There’s a maintenance man in my building who served in the Vietnam War. He often comes by the office to restore cabinets, tables, desks and chairs. After months of begging human resources and the CEO to buy me a new chair for my sore back, my office finally agreed. They ordered the entire office new chairs. When the packages of chairs arrived, so did the Vietnam Vet to build them.
While watching him screw and bolt the pieces together, I’m thanking the HR lady and validating my request for these new chairs. “My back is just awful lately,” I told her. “I work out like crazy. I do Yoga a lot and it’s still constantly in pain.”
The Vet overhears this, stares at me, shakes his head and laughs at my wimpish whines.
“You wanna see a bad back?” he asks as he walks over and lifts his shirt. He shows me the deepest and most cruel scar. “I fell out of a tree in ‘Nam. Messed up my back n’ legs n’ had about 12 surgeries to put it all back together.”
He showed me four more scars on each of his legs to emphasize his point.
“Bones was sticking out of both these legs,” he pointed at his ankles and knees, and I’m cringing at the site.
Just as bewildering was the thought of this man hiding up in a tree, sniping Vietnamese soldiers. He’s been through some shit and still looks so strong and able, regardless of his penguin-like limp.
Thirty minutes ago, I groaned at the disgusting office coffee. 25 minutes ago I moaned at the internet being too slow. 10 minutes ago I was grumbling for lunch. I bitched for half an hour straight while the Vietnam Vet heard every word. Here I am with my weak spine and perfect girlish figure, and this man who broke every bone in his lower half hasn’t complained once all day.
It got me thinking. Is whining a practice humans should have to earn in life? Just as we earn a license to drive a car, should we have to prove a life of difficulty in order to whine? At first I said, Yes, anyone with a difficult life or who’s endured great struggles, such as a war or Jewish mother, should get a certification for bitching and moaning to the world.
The only thing is, people who’ve actually had a lot of pain in life don’t really complain. The Vietnam Vet never complained. The Hispanic mother working three jobs and that cleans my apartment never complains; she always has a smile on her face as she dusts my T.V. while I’m clearly playing video games, but I have the nerve to tell her, “Get the hell out of the way, Rosalita! The Nazis are shooting at me!”
Rosalita cowers away in fear, “Oh no! I so sorry, Mr. Ariel.”
What a dip-shit I am.
It’s apparent that those who have a license to complain, never do. And those who complain are spoiled little brats like myself who’ve never had hardships in life, other than to do the dishes six times in one week for their Jewish fiancee or mother.
So the practice of whining will be continued by individuals who literally have nothing to complain about. My Jewish brethren are the frontrunners of this daily (sometimes hourly) ritual. We have great cars, houses and jobs; seemingly perfect lives. But if the bagel was toasted 2 seconds too much, then our whole day is ruined and everyone within an ear shout will hear about it. “How can I possibly put the lox and cream cheese on a blackened bagel? This is the absolute worst day of my life. Cancel all my appointments.”
To you, Vietnam Vet, thank you for helping me see how unworthy I am to complain about anything in life. This will help me grow as an individual and become respectful to those who are not as privileged. And to you, Rosalita, please be aware of your surroundings, especially when I’m playing XBox. If you distract me again during my invasion of the Eagle’s Nest, then I’ll fire you and hire your competitor… your cousin.