- (archaic) A miser.
- An ill-tempered, frequently old, stubborn person. A strong adherence to fixed ideas. A stubborn person or thing.
Ford scrubs his chin. “I’m ‘fraid to say its human nature kid. Just the way we’re built. It isn’t that people don’t want solutions. Just there are always people that don’t like the solution, even when there ain’t no other solution to be had. It’s how we’re made. The machines figured it out. Somethin’ they called, ah, P. A. R. D. What was it? Uh, Pattern Alteration Resistance Disorder, somethin’ like that. I heard people callin’ it ‘The Curmudgeon Effect.’
“Ya see our brains are wired to learn things. Once we learn something, we hang on to it. It isn’t only memory, like rememberin’ a song. We learn what sort’a clothes we like and expect to see other folk wearin’ the same things. We learn how songs should sound, or how groups should be governed or how people should pair bond, and get this idea it should always be that way. We get all freaked out when some young’ins create a crazy new word or do their hair funny, or shack up in ways we never expected, simply because we didn’t do it that way.
“Older folk are set on the way things were. They can’t easily accept change.”
Joshua sits in thought. Now the silence is more welcome, a chance to mull over the information overload. Summer is over, but for the southern districts, the cool of autumn has not yet arrived. The evening is warm. The sun has fully set, dark trying to sneak in. With the onset of night, the park gradually lights up in a transition so smooth one hardly notices.
A leaf lets go its grasp, drifting lightly toward the lawn in front of the bench. An unfelt breeze carries it off the immaculate lawn, over the clean walkway, to a small well-arranged pile at the underbrush’s edge. There it will stay as natural forces convert its structure into nutrients for the growing vegetation and nibbles for the real animals. Joshua asks, “Why didn’t someone come up with a cure, you know, for the Curmudgeon Effect? Why not cure it?”
“Can’t. First of all, it’s just the way the human brain works. Can’t cure something that ain’t sick. Oh, some folk don’t suffer from it. They keep their minds open. You can teach an old dog a new trick. It’s just the natural way the human mind works. We don’t like things that don’t fit in our experiences. It’s a bit evolutionary. Young folk find ways of getting through. When they’re older, the suggestion is those ways work and that is how things should be. Along come some new young’ins who try somethin’ new. The older folk know the way they did it works – it did for them – and so they believe the new way can’t. It’s an evolutionary consequence of aging.”
Ford raises an index finger for emphasis. “But more than that. Imagine you don’t like someone or somethin’ and that someone comes along and says, ‘I’ve got this pill that will make you like me.’ Would you take the pill? I doubt it. You don’t trust what you don’t like.”