When “Howling Mad” Isn’t Just a Nickname…


What if I say no?

Then I’m gonna put a pox on your house!

~Bad guy to H.M. “Howling Mad” Murdock, “The A-Team”

The last time Murdock mixed Prozac and yellowjackets

I’m thinking my female readers may relate more to today’s post. They know there are certain days during any given month when a woman wants to eat lots of red meat, scream bloody murder, and make like Uma Thurman in Kill Bill. For those of you who don’t have a job, dealing with the public doesn’t diminish this hurricane of rage in the least. Usually it makes things worse.

Maybe it’ll come as a surprise to some of my readers, but I used to have a serious problem with anger. Me, the quiet one whose main form of stress relief was always sitting in the corner with my eyes squeezed shut. At the slightest provocation I was likely to morph into some feminized mishmash of B.A. Baracus, Dirty Harry, and the Incredible Hulk. Had I ever gone off, I have a feeling the phrase “But she was always so quiet!” would have been repeated over and over in the media.

Someone needs to make an "Angry Prawns" game app

The good news is I never *did* go off the deep end. There were times I wanted to. Oh, yes. Thankfully as I write this, my arrest record is zero and the worst run-in with the law I’ve ever had was an unfortunate speeding ticket one winter night. I’ve kept my cool and thus, my sanity and freedom.

But I’m also not going to pretend I still don’t get angry. If anyone claims they never get angry, they’re either lying or that one in a million Dalai Lama or Mother Teresa type. I get pissed off plenty of times, whether I’m cut off in traffic, forced to wait in an “express” line behind someone with 679 items, or listening to Barry Manilow’s greatest hits. Rage is like the boiling magma just below the earth’s crust. If we pretend it’s not there, it just builds up and eventually will come out. That’s one reason I’m opposed to not letting kids have mini-Fight Clubs at school…but there’s another blog for another day.

The ways in which I’ve dealt with anger are many. Probably the best one is to literally burn it off. I’m not sure about my readers, but after a few hours working hard in the hot sun, I don’t have the energy to be angry. I get the added benefit of staying in shape and getting the endorphins flowing. There’s also meditation, or prayer, which makes me conscientiously pay attention to my breathing and blood pressure. Artistic endeavors (including P&Q) are up there too. Basically anything that forces me to shift my energy and concentrate it on something other than being pissed off.

There’s an old maxim I like: what angers us, controls us. Whether it’s from the Bible or the Tao or some hackneyed Star Wars script, it’s true. If we spend time angry at the man who didn’t use his turn signal or the screaming kid’s mom on the airplane, it’s that much less energy we have for our passions.

Do I still get angry? Yeah. Do I have an anger management problem? Not as such. The anger I have gets poured out in the form of sweat, pen scribbles, and brushstrokes. It’s not flying kicks or four-letter words or .45 caliber bullets. (Unless I’m engaging in the Hannibal Smith PT program, which is, again, a subject for a different day.)

One of these men is mad, the other is just an angry mudsucker

The point is, it’s OK to get angry, as long as the anger is used productively. How each person chooses to express it is up to them. I’ll not be the first to recommend starting a blog (for the bolder ones) or a daily journal (for someone who’s more private.) I keep both.

Stay cool, fool, or I might just have to pity you and/or throw you over the back of my car, depending on the day of the month.

This is me on a bad day

Enjoyed this post? Click “Like” or, better yet, subscribe to P&Q. Got comments or suggestions? Send ’em my way!

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on July 13, 2011.

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