Grumpy old man feeling the pinch

It has taken me six decades to reach this special moment. It's where every little thing becomes a big thing and the only way to fix the problem is to complain about it. That's right folks, I've reached the point in my life where every little thing requires a complaint. It's when you see something and ask yourself the question why is it done this way or why did they do it that way? I'm sure those of you six decades old and beyond understand what I'm talking about. It's those little things that usually make you feel grumpy, right? Guess you might say I've become something of a grumpy old man -- not always, just sometimes.

Folks, I'm really trying hard every day not to stay grumpy for too long of a stretch. Though I will admit it's difficult to escape this grumpiness when things just aren't going right. So the big question remains as to what makes someone a grump? Let's not get confused with the word grunt, which is a "low, guttural sound as that of a pig." However, there's always a possibility of one getting a little too grumpy to the point of making a small grunting sound. Those are the kind of people you want to avoid. Is it age or external surroundings that make one feel irritable, moody and cranky? Now that I'm associated with an older generation my belief is that external surroundings are the cause of grumpiness. If you asked me this question 40 years ago I would have blamed it on age.

My self-description of being somewhat of a grumpy old man brought back a 1993 American comedy film starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Mathau titled "Grumpy Old Men." It's a story about two former childhood friends and longtime next-door neighbors living in Wabasha, Minn. Despite their differences, both men lead similar boring and single lives. They share a mutual love of Minnesota and its winter pastime of ice fishing along with competing, arguing, insulting and pulling cruel practical jokes on each other whenever possible. Throughout the movie you hear constant complaining and bickering at each other but in the end the two remain friends.

Another interesting character possessing the personality of a grump is one of the seven dwarfs in Snow White. He goes by the name of "Grumpy" and is described as having the biggest nose of the seven dwarfs along with one eye shut. I'm not sure if his physical features had anything to do with his grumpiness. My guess is his surroundings had a lot to do with it. Grumpy's personality was unique and perhaps considered the most competent of the dwarfs. Grumpy seems to resent Doc's position as a leader of the Dwarfs, often doubting his capabilities. He is also annoyed by Dopey's antics, Bashful's shyness and Sneezy's nasal explosions. It certainly makes sense why Grumpy acted so grumpy. Though Grumpy is known to be stubborn his true identity is one with a compassionate heart which he would never reveal. He's also shown to be intelligent. Through it all Grumpy remains to be the resilient one.

You're probably wondering why I'm hooked on this grumpy feeling.

Well, it sort of has to do with the way people are living in the real world today. I'm finding it more than ever of people being in a not so happy mood. I'm sure there are a number of factors but when you hear someone say "I lost my job" the idea of feeling happy in an environment showing little signs of prosperity just don't seem to fit. As of lately I'm hearing more people talk about the fear of job loss than any other problem that exists. Could this be the reason why more people are grumpy these days?

Recently I spoke to someone who was unfortunately placed in the unemployment line. The misfortune made him decide to further his education in hopes of becoming marketable and landing a decent paying job. Losing a job is something most of us would prefer not to hear but the reality is it has filled our landscape without an answer.

I recall working for Mohasco Industries back in the '70s as a textile designer when suddenly the walls came down. Mohasco slowly began trimming their labor force with plans to move down south. I was not in the plan. It wasn't a pleasant feeling even for a young 20-something-year-old who thought he had a golden career. From that point on it took many jobs along with many years before I decided to do a turn around with my career and go in a different direction. In order to do so I needed to go back to school. Through perseverance I received another degree and an opportunity to work -- again.

Today we are hearing more and more people feeling the pinch while trying to remain in the work force. Competition is tough and depending on what opportunities exist will determine where a person will live. This is where Montgomery County comes in. If we can only find a way to encourage people to both work and live here then just maybe some of this grumpiness will go away. At the present time Montgomery County is having an identity crisis in trying to figure out how to label itself as an attraction. Fulton County is marketing its lakes and outdoor recreation while Montgomery County continues to search for an identity. It's all fine and dandy to come up with a marketing idea for visitors to see historical landmarks and a vibrant river front, but what about job opportunities? Have we forgotten the most important attraction of them all? We can only hope for a better tomorrow where the right people will do the right thing and begin to think about what it takes for people to not only visit ... but live here.

Until next time -- hold that thought.

MIKE LAZAROU is an Amsterdam native and a regular

columnist. Contact him at