I don’t know why, but the people I choose to be around are some of the angriest MFers I know.
My family was never angry. I don’t come from an angry people. If you list out my family’s worst qualities—impatient, crude, insensitive, loud, Chicagoans—you’ll see that angry isn’t among them. Not on the list! They will ignore you, interrupt you, make fun of you, scoff at your life decisions, and humiliate you, but they’d never yell at you. Even if you spit on their pet tarantula. The most they’d do is just glare at you. Until you blurred them by slightly crossing your eyes. Which was my preferred method of defense in such situations. Blur vs Glare. Blur wins every time.
I was yelled at once by my kindergarten teacher for telling a kid in my class to keep his fucking hands off the Mr. Robot I brought in for show-and-tell.
It was show-and-tell, not show-and-tell-and-fucking-touch, ASSHOLE!
I probably didn’t use the f-word, though.
Mrs. Fleming (the kindergarten teacher who was once stung on her tongue by a bee that landed on her pb&j when she wasn’t looking) must have thought it was really weird when my eyes began drifting towards each other ever . . . so . . . slowly while she was espousing the socialist values of sharing.
I blurred the shit out of that bitch that day.
But I’m off topic.
My family went easy on the anger gene. But the people I’ve chosen to be around, those closest to me, could school Bruce Banner in how to flip the fuck out over nothing. If these people could Hulk-out, they’d just always have the purple pants on and that would probably piss them off even more.
“PURPLE FUCKING PANTS!!! ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?