Before I begin today’s lesson on Ax to Grind Crankatsuris, which happens to be one of the most dangerous kinds of CrankaTsuris, I would like to start with a Yiddish lesson describing four types of characters:
Schlemiel. This is a Yiddish term meaning “incompetent person” or “fool”who always gets into unfortunate situations.
Schmegeggi. A contemptible person full of hot air and baloney.
Paskudnyak. A revolting sleaze ball. A nasty crooked and corrupt person.
Dreykop. Someone who talks nonstop and makes no sense. Someone who connives, twists and distorts the most simplest logic.
I was watching television the other night, and a politician type person was being interviewed. He mentioned that he has an “ax to grind.” I found this to be a curious phrase. He was not holding any ax. He did not say why he needed to grind his ax, or what benefit he would be getting after grinding his ax. He did not even look like a person who even owned an ax.
Also, you will never hear anybody brag afterwards that they had successfully grinded their ax. Imagine this conversation:
Partner One: Do you have anything special planned today at work?
Partner Two: Since you have mentioned it, I do. Today, I have an ax to grind!
Partner One: Well, that is good. Take some knives with you as well. They need some sharpening!
Later that day, Partner One comes home with what looks like an urn filled with ashes.
Partner One: Look what I have! (Holding up the urn) I grinded the ax!
Partner Two: Where did you go? A crematorium?
Partner One: No. I used a special ax grinder.
Partner Two: An ax is not a coffee bean. How are we going to chop wood with a bunch of ax grinds.? Why don’t you take your ax grinds, and make yourself a cup of ax. When you are done, you can go out to the hardware store, and buy a new ax.
Partner One: Okay. But, you do understand. For the longest time, I have been saying I have an ax to grind. It is now all ground. You should be happy!
Partner Two: (murmuring) What a Schmuck.
Everyday, more and more people are getting afflicted with Ax to Grind CrankaTsuris. You can go out and ask any person, and they will tell you that have many axes to grind. Because nobody has really grinded an ax, this is a serious form of CrankaTsuris that must be dealt with. When you become afflicted with Ax to Grind CrankaTsuris, it takes the form of a singular thought in your head that is how you have been personally dealt with a certain injustice. It can also take form as a recurring argument in your head. It just spins around in your head, and it does not allow you to take any action on the injustice, or the argument. The mind becomes used to the injustice as a form of comfort or self-righteousness. You want to keep replaying the winning of the argument in your head. This then becomes a misplaced feeling of comfort, and you do not let go of this ax grinding feeling. You did not grind the ax, but you buried the hatchet inside your head.
As the Ax to Grind CrankaTsuris continues to consume the brain, the brain gets smaller and smaller until there is almost nothing left. Thus, it is important to know that no ax has ever been successfully ground up to make a positive difference. Because of this, if you catch yourself with the affliction of Ax to Grind CrankaTsuris, let the spinning thought go. Think of positive actions, and with this thought that is going nowhere, try to think of this as the time when you go and not bury, but rather remove this mental hatchet from your head.
This lesson can be learned from a friend of mine, Mr. Schlemiel. In my book “A Grownup Guide to Effective Crankiness”, Mr. Schlemiel bought a chicken farm from Mr. Schmegeggi. However, the chicken farm did not have any chickens. All of the chickens crossed the road to get to the other side. It was because the grass was always greener on the other side.
Mr. Schlemiel always was taken advantage of by other people. So, one day, Mr. Schlemiel hired the same Mr. Schmegeggi, who happened to be a lawyer, to sue all the people who ever took advantage of him.
Mr. Schlemiel was offered $5 million before the trial, $3 million during the trial, and $1 million just before the verdict came down. Everytime, Mr. Schlemiel wanted to take the money. Everytime, Mr. Schmegeggi told Mr. Schlemiel not to take the money. Of course, when the jury came back, Mr. Schlemiel was awarded nothing. He had lost the case.
Mr. Schlemiel then started calling Mr. Schmegeggi everyday afterwards for the next ten days. Everyday, Mr. Schlemiel as told the same thing. Mr. Schmegeggi was very upset and very distraught over losing the case. He climbed to the top of the tallest building, and jumped off the top of the tallest building. Mr. Schmegeggi was dead.
