Saturday, May 3, 2014

There is a word to describe people like me

And that word, according to Jon Winokur, is "curmudgeon".

Winokur is the astute curator of the most helpful website on the planet for writers and would-be writers. He is also the author of two dozen non-fiction books, one of which is called The Portable Curmudgeon.

I happened upon The Portable Curmudgeon when I was browsing on Scribd and, quick as a flash, I downloaded a "preview" (some 50 pages).

I had barely read the first paragraph of the introduction when it dawned on me that Winokur was writing about... people like ME. (I can think of quite a few of my students — and many other fine citizens of the world I inhabit — who will agree with the assessment):

Dictionaries define curmudgeon as a churlish, irascible fellow; a cantankerous old codger. The origin of the word is unknown, but it might come from an old Scottish word that meant "murmur" or "mumble", or from the French coeur mechant, "evil heart". The archaic definition made it a synonym for miser, and the word has had recent currency in a somewhat milder connotation, to describe a not entirely unlikable grouch.

Want to read the rest of the introduction? Go to The Portable Curmudgeon.
  • Want evidence of my curmudgeonliness (yes, there is such a word)? Here you go:
1. 50 Facebook rants to make you think about bad English vs good English

2. He is 25 — and in all his life he has read only one book

3. "I want a job that does not involve reading, writing, or thinking. What to do?"

4. What hope is there for this English teacher's students?

5. What happens when a crusty old journalism teacher takes on Gen-Y?

6. How to spot lazy a.k.a. mediocre travel writing

7.  Suck it up!

8. "If you need me to motivate you, I probably don't want to hire you"

9. "Want To Be Taken Seriously? Become a Better Writer"

10. Mind your e-language: How you interact with people on any platform on the Web and what you say about issues is an indication of the kind of person you are

11. Why amateur bloggers will never replace journalists

12. Bad grammar, poor punctuation: a sure recipe for disaster at your workplace

And, to round it up to a baker's dozen, here's a post I'm especially proud of: "What's the point of an education if you remain illiterate?"

Of course, there's more, much more. But that's quite enough to prove my point, isn't it? :-)