Saturday, August 10, 2013

Rage Against the Mean-Machine

From the moment we are first thrust into social interactions we are tested: preschool, birthday parties, school plays, dance recitals and team sports all evaluate, in one aspect or another, your overall ability to play well with others.  Think about it.  Our ability to tolerate one another has been a struggle from the get-go. 

Like in kindergarten, when we put on our school play, I was forced to be one of the clowns.  All of the other really cool parts were already assigned.  There was a tiger tamer and his three tigers, gymnasts with their really cool tights and spandex, a ring master, and us stupid clowns.  I hate clowns! They are freaky: from their bad clothes and to even worse hair.  

But what could I do?  When we began rehearsing, I would look around at the other groups and study their moves.   The tigers were being tamed, the gymnasts were very balanced and us clowns, well... we were completely out of control.

What a minute; we get to shoot the crowd with squirt guns while running amuck on our stick-ponies?? THIS IS AWESOME!  

And it was.  I would very much like to think that we were the hit of the circus.  Everyone laughed and cheered at us yahoos, who completely stole the show.  And I realized two very important things that day: you have to make the best of whatever role you play in life and never underestimate the importance of making someone smile.  Squirt gun or not, it felt good to know that I was making so many people laugh.

There are a hundred more examples where that came from.  It didn't take very long to figure out that things rarely turn out according to your initial plan.  And yes, many times it is also unfair.  That's life.  We are often thrust into roles we didn't exactly choose or desire.  We are also constantly living in relation to others.  These two challenges often test our patience, as well as our tolerance. 

I believe that it is perfectly understandable to experience moments of rage.  Road-rage for instance, is something I can certainly identify with.  Hostile caravans of out of control children tossing french fries from their windows, while mom is inches shy of kissing your bumper.  And the multi-tasking teenager who manages to swerve (somewhat) within her lane while texting, snacking, primping and yes, smoking.  Sure... I feel moments of rage too.  

But what enrages me the most to be perfectly honest, is meanness.  Being a mean person is infectious to the world and is also completely unnecessary.  While it is understandable to have moments of anger, it is really not warranted to express that emotion in a mean way.  

For example, if you are frustrated that there isn't enough parking and you have to wait for a long period of time, okay: you can be frustrated.  But if you take that frustration and call someone a "Donkey's Ass" then two things will happen:  no one will want to help you and no one will tolerate you.  Because that is just mean.  

Meanness serves no one: especially the person it infects.  I believe that half of the violence on this earth comes from a place of meanness: and I am enraged.  People get angry.  Anger breeds contempt.  And contempt often leads to destruction.  

While I know that it is impossible to cure the myriad of factors that promote anger, I do hope to promote in some small way, more laughter.  Don't worry, I've hung up that squirt gun long ago.  But, I am still very much a silly clown at heart, all these years later.   

Anger can promote passion.  Take a stand to make a change.  If you have passion in your heart, then perhaps you might also foster compassion as well.  I think compassion speaks louder than hate.  And I believe rage can serve society, if it fuels a common good.  

Enraged by GMO's, littering, oil spills, endangered species, hunger, dwindling resources, education, deforestation, over-fishing, gun control, shootings, bombings and threats of all kinds?  It's okay to be angry.  But, hate begets hate.  And the ends, rarely justify the means.

You don't have to be a meanie to be heard.  Just smile, take a breath, and say what you mean instead.  

Cheer up and try to play well with others today. 


Smile Cocktail

1 oz Gin
1 oz Grenadine
1/2 oz lemon juice

Shake and strain up in a martini glass

Photo Credit:


  1. Hate consumes. It is despair in its strongest form, an admission, conscious or not, of hopelessness. Hate is a resignation to a permanence of things as they are.
    Conversely, there is room in anger for hope, a force of will that seeks to repair, to change. Though anger is a dance with despair, a cold and thoughtful fury is as much a tool as is courtesy.
    Anger should have peace as its end. Hatred has the dust of waste and desiccated eternity.

  2. This is a really great write & got me thinking & agreeing with you. Anger & Hate is one thing. Thou seemingly negative in their connotations, they can somewhat be justified & serve purpose if directed right. Ie; I hate Child Slavery with a passion & I am angry it exists. The emotions only initially bother & effect me as I allow myself to hate or be angry...I essentially only immediately hurt myself.

    Meanness is something else. It's very personal towards another. It directs hate & anger subjectively. The intent of meanness is to inflict personal hurt, pain, humiliation, injury upon another and to watch & take pleasure or satisfaction in the victims reaction. It has has no reason...& it can be random.

    To is the greatest evil of human traits.

    1. Wow, Michael thanks again for such an insightful comment. I spent the past couple days mulling it over. You are so right. Meanness is very personal and is different from hate; of course they can also go hand in hand. And hate can be a positive thing if what you hate warrants such a strong and negative emotion. But all of it hurts ourselves. I just want to thank you again for taking the time to not only read my work, but to comment on it as well. I am grateful.

    2. Hello Adriane....thank you for this reply & for sharing your thoughts in yr have wonderful expression & clarity in your writing...I wish I could write like you. Your words often prompt me to think & write something, even if only to acknowledge yr write. I can easily relate to much of what you say, I imagine with more exposure, many others would too. Please do continue to write if you are enjoying it, I for one greatly enjoy reading them. Peace & Love.