Feb 232015
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Being Cantankerous is not easy.

I it not easy being a Cantankerous Old Coot. You might think that all you need to learn is how to be rude and obnoxious. You would be very wrong. It is a way of life- a way of seeing the world and when you become a master, there are many skills that come into play. One that you might never think about is your facial expressions. Sometimes a look is all that a Coot will need to establish effective communication. In every case a facial expression can add that finishing touch that signals you really mean what you say.

People don’t want straight talk

These days, so many people are superficial. They aren’t serious. Their statements are tentative or joking. People just don’t expect you to lay the truth on them. They look closely to see if you are kidding. They don’t want to deal with the truth. They don’t want to deal with you if you are telling the truth and they will go to any length to delude themselves about your intent. If they think that you are kidding, then they can shrug away your statement and move on, skating away from a confrontation either with you or the truth you have just laid on them. Don’t make it easy for them. You fail as a cantankerous old coot if you let this happen. Your facial expression is the clincher.

Lets Review the Lessons so far

Lets take a minute and review the lessons so far. In Lesson 1, we learned to let your feelings out freeing you to be real. Lesson 2 reminded us all that what other people think is unimportant. You don’t have time for worrying about whatever silliness is keeping them awake at night. Lesson 3 reminded us that polite is just an excuse for lying. Finally Lesson 4 emphasized that immediate response is important. Don’t hold back or reserve your first thoughts. Just let her rip. The importance for Lesson 5, Let your Face show you mean it is that unless you get Lesson 5, you can blow off all the other lessons. Your words may tell the world what you really think and blow away any pretensions from your companions but if you don’t reinforce this with your facial expression, everything you worked for is lost. Break a smile and people will think you are kidding or being playful. Keep your expression neutral and they can interpret your statement as a misstatement.

This brings us to Lesson 5

Lesson 5 is vital because your expression must support and reinforce everything you have learned so far. It must be stern and serious. It can run the gamut of emotions from scowl to downright contempt. It must take no prisoners, leave no stone unturned and be so controlled that no one can have any doubt that you mean exactly what you are saying. Lesson 5 is the hardest lesson because no matter how well you learn the other lessons, we are so controlled by the urge to be nice that almost without thinking our facial expressions will try to make nice. As with most every thing in life, practice makes perfect so observe yourself in the mirror and find your weaknesses. Maybe your eyes twinkle or your mouth just can’t help curling up in a Mona Lisa smile. Whatever they are, find them and get them under control.


Ralph is the inspiration for Cantankerous Old Coots and is our Grand Duke of Cantankerousness

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  4 Responses to “Coot Lesson 5- Let your face show what you think.”

  1. Ralph you crack me up. I have been told the my scowl is very effective, now to work on the snakry eyebrow raise without it being comical…

  2. Yes. It is essential that you don’t give an impression of levity. If you do, it is beyond fixing.

  3. I’ve learned to avoid the eyebrow raise – can’t do it to save myself. (Makes my face look all twisted up like I’m trying out for the part of Quasimodo) Scowls I can do though. Apparently.

  4. Field,I’m telling evroyene I know about Philly’s murder rate. Folks are in shocked…and wondering what they should do if they don’t live there. And you are right on with this pet craziness. I have a co-worker who just maxed out her credit card paying $5K for surgery for her dog (it has the doggie version of a torn ACL). Now she wants to have fund raisers to help her pay it off. She is actually emailing folks in our office asking them to contribute. “As you all know, Sophie is my best friend. She sleeps with me every night, has been by my side through every bad breakup, and is my running partner in the morning. I can’t live without her.” White folks in my office are actually giving her money. Black folks…oh wait, I’m the only black person in my office and hell no, I’m not giving her a dime. So guess what, they’re talking about me because I won’t! Ain’t that some b.s.!

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