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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


For some reason I had always considered the word tetchy to be the countrified version of the word touchy. While this is possibly true, I found this word staring at me from the pages of the dictionary. The definition was stated as being irritable or touchy - go figure. Then as though I had never heard of either of these two defining words, I went back for a look at them in the book of definitions.

What I read put more flesh on the bones of what I already knew about irritable – basically a fatter definition stepped forth. Not only does it mean easily irritated and annoyed, readily excited to impatience or anger, but also implies cross and snappish behavior, often of short duration (hopefully so).

Touchy then stepped off the pages as being apt to take offense on slight provocation and as requiring caution, tactfulness or expert handling. It also stresses over-sensitivity and readiness to take offense, even though none is intended. Suddenly several names came to mind that could be posted beside these definitions, but since one of them might accidentally be someone I see in the mirror quite often, I won’t go into all of that.

What I will go into is what I would consider to be some of the reasons folks become tetchy and how they could become other ways – like happy and joyful. Take into consideration the fact that this writing comes from someone that has been there, done that and has returned from the land of tetchy – with only an occasional, very short revisit.

Being hungry is a reason that causes many folks to be tetchy. OK, I understand that it would take a five pound pork roast, an entire batch of collard greens (seasoned with fat-back), half a pot of black-eyed peas, two-thirds of a pone of cornbread and a two-quart Tupperware bowl of “scratch” banana pudding to make some grouches more agreeable, but most normal folks are “kinder and gentler” after a good meal.

A tired person is usually a little deeper into tetchiness as well. I’ve seen this played out in all of my “grands” to one degree or another. One of them in particular is described by one of their parents as just getting “goofy” when they are in dire need of a nap. The solution for this kind of “goofiness”, even in parents and grandparents, is simple – take a nap. Just cut out the whining and go to sleep.

No matter what we think we might miss out on or how busy we think we are, we still need proper sleep. This sounds as basic as our need for vanilla ice cream (Breyer’s, with real vanilla specks), but some folks haven’t understood it yet. No matter how big and bad we are, we are still not the energizer bunny, and we will eventually crash into the wall of exhaustion.

Sickness can be another cause of major tetchiness. Supposedly, one of the most dangerous animals around is a water buffalo, especially when wounded. I have been blessed with a normally very healthy body, but on the rare occasion of illness, I’m a bit like the wounded water buffalo – just leave me alone and I’ll crawl into a hole somewhere until I get well – if I want something, I will groan for it. This is not a method of treatment I would recommend for everyone, since some can tolerate – and maybe require – a certain amount of babying.

There are other, deeper causes of tetchiness, but being unqualified in the medical field; I will not touch on those. But there is one more cause I would like to mention – being tetchy because of dissatisfaction. All too many are dissatisfied with how they look, where they live, the person they are with, the way their life is heading and what they have or don’t have. The solution to being dissatisfied and/or unhappy – unless a thousand man-eating butterflies are attacking you at the moment – is most often found in the realm of the spiritual.

If one is living in disobedience to God’s Word in even a single area of their life – is it possible to have satisfaction or happiness? Since both these things come from the inside out, and the inside is all messed up, how can you even have peace and quiet enough to recognize them if they were there? To me real satisfaction and happiness depend on our choice and they are built only on the foundation of choosing Jesus – all day, every day. ec


Blogger nathan said...

Mr. Eddie, thank you. This has been a continuing theme in my life for the last couple of months, giving everything over to God and allowing Him to take control. It is my daily prayer, trusting in the Good Shepherd. It never ceases to amaze me at how He shows off when I give everything over to Him, and He show off big time.

11/15/2005 06:12:00 PM  
Blogger Enemy of the Republic said...


I am linking your blog to mine. You are very wise. I confess I don't know this word techy, but I understand the feelings you are conveying.

11/16/2005 08:08:00 AM  
Blogger ann said...

hey ec - i hope you're not offended by the informality - i feel like you are a life-long friend. if i've overstepped, please forgive me.

i used to be tetchy. some will say that i still am - and i would agree, on occasion. and you're right - being tetchy stems from an inward condition - from Something missing deep inside.

we at the Ring have a saying - a mantra, if you will. "Jesus Christ has the power to change any human life." He has the power to change tetchiness, too. in fact, i believe that He is the only remedy.

11/16/2005 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

Nathan - Thanks for the comment - I have found that the only times I really got in trouble over the years was when I tried to go my own way. I'm always amazed at His love and forgiveness. ec

11/16/2005 08:09:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

republic - I'm honored by the link and thanks for the kind words. ec

11/16/2005 08:12:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

Ann - I'm probably one of the least formal people around - when you have hung around teens at church as long as I have it's a given. He is the only real remedy for any problem we will ever have. God is good, all the time. ec

11/16/2005 08:18:00 PM  

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