Curmudgeoning skills can be learned online — just follow any major news story about any new-fangled device/idea and it will provide the right level of intolerance and grumpiness.

But to really excel and build your curmudgeon profile, you need to attend a course.

Curmudgeon 101 is an entry level course of study that will get you started with the basics, focusing on bloody-minded sheer grumpiness as a first step towards the more advanced fluent curmudgeon.

This requires the abandonment of any form of sophisticated thinking and complete deafness to anyone else's ideas.

There is no age restriction but the course is very popular with males aged over 60 (an 18-year-old signed up by mistake thinking curmudgeon was a foreign language).

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The only course requirement is an ability to be at odds with the world about nearly everything and to say so loudly with a completely indestructible sense of entitlement.
The Curmudgeon 101 course is divided into modules.

The first module provides practical lessons in muttering and mumbling darkly about something in the news that is annoying.

This section comes with a set of tapes containing a series of potential irritated responses to events, people and situations that can be practised to develop voice tone and compensate for the complete lack of knowledge about the subject.

The next module assists the budding curmudgeon to build their ability to grumble indignantly and loudly to themselves in the street about something that has annoyed them.

This has a bonus free set of vocal exercises that will allow you to advance to shouting at the TV/radio in a completely irrational manner.

Module three has samples of irate rambling — Letters to the Editor with blank spaces in which to write you own words. For example: "The previous correspondent clearly knows nothing about [insert word]."

It also has phrases such as: "I am not a racist but [----]"; or "Not that I have anything against ... [gay] [foreign] [teenagers] [short people] but ...", while adding: "Back in my day that would not have been allowed" to further refine the level of classic curmudgeonosity.

There is an exam at the end of the course. This will be a verbal test of student's ability to rant incoherently and cuss irascibly on talkback radio, plus a series of multiple-choice questions such as:

Q: Which of the following is an appropriate response to a news story about climate change?
1. In my day the weather was all the climate we needed.
2. It is all a hoax dreamed up by hippies.
3. It will be great — we will be able to grow bananas in Invercargill.
4. All of the above.

There will be extra points given to those who complain about their marks as this indicates a degree of curmudgeon that goes beyond the day-to-day application of disgruntled grumpiness.

Enrolment forms can be obtained from this address — Tel (aka Terry Sarten) at tgs@inspire.net.nz