The Curse of Complaints

“What do you think of the new field?” “Meh, I don’t like the pebbles, they should build a new one.”

Welcome to Graded, a land where people have been cursed to never be satisfied with anything. The administration could build a castle, give everyone brand new cellphones and even try to revive a notable historical figure toteach history lessons and still encounter individuals claiming that, “the castle could’ve been bigger”, “this phone isn’t half as good as the new iPhone” and “Julius Caesar is too boring”. Students have been condemned to famished bodies with bottomless stomachs. And even so I’m sure we’d still be picky about what food we want to stuff in our mouths.

CREDIT: Isabel Park

This curse is an odd one. It seems to act exclusively within the bricked walls of our community and manages to affect every single one of us–no exceptions. That new kid who came from a school with no wifi? Give them two days and they’ll start complaining about how slow Graded’s is. A Graded lifer who spent two seasons stuck in traffic going to Pequeninos do Jockey because of the construction of the field? The new one’s black pebbles have managed to permanently stain their black socks.That is to say, it sucks. Yes, everything can be improved, but the problem here is that nothing’s ever good enough. There’s always a critical thing missing, something terrible and something useless.


And, we get worse: complaining seems to be what we’re best at. “There aren’t enough benches,” we said, our bodies squished together as three of us attempted to sit on one whilst resting our feet on another. But who is going tostand up and propose the administration buy some more?

Or are we going to continue seated?

“Student council sucks.” Who’s gonna run to change it?

Or are we going to continue roaming around the halls, passing the fruit cart that’s finally back to its original spot, and claim they haven’t done anything? The curse seems to have stripped most us of the ability to fight for what we want. Famished, we also seem to be paralysed.

With this, many start to wonder if a cure exists. If it’s possible to stop looking at the glass as being “mostly empty” and instead looking at it as being “half full”. After all, does anyone want to remain in this constant state of dissatisfaction? I wish I could write a formula for some miraculous medicine against this disease but I’m not a doctor, and I’m also infected. However, I’d like to think the symptoms start to fade once we acknowledge how privileged we are.

The price we pay to be here, take advantage of the spectacular arts center and beautiful field, to learn all we possibly can from those who take on the noble task of educating us and to befriend individuals with ambitions, stories and talents we sometimes find hard to believe, isn’t a low one. They’re not pretty numbers, in fact, they seem to bear a curse of their own. No one talks about them, no one wants to acknowledge them, the same way no one wants to acknowledge how lucky we are. Why?

My answer would be that they seem to imply something’s wrong and inspire a feeling a guilt within the pit of our stomachs. But I’m sure all of us have our own reasons to dislike those numbers. After all, take a look across the street and into a reality that’s almost the opposite of ours, then look back at where we are. The change is baffling and it almost seems wrong, unfair. Are those pebbles on the field really that bad?

Either way, the way to lift this curse isn’t to perform a miracle and bring equity to Brazil. But it’s to think twice before opening our mouths and uttering, “Jeez, I hate how we don’t travel abroad for our CWW trips”. For us to try to do more than just constantly complain. Bring our ideas to student council, tell the administration…Do something. Acknowledge our privilege. Maybe then we’ll be able to rid Graded of this curse forever.