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View Poll Results: Do people become curmudgeons later in life, or are they born that way?
People aren’t born that way, life makes them angry old people 21 22.34%
Curmudgeoness is a trait some are given at birth, this one takes a long time to develop 26 27.66%
Not sure, but get off my lawn! 27 28.72%
Also not sure, but have a nice day 20 21.28%
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Old 10-05-2012, 04:27 PM   #41
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You never heard Bud Abbot calling President Roosevelt a “douchebag” or poking fun at the Lindbergh baby. You never heard Jack Benny talk about smoking amphetamines or “bumpin’ uglies” with the Andrews Sisters. Those men had class – and they understood that if they crossed a line we’d beat them senseless with a sack of righteous indignation faster than you could say Fatty Arbuckle or The First Amendment.
Exactly...
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Old 10-05-2012, 04:43 PM   #42
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A long time ago, Curmudgeon was my username on both Yahoo, and AOL... Early 1990's for AOl... maybe 1996. Yahoo name, later was Curmudgeon1... BTW... on AIM, I was also Bob1. old!

Am not a curmudgeon in the dictionary sense of the word, but more of an impatient know-it-all when I realize I am more knowledgeable than most people that I talk to or correspond with... so "curmudgeon" for me is "Impatient" more than "Bad Tempered".

It's not really arrogance... I don't often show the impatience, but it's hard to read or listen to those things that I know to be twisted or wrong. The humility is fake, but necessary to be part of society.

So the question? Nature or nurture? Hmm... I suppose nature that provides the curiosity that gets one to the point of using basic intelligence to learn and store the knowledge.

... But then this isn't an answer to the original question, but my own take on the term... Perhaps "Fake Humble Curmudgeon".
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Old 10-05-2012, 04:53 PM   #43
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The most curmudgeonly guy I ever knew (he was in his 30s at the time) had such a reputation that the nameplate on his desk had his name, then "Department Skeptic".

The department head thought his attitude was so useful that the policy was that all new proposals had to get him to buy in before the department head would consider them.

It was actually a useful ploy, and nobody really minded, since the curmudgeon was pretty fair about it. He gave the new ideas a fair hearing, and probably OK'd as many as he shot down.
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Old 10-05-2012, 05:18 PM   #44
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Talk about how older people tend to be impatient with youngsters because they have more life experiences and knowledge than the latter, I remember this older engineer, one of my bosses actually.

This man was as old as my late father, well respected, and had a fairly high position in the megacorp. He was a few levels above me, but remained very technical instead of becoming an administrator. He had wide experiences in many areas, and that came from many decades of working so many different programs.

As I worked under him for a few years, I learned a lot from him. But as time went on, and as I spent more time studying some problems that I worked independently on (we were an R&D group), I slowly discovered that I started to know more about what I worked on than he did.

And then, along with the discovery that some of my boss's technical prenotions were plainly wrong, I observed that his political views were also distorted. He made up his mind on many subjects, and no longer opened to new information or ideas that would refute what he thought he knew.

So, it kind of made sense. A man who is stubborn on technical matters that can be proven mathematically and empirically would be even more stubborn on matters that are harder like politics and philosophy.

Though I still respected the man, I told myself not to fall into the same trap, and to keep my mind open. It may be tougher said than done, but if one does not keep reminding himself that one might just be wrong, what hope is there of seeing the light?

Of course, a person with a shut mind would be quite happy with himself, because he was always right. Then, I guess it does not really matter for him. But I still like to find the truth, if that is ever possible.
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Old 10-06-2012, 01:33 AM   #45
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DH and I were just talking about this. We attended our first "investment update" hosted by our brokerage and most of the attendees were 30-40 years our senior. There was a small subset of curmudgeons who seemed to relish the Q&A as a chance to argue and gripe in front of a captive audience.

DH said "I don't understand how people can be wise and have all this life experience, and at the same time be so closed minded." Indeed.

Likewise, my elderly father in law seems to get grumpier by the year, complaining about dogs that stop to sniff his car tires and children that laugh "noisily".

I'm sure there are plenty of young grumps too. Perhaps they are getting it all out on social media.

I tend to avoid curmudgeons of all ages. Negativity is contagious.

I do like a bit of snark or sarcasm however. There is a world of difference between a fun bit of snark and someone who finds fault with everything.

