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Postcard from the Past: The Grouch

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

The Great Creator, in His wisdom, created many men of many minds and temperaments knowing if the sons of men were alike in wishes and desires it would lead to unending strife.

He created well, for man is the noblest work of God. But in some way, there crept into the world a creature God did not create – a thing self-made – be it male or female, which is hated, despised and abhorred. A thing self-created, self-pitied and abnormally self-loved.

This self-created creature is the chronic grouch which walks here and there in every town and community searching for happiness so he may destroy it. Flowers and children, because they represent beauty and love, he detests. He reads as he runs all men are liars and all women are creatures of evil.

In summer, he reviles the bright sunshine and hates the green hills. In winter, he reviles the cleansing snow and the purifying frost. The bitterness of gall and wormwood is within his heart.

Children flee from him, and his wife can be classed among the martyrs. Men shun him, and the world hates him. From an early age, he walked this Earth spreading unhappiness and unbelief – a maker of evil and discord.

Let us throw the X-ray of self-examination into our own hearts and search out the little microbe which has a tendency to multiply and produce, in time, the hated grouch. There is too much love and sunshine in this old world of ours to spoil it with the canker of selfishness.

Thus are the words of wisdom from an editorial in the Jan. 14, 1915 issue of The Saratoga Sun

As this writer searched for an image to accompany this article, he discovered the Wyoming Newspaper Project website listed 3,270 mentions of “grouch” in Wyoming newspapers from 1849 until the 1960s. 

Following is an article in the June 30, 1915 issue of The Kemmerer Camera that I just couldn’t pass up:

The Gentleman

and The Grouch

Stand a gentleman and a grouch side by side, and which will command the greater respect?

Webster says a gentleman is a man of “refined manners and good behavior,” while the grouch is “gruff and morose.”

It’s easy for any man to be a gentleman, and he has much to gain and nothing to lose.

It is equally easy to be a grouch, with everything to lose and nothing to gain.

The gentleman has many friends but few enemies, while a grouch has many enemies and a few friends.

God smiles upon the gentleman, while the devil smiles at the grouch.

Life is bright to the gentleman, while the grouch it is full of gall.

Be a gentleman if you can, but don’t be a grouch.

Dangerous as Dynamite 

The average “grouch” is as dangerous to human life as a ton of dynamite. It breaks up families by causing quarrels at the breakfast table. It makes partners fight and brings on bankruptcy. It has started as many men on the road to ruin as whisky.

Thus proclaims an article in the March 1, 1909 issue of The Laramie Republican.

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