Today is National Grouch Day. Got a Problem With That?
October 15th is National Grouch Day, and it's arrival couldn't come at a better time. During a month when the world has seen protests regarding the global economic meltdown, Canadian voters staying home in droves, and hockey fans boo Sarah Palin and her 7-year-old daughter, it seems that people have plenty to complain about.
According to that trusted journal, Sesame Street magazine, October 15th is a time to honor all the good things about being a grouch.
A Grouch's mission in life is to be as miserable and grouchy as possible, and pass that feeling on to everyone else. Only then will a Grouch feel in touch with his or her world and be happy. Yet, even though a Grouch may show happiness at anyone's misfortune (including his or her own), a Grouch would never admit to being happy. Such is the stability of a Grouch's life: so balanced, and yet so unbalanced.
Indeed, Jim Henson and the gang at Sesame Street have done more to boost the profile of grouches in popular culture than anyone else. While TV is currently flooded with grouches like Dr. Gregory House on "House" and Larry David on "Curb Your Enthusiasm", none can compare to Oscar the Grouch, the curmudgeonly green muppet with a colorful past.
For many Canadians of a certain age, their baptismal splash of snark came courtesy of Oscar the Grouch. Sesame Street's trash-can-dwelling Muppet, who incidentally inspired National Grouch Day, may be the most prominent example of how society is taught to humour those with little humour.
"The characters (on Sesame Street) could be viewed as deliberate attempts to foster appreciations for different types of personalities in real life," Richard Graham, chairman of the children's TV division of the Popular Culture Association, said.
It seems fitting, then, that a real-life sourpuss informed Oscar the Grouch. The story goes that Jim Henson and a friend went to a Manhattan restaurant -- varyingly recounted as either 'Oscar's Salt of the Sea' or 'Oscar's Tavern' -- where they were waited on by a server so grumpy as to be comical.
According to the book Sesame Street Unpaved, Henson and his companion were so amused that they made trips to Oscar's a regular form of "masochistic entertainment ... and their waiter forever became immortalized as the world's most famous grouch."
So, is National Grouch Day a day of celebration or just a cynical marketing ploy by the pernicious folk at the Jean Ganz Cooney and the Children's Television Workshop? Let us know what you think and, in the spirit of National Grouch Day, don't feel the need to mince words.