Four keys to discontentment

Published 8:59 am Wednesday, June 20, 2012

It has come to my attention that we as a people might improve a bit in that area for which we have long been known — discontentment.

I therefore consider it my duty to offer advice along these lines, that we might better maintain our standing in such an arena.

* Compare yourself to everyone. Look around. Is your neighbor’s yard greener? Do they have a bigger house? Surely they have a newer car! Find something!

Why, with a little effort you can find those with smarter kids, more hair, fewer wrinkles, straighter teeth, more desirable figures, longer vacations and higher IQs. And remember, they came by it easily.

You must work at the simplest of achievements. They were born into it, or inherited it, or married into it.

* Scrutinize everything. Is the tea too warm? The coffee too cold? How about your bed? Surely it’s too firm or too soft!

If your shirt is clean, perhaps you can find a spot somewhere, maybe a loose thread?

Notice the weather, for it is rarely completely pleasant. Too hot, too cold, raining, fog, misting, windy, humid?

If that doesn’t work, try food, especially at restaurants. Hey, you’re paying for it, so it should be perfect, right? Is the T-bone steak a tad rare? Is there too much lettuce in the salad? Waiter let your tea get almost empty before asking for a refill? Look around! The world is full of deficiencies!

* By all means, don’t overlook your spouse. There’s enough fuel there to last for years.

Try and dwell on the little things that drive you crazy! Do they talk with food in their mouth? Talk too much? Too little? Told you that same story yesterday? Drive in the left hand lane? Snore? Smell? Spit? Get the words to songs mixed up? Turn the thermostat two degrees cooler than you like?

As you can see, once you get in the groove, things will just come natural.

* Be thankful for nothing, for it is the enemy of discontentment. Pray, if you must, but make them shallow, pithy statements that lack any sincerity and are practiced only out of habit or guilt.

After all, everything you have came as a result of your personal efforts and what you don’t have is a result of others lack of effort. Remember, you are alone. Do not be deceived into thinking you are part of a greater drama.

Well, there you have it. Post these on your fridge and practice daily. With any luck, by this time next year, you will be the most discontent in your neighborhood!

REX ALPHIN of Walters is a farmer, businessman, author, county supervisor and contributing columnist for The Tidewater News. His email address is