I don’t seek out the company of anyone who exudes a negative outlook on life. It’s hard enough to stay positive what with all the misery the world has to cope with. There are millions of people trying to make it through the day and at the same time having to deal with famine, war, forced migration, oppression of free speech, religion and race.

We in this country are so well off with our freedoms that we don’t know our luck. I know our society has its problems too, but we are in a position with good governance to address them. So when I encounter people who add to the negativity of our world, I take note and do my best to stay positive. And try to understand what makes them tick.
Says she to me one day, ‘‘Don’t you become cranky in your old age.’’

She had been on the phone to a friend whose hubby had just gone cranky. Says I to her, ‘‘Sure, if you keep looking after me the way you have been this long number of years, cranky won’t come into it.’’ (She liked my riposte). But I got to thinking, with certain men (to be unnamed ) in mind, what might make any of us cranky as we head for the fourscore.

There is a crankiness I’ve met in men who have lost the capacity to laugh. It might have to do with failing powers, unresolved disappointments, or an inability to accept the changes which come with getting old. It could be a resistance to the fact of having to slow down, or to be constantly under the care of the doctor.
I’ve seen men grow snappy, and short, and always negative about the young. I’d be hoping they would meet some person who, without an agenda, could simply cheer them up, convey some understanding of them, and yet reawaken the spark of laughter.

I’m so glad that there are many more calm and content older people than cranky ones.

I associate the times I myself am cranky with lack of patience. Purgatory for me would be stuck in a queue of traffic for a month. Herself has to keep me calm sometimes when we run into a tailback on the M50, or when I experience a run of ill-mannered drivers.
And I sometimes get angry with politicians or diplomats sugaring over obvious breaches of human rights with double speak. I like to call a spade a spade when it comes to such matters, and I find it hard to accept that this is the way political life has to work. I like to get a fool’s pardon when I get it wrong.
We are not in control of everything, a lesson we are slow to learn, and this stage of life reminds us of that fact. Raging against the loss of youth is understandable, and when you meet a cranky old man, be gentle. He could be having a hard day. ÷

Read Cassidy Says every week in Ireland’s Own