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For the record, I'm not a grouchy person. At least not most of the time.

For instance, when I'm out in the back yard, relaxing and away from people, I'm very pleasant. Or when I'm riding my bike, away from people, I'm a prince among men. And on those occasions where I'm driving by myself, away from people, you couldn't meet a nicer person.

And when I'm asleep ... well, maybe not so great. Snoring.

All right, so maybe it's not too hard to connect the dots here. I'm basically a people person, as long as there aren't any people involved. But lately I'm experiencing a real challenge to my basic personality. Seems my curmudgeon-like attitude is bumping up against elements of my life.

I'm like the Grinch when his heart starts to expand. Or maybe it was his shoes. I forget. Whatever, it's borderline painful.

It seems I'm being surrounding by perkiness. And I'm not sure how exactly to process it.

In fact, I'm so surrounded, I can even rank the perkiness from "exceptionally, ridiculously perky" to "are you kidding me with this?" perky. Perky to the point that instead of a top three, what we actually have here is three No. 1's. Sort of 1A, 1B and 1C.

1C -- Walmart grocery pickup person: I normally approach grocery shopping with all the enthusiasm reserved for slamming your hand repeatedly in your car door. So when given the opportunity to have someone else actually do the shopping for me, guilt free, I almost smiled. Almost.

Now I have to be honest. If my job was to load other people's groceries in the back of their car in rain, snow or gloom of night, my general outlook would be slightly less sunshiny than it is right now. Sarcasm intended. But somehow they've managed to find young adults willing to do this with an attitude that implies that if you suggested you had errands to run so they should just take all the stuff you just bought to your house, put everything up and, while they were at it, clean out the vegetable drawer, they'd say, "Sure! And my mom made fresh cookies!"

1B -- Chick-Fil-A drive-through worker: Of all the things I wanted to do when I was in high school, stand outside on hot asphalt asking people if they wanted waffle fries with their salad without a hint of a smirk would not be on the list. It wouldn't even be in the same ZIP code as the list. It would be as listless as I would be.

And yet, every day, there they are. And every day they keep smiling and their eyes don't even glaze a bit, despite the fact that I continue suggesting what a great idea it would be to serve chicken biscuits all day long. Even on Sunday.

1A -- Servers at 7Brew Coffee: I'm fairly certain people who are a little too upbeat to work the drive-through at a Chick-Fil-A are right in the wheelhouse at 7Brew.

Of course, the dichotomy couldn't be more obvious. A lengthy line of near zombie-like folk crawling through a drive-through in search of coffee, only to be met by people with more perk than the product they sell.

And since there's an awful lot of flannel and knit hats involved, you sort of operate under the impression this must be what it's like to buy coffee in Canada (or, as residents like to refer to it, the home of the "happy" North Americans).

One of the great unpleasantnesses of life is the ease with which generally grumpy people like me are allowed to stay grumpy. Sort of like the old adage about those with inherited wealth being born on third base and going through life thinking they hit a triple. Except we're born cranky, and go through life fully expecting the feeling to be justified.

But there are times when even our best attempts to stay in a foul mood are thwarted. For me, it's usually about the time I pick up some groceries, get a chicken sandwich or grab some coffee.

And nothing makes me grumpier than not being able to stay in a bad mood.

Commentary on 01/18/2019

Print Headline: Life has its perks

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