's safe, I might accept my fate with a decent complaint or three. Oh, you'll hear me complaining sometimes and you might even accidentally overhear me engaging in some High Quality Consultant Humor, but I'm just blowing off stink. I think that's better than simply stewing in it.

It's Friday already again, and while I could complain about that, I won't. The week's past. I somehow—I really have no good explanation as to how—managed to post another perfect seven, them being the seven that emerged. What could improve on that? I offer no apologies, just deep gratitude that you followed along with me. Together, even complaining seems better, even occasionally approaching High Quality!

I began my writing week by facing a logical impossibility but still engaging with it in
Beyond. While I cannot see WhatNext, I persist in attempting to imagine it and feeling renewed by this.

I then admitted to having fooled myself in
Transpacities. Conmen, it seems, specialize in encouraging others to fool themselves first.

Next, in my genuine act of complaining this week, I immersed myself in
Fallowtimes. I found my despair somehow lifted by voicing my complaint.

I reflected on
Eternals, which seem to define all our presences here. We perform absolute magic, initiating actions which can never be undone. We might not be infinite, but we most certainly seem eternal.

I admitted to working for a complete idiot in
Boss, wherein I performed in the starring role as the boss of myself.

My most popular posting of the week engaged in a little light-hearted grumbling about the common post-holiday practice of
Leftovering. We each, it seems, become the turkey we consume over the week following Thanksgiving.

I ended my writing week by dispensing some
Widsom, wisdom's shoestring second cousin. Widsom typically comes too late and never really inoculates against the next infection. We probably only ever become wise in reflection.

I have been struggling lately, feeling increasingly isolated and caged. I learned yesterday that the CDC suggests that people in my age group not even go to the grocery store, my sole remaining face-to-face form of socialization. Audio books might hypnotize me into sanguine compliance, but I rage inside. A ninja movie or two might renew my faith in the possibility of good guys winning, but the bad ones continue to exert undue influence over my mobility, probably inadvertently. Whole Foods has started offering free touchless two hour delivery, which seems small respite for anybody. I'm still here, though, in no small part due to your continuing presence. I continue following you as you peruse my posts, feeling renewed. Thank you! I won't forget the gift of your presence, no complaints or Complaintants from here.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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