I walked down the hall in the condo we were staying at the other day; an old guy (younger than me but still, an old guy) came out of his door. As he was locking it, he turned to me and said, “Nice day, huh?” And it was, 75 degrees, a gentle breeze blowing off the ocean, sun shining below a blue sky with a few wispy clouds.
I responded, “Yes it is. It will be a challenge for me to find something to complain about.” He said, “Why bother? Nobody will listen.” I countered, “It doesn’t matter; it just feels good to air it out.”
Tossing out a complaint is just as therapeutic as yelling, “Ouch.” You bang your shin on the edge of a table; it hurts like heck! You let out a loud, “Ouch!” (Or two.) The pain starts to ebb. Ouch is one of those perfect words. Ow, or Ooh works for lesser injuries, but doesn’t have the pain easing properties as Ouch.
It’s among the few words in the English Language that perfectly suits the reaction to a sudden, sharp pain. Oh sure, swearing can be used to relieve pain or frustration, but it’s not my go- to, for the most part.
My father used to say, “Sucker!” When we heard it, we could be sure a hammer missed the target and creamed his thumb or a wrench slipped off a nut, sending his knuckles into a sharp metal edge.
We heard it a lot in the spring of 1949 when he decided to build a travel trailer in our garage. It slept four, had a kitchen table, an “ice” box and plenty of storage space. He got the idea, and the plans, from a Popular Mechanics Magazine.
Our garage was soon filled with lumber, power tools, angle iron and other supplies. He filled the air with a plethora of, “Suckers!” He never swore, except for that. It was his Ouch!
Sucker was his; ouch is mine, as it is for many people. It makes the injury feel better, to a degree, and announces our suffering to anyone within listening distance. My complaint habit works in a similar way, clearing my angst. It may make everyone around me feel worse, but that’s his or her problem. They can say Ouch, to relieve the pain, or do some complaining of their own.
Complaints? Pass them on to email@example.com – Ouch!