A defining, stereotypical characteristic of a geezer is his rose-tinted glasses of misplaced nostalgia. Things just aren't as good as they used to be. Nor as good as they should be.
What extra qualities do you need to be considered a grumpy geezer? Here's a check list to confirm whether you qualify:
1. Opinionated? Self-reflection is not a characteristic of a grumpy geezer; rather the certainty that you are always right is. This is irrefutable. Self-doubt and open-mindedness do not lend themselves to grumpiness.
Geezers have the advantage of life experience - we've been around longer, have read more, seen more, thought things through for longer. Our opinions are therefore of a higher value and when that is not acknowledged we get grumpy.
2. Grumpy, but not cranky? Perpetual grumpiness is not necessary to qualify as a grumpy geezer; just a propensity for it. Even those glass-half-full optimists know, while not admitting to it, that the glass is also, by definition, half empty - the internet is a wonderful innovation (brought to you by baby boomers BTW) but it's 98% full of garbage and is a tool ripe for exploitation by Big Brother; capitalism has lifted millions out of poverty but is a Ponzi scheme that is destroying our planet.
Crankiness though oversteps the mark. A grump will mutter and complain - a crank will be shouting at pigeons and passers-by and throwing the neighbour kids' misplaced toys into the bushes.
3. Eccentric? Hipsters wearing dress shoes without socks is not eccentricity - it's style slavery, a desperation to be cool and hip and "ironic"; these fashion tragics, adhering to an idiotic trend are clearly demonstrating that they are anything but cool. (NB: that's sarcasm, not irony.)
Eccentricity is behaviour that is outside the accepted norm. In a world of political correctness, conformance and fear of giving offence, eccentricity is to be celebrated and embraced. (If eccentricity was widely adopted then it would become the new norm. That folks is irony.)
4. Assuming the worst? Pessimism has inherent advantages. If things turn out for the worst we can be smug (see Opinionated); if not, then the only downside is admitting that maybe we got it wrong.
"An optimist thinks that this is the best possible world. A pessimist fears that this is true." Anonymous
5. Pedantic? Pedantry is a virtue - particularly in the use of language. From the mundane (their/there/they're) to the egregious crimes of corporatese, from the meaningless drivel of marketers to the pollie waffle we get from our elected officials. The abuse of the English language will send the grumpy geezer into paroxysms of indignation. I am not promoting grammar nazism; the language is fluid and neologisms can be a wonderful thing - I am grumping about the lazy, the purposely obtuse, the mindless cliches, the gibberish and dross dressed up as communication.
If the phrase "landing on water" gets on your tits then it's likely you're a fellow grumpy.
6. Speaking your mind? There are limits of course but those limits need to be far looser than the self-imposed censorship of the self-righteous snow flakes and the politically correct seeking offense everywhere - the new puritans wagging fingers and pursing their lips because, for example, the use of a gendered pronoun may cause discomfort. To who? I don't care if someone is *LGBTQI+, none of my business and good luck to 'em, but do we really need a taxonomy that is that precise? I won't label someone because of their sexuality but it seems many are determined to do it to themselves. And then shout loudly and indignantly from a loudhailer that the use of "he" or "she" is confronting? Fuck off!
In Australia, surveys have identified more than 50 gender expressions while Facebook users in the UK and US have 71 options to choose from
7. Realist? Can someone claiming that things are not as good as they used to be then also claim to be a realist? You bet, because overall things just aren't as good as they used to be. There is no halcyon past for us to return to - our rose-tinted glasses provide 20-20 vision, but on balance i thank my lucky stars i was born a boomer. The post-WW2 anglophone countries experienced a huge lift in quality of life. We had access to the necessities without today's rampant, superficial consumerism, society was far more egalitarian, a stolen car made the papers, we were free and safe to wander the neighborhood, parks and the bush on the proviso we returned at dusk.
This is no maudlin sentimentality, it's just the way it was and it was better than the way it now is.
8. Misanthrope? Do you have a non-discriminatory, generally applied view that humanity collectively really is a pain in the arse? Selfish, pushing, shoving, self-obsessed, destructive rabid consumers who take little if any interest outside their bubble?
There's room in misanthropy for individuals to be acknowledged for their outstanding abilities and achievements. Isaac Newton, for example, was possibly the most brilliant scientist of all time. But he was also a miserable, misanthropic old coot. A grumpy geezer if you like.
9. Irreverent? A disdain for authority, a distaste for pomposity and pretension? Scornful of the self-important? Congratulations - you have strength of character and one of the traits of a grumpy geezer.
0 - 3. Why are you reading this?
4 - 6. You have potential.
7 - 9. Greetings fellow grumpy.
Grumpy Geezers - a Spotter's Guide
Clint Eastwood, Gran Turino
A crusty, grumbling racist, he constantly refers to Asians as "zipperheads” and other slurs.
But when push comes to shove Walt stands up for the little guy.
John Cleese, Fawlty Towers
An "ageing, brilliantined stick insect" running the Fawlty Towers hotel, a class conscious snob who is obsequious to his betters and contemptuous of all others.
John Cleese himself described Basil as being a man who could run a top-notch hotel if he didn't have all the guests getting in the way.
Cleese successfully sued the Daily Mirror for libel when it described him becoming like his character.
Perhaps the eccentric, lovable old Major (Ballard Berkely) is a better role model.
Martin Clunes, Doc Martin
Brusque, with a low tolerance of fools, stiff, lacking in social skills, straight talking. What's not to love?
Statler and Waldorf
The Muppets hecklers
Snarky irreverence that can inspire the curmudgeon in any of us. .
Wilfred Brambell, Steptoe and Son
Neither Wilfred Brambell nor his character Albert Steptoe could be held up as fine examples of the grumpy geezer.
However, both qualify whether we like it or not.
Hancock's Half Hour
The gold standard of grumpy geezerdom. I defy anyone to watch two consecutive episodes of Hancock's Half Hour and not jump out a window.
Ted Danson, Becker
I was well into the second episode of Becker before it dawned on me it was a comedy.
Dr John Becker - my hero.
John Malkovich, Burn After Reading
He thinks he’s smarter than just about everyone else, he sees himself as a solitary sage in a land of idiots, deluded that others will be interested in his writings ....oh...wait!
Jack Nicholson, As Good As It Gets
Misanthropic, homophobic, alienating, germophobic but self-reliant and creative. A mixed bag.
The OCD is a nice touch.
Nostalgia - it ain't what it used to be.
Gold from Monty Python