I just walked out of church with this phrase ringing in my head...something in the homily about cheerfulness and joy being marks of a true Christian and how anyone who is not cheerful probably doesn't really know Jesus. As a veteran curmudgeon myself I take exception to the notion that Jesus can somehow redeem a thief hanging on the cross but might have a problem with grumpy old men. Moreover, this is especially disappointing considering that many of the old men I know are grumpy at some time or other. As for knowing Jesus, I know him well enough to have had arguments with him and some of those were not pretty. For the benefit of any who have no idea what a curmudgeon really is I offer the following. As for me, I'm going to read some of the old testament prophets just to clear my mind.
A curmudgeon's reputation for malevolence is undeserved. They're neither warped nor evil at heart. They don't hate mankind, just mankind's absurdities. They're just as sensitive and soft-hearted as the next guy, but they hide their vulnerability beneath a crust of misanthropy. They ease the pain by turning hurt into humor. They attack maudlinism because it devalues genuine sentiment. Nature, having failed to equip them with a servicable denial mechanism, has endowed them with astute perception and sly wit.
Curmudgeons are mockers and debunkers whose bitterness is a symptom rather than a disease. They can't compromise their standards and can't manage the suspension of disbelief necessary for feigned cheerfulness. Their awareness is a curse.
Perhaps curmudgeons have gotten a bad rap in the same way that the messenger is blamed for the message: They have the temerity to comment on the human condition without apology. They not only refuse to applaud mediocrity, they howl it down with morose glee. Their versions of the truth unsettle us, and we hold it against them, even though they soften it with humor. Jon Winokur
For the uninitiated it may be difficult to distinguish a curmudgeon from your garden variety cynic. While they may often seem similar, there are important differences. The cynic and the curmudgeon both believe that the human condition is deplorable but while the cynic believes things cannot get any better, the curmudgeon still holds to his ideals and believes things could be much better. The curmudgeon still has hope and that makes all the difference.