I have called sending postcards the equivalent of texting or tweeting a century past. (The very mention of texting and tweeting makes me seem a century old to numerous people who moved past those things ten years ago, but I can’t see a lot of them reading my blog.) You could use a postcard to invite someone over for dinner that evening, arrange to be picked up at the train station, or just say “Hi!”
So, of course, you could also use them to complain. For those people who wanted to do so, some postcards were printed with the complaints already composed. Mind you, the golden age of postcards was also one of those landmarks in positive motivational philosophers, and “kicking” (as complaining was popularly known) was a habit to be discouraged.
Nowadays, if you’re not complaining, you’re not using social media to its fullest. Posting (or reposting) complaints about anything from international politics to toenail fungus is practically your patriotic duty. But once upon a time, such habits were heavily discouraged. Which is what made them so attractive.
It was an era when you were encouraged to get up and do things. Working ennobled the soul, and the more sweat-inducing the labor, the better a person it made you. The world didn’t owe you a living: you had to go out and squeeze money out of that world. One or two folks, believe it or not, actually complained about this.
It was different, of course, if you worked up to a leading role in your business. If you were the CEO, you didn’t have to ask permission to work overtime, and make yourself even nobler. There were people who complained about THAT.
The American Dream, as it was called, was to work hard enough to be able to afford a home of your own, even if you had to go out and build it yourself. Choosing the right spot to settle was, naturally, another source of complaint.
Naturally, people who worked so hard had little time to send postcards. Especially as we moved to mid-century, the people sending postcards were those enjoying a brief vacation from their labors.
And yet, some of them just went on complaining. Even if they got to get away from their humdrum homes and stay at a hotel, they complained.
And if they went somewhere specifically because of the sunshine, they complained about it.
However the weather worked out.
People who work from dawn to dusk making themselves noble for minimum wage will sometimes just have too grand a set of expectations for their vacations. And so they complain.
Of course, there are things to complain about which are consistent whether you are at work or at play. This one is fairly specific, and dates to an era when the telephone was becoming more widespread. (This copy weas never sent to anyone. By the way, who WOULD send a card like this? And to whom? Some other day we’ll talk about buying postcards to pin up on your bulletin board.)
For some people, their life choices have brought them to a state of complaint.
While others view what life has chosen for them, and complain about that.
If you want my opinion, complaining is like a lot of other vices. If you can do it in moderation, it’s actually good for you. “Venting”, they called it in my younger days, and it was considered very healthy. It has to be done correctly, however. Just tossing out insults and calling names (what our ancestors called “knocking” something) will not do you as much good as a good complaint which states your case. There were postcards to say so, so it must be true.