Simple Things/Lang Kenneth Haynes
Where does it come from and how do we deal with it? My best guess is that it comes from some very basic violation of fairness. The
notion of fairness starts at birth and intensifies through the teen years. It’s attached to the idea that if we do A then B will be the likely
consequence. If we don’t hurt anybody then nobody will try to hurt us. If we don’t steal from anyone then no one will steal from us. At
some magical point in time we come to realize that the equation is often out of balance. If we feel that we have worked hard then it is the
responsibility of the world to take notice. If what you consider to be courageous is less than I deal with every single day several times a
day, then maybe my walls should be decorated with medals and ribbons and maybe you’ll understand why I don’t get excited by
television images of the hero or shero of the day. Sure. They did something wonderful. They survived something huge and lived to smile
and tell the world about it. But right off the top of my head I know ten people with even bigger stories and I don’t see them on television
blown up bigger than life. It makes me mad. You might say that it enrages me. When life fails to follow our sense of logic we tend to feel
that we’ve been violated. We tend to feel that we’ve been treated unfairly and our blood begins to boil. Maybe slowly at first but the heat
intensifies. Our palms sweat. The heat spreads all over. The cat is out of the bag now. Don’t you even think about telling me to just get
over it unless you really want to see my rage. The door is wide open. The power of the storm has been unleashed. It will run its full
course. Get out of the way if you don’t want to get hurt. Keep in mind that rage travels a path like a boomerang. It comes back to you. In
one way or other it will most definitely return.
Rage can develop in less than one second or it can take a lifetime to make itself known. There’s no point in trying to dance around it.
It doesn’t go away or lose strength over time unless you do to it what it hates most: look it in the eye. It’s okay to be afraid. It’s also okay
to pretend that you aren’t afraid. A funny thing happens when you stand nose to nose with the scary thing. The funny thing is that the scary
thing isn’t as scary anymore. We don’t need to awaken our rage to do battle with it. The piercing eyes that looked so frightening at a
distance look quite different up close. A soft and warm tear is starting to form in one of the corners. What appeared, from a distance, to be
hard facial lines that cemented a permanent scowl shake and quiver on closer examination and are just as likely to form a smile as a
frown. And upon really, really close examination we discover that we are actually looking at ourselves and that the things we are most
afraid of - the things that enrage us the most -- live inside of us and the very things that we think we’re afraid of are merely reflections.
You know what I’m trying to say. I can feel your head bobbing up and down. You’ve been mad before. You’ve known rage. My guess is
that you’ve had the experience of opening your mouth only to be surprised at the torrent of stuff that poured out of you. Over the top to say
the least. Dag. You only intended to let out a little peep and a deep and sustained roar came out instead. Where did that come from? I don’t
know. In the interest of self preservation my job, at that point, is to get out of the way -- then re-approach the dilemma when the coast is
clear. I know this for sure: the coast isn’t clear while the roaring is going on. As they say, “My mamma didn’t raise no fool.” But the
question of when to apply salve to the wounds of rage, legitimate or illegitimate, isn’t the question anyway. The question is related to
whether or not you know where the rage comes from. The question is about why you roared when you meant to peep.
How do we deal with rage? That depends on the source and legitimacy of the rage and I don’t pretend to be wise enough to sort that
out for you. But there is one thing that I can say with reasonable certainty. It makes sense to figure out what you are mad at. Here’s an
example. Back in the days when I was a police officer, there was a saying that could be heard near the end of just about every shift. The
saying was, “I guess I’ll go home and kick the dog now.” Now why would anyone joke about kicking a dog? Answers might include the
idea that dogs are generally pretty easy to kick. They are always around. They are unsuspecting and unconditionally loving and loyal. The
biggest reason is that you can probably kick your dog and get away with it. And during the previous eight hours you could not kick the guy
you felt like kicking or say what was really on your mind during the last dispute that you found yourself in the middle of. That junk tends to
add up over the course of an eight-hour period. Imagine how much might accumulate over eight-months or 12 years. That’s why cops
used to joke about going home to kick dogs. I’m not saying that it’s right, but that’s why.
We can talk about rage for days, weeks, months or years but I’ll end by saying that there are essentially two ways that rage
manifests: internally and externally. If rage is kept buried deep inside the results are predictable. Heart disease. Diabetes. Certain forms
of cancer. Depression and a wide array of other mental and physical ailments can be linked to rage. And the person on the receiving end
of the rage is not likely to understand the source of the rage. How could she? How could he when the person who spews the venom
appears to be oblivious to its source? You, in this case, are just the dog. You are handy. You are there. You might even be loyal. The
inappropriate external release of rage can end up forming the bulk of reasons that contribute to millions being locked up behind bars for
months or years. There’s an old saying that tells us to not bite the hand that feeds us. It is up to us to figure out that it’s all about choices
and to bite ourselves is a bad choice.