How to Curmudgeon

A number of people have asked me “How, exactly, do you become a curmudgeon?”  Actually, no one asked me that but I’m sure a few have thought about it and a few more have even hinted at it.  I’m here to set the record straight.

A curmudgeon is defined as a crusty, ill-tempered old man.  While generally male, a curmudgeon graces both sexes (think Alice Roosevelt Longworth, Dorothy Parker and Paula Poundstone).  I am one and, with counseling, you can be one too.  (If not, then you’ll just need counseling.)

What, you may ask, is the value of being a curmudgeon?

  1.  You never have to smile in public;
  2. No one will expect you to smile in public;
  3. You can redefine “pursuit of happiness;”
  4. You expect nothing and are never disappointed.

So how, exactly do you become a curmudgeon?  While there is no set formula, there are clues.

For example, did you look like this a child?


Do you look like this as an adult?


When a clerk in a store or a greeter at a convention says to you “Have a nice day,” how do you respond?

  1. “Why, thank you very much.”
  2. “You’re so welcome and I hope you have one, too.”
  3. “I’m sorry, I have other plans.”

When an important looking person approaches you and says “Do you know who I am?” you respond by saying:

  1. “I am so sorry that I did not recognize you.”
  2. “Excuse my ignorance.”
  3. “You don’t know who you are?  Have you lost your memory?”

You regard children and small animals as:

  1. A sign of God’s love;
  2. Precious items to be protected and cherished;
  3. Unnecessary.

Which activity should be added as an Olympic sport?

  1. Skateboarding;
  2. Golf;
  3. Poisoning pigeons.

What do you do if you pee when you jump up and down?

  1. Resolve to exercise harder and ignore the issue;
  2. Go immediately to the doctor to find the source of the problem;
  3. Stop jumping up and down.

What slogan would you choose to put on a tee shirt?

  1. Enjoy life;
  2. I ♥ my dog;
  3. member National Sarcasm Society; like we need your help.

If you look like the people in the pictures and answered every question with “C,” then you may be on the road to being a curmudgeon.  If not, then you may be on the yellow brick road.

Oh, and have a nice day!  As you already know, I have other plans.

34 thoughts on “How to Curmudgeon

  1. I think I have a curmug… curmudgon… curmudgeonly attitude, but the spelling of the word is a problem for me. I think I will have to try being something else.

  2. I aspire to being a fully-fledged curmudgeon … or is that curmudgeonette (being a mad old bat) but sadly I seem to be failing by your criteria. I am not worthy!
    But I am tenacious and will keep trying keeping your guidelines in the forefront of my mind … Hoping to join the curmudgeonisti soon … going to practise my grumpiness now … gerroutamyway!

  3. There were no ‘C’ answers in your survey. Of course, there were no ‘A’ or ‘B’ answers, either–or am I splitting hairs?

    I did take the above survey, and, had a variety of answers, so, I think I qualify as a Curmud. Eventually, and with a little work, I’m sure I’ll eventually succeed in achieving the full on Curmudgeon status.

  4. Oh, but this post is great in its awesomeness. I plan to share it with a curmudgeon I already know; maybe he would have more tips for me in my journey toward curmudgeonness.

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