Am I angry? Of course I’m angry. What’s not to be angry about? I’m angry that there’s never ground coffee in the canister when it’s my turn to make it. That means I have to fire up that noisy, time consuming grinder on the counter. I know it’s gonna happen every damned time because it has happened every damned time in the past. It’s all I can do to not think about it when I’m trying to write.
Am I angry? You’re damned right I’m angry. I’m in a hurry so I go to the drive through. While I’m sitting there, I watch the nice lady with the six kids walk in and I chuckle, thinking about the nightmare it must be for her to order with that many kids. I only move three feet closer to the menu board and my car starts making a disconcerting clicking sound by the time she walked out with three giant bags of food. WHAT?! No Way!
Am I angry? You bet your ass I’m angry. I spend nearly a damned month waiting for the avalanche of snow and ice to fall off my roof, worrying about the gutters being ripped off the house. When it finally comes down, I’m relieved that all it does is pulverizes my gas grill. But two weeks later when it’s 80 degrees and time to cut the grass (while it’s STILL TECHNICALLY WINTER!) I discover the heavy landslide ruptured three tires on my lawn mower. It was SNOW! Damn it all! Why in God’s name is it so heavy that….[face in hands, hair pulled out]
Am I angry? YEAH! I’M ANGRY! And everybody better be friggin perfect around me or I will tear a bloody swath of carnage through the world if ANYONE isn’t as perfect as I wish my life were.
Oh wow. That seems a little over the top. Maybe I should reexamine how I deal with disappointment or maybe even alter my expectations of the world.
You know, it’s funny how when things aren’t exactly the way we expect or want them to be, we tend to carry our anger and frustration on our sleeves. For many of us, it doesn’t even take a significant amount of hardship to get that way. All it takes is for something to seem out of place in our perception of the world.
It doesn’t help that we have a media that has discovered what authors learned a long time ago; Frequent conflict creates a good story…a compelling story. Creating tension compels your audience and keeps them coming back, time and time again. I know this because I do it with my novels.
Here’s the difference; My novels, (And Vince Flynn’s, Brad Thor’s, Barry Eisler’s, David Baldacci’s etc…) are clearly labeled as fiction. Of course they may have a hint of reality to them, which makes them compelling, but in the back of your mind, you know this is a work of fiction from the mind of a twisted individual whose only purpose for writing it is to entertain and compel you to turn the page.
In real life, when you see a red faced, angry, blamer-of-others, and when you’ve been worked to a state of heightened emotion, the results have real life consequences; Angry man shoots up clinic. Angry couple shoots up workplace. Angry racist shoots up church. Angry country puts nuclear weapons on standby. Angry…well, you get the idea.
Here’s the thing. The subjects that are producing the most anger these days aren’t real issues. Don’t get me wrong. There are real things to be upset or concerned about. But the anger is manufactured. I’ll give you a few examples.
Immigrants: There is a lot of anger over immigrants these days.
- They take our jobs: Except they don’t. It’s been shown that when immigrant workers are forced out of a
community, there is a labor shortage. The price of food and services goes up and many businesses lose money because there is no one willing to do the job.
- They don’t pay taxes: Except, they do. Oh, not federal taxes, but they wouldn’t anyway…they don’t make enough to be taxed in the first place. But they do pay sales tax (the primary tax revenue for states), and gas tax, (which is paid at the pump) and if they are using a vehicle, someone is paying property tax. They are also paying rent, buy food in the grocery, etc.
- They rape: Uh…this one is vile. Here’s the thing, the vast majority of rapes and sexual assaults that occur, are committed by someone the victim knows. And the small remaining number of stranger rapes has been steadily shrinking for as long as we’ve kept records on the subject.
Violence: Mass shootings. Terrorists
- Of the 13,288 people killed by terrorist attacks last year, seventeen were private U.S. citizens, or .1 percent. (17). According to the report, the number of U.S. citizens who died in terrorist attacks increased by two between 2010 and 2011; overall, a comparable number of Americans are crushed to death by their televisions or furniture each year.
Okay…enough statistics. It doesn’t really matter. Because in all cases of “things that drive us bat shit crazy” only cancer is increasing. Everything else is decreasing (violence, accidental deaths, rapes, lost jobs, homelessness, malnutrition, plague, impalings, drug over doses, traffic accidents…everything bad) is decreasing.
So why are we, (you, me, we) so damned angry? At some point in our lives, someone would have said “chill out dude”. It’s good advice.
If you aren’t happy with some aspect of your life, chances are there are some steps you could take to improve the situation. It’s hard to do when your head is fogged up with anger. Are you angry? Maybe deep breaths are actually in order. No one is out to get you. And even if they were, they have far less ability to hamper your life than you do yourself…especially if you are taking steps to improve your life.
I’m an old army guy. When injured, defeated, wrong or just blah, the order from above was inevitably something to the effect of “pull up your panties and stop crying…you have a damned job to do!”
As much as I hated being on the receiving end of that pep talk, there is a useful message there. Our anger, fear, and dead-weight tendencies when things aren’t going our way, not only derail our own lives, but the lives of those around us. As a society, we seem to have lost perspective of that. Call it narcissism, selfishness, or intentional mob whipping, but the result is the same; we are damaging our lives for no damned reason.
So, in the words of Sergeant Youngblood (my drill instructor in boot camp and yes, that was his real name), “pull up your panties and stop crying…you have a job to do”. No need to get angry…in fact, that just makes it harder to get done what needs to be.
Phweew…I feel better already. 😉
If you liked this post, then please like this post 🙂 S.L. Shelton is the author of an Amazon Bestselling Political Thriller/Action Espionage Series, (The Scott Wolfe Series). Follow him here on WordPress, on Twitter @SLSheltonAuthor or Facebook. He will love you for it.