Pity for the Cranky Ones


Each of us, as mortal beings, are in one way or another heading blithely towards our dooms, but the cranky, the crabby, the grouchy, the cantankerous and the ornery seem to get their faster. They take the Surly Express.

In a recent study, cheerful, well-adjusted people reported fewer health problems than relentless squabblers. These squabblers lead desperate, spiteful existences in drafty attics and dank basements, gazing at others with horrible, spiteful envy through the floorboards, their wretched teeth gnashing, gnarled white knuckles tearing at their hair, beating their breasts, a scornful croak escaping their throats—a sound so horrible but so disgustingly human that it stirs something in all of us, making us want to bury it deep within the recesses of our consciousnesses—and when we see their sunken eyes, their coyote gauntness and their scarecrow demeanors, a gasp escapes our lips and “there but for the grace of God go I,” is said in hushed prayer-like voices, before we cry a little into our gloves.

666 people took part in this study funded, apparently, by Metallica. The study was based on a survey that compared the interpersonal interactions of older adults with their own views of their own health. Cranky people tended to say that they were more unhealthy than cheerful people.

Maybe the cranky people were just being cranky and the cheerful people were just being cheerful. It seems like this research is just a bunch of tautologies.  Did this study actually find something out?

“The findings don’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship between social life and health,”said study lead author Jason T. Newsom, associate professor at the Portland State University School of Community Health in Oregon.

So: nope.


About the Author

<p>"Dr." J.P. HuxtaBULL completed several CPR and sewing courses in the former Soviet Union and has received honorary medical degrees from the University of Okoboji, Empire State University and Hudson College. He currently works as a sports physician for various underground fight clubs and lawn dart leagues.</p>