Could You Go 21 Days Without Complaining?

There's this new movement afoot in which you try to go for 21 days without complaining.

I know, haven't these people got anything better to do with their time?

The way the crusade works is you wear a special bracelet as you wind your way toward the 21-day finish. Every time you have a relapse, you are required to shift the bracelet to the other wrist, and then go back and start over again from scratch.

Obviously, a dumb rule, right? You should get credit for time served.


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Supposedly the movement — in my mind the cult — has some 10 million followers worldwide. The overall goal is to live in a complaint-free world.

I don't know about anybody else, but I'm not sure I want to live in a world devoid of complaining. It would just be so, I don't know, positive.

And just what constitutes a complaint?

Is whining a complaint? How about making a face, filing a grievance, being self critical, moaning and groaning, rolling your eyes? If you don't leave a restaurant tip because you got bad service, would that be enough to require a wrist switch?

Complaining is an integral part of life, and something that cannot possibly be avoided if you are being honest with yourself.

Can you drive a car without complaining? Maybe if you never leave your driveway, but certainly not if you frequent one of our interstate parking lots.

Can you be married and remain complaint free? I suppose it is possible, but then so is hitting Power Ball.

Can you work in an office and not have issues you need to voice? No? So then you are comfortable with the room temperature, the lighting, the loud talker, the vacation schedule, the work distribution, the coffee, the condition of the refrigerator, the boss? Thought not.

Can you walk into a doctor's office for an appointment and sit in the waiting room for more than, say, an hour (on a good day), and not start grumbling? Um, I thought we were being honest, here?

Can you be a Red Sox fan and not find fault? OK, this is venturing into the absurd.

Can you read this column and not find a nit to pick? No? Really? Even if you discover a factual error, a grammar mistake, or misspelling? I didn't think so.

Finally, even if, hypothetically, you could negotiate all of the above and remain complaint free, what are the chances you could go 21 straight days without having a problem with — Comcast?

That sound you hear is me resting my case.

hc-shea-complaints-0809-20140809

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September 11, 2001 Attacks

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