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National Grouch Day

Irritable. Cranky. Pessimistic. Miserable. These are just a few of the adjectives that can be used to describe a grouch, which one dictionary lists as "a sulky, complaining, or morose person." Despite the negative words associated with grouches, National Grouch Day is for honoring them. The day was "created for and inspired by" Alan Miller, a retired teacher from Clio, Michigan, who also happens to be the Chairman of the Board of something called the National Association of Grouches. According to a few sources, Sesame Street Magazine picked up on the day at some point, and embraced it and made its readers aware of it.

Grouches only seem to be happy—if that's what it can be called—when others are miserable just like them. And grouches have been that way for a long time. The expression "to have a grouch on" dates to 1890, and the definition of a grouch as an "ill-tempered person" dates to 1896. Perhaps the most famous grouch is a fictional one: Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street. Being that there is a whole species of these furry creatures on Sesame Street, there is no wonder why the holiday has become associated with the television series. These grouches live close to garbage—in places like city dumps and broken down houses—and in Oscar's case, in a garbage can. They live for being as grouchy as possible, and to spread that feeling to everyone they meet. Additionally, they "enjoy" smelly, dirty, and rotten things, such as broken appliances, foods that people tend to avoid, out-of-tune songs, and mud baths. Today we honor all grouches, both fictitious and real, and let them be their usual cranky, miserable, and grouchy selves.

How to Observe

Celebrate the day by honoring all the grouches in your life! If you are a grouch, embrace your grouchiness. If you are someone who is usually in an ebullient mood, it's okay to spend your day being grouchy instead. Perhaps you could spend the day singing "The Grouch Anthem" or reading How to Be a Grouch. It's fitting to spend the day watching some Sesame Street. Besides watching episodes of the series, you could watch one of the Sesame Street movies, such as Follow That Bird or The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland. You could also spend some time with a few other grouchy characters: the Grinch, Ebenezer Scrooge, and Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau—a few Grumpy Old Men.

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