The Duncan Banner

October 13, 2013

Obviously, this catalogue was meant for someone else

Jeff Kaley
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — There are many different methods of communication between human beings. We exchange information, ideas and emotions verbally, in written form, through sign language and in body language.

And, of course, there’s the always-popular method of an anonymous somebody leaving an item on your desk that seems innocent at first glance, but turns out to be how someone chose to “tell you something” without being physically present. (SNIVELING COWARD!)

Yeah, I know, it happens to me all the time, too.

In fact, I recently stopped at my “other office” at The Duncan Banner and discovered that someone had left a catalogue on my keyboard. At first, I thought one of the reporters didn’t know who should get this piece of mail, so they dumped it on me.

However, when I took a second look, I discovered the piece of mail was a catalogue from a company called Productivity Inc., which was touting its collection of Holiday Gift Guide Ideas for Curmudgeons.

My first thought was obvious: Somebody had mistakenly put the catalogue on the wrong desk. It wasn’t supposed to come to me. It was meant for a curmudgeon.

Then it dawned on me: Somebody left this thing on purpose as a way of sending me a message.

Oh, yeah, I could hardly stop laughing when I realized somebody was punking me because I’m one of the, uh, elders in the tribe at The Banner/News-Democrat. This was just another in a long line of limpid and insipid “Let’s tease Kaley about his age” gags.

By definition, a “curmudgeon” is: “a crusty, ill-tempered and usually old man.” But, dagnabit, you infantile ingrate co-worker, it’s time to clear the record: It’s completely beyond the scope of reality that I — of all people — am a curmudgeon!

Gentle readers, I’ve known me for 62 years and have found myself to be one of the most even-tempered, well-balanced, spiritually-tranquil, good-humored-but-low-keyed humans I’ve ever met. Why, where it not for the weight difference, I’d confuse myself with Buddha.

Me, a curmudgeon? Awww, BALDERDASH!

OK, I know how this got started.

Somebody at The Banner made the mistake of listening to my sons, a pair of shiftless whippersnappers, who over the years mysteriously — and at times, maliciously — have given me a few nicknames. When Anthony and Chris were still living at home, somehow or other they dubbed me “The Gromble,” “Old Guy” and “You Ol’ (substitute a slang word for flatulence)” to describe their loving, doting, always-fair-and-reasonable Daddy.

It’s also possible a co-worker knows Karen, who has on occasion informed me that I am (What is her delightful phrase? Oh, yeah ...) “barreling into geezerdom as fast as you can.”

Har, har, har. That’s a rib-splitter, darlin’.

And then there’s the matter of the products this company included in its Holiday Gift Guide Ideas for Curmudgeons. Wadda inane collection of trash and gimmicks!

No self-respecting curmudgeon would need a Person-to-Person Telephone Management System, even if it does “give curmudgeons total control of their household telephones and their lives,” as the description in the catalogue touts.

What good is a juice extractor that provides “a healthy way to become more active and less curmudgeonly?” You can stuff that in your ... er, Christmas stocking, Productivity, Inc.!

A “Chillow” that provides relief from migraine headaches or stress while you’re asleep? A dopey squeezeable doll called “Mr. Wonderful,” which helps a person become “less irascible?” Something called “Body-Creamer” that is intended to gently smooth a curmudgeon’s “chronic, dry, tired skin?”

This is nothing but a bunch of junk meant to entice a responsible person into draining their bank account!

All a curmudgeon really needs as a holiday gift is a fresh bowl of gruel, sole possession of the TV remote, a DVD of the obscure movie, Scrooge: The True Story of a Misunderstood Role Model, and TO BE LEFT ALONE!

At least, that’s what I’ve been told by guys who REALLY ARE “crusty and ill-tempered” old men.

Grumble. Grumble. Grumble.

jeff.kaley@duncanbanner.com