Jewish World Review Oct. 17, 2001 / 330 Tishrei, 5762
Now, normally, I'm the jolliest of elves. I have a song in my heart-- usually something by Leonard Cohen, but hummable, you know. I tap dance through the day with a smile for everybody I meet, even though I avoid people as a rule. But I have been, I admit, sort of whiny the past two months or so.
I used to be highly critical of whiners. It's not the whining so much, as who's doing the whining. Rock stars, for instance, are very good at whining-- they have to do the kind of records record companies want them to do. You'd think that selling a zillion records would be some kind of compensation for that, but no, these guys, Adam Duritz from Counting Crows, the late Kurt Cobain, sit in their limos brooding that their lives are no longer in their control. And movie stars whining about the burdens of celebrity. I used to think, "Give me a break. Put on some sunglasses and shut up."
But I've had a change of heart. Think about it. When was the last time anybody felt sorry for you-- when your dog died, maybe, when you skun your knee on the merry go round? Sympathy is not an adult emotion, by and large. By and large, when I share my troubles with my friends and relatives, they'll say (a) well, what did you expect. (b) it's your own damn fault. (c) you think YOU'VE got troubles, let me tell you what happened to, well, me (d) I'm sorry I wasn't paying attention. (e) yeah, that's tough. Hey! Want to see a movie? (f) what am I, your mother? (g) Ian, I'm your mother, listen to me-- time to grow up.
So the lesson I've learned is that if any pity is going to be thrown in your
direction, it's going to have to come from your direction. Nobody's going to
feel sorry for you but you. So go ahead, indulge yourself. If not now when,
if not you, who? Just leave me out of it, okay? I got my own
10/08/01: War time lite