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Old 10-06-2012, 07:57 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
The most curmudgeonly guy I ever knew (he was in his 30s at the time) had such a reputation that the nameplate on his desk had his name, then "Department Skeptic".

The department head thought his attitude was so useful that the policy was that all new proposals had to get him to buy in before the department head would consider them.

It was actually a useful ploy, and nobody really minded, since the curmudgeon was pretty fair about it. He gave the new ideas a fair hearing, and probably OK'd as many as he shot down.
I had the same kind of guy working for me at my last job. Someone would talk about something and I'd say "So Don, whats wrong with it?". If he couldn't come up with something, it was a good plan.
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:28 AM   #47
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I think I used to be kind of a curmudgeon, but I pretty much cured myself of it (AFAIK). Back when I was writing a regular column for the local newspaper, I realized that negative comments could have a serious effect on someone's business, so I adopted the policy of only talking about positive things, simply omitting mention of products or places I disliked for any reason.

After a few years, it got to be a habit, and I think I've maintained that attitude. The old saw "If you can't say something good, don't say anything." is a great rule to live by, IMHO.
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:16 AM   #48
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Not sure on the nature vs. nurture question, but I like this description from How to be a Curmudgeon:

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...the curmudgeon is a mature person who has taken the time and intellectual effort to reflect upon and critique the world and the way it is constituated and has concluded that, given half a chance, they could run things a heck of a lot better.

Have you ever seen TV commercials trying to get you to part with your savings and invest in some stock or commodity? The tag-end of the thing says, “Past performance is not a guarantee of future returns.” The curmudgeon knows that past performance is about all you got to go on. When people say, “Things are different today,” the curmudgeon knows that the medicine show might be new but they’re sellin’ the same old snake oil.

In short, a curmudgeon is a realist of the highest order, not only seeing things the way they are, but the way they have been and most likely the way they’re gonna be.
I voted #1.

That pretty much sums up the world. I am a realist of the highest order and extremely logical and it is difficult to live in this world full of idiots and morons. I'm not sure if we are born this way or if the weight of the world crushes your spirit and you turn into one. It is interesting to see that so many of us are introverts, INTJ or ISTJ types, save enough to RE and are curmudgeons too! I've found my people!
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Old 10-06-2012, 12:00 PM   #49
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I think I used to be kind of a curmudgeon, but I pretty much cured myself of it (AFAIK). Back when I was writing a regular column for the local newspaper, I realized that negative comments could have a serious effect on someone's business, so I adopted the policy of only talking about positive things, simply omitting mention of products or places I disliked for any reason.

After a few years, it got to be a habit, and I think I've maintained that attitude. The old saw "If you can't say something good, don't say anything." is a great rule to live by, IMHO.
Especially good when it comes to dealing with women.

However, it is a terrible way to think if you are an active investor, or even semi-active, as in not comatose. And sometimes the way you speak sneaks into the way you think, and you lose that useful skill of of never saying what you really think, or worse yet, believing the bs you say.

Ha
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Old 10-06-2012, 01:11 PM   #50
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believing the bs you say.
Now, if you believe your own BS, and you're happy...whats the problem?
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Old 10-06-2012, 02:00 PM   #51
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Now, if you believe your own BS, and you're happy...whats the problem?
The United States of America?
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Old 10-06-2012, 03:29 PM   #52
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When I reread my earlier post , I realized that I might have given the impression that I was an easy-going guy. No, far from it, I was born a cranky kid.

I have learned to be more relaxed as I age. About saying positive things that I do not mean, no, I don't do that. I just learn to refrain from saying negative things, when it would make no difference if I do. Why bother?

And get off my lawn, damn it!

Oops, I only have xericape around the house now.

Still, get off my damn gravel!
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Old 10-06-2012, 03:44 PM   #53
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The United States of America?
That was too easy. I promise I'll make it harder next time.
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Old 10-06-2012, 04:59 PM   #54
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I just don't think the world is full of idiots and morons. I've been around people from all walks of life and some other cultures than the U.S. From what I've seen, most people perceive what's to their advantage very quickly; they just don't always do it, if it involves too much effort and self-denial.

