To Be or Not To Be … A Curmudgeon


by Dennis Harding, RLACEI Entertainment Director

Dennis Harding

It may surprise some of you who know me, but some in my family, including my wife, think that I am a curmudgeon. In fact, some of my sisters say I am an award-winning curmudgeon, second only to my brother Bill, that is, who is a true gold medal-winning one. And well deserved I might say. 

Anyway, am I a curmudgeon because I have spoken to one of my neighbors only twice in 30 years, mostly because the first time I spoke to him he showed me his one-million-candle-power flashlight that he uses at night in the desert to signal to the aliens that are orbiting the earth, even though they won’t come down because his “leader” is the only one that can call them down? Or another neighbor to whom I have only spoken a few times in more than 15 years, mostly because his house has been raided by the police twice? I have no idea why nor do I want to find out. Or how ’bout the old guy who lives by himself in a large compound with several buildings who I seldom see, and if I do, I have been known to go the other way? Binge watching old Criminal Minds TV shows has me wondering if he has captives over there … so he’s either a mass murderer or a challenger to Brother Bill’s gold medal curmudgeon award. And isn’t it reasonable to try to ignore the lady in line ahead of me at the grocery store who spontaneously starts telling of her personal problems with her husband and gripes about her kids? 

Listen, I’ve heard enough sniveling during my years as a prisoner counselor at the Fort Ord Stockade while I was in the Army many years ago. (Might I have gotten curmudgeon credentials back then and not realized it?) Anyway, I think I am a reasonably normal guy who is friendly when friendly is called for but not interested in socializing with total strangers, weirdos, or wackos. I don’t think that keeping to oneself is being curmudgeonly. And complaining a little sometimes about this or that, or him or her, or those or they or them, or … well, who doesn’t. 

So does that make me a curmudgeon? Nah, I don’t think so, but now about my brother Bill …