Monday, July 31, 2006

Confessions of the Habitual Harrumpher

Warning: Off-topic self-indulgence follows.

I have gone from amusement to reality, with the suddenness of a skydiving landing. Getting called out -- albeit in below-the-fold level references -- by local and national columnists, and then yesterday by my oldest son may mean it's true.

I must actually harrumph.

My family has long included cranks of the get-it-done-right variety. I recall the humiliation my sister and I experienced together when our 5-foot 2-inch mother had the gigantic manager of the Sears store in a huge New Jersey mall literally hiding behind his desk. In her righteousness, she drove him to hunker and whisper to his secretary that he was not there.

We had moved from Virginia, which at that time meant a different Sears zone and a different color credit card. The only time our mother ever bought on credit was annually for school clothes. The new store would not take its siblings' card and they told my mother to wait until the replacement came in the mail. She had asked for it two months before and, to put it gently, was not of a mind to wait.

My sister at 16 and I at 15 were not prairie dogs. We stayed low and avoided noise and embarrassment. Our mother, on the other hand, knew what was right and what had to be done. Our blushing was our problem at that point.

It may be of no surprise that she got that new card overnight from the company HQ. It may be no surprise that I have exhibited my crankiness more than once since, regardless of whom it embarrasses.

So, in April, when Kimberley Atkins over at the Herald had one of my posts here harrumphing, I should not have been surprised either. I was.

As she put it in BLOG BUZZ:
Last week's SJC ruling banning most out-of-state gay couples from wedding in the Bay State has made same-sex marriage a hot political topic again online. And so far, bloggers have not been kind to Tom Reilly. "As anticipated, Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Tom Reilly is AWOL," harrumphed MassMarrier, a gay-marriage-friendly blogger.
That was a singleton and amusing. Several blogger chums in effect sought me out to say, "That's about right."

Now, I must assume that Melonyce McAfee of Today's Blogs in Slate reads Atkins'. Last week, she also had me harrumphing. Or perhaps it's just that obvious. I choose to believe she was copying.

As she put it:
Mass Marrier at Marry in Massachusetts regrets the court's argument that gay marriage may be harmful for children and population growth. "The majority ruling in Washington State performed its sideshow trick. It took a key legal principle, stood it on its head and spun it until it was dizzy," Marrier harrumphs. "In both the New York and Washington decisions, the judges perverted a legal touchstone, that of compelling interest. They wrote very clearly that their states had a compelling interest in legislation that promoted the continuation of humanity, in their cases by promoting heterosexual marriage, which often produced offspring. Yet as the dissents in the Washington case iterated and mirrored the New York dissents, that has squat to do with the question before them. … Forbidding SSM simply punishes gays and their children and in no way leads to the production of a single additional future citizen."
Self-consciousness aside, do two, possibly coincidental, comments make for a judgment of harrumph? Am I thus branded with the huge, flaming H of harrumpher?

Perhaps I could have let it pass until last evening. At a large family dinner at Boston Beer Garden in Southie, my oldest son sealed the decision.

Speaking as a reader of this blog, he said, "Well, your posts do have an harrumphing tone."

So, there you have it. I think I need a t-shirt to proclaim my acceptance of my nature. (Insert snort here.)

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