If You Can't Say Anything Nice, Then Just Shut Up

It's been said, "You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time."

And there are some people you can never please at any time. Never, ever, at all.

We all know people who gripe and complain about everything. Nothing pleases them. Someone could get nearly everything on their Christmas list, and they would still whine and moan that they didn't get that one gift they really wanted.

And I just know someone is going to whine that I said Christmas and not "the holidays." Then someone else will gripe about the war on Christmas, and someone else will say #AllHolidaysMatter, and then people will shriek and point fingers and call each other Nazis.

Don't believe me? Just look at your Facebook page. You'll quickly spot the perpetually unhappy, the ones who are simply never pleased with anything.

If you can't find that person, then it's probably you.

They complain about the government, no matter who's in charge. They complain about tax breaks for businesses, and then complain about tax breaks for citizens, and then complain that either tax break wasn't big enough, or that it was too big.

I saw a guy grouse about all the violence in the "Deadpool" movie, despite all the media coverage about the shocking amounts of graphic violence. He and his wife went to an 'R' rated movie about a rampaging killer on a vengeance-fueled murder fest, but they left halfway through because they didn't like the violence.

It's a movie based on a comic book about a guy who delights in killing people. What did you think it was going to be? A light-hearted farce about the British aristocracy? It's like complaining about all the pepperoni on a pepperoni pizza.

The problem in our society is not that people are easily offended, it's that they just want something — anything — to complain about.

There's a YouTube channel called CinemaSins that's just some guy griping about nitpicky details in movies. I assume he makes them when he's not shouting upstairs to his mom that he wants another grilled cheese sandwich.

I recently watched a CinemaSin video with my son called "Everything Wrong With Guardians of the Galaxy." One of the so-called movie sins? Peter Quill (Star-Lord) still had a working Sony Walkman 26 years after he was taken from Earth.

This is a movie with a green alien that speaks English, a tree that walks like a man, and a talking raccoon with a gun fetish. But magical space batteries is the hill you want to die on?

These are advanced alien species with faster-than-light interstellar travel, and you can't believe that someone probably created a multi-year power source that's the size of a AA battery?

Can't you just suspend disbelief for two hours? Shut up and enjoy the movie. Nobody needs that kind of negativity in their lives.

Except they do, because 10.6 million people watched Francis Ford Crabs-a-lot blather on for nearly 16 minutes about everything wrong in a movie with laser guns and space aliens.

We live in a world of Debbie Downers, people who have something negative to say about everything.

Did you get your seasonal flu shot?

"A lot of time vaccine manufacturers are just guessing at which flu strains will be active this year, which means there's a good chance it won't work," groans Debbie.

Are you excited about buying your first new car in 12 years?

"Too bad it lost a third of its value as soon as you drove it off the lot," moans Debbie.

These people cannot only not be happy, they get joy from sucking the happiness from everyone else in the room. They're happiness vampires who are not truly content until they've sunk their fangs into your happy little neck.

Years ago, I was telling some friends about how my then-three-year-old daughter unplugged our Christmas tree lights as we were leaving the house. One guy said she probably did it wrong and could have started a fire.

"That's not the point," I said. "The point is, my three-year-old knew we had to unplug the Christmas lights when we left the house, so she did it on her own without being asked. It's not about fire safety or whether she can pull a plug out correctly."

Because nothing warms a proud dad's heart more than being told his kid nearly burned the house down.

In his speech, Citizenship In a Republic, President Teddy Roosevelt said, "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena. . . who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

Even back in 1910, Teddy Roosevelt was standing up for the creators and the doers who dare mighty things, and he delivered the world's greatest smackdown of complainers. He basically told the world's critics to put up or shut up. And he did it in just 73 words.

I bet I could have said it in 50.

Photo credit: Alan Turkus (Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0)

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