Here's to you, crabby old bitches

Avenue Q's overarching message

Princeton (Benjamin Sutton) and Gary Coleman (Eboni Muse) doing their best to enjoy life.
  • Princeton (Benjamin Sutton) and Gary Coleman (Eboni Muse) doing their best to enjoy life.
  • Image by Adriana Zuniga-Williams

There’s a scene in the first act of Avenue Q (playing through August 28 at the O.B. Playhouse) where Kate Monster (Catie Marron) argues with her boss, the ancient Lavinia Thistletwat, voiced and performed by Michael van Allen. In her anger, Kate calls Mrs. Thistletwat a “crabby old bitch,” to which the salty crone retorts:

“Crabby old bitches are the bedrock of this nation.”

Everybody laughs, which, of course, they should, because it’s genuinely uproarious.

It’s also true, and worth pondering as a foil to Avenue Q’s overarching message that being a young adult in the 21st Century is a lot harder than people recognize; admittedly a message that needs to be put out there. It’s en vogue to characterize “young people” (which could mean anything from teenagers to anybody under 40, depending on who’s doing the hating) as lazy because they’re too often facing a 33rd birthday without a real career in sight. Meanwhile, their peers are founding Snapchat.

Google “lazy self-entitled millennials” if you don’t believe that.

I can say from experience that it isn’t easy to have grown up in the sky’s-the-limit ’90s, only to slide into an adulthood defined by the post-9/11 police state and financial turmoil from Enron to the Wall Street bailout. Of course it sucks to be us!

But, let me say, compared to those “crabby old bitches,” we don’t always look so good.

Think about it. Who’s the character in Avenue Q who least bemoans her lot in life?

Thistletwat, that’s who.

She, like millions of crabby old bitches in this country, nay, this world, has survived a lot of terrible shit in her day, and she probably did so to the great benefit of her progeny and future generations. We all have a laundry list of women in our lives we’ve confined to the role of crabby old bitch. Have they not had it at least as bad as we have, survived the worst, and become the tough old birds we know and love? How much do we collectively owe them (my gut says, “a lot”), and when was the last time you heard a crabby old bitch whine about not “finding her purpose?”

Hell, when she was a little girl, people thought domestic violence was funny.

Here’s to you, you crabby old bitches. You truly are the bedrock of this nation, and you provide a healthy dose of perspective when my first-world problems seem insurmountable.

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Comments

Yes, the "crabby old bitches" had to go through the "Mad Men" years of being a 2nd Class citizen and 2nd Class employee. Women existed to cook, clean, have babies, and if working, they had to take the boss's dictation or take orders from diners at a restaurant. If they had any ambitions, how dare they get "uppity" and not know their station in life! And if you were an African-American or Hispanic woman, you'd be cleaning the boss's office, or working in the restaurant's kitchen.

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