FOR THE 25TH YEAR IN A ROW!
When WWN learned that the American Misanthropic Institute had picked their 2021 “Grumpiest Man in America” winner and that he was a multiple winner, this reporter was on his way.
Arriving in Nyahnyah, New York, we were greeted by Institute President, Mr. Silas Pug known, in come circles, as “Mr. Misanthrope.”
He ignored my extended hand. “C’mon. I’ll introduce you to Claude. That’s it. That’s all I’ll do. I don’t like your kind. Your kind killed this nation.”
“Uh, what kind is that?”
“Elitists! You, you looking down on us all with your socks and shoes, intellects and toilets!”
Silas then kicked this reporter through the opened flap of a large tent. We quickly scrambled to our feet after three to five minutes of unconsciousness. We found ourselves staring at the dour visage of Claude “The Keener” Crampston, the winner of “The Grumpiest Man In America” prize…for the 25th year in a row.
Claude stared at this reporter hard. He was born to wear a “Get Off My Lawn” t-shirt. Physically, he resembled the hunched, male version of The Wicked Witch of the West, but with a cane that was way cooler than the old broom. “Nice entrance,” Claude said. “You saving that last brain cell of yours to plan the next one? You’re the kind of guy that ticks me off.”
Claude’s visage seemed to shimmer, absorbing every nuance of a grumpy old man face. “You get a nice job and, presto! You’re on the fast track! You leave all your loved ones behind for the siren’s song of the almighty dollar. And, then, one day…you’re broke and you have nobody in your corner.”
“SHE WAS A STAY-AT-HOME MOM WHO WAS PRONE TO WRITHE ON THE FLOOR.”
Claude curled his lip. “Oh, I know how that goes. My father thought he’d gotten the perfect job to lift us up into the middle class.”
“What did your father do?”
“He was a traveling executioner.”
This WWN scribe was startled. “But…that means…in the 1950s and 1960s your father offered his services to kill people.”
Claude nodded. “We were broke a lot.”
And his Mom?
“She was just a stay-at-home mom who was prone to writhe on the floor, screaming in tongues, whenever the Spirit would visit her. I later learned his name was ‘Tony.’
“As you can imagine, my abilities at mastering the English language were a tad off, owing to my mother’s speaking in tongues. In later years, I lost the Big High School Debate but was given a spur of the moment award for ‘Best Spontaneous Yodeling.’”
He seemed to seethe behind the eyes. “My parents actually bundled me up in a basket and abandoned me, leaving me on the steps of an orphanage.”
This reporter’s eyes started to water. Claude continued. “It was a shock. I was seventeen at the time. And they kept on spelling words in front of me. ‘Are you sure you wouldn’t want to just k-i-l-l him?’ That sort of stuff.”
He calmed down. “Eventually, I left the orphanage after a nun had an Immaculate Conception. I decided on a career…as a birthday clown.”
“Were you good at it?”
“I was broke a lot. Then, I met the love of my life and married her.”
“Let me guess. She speaks in tongues.”
Claude nodded. “And she’s filthy rich. It worked out well. She lets me control the finances while she goes on these ‘Holy Tongue Tours.’ She’s like the Mick Jagger of Tonguers.”
This reporter then made the mistake of putting his feet up on a wooden beer crate. Claude leaped to his feet, slowly, and waved a fist in front of this WWN mainstay’s face. “This is the way you repay me? I agree to talk to you and you just put your feet all over my priceless furniture?”
“That’s a beer crate.”
“I borrowed it from the Metropolitan Museum of Art!”
This reporter got to his feet and just stood there, face accelerating to “beet red.”
“And you have scuffs on your shoes!” Claude yelled. “I used to polish and buff all my shoes before I started wearing flip-flops.”
That tore it.
This proud reporter of the Weekly World News would take no more. “Well, at least this scribe is not a bitter old man who judges any and all people by standards that dwell, if I may say so, somewhere between adolescent petulance and insanity.”
For the first time during this interview, Claude smiled. Then, he began to cackle. “You’re a puppy to me, kid. But you have promise. I’ll see you back here in twenty-or-so years, when you win the title.”
This scribe stormed out of the tent and across the Misanthropic Fair Grounds. A group of small children were gleefully slapping each other silly when this WWN employee plowed through them.
“Out of the way, kids! Just get out of the way!” I bellowed.
This reporter stopped in his tracks.