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Being critical doesn’t mean I can’t have fun.

Yesterday I wrote about my annoyance over dining at a restaurant that has banned straws but still jams unnecessary and unrequested lemon wedges on the sides of soda glasses.

In response, a surprising number of people expressed concern about my ability to enjoy myself as a result of my annoyance over what I perceived to be illogical virtue signaling. These concerns ranged from the genuine to the ironic to passive-aggressive criticism about what they thought was my curmudgeonly attitude.

I received similar responses when I criticized the endings of Wonder Woman and Mary Poppins Returns for the way white men saved the day rather than the women for whom these movies were titled. The thought seemed to be, “You’d enjoy life more if you weren’t so critical.”

I’d like to go on the record as assuring all that not only am I enjoying the hell out of my life, but I had a delightful time at dinner on Saturday, despite the straw/lemon wedge debacle.

In fact, I had a better time because of it.

Rather than experiencing a delightful but ultimately forgettable dinner with good friends, I had a meal that I will remember for a long time.

Something happened that night. I had an original thought. My friend, David, and I talked about the logical inconsistency of the lemon and straw. He agreed. We laughed about it.

Then even better things happened.

I wrote about the moment two days later, and thousands of people read about it online. Many agreed with my position. Some offered new ideas of their own or sent me links to support for my position. A few pushed back on my assertions, but even that is enjoyable.

I love debate. Conflict excites me.

Then I started working on a bit about the lemon/straw incident for standup. I’ll probably end up with a minute or two of comedy that may or may not be funny, but I feel good about it. Someday I’ll use it onstage. it may even become part of a larger bit that I’m working on about food and dining in general.

I may even pitch a more thorough version of the blog post to a newspaper or magazine. Or I could use it as part of a future humor column for Seasons magazine.

Being annoyed about the straw/lemon situation didn’t make the dinner any less enjoyable. I was still sitting beside the woman I love and sitting across two of my favorite people in the world. We still had time talk about our lives, our kids, and our latest creative endeavors. I still enjoyed my pork tenderloin and Elysha’s chocolate pudding.

It was a great night, made al the more memorable by a lemon wedge and the absence of a straw.

Moving through life with a critical eye does not make the world any less enjoyable for me. Recognizing a flaw in logic or the problem with a film doesn’t mean I can’t have while engaging in these pursuits.

Fear not, dear reader. Elysha and our friends can rightfully attest to the enjoyment of the evening and my ongoing zest for life, even if I see a lot wrong in the world today.