Lynn Dike

Whining lyrical

2007-10-03 12:34

Lynn Dike

I stumbled across a website called The Vent last week which offers users a place to rant and rave about everything they see in the world. And the first comment on the site was a complaint about how some people are publishing too many complaints. Typical. We have become a planet full of moaning minnies.

I watched an insert on television the other day about a pastor who has developed an interesting initiative for his church. The point of the simple campaign is to stop the endless complaining in his congregation. They are all required to wear a wristband to remind them not to complain for 21 days, and if they slip up they have to transfer the band to the other wrist and start again from day one.

The point of this exercise is to make them focus on the positive in their lives and not dwell on the negative. And it's working, not only in his church, but over a million wristbands have been distributed around the world.

Now most people I know would battle to hold true for 21 minutes, let alone 21 days. South Africans are world champion moaners. And if we don't have anything to whine about, we'll invent something. Hey, here I am complaining about people who complain.

South Africa has its problems and is far from perfect, but c'mon people, we don't live in Iraq. Now those folk have a few issues to whinge about.

Strangest things

We also have a tendency to get all riled up about the strangest things. We are so desensitised to important issues like politics and crime, that we are more likely to complain about the weekend sporting events than anything that really should warrant our attention. If there was as much effort put into complaining about evil deeds as there was over getting knocked out of the Twenty 20 World Cup, maybe the public outcry would be heard in the halls of parliament.

One of the most common grumbles is seemingly about the weather. Too hot. Too cold. Too dry. Too wet. My favourite is Capetonians who seem to be genuinely astounded when they wander down to the beach and are blown along the seashore after having a layer of skin stripped off by millions of grains of windblown sand. Well duh, Cape Town is the third windiest city on the planet, why the surprise?

Complaining about the weather makes such sense, as it really does make a difference. Oh wait, no, actually all that complaining does nothing to affect the weather. Somehow the weather gods don't seem to be listening.

My favourite whiners are those few individuals who escalate the problem straight to the help desk of the divine and sue God. Yes, there is a US senator right now who has taken this action. Apparently God is being accused of terror-type threats against him and his constituents, inspiring fear and causing widespread death, destruction and terrorisation of millions upon millions of the Earth's inhabitants.

If that isn't the definitive indication of everything that's wrong with the American government then I just don't know. Actually, what I wonder most about is who assigns a defence lawyer for the omnipresent one, and what kind of restitution is He expected to make should He lose?

I once read an article about how to deal effectively with people who complain a lot. It had all sorts of unhelpful tips like be resilient and ignore them. Personally I find that a swift smack to the head works wonders.

But I have a simpler solution. Instead of complaining inanely about the woes of our country, get off your butt and do something about it. As Ghandi said "Be the change that you want to see in the world".

And stop complaining.

Send your comments to Lynn.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

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