Mr. Schlemiel kept calling because he liked to hear the story. It gave him a bit of satisfaction, and allowed him to move on with his life. So, one day, you can imagine the shock Mr. Schlemiel felt when he walked into the local market, and guess who he ran into? It was Mr. Schmegeggi.
Mr. Schlemiel felt waves of anger going through every once of his body, and he quickly ran up to confront Mr. Schmegeggi.
Mr. Schlemiel: Mr. Schmegeggi!!! What are you doing alive? I called you everyday for almost two weeks, and everyday, they told me the same thing. They said you climbed to the top of the tallest building, and that you jumped off the top of the tallest building. They said that you were dead!
Mr. Schmegeggi: We had to tell you that story because we figured that you may have been a teensy weensy bit upset that I lost your case.
Mr. Schlemiel: Teensy weensy? I am furious! I could have had $5 million. Because of you, I have nothing! You are a good for nothing piece of!!!
Mr. Schmegeggi interrupted.
Mr. Schmegeggi: I had to lose the case. I had no choice.
Mr. Schlemiel: What do you mean you had to lose my case? What kind of lawyer are you?
Mr. Schmegeggi: Think about this. We were suing all the people who ever took advantage of you. I happened to be one of those people who took advantage of you. I did not want to win a case against myself!
Mr. Schlemiel: That makes a lot of sense. No. No. No. That must be illegal That is a conflict of interest!!!
Mr. Schmegeggi: It was a conflict for you. It was not a conflict for me.
Mr. Schlemiel: It is people like you who give lawyers a bad name.
Mr. Schmegeggi: (Switching the subject) Do you have an ax?
Mr. Schlemiel: Yes. I have an ax. Do you know why I have an ax? That stupid chicken farm without the chickens that you sold me also came without electricity. The only way I can keep the house warm is by chopping enough wood. But now, it is more that just wood I want to chop. Why do you ask?
Mr. Schmegeggi: I know how all of this can get resolved and you will feel much better. It sounds like to me that you have a very big ax to grind. This is what I will do. At my expense, I will have delivered to your chicken farm the highest quality ax grinder. When you wake up in the morning everyday, you go out and grind the ax. If you keep grinding the ax, within a few months, you will feel much much better, and all that anger you are holding inside yourself will be gone.
Mr. Schlemiel: You think that will will work?
Mr. Schmegeggi: I can guarantee it!
Mr. Schlemiel: Well, thank you, Mr. Schmegeggi. You are not that bad a person after all. I will try this.
Sure enough, the ax grinder arrived at Mr. Schlemiel’s chicken farm. Mr. Schlemiel woke up every morning, and diligently spent an hour everyday grinding the ax. However, the ax just became smaller and smaller until there was no ax left. By this time, it was already winter, and Mr. Schlemiel was found frozen by some local town folk in the corner of his home, covered in what looked like ax grinds.
Mr. Schlemiel was taken to the local hospital where they successfully defrosted him. The local town folk felt sorry for Mr. Schlemiel and start a GoFundMe page for Mr. Schlemiel, and they raised enough money to install electricity and both an air conditioning and heating system. Mr. Schlemiel would never have to grind an ax again.
They also helped Mr. Schlemiel find a good lawyer, and Mr. Schlemiel sued Mr. Schmegeggi and his law firm, Schmegeggi, Paskudnyak, and Drykop, for all the times he took advantage of Mr. Schlemiel. The case went to a jury, and Mr. Schlemiel was awarded $10 million.
A few months later, Mr. Schlemiel was able to transform his chickenless chicken farm to the largest chicken farm in the County. Mr. Schlemiel had the reputation of having the best chickens. Out of all the farms, he had the greenest grass in the County. Seeing this, all the chickens crossed the road to get to the side where Mr. Schlemiel’s chicken farm stood.
A year later, Mr. Schlemiel, now the wealthiest man in town, thought he should call Mr. Schmegeggi,and try to bury the hatchet. But when he tried to call up the law firm, he only got this recording:
“The Law Firm of Schmegeggi, Paskudnyak and Drykop is now permanently closed. The three lawyers, all distraught and upset over losing a case, climbed to the top of the tallest building. They jumped off the top of the tallest building. Schmegeggi, Paskudnyak, and Dreykop are all dead.”
Mr. Schlemiel hung up the phone and smiled. Giving a bit of a chuckle, he said out loud:
“I like to hear the story.”