As for "curmudgeons," I see 2 types:
  • The elderly whose bodies and senses are failing, and who react fearfully by lashing out at "kids who laugh too noisily" and whatnot. I see them as like elderly dogs who never used to snap and bite, but start to do so because their aches, pains, and failing senses create fear.
  • Mostly middle-aged folks, who were "weaned on a pickle" as bbbami puts it; always considered being nice too much effort, but put in that effort as long as they felt driven to find mates and jobs. Once mating and working are no longer so important, the veil is dropped and the true grouch shows through.
While on the subject: I don't consider someone a curmudgeon simply because they are quick to point out flaws. Sometimes these are just extra-critical, extra-perceptive people, who really fill a need. You need somebody capable and willing to point out that spot you missed while painting, or that funny smell in the house that only house buyers would ever mention. Or that potentially costly flaw in the "Great New Plan" to transform the workplace.


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I voted #1.

....it is difficult to live in this world full of idiots and morons.
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:03 PM   #55
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As for "curmudgeons," I see 2 types:
  • Mostly middle-aged folks, who were "weaned on a pickle" as bbbami puts it; always considered being nice too much effort, but put in that effort as long as they felt driven to find mates and jobs. Once mating and working are no longer so important, the veil is dropped and the true grouch shows through.Amethyst
This is true, and funny. Horney people tend to be very nice to anyone that they think might alleviate that problem for them.
They can still shoot themselves in the foot by being clueless, but I don't think that make them curmudgeons, only to some degree socially tone deaf.

Ha
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:58 PM   #56
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In defense of curmudgeonry:

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Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so. - Douglas Adams
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Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please. - Mark Twain
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I don't like food that's too carefully arranged; it makes me think that the chef is spending too much time arranging and not enough time cooking. If I wanted a picture I'd buy a painting. - Andy Rooney
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The American Dream, the American Dream, the American Dream. Politicians keep saying it. What is it, for God’s sake? Apparently it’s twenty grand on the Visa, upside down on the mortgage on a shoddily built oversize McMansion in a remote sterile suburb where you don’t know your neighbors, living paycheck to paycheck, no savings, forty-five minute commute to a job you hate with gas prices rising. If that’s a dream, better to stay awake. - Fred Reed
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Old 10-07-2012, 10:08 AM   #57
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It is not so easy to define what a curmudgeon is. An older person but not an angry person, more like difficult and cantankerous, impatient and grumpy. A self-proclaimed realist in a world of idiots and morons. So, also somewhat self-centered and pretentious. The links, along with some of the comments, highlight one aspect – a curmudgeon looks to the past for inspiration and seems less able to understand and deal with the present.

Weaned on a pickle could be a cause, but that wouldn’t make the past a thing to admire – perhaps just the opposite. Curmudgeons are mostly older people, so this could be due to aging. Aches and pains, a sense of little time left, maybe even a little cognitive decline.

From the poll we seem to be pretty evenly split. Many self-proclaimed curmudgeons here. We are also Briggs-Meyers “I”s. Could there be a relationship between the two? Are introverts more likely to become curmudgeons?
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Old 10-07-2012, 03:48 PM   #58
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From the poll we seem to be pretty evenly split. Many self-proclaimed curmudgeons here. We are also Briggs-Meyers “I”s. Could there be a relationship between the two? Are introverts more likely to become curmudgeons?
My mother is an extrovert, yet I find it more and more difficult to converse with her. Yes, I believe she has turned into a curmudgeon.

I think introverts tend to self-examine, and would recognize "curmudgeonness" in themselves. Whether they want to do anything about it is another story.

And by the way, Merriam-Webster says "Curmudgeon: crusty, ill-tempered, and usually old man."

I have seen plenty of female curmudgeons. Why this stereotype? From my own limited experience, I'd say curmudgeonness strikes evenly across both sexes, personalities, and political inclinations. Equal opportunity, that's what curmudgeonness is.

PS. And if you challenge my assertion above, you'd better come up with some data! Stay off my gravel yard too!

PPS. Curmudgeonness increases with age. That's an undeniable fact, and explains why there are more curmudgeons here on this forum. A bunch of geezers, so what do you expect? Introversion is only a factor for self-admittance.
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Old 10-07-2012, 04:04 PM   #59
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Briggs-Meyers was after my time... I as I recall, we studied some early follow ups on Jung... that made personality analyses based on intelligence test scores. I recall a visiting lecturer (Gettinger?) who opined that intelligence was a predisposing factor for a lack of tolerance.
Maybe, losing patience in old age is a function of fear of losing sharpness and control.
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Old 10-07-2012, 04:09 PM   #60
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Perhaps it's because 'they' (we?) have "Seen it all before", and have limited patience for recycled failed ideas presented as 'new'?
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