At our recent meeting there was a slight air of despondency when someone asked if our garrulous grumbling, grousing, griping and grievances made any difference.
The only positive seemed to be that we all felt we had got something off our chests. “A bit like a good cough,” someone said. When a member suggested that hardly anything makes much of a difference there was a long silence as brains worked their way round the concept. We all knew it would make a difference if the host had failed to provide any biscuits and coffee, or someone was wearing a suicide belt, but gradually more important topics began to emerge.
Would it make any difference if Jeremy Corbyn becomes Prime Minister?
Not a lot, apparently, because all he would do (like all incoming new Governments) is claim that he cannot do all the things he promised because the previous Government had left the economy in such a mess.
Would it make any difference if Scotland became independent?
Not a lot, apparently, because the midges would still be there and Nicola Sturgeon would still be blaming everything on the Tory Government and claiming that she was not being given enough money.
Would it make any difference if we come out of Europe?
Opinions were consistently vague around the unknown and there were many “ in some ways yes and in some ways no”. The main area of concern was that Angela Merkel had said that Britain must face penalties if it is to leave the union. We all know the problem with Germany and penalties.
Would it make any difference if we scrapped Trident? A brilliant solution was offered. Scrap it and save the money, but don’t tell anybody.
Then the most relevant question of the day. Would it make any difference to the meeting if we woke up the member who, as usual, had succumbed to the charms of Morpheus and fallen asleep? From past experience the unanimous opinion was no, although he did wake up shortly afterwards and shouted “It’s not my fault”.
Our resident expert on psychology tried explaining that it was a possible combination of a guilt complex, original sin and living with a dominant woman. For once the chairman acted quickly, anticipating an avalanche of what would probable be interpreted as sexist remarks and asked a question himself.
“Would it make any difference if I learnt to use a computer and send e-mails?”
He was told there was little point because he could continue to let his nine-year-old granddaughter do it for him. We were not sure that the member who wanted to know what a computer was had his tongue in his cheek.
Bringing up a serious topic, a member asked if it made any difference if we prayed, but before there was any chance of a serious reply we were reminded of the Jewish gentleman who asked God to let him win the lottery. God replied that it would help if he met him half way and bought a ticket. Any further discussion disappeared into a confusion of “ by whom, to whom and what about?”.
Then came the showstopper. Someone asked if it would make any difference if we invited ladies to our meetings. Sharp intakes of breath. Immediately a member said he would be concerned about the swearing, the unfortunate jokes and the politically incorrect opinions, but he was reassured that not all the ladies would be like that. Consensus was soon reached. We will remain The Grumpy Old Men with the clue in the title. We will continue to get things off our chests, knowing that a good grumble and a good laugh can make a difference. As the chairman said, there is nothing like a good laugh. He should know because he is nothing like a good laugh.