The River

Wednesday, December 22, 2004



A Holiday Message From The World’s Oldest Curmudgeon ™

World’s Oldest here. A lot’s happened since last fall, as I’m sure you know. But you might not know why or how, so I’m gonna level.

That damn naïve interviewer went and published our conversation, the one where I basically said I was tired of this shit. What shit? Read the interview. Do I have to explain everything?

I mean, there’s a lot of it about, right? SOMEBODY is pissing you off right now, right? Somebody connected to the Bush Administration, perhaps? The boy wonder himself?

Makes you wanna rail, don’t it? Or maybe read some ranting fool. Well, sorry, you’ve come to the wrong place. I’m not going to tell you there is no war on terrorism. Or that John Kerry is the worst kind of sellout. Because I’m not mad as hell anymore. And I AM taking it. Oh, yes. I’m taking it, cause they’re giving it.

Giving what? MONEY. M. O. N. E. Y. Yes sir, it’s hard to be curmudgeonly when you’re freaking rolling in it. And I am, dontcha know. Because, well, you know why, cause a them freakin people out there. Millions of ‘em.

See, that damn interview, which became an obscure blog post, started something. It was a galldarned Internet hit. "Fatigue" it was called. People basically said, “shit, he’s right.” Even bigshots like Atrios, Tom Tomorrow and Daily Kos blogged it. Atrios said he was tired too. He hung it up. His last post said, “The Sh*t." That was the title, hotlinked to "Fatigue." Then, "Chat away.” He hasn't been back, but the comments are now in the six digits.

That set off a firestorm in the blogospherical. I was loved and hated. Praised and slandered. No. 1 on blogdex.

What happened then was just one of those crazy confluences of events. A young marketing guy, lost in the bowels of a large corporation, bored and confused (God love ‘im), had been following the rise of the blogs. Naturally, he saw my infamous post. He found my number in the phone book. Yeah, I’m actually in there: Curmudgeon, T. W. O. Apparently, he was the only one who thought to look.

So he calls me up. He’s all excited. Says he has an idea. Says not much has jumped from blogland to the traditional media outlets. There have been some earnest but clueless attempts. Absolutely zero marketing acumen, he said. What we need is a brand, and you’re it.

I says, “wha?? Hold on there, padner.” He says, “haha. God, that’s perfect. If you weren’t real, I'd have to invent you.”

I says, “hey, I resemble that remark.” He laughs, but I cut him short: “I ain’t stupid, kid. I am the worlds oldest Curmudgeon.” He says, “I know, I know. And you’re tired of this shit. It’s a perfect tagline.”

I just about hung up then, but he said, “hear me out.” Then he started praising me, says I was brilliant, back before the net discovered me. He says I got in a rut, and that’s what “Fatigue” was really all about. Motherfucker was right, so I kept listening. He says it’s okay to be predictable sometimes. In fact, it’s what people want. He says he’s going to package my ass, sell the package. But of course, he made it sound better than that.

Fucker’s gonna go places.

I don’t know why I’m telling you all this, surely you’ve seen the commercials, the billboards, the text messages. You know the story by now. Probably wished you didn’t. Shit, I don’t know.

I hope there was something decent in my hit CD, “World’s Oldest Curmudgeon Hates Your Guts,” or my best-selling book, “The Curmudgeon Transcripts: Wit, Wisdom and Insults for a Troubled World.” I hope you can forgive the plush doll, the rumored movie deal (it’s true).

No, I don’t know why I’m telling you. You probably chalked me up as one more of life’s disappointments.

But see, I missed ya. That’s why I’m back here. And I owe you an explanation, don’t I?

Must be the freakin season, messin with my curmudgeonly nature.

No. The truth is, I’m not a curmudgeon anymore. I have every freakin reason to be, and so do you. But fuck it. Stay awake, sure, but don’t let the fuckers twist ya up. That’s all they care about, anyway, and you got better things to do. I’m sure about that.

Here’s to 2005. Don’t let it piss you off. But if you do, fer christ’s sake, get a book deal. It worked for me. Hehe.

Ah…I’m giddy now. Did ya ever think you’d hear mudge say that?

(shh. Don’t tell anyone.)

So, you know, merry holiday, happy new year and all that.

See ya in ’05. ‘mudged off, yeah, sure, maybe, on occasion. But smarter. I mean, shit, success just kinda pisses me off anyway. But ya know what, it aint' about that. It's about what I can do with the money. What WE can do with the money.

And besides, I wanna see what you crafty motherfuckers do. What you're gonna say, and what your ideas are. I still have hope. I do. Even the world’s oldest curmudgeon can be saved.

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