I like to whine.  It’s fun and it’s gratifying.  But it’s more fun and more gratifying when it’s acceptable.  When whining is unacceptable, there is a danger that others will quit listening or will sympathize too much and try to help.  The best kind of complaining is the kind you give to others knowing you’ll get at least a free pass if not a giggle or stifled guffaw.

In my experience, it’s ok to complain about

  • Knuckleheads on the road
  • Incompetency of dry cleaners, grocery store clerks, post office workers, etc., but only if the incompetency is glaring and the incompetent is capable and unrepentant.
  • Government (local, state or federal)
  • Kids (many subcategories here – messy room is ok, bad breath unacceptable)
  • Bearing children (pregnancy, child birth, nursing, vomit and other bodily byproducts).

I recently renewed my whining license.  I called a local radio station the other morning because I hardly ever see my husband and I really needed someone to listen to me gripe about the government asking me inappropriate questions.  They want to know the race of everyone in my family on every form I fill out for school, insurance, etc.  So I called the local morning radio show I listen to every day to share about my personal civil disobedience.  This is how it went:

Eight years ago, my husband and I went to a local bank to get a home loan.  The nice loan lady asked my husband what race he is as she was filling out paper work for us.  My husband sat across the desk from this lovely woman, looking at her out of his blue eyes under light, straight hair and said, “I’m black.”  I tried to choke back the laughter, but failed.  When I finally stopped coughing and giggling, I asked the lady how she kept a straight face, and she told us that she could get into deep legal doo-doo for contradicting or doubting us.

Since then, I’ve had four kids, and every time I get one of those fill-in-the-bubble race cards, I pick whichever strikes my fancy.  If there’s a bureaucrat sitting in a cubicle somewhere looking at all the forms that have come from this family, he must be mighty confused at the rate of ethnic transformation in this household.

So I told my story, and the hosts laughed, and I hung up, and then it hit me.  I didn’t say I had four kids!  I said I had four and one on the way.  I knew that a couple of my brothers-in-law listened to that show every day, but maybe they missed it…  20 minutes later a friend from church was on my doorstep congratulating me on number 5.  So now the cat is out of the bag, and I’m only 7 weeks pregnant!

But now I get to whine with abandon.  Prepare yourselves.

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