“My name is Joe, and I'm an angerholic." Yes, I admit it. I spent many years being angry at someone or something. I could never go too long without saying something that was not critical or judgmental. Even my sense of humor strayed in the direction of making fun of someone else, rather than of myself.
I discovered soon enough that I was not alone. In fact, I now believe I was in the majority. It all felt very safe, I must say. You quickly become aware that a lot of people share your anger, and you get to be cuttingly negative all the time. Who the hell is going to get near you and try to hurt you? Not me: I'm a survivor.
Billy Joel wrote a song back in the 70's called "Angry Young Man". I remember getting hooked on it for a while, always feeling sorry for whoever that angry guy was. There is a line in the song that goes, "I found that just surviving was a noble fight", and I particularly liked that line. I wasn't quite sure why, I guess it just sounded cool. Hell, I was a teenager, "Cat Scratch Fever" sounded cool to me then.
But I digress: fast forward to today, and I can't help but think how ironic that line is now. Sure, surviving may sometimes be a noble fight, but engage in it too long and you're right back where you started: an angry survivor. With grey hair.
Which, in my opinion, is what William Faulkner had in mind in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech when he said (paraphrasing), "I believe the human race will not merely endure: it will prevail." Survival mode is certainly a noble fight, but if we don't figure a way out of that labyrinth, we cannot possibly prevail. If the trailer to the final story of our planet began with, "In a world stuck in survival mode to the very end..." it would not give me the impression that we ever really made it as a species. I guess on that stage, Mr. Faulkner would have to concede to James Cameron for his more accurate depiction of our destiny in "The Terminator". Good times.
Unless we figure out a way to transcend anger, I believe it will be impossible for us to prevail. But until we find a more powerful replacement for anger, it’s tough to let it go. The sheer power of the universe itself seems too overwhelming at times for us not to have some type of crutch that we can swing around, hoping to knock some heads off and dodge a bullet or two. It’s almost like there is a voice inside our heads whose sole purpose is to taunt us about the shame of being weak. Anger promotes fear, and being feared is anything but weak, right??
Not quite. But hey, I know what you're thinking: "Did he fire six shots or only five?" Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as these are angry words, the most powerful weapon in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?”
Well, do ya, punk??