When your anger scares you, it’s time to get a little perspective.
TASK #7: Tempered Steel
No man can think clearly when his fists are clenched. George Jean Nathan
Anger. Pure, unadulterated male anger. It’s one of the traits of men that I can’t defend, nor totally comprehend. It’s not that I’m immune. On the contrary–I have a terrible temper. I have lost my shit at home, on the road, at work, on the basketball court, at my friend’s dinner table, at my son’s soccer games, even at church.
I’m the kind of guy that just explodes–then just as fast as it arrives, the anger dissipates like a summer rainstorm.
I have flipped people off on the freeway, baited people at dinner parties, chased the dog, pounded conference room tables, fought in jealous rages. I screamed at the McDonald’s stooge who gave me a Fish sandwich instead of a Big Mac–and forgot the fries. Why the hell did it matter? Really?
I’ve scared people, even myself.
I’ve scared the people that I love.
Isn’t that sad?
Road rage was my specialty. One day a guy cut me off at an intersection. I went eye-bugging crazy. I followed him for a few streets, then jumped out of my car and knocked on his window. He got out and punched me in the face. I ended up flat on the street.
He drove away.
I had to stop it. I had to find some control. I took the time to listen to myself–and i came to one incommutable truth: if I didn’t get control of myself I was going to make a mistake that would haunt me the rest of my life. I would hurt someone. I would go to jail, or I would lose someone I couldn’t afford to lose.
I had to get some perspective.
Starting this moment, write down every angry impulse you have this week. EVERY ONE. No matter how small or trivia. And give yourself a word, or a phrase, to say when you start to get hot. My word was STUPID.
Now, when the bee-atch in the black Charger cuts me off on the freeway I don’t speed up to stare at him, I say STUPID and breathe and turn up my music. George Mother–F’in Thorogood.
If you have any comments, feel free to e-mail me at [email protected]
Photo by Crosa