OK, it’s my turn next. For a topic, my mind went first to Thanksgiving and then quickly ricocheted to, “What are we not thankful for?”

Complaining is much-abused, and it is difficult to find people who are on the record in support of it. From “Never tell your problems to anyone…20% don’t care and the other 80% are glad you have them,” (Lou Holtz) to “Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won’t make us happier” to the ultimate – “Don’t complain; just work harder” (the last two quotes both from Randy Pausch) we are constantly told to suck it up and soldier on, or not to complain and change society and/or the world instead, or, we are urged to look inside ourselves to see whether, in the immortal words of Pogo, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

Still, I believe each of us finds complaining to be helpful, at least part of the time, and perhaps there is another way to look at things, unsanctioned though it may be. For example, complaining to others can provide a first step forward, to help us, through vocalizing our complaints, to better define what it is that is bothering us. It can be a useful release of frustration and negative energy. It can produce eloquence, if vocalized, where there is otherwise (speaking for all men) merely a misunderstood and apparently ineloquent grunt, grumble or shrug.

Consider the grains of truth in these quotes and come ready to share your thoughts at Monday’s “Anti-Thanksgiving!” Martha will have to save her comments to share with us in December!

“A good conversation always involves a certain amount of complaining. I like to bond over mutual hatreds and petty grievances.” ― Lisa Kleypas

“Complaining is truly my strongest weakness.” ― Evinda Lepins

“I adore complaining. It calms the nerves.” ― Franny Billingsley

“If I’m not complaining, I’m not having a good time!” Martin Scorcese

“I personally believe we developed language because of our deep inner need to complain.” ― Jane Wagner

“I’m perfectly happy complaining, because it’s cathartic, and I’m perfectly happy arguing with people on the Internet because arguing is my favourite pastime – not programming.” Linus Torvalds