How I got invited to a corporate business convention isn’t the story here. But let’s just say there are lots of people wearing nice suits and finishing sentences with: “Did I already give you a card?”
There is a guest speaker. He is famous. I don’t care for him. His talent: complaining.
He complains about America, religion, the economy, pro-sports. About lukewarm fried eggs.
The people love him. They applaud after each purple-faced rant.
The woman next to me says, “Oh, I watch his show on TV all the time. Don’t you just love him?” She grinned. “By the way, did I already give you a card?”
I do not love him. If you ask me, he needs considerably more fiber in his diet.
I leave the main event and make the long drive back home. The sun is setting. It is a stunning sky.
I don’t know what’s happening to the world. People are angry. TV personalities earn seven-digit incomes by getting peeved.
Well, maybe I am feeling particularly inspired by the guest speaker. Because I have a mind to make a list of my own complaints.
My first complaint: sunsets.
Sunsets don’t last long enough. They only give a few minutes of sky-painted glory, then it’s goodnight, Gracie.
I know. That’s not a real complaint, but give me time, I’m new to this.
Complaint two: puppies. They grow up too fast. There is nothing half as marvelous as razor-sharp puppy teeth. This, I know.
I’m also complaining that there aren’t more barbecue joints.
I don’t mean the fancy kind where waiters wear all-black and use iPads to email copies of your receipt. I’m talking concrete-block joints with ugly bathrooms, decent service, and food that your doctor warns you about, served in red plastic baskets.
Something else: I wish people gave more compliments for no reason.
Hardback hymnals. I’m not happy about their disappearance. Give me elderly Miss Betty on piano, and forty-six choruses of “Just As I Am.”
And speaking of old people. I’m complaining that there aren’t more old folks on television.
Yesterday, I scrolled one thousand and five TV stations in my hotel room, and I didn’t see one stitch of white hair. That’s a shame. The smartest woman I ever knew had sugar-white hair and answered to the name “Granny.”
I wish every girl loved her own body, hair-color, and personality.
I’d like to see people throw more backyard cookouts, fewer rocks.
I wish more porches waved flags. And I wish God that wasn’t a controversial statement. I wish the word “God” wasn’t a dirty word.
I wish the six-o’clock news didn’t love crime scenes so much.
I want Willie Nelson to live forever. And I’d like it if the lady who throws my newspaper at three in the morning would inherit a million dollars.
I hope Bradley, a six-year-old with foster parents, finds a forever home. I pray Lonnie and Meredith get over the death of their two-year-old son.
And I wish anyone who complains about the weather, or gas prices, or current events could watch a sunset in Brewton, Hartford, Graceville, Wewahitchka, Fadette, Jackson’s Gap, Eight Mile, Chipley, Coffee Springs, Level Plains, or Geneva. That might cure them—at least for a little while.
I know. I’m supposed to be complaining.
But I can’t do it while I’m watching this sunset.
By the way, did I already give you a card?