These individuals are related to Should Not Laugh and Will Not laugh. They are a close-knit family and support each other in silence.
a. Does Not Laugh. Never been seen to do so, and no-one has really seen DNL smiling either. In fact the thought of a smile is somewhat un-nerving. What would cause it? If jokes, cartoons, movies, songs and YouTube videos of mobile cranes falling into holes does not raise a titter, what would? The mind turns to darker things…
b. Can Not Laugh. This is actually sad, and may draw some sympathy from all of us. CNL has so many worries and woes that nothing seems funny . Nothing may never have, though we hope CNL might have had some fun at some stage of the game. People hope that this is only temporary, and try out new routines to see if they can get a smile.
c. Should Not laugh. Well, if you’re sitting on the magistrate’s bench – or for that matter sitting on the magistrate – the dignity of the court demands that you keep a sober mein. LIkewise police officers, air traffic controllers, and high church dignitaries. The Queen is allowed to crack up occasionally as no-one can say her nay. So are various presidents of various other nations, though some do it better than others. Angela Merkel on a laughing jag is not a pretty sight.
d. Will Not laugh. WNL is the pompous pain in the potatoes who denies any recognition of humour – probably because that would reward the joker. WNL is mean and tight and arrogant…which is why he or she seems to become the butt of satirical humour. Oddly enough, even some satirical writers – especially if they exist on the fringes of real journalism or real writing – exhibit this characteristic too. In their case it is fear of being bettered by someone with a new joke.
Some days it doesn’t pay to let down your guard – the moment you do something nice happens to you and then the rest of the day is shot.
This is a real problem for grumpy older people who try to maintain the rage but find that they can’t get the parts any more. They are sometimes forced to abandon old grudges and either go out and buy new ones or just give up the sport altogether. This might sound like a good idea, but what do you do with all the clothing and accessories you’ve acquired to do it with? There is only a limited market for poison darts at garage sales in this country.
It’s easy enough to avoid happy people in the shopping mall or the airport – anyone offering religious tracts or flowers can be seen at a distance and you can steer round them. If you are riding a gopher mobility cart you can steer into them but be prepared for sympathy and hot cups of tea from the security staff. Fortunately, security staff never seem to be happy in themselves so you can hang around where they are and cash in on the negative vibes. Just don’t make any sudden moves.
Being unhappy at home takes a little more effort. If your favourite television program is on in ten minutes and you have a fresh cup of coffee and a plate of biscuits you might as well sit down and get it over with – postpone your moaning until the advertisement breaks. If you’re lucky* these will be every five minutes. And then there is the telephone with telemarketers and scam merchants ringing up during the best part of the show – you can kill happiness efficiently there.
Sometimes all it takes to develop a really good grump is to review the daily news. Of course, if your side is winning this is no help at all. Then you are forced to go further into the paper until you get to the art or food reviews to get your boost o’ sadness. At least the average modern reviewer can be depended upon to be disappointed in something. It’s the reason they never get into Heaven…God is afraid they’ll take away one of his stars.
If all else fails you can sit on the front porch and yell at people to get off your lawn. In Australia we’re not allowed M1 Garands so we can’t go the full Clint Eastwood on the local teenagers but there is nothing to stop us planting double-gees in the grass and that keeps ’em off, no fear.
* There’s more than one kind of luck…