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Whining really does work

Rick Ryckeley's picture

Just ask any kid. Whining for what you want really does work. I learned this fact where I learned most important things — in none other than Old Mrs. Crabtree’s third grade class.
Mt. Olive Elementary School, like all schools, had standard desk sizes for a reason. First-graders are much smaller than fifth-graders. So what happens when a certain lovable third-grader whines endlessly about his desk being too small for almost an entire school year?

Yep, you guessed it. All that whining finally wore Old Mrs. Crabtree down and I got my desk. Having to climb up to get into it wasn’t important. My feet not reaching the ground while sitting didn’t matter.
What was important and did matter was I still learned something extremely important. Whine long enough and you get whatever you want.
Here are but a few examples of what a lifetime of whining can get you.

Whining got me a very expensive track shoe while attending Briarwood High School, Home of the Mighty Buccaneers. The track team needed a high jumper, and I volunteered. Well, not really. I had left the team meeting to use the bathroom. Upon returning to the track, Coach Reeves said I had been voted the new high jumper.
I jumped for the next five years. The first two, I whined to my dad about not having the correct shoes. He finally buckled under the weight of the whine and bought one shoe. When asked he said, “Quit your whining. You only jump off one foot.”

Note for reader: Dad really did buy only one shoe just to prove his point. It was a special order and he paid extra for it.
Not discouraged, I continued to whine my way all through high school. On the first day, Mrs. Henderson, my eleventh-grade history teacher, assigned us 30 pages to read. We had only six days to finish. I whined.
The entire class joined in and one big whine ensued. Mrs. Henderson finally relented and reduced the pages down to 15. Even though she gave us only three days to complete the assignment, we all thought we’d won.

Whining works at home, too. Whine to your special someone that you’re too tired to cook one evening. In less than an hour later you’ll be enjoying a meal out that someone else whined that they had to cook.
No time left to clean the house after a week of running kids from one school event to the next? Just keep whining. Soon you too will have a house cleaning service. Ours comes every Monday.
Want something really expensive? No problem, just whine long and whine a lot. After only three years of whining, that’s how this writer got his new car along with something else to whine about – a car payment.

Finally, whining works even at work. Tired of waiting for that raise or think you do too much? Just do what I learned way back in Old Mrs. Crabtree’s class — start whining.
Whine to your co-workers about how unfair it is that no one has gotten a raise for years. Whine to your boss about how you deserve a promotion or at least an increase in pay for all the extra work you do.

And if all that whining isn’t successful, don’t give up. Start whining to the owner of the company.
Just don’t whine to me when you lose your job.
[Rick Ryckeley, who lives in Senoia, served as a firefighter for more than two decades and has been a weekly columnist since 2001. His email is His books are available at]

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