How are those New Year’s resolutions going for you? Not so good? I resolved to address my co-dependent relationship with carbs, but that’s hard to do when there’s leftover croquembouche in the kitchen. So, I’m going to focus on something that requires even more willpower. Here goes.
Don’t complain; don’t explain. This seemingly simply maxim has been attributed to everyone from Disraeli to Ford (Henry, not Gerald) to Hepburn (Katharine, not Audrey). Even the Dowager Countess of Grantham has used it, and that is as good an endorsement as something can get in the early 21st century.
For example, when I submit this column, I could provide a long winded explanation of why it didn’t get in sooner, even though I received an email asking for it earlier today. Now, you know and I know…when you start explaining, you start exaggerating. Next thing you know, you’re telling a bald faced lie. And the lie starts sounding like a complaint, and you’ve violated the other part of the maxim. Only one thing to say: “I am sorry I didn’t get this to you sooner.”
Still not convinced? Did you see Senator Cruz respond to Donald Trump’s questioning his natural-born American status (you know, “Birtherism: The Return”)? His explanation involved things like “settled law” and John McCain and even Barry Goldwater. Shouldn’t Cruz have responded with one word? You know the word, I know the word. The clip would have been bleeped on cable news, but he would have put the issue to bed. (Am I the only one who’s ready to see someone backhand Donald Trump verbally? I didn’t think so.) And no explaining.
Please note that the last two paragraphs will hopefully be the last explaining I have to do for a while.
Now, your mother taught you not to complain, didn’t she? And, if she didn’t, do her the honor of pretending that she did. Otherwise, people might think you’re lacking in good breeding. (God, I love Elizabeth Taylor delivering a Tennessee Williams line.) I know I like to complain; in fact, I’d be hard put to write this column without a touch of the sardonic complaint about it. Hold on…wait a minute. One more word and this will be an explanation. I told you this was hard.
I will now step away from the keyboard and go to the kitchen. Maybe there’s some croquembouche left.