When I was in Idaho for a couple years, I told the teenagers I spent most of my time with that I had “the rage,” which was basically my way of keeping teens from doing truly stupid things. It kept them afraid of what might happen if they triggered my rage. It worked for about a year. After that, one teen called my bluff and I didn’t do anything. Woops. I couldn’t keep that fear tactic forever. Eventually it had to end.
Six months ago, a guy down the street was hitting golf balls in his yard on Memorial Day. The next morning I drove to work with a golf ball sized hole where a passenger-side mirror used to be. I found a dark place in my soul that smelled like burning and tasted like pennies. My breathing was deeper and my jaw couldn’t unclench. I got the rage. I contemplated shooting golf balls at the guy’s house and car with a water balloon slingshot. I thought about finding his dumb golf clubs in his garage and wrapping them around the tree in his front yard. Instead I spent a week shaking my head when I’d see the broken mirror and glare at the guy’s house every time I’d drive by.
Tonight my wife came in the door asking if I’d left the glove box open in her car. I hadn’t. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d been in her car. I couldn’t remember what color it was at the moment, let alone if I’d been in her glove box. Well, somebody took something out of her glove box at some point within the past two days while her car was parked across the street. I got the rage. My first thought was to collect every teenager walking down my street and systematically punch them in the stomach until somebody fessed up. I wanted to look out the window of my house and see someone breaking into the car. I wanted to practice dentistry on the person leafing through my wife’s possessions. Instead I slammed the front door. I clenched my jaw. I parked my dirty old van in the spot my wife’s car had been parked in. I let the car alarm go off for about ten minutes, turned it off, then went inside and slammed the door again.
I know my anger isn’t coming from a good place. It’s actually more than likely showing signs of much deeper issues that I’m ignoring. But it also scratches an itch that I get sometimes. It feels kind of good to let people see me flare up a little. Does that make me crazy? Maybe. But really, I think this anger I get is probably just a sign of the fact that I’ve got a lot of growing to do.
But for now, I’d rather kick the teeth in of the kid that stole my wife’s stuff. Not really, but I don’t know that I’d be able to contain myself if I did look out the window and see some varmint knee deep in my vehicle.