Diary of an Angry Old Man by Rick Minerd has a title that demanded my attention. I can sometimes be an angry old man but mostly I’m not. There might be survival tips here. There might be shared experiences or new perspectives on growth and new experiences as a senior citizen. I began reading the book with high expectations. The first few pages were a bit puzzling as far as organization. Minerd started the story with this title: Chapter Six? This was followed by Chapter Seven?, Chapter Eight?, and Chapter One. Minerd explained why he began the book at Chapter Six. He didn’t explain the question marks.
Chapter Six was informative and amusing. Minerd discusses the earlier stages of his life briefly and then remains in the present. He compares things that can be compared and looks with humor at the things that can’t. Many of us may find the situation of washing, drying, and storing cutlery amusing. Minerd places silverware to dry with the handles up; his wife prefers the “business end” up. As Minerd continues to stab himself when he grabs “blade-up” knives, he complains to his wife and encourages her to change behavior. She refuses. The dialogue at this point is amusing although there is this statement that hints at what is to come. “I have a theory as to why women are more likely to live longer than men; it serves them right.” (Loc 121-122). Readers should not mistake this as a compliment to women.
Chapter Seven might lead the reader to believe that Minerd is setting himself up for the life of a hermit. He doesn’t want to connect with others who displease himself in any way. This includes family members. I would wholeheartedly join him in his rants against texting as an acceptable “normal” means of communication. But in Chapter Seven I see a shift from things that are amusing to serious complaining abut the FCC, outsourcing of US jobs to foreign countries and the lack of inclusion of senior citizens in celebrations that, in the past, were not as commercial as at present. This is the sentence in Chapter Seven that indicated to me that I was reading something not written to entertain me. “You can’t just haul off and punch some old guy in the mouth just because he angers you! I hold with that thinking also but I wouldn’t shy away from doing all I know I am capable of doing to ensure he never wanted to speak to me ever again. I might punch him.” (loc 660-662).
In Chapter Eight Minerd gives us his thoughts about same-sex marriage (It’s not my issue, leave me alone) gun control (I have mine but I’d be scared if everyone had one) and being forced to live on a fixed income (it sucks). Minerd is straightforward with his language and is much more forceful than my paraphrased parenthesized items. Fans of political correctness would bail at about this point and leave the book to float on alone. Like Minerd, I am in no way a fan of political correctness, so I continued to read.
And then Minerd ended the book.
And began again with Chapter One. By this point (but it’s only Chapter One), humor has left the building. Minerd announces his views on religion. While the reader is free to agree or disagree, Minerd doesn’t care. I agree with that, I also don’t care. But I don’t shout it to others in print. This seems a bit inconsistent of Minerd. From Chapter Seven, we have “I believe that when we become satisfied with ourselves and how we lived our lives we have earned the right to expect others to just leave us the Hell alone when we choose to want that.” (904-905). Maybe he wasn’t ready to be alone yet. In this chapter Minerd also describes and gives thoughts on income inequity and what he has personally done in reaction to the social issue. Humor is absent and there is a good reflection on the author’s actions to correct inequities on a personal level where he can but the politically correct reader isn’t going to like it.
Chapters Two and Three followed a pattern I was getting used to; the only difference from other chapters was Minerd’s description of specific family or friend situations. In other words, he gave examples that supported his earlier more philosophical points. Chapter Four had this quote that captured my attention: “I don’t answer to anyone any more; the only person who can actually make me change is me and I am liking myself more and more every day.” (loc 1666-1667).
Readers who like this non-fiction work will probably also like the tweets of the current POTUS. Both the tweets and this book rely on overly simplistic solutions to complex problems. The only difference is that Minerd seems to have withdrawn from society to enjoy his personal freedom from responsibility. And, sadly, per my first paragraph, I didn’t get any cool survival tips. Mission Unaccomplished.
Near the end of the work, Minerd points out that while readers may have questions about him; they bought the book for USD 5.99, they probably knew what to expect. NOTE: I didn’t buy the book. Thanks, Kindle Unlimited (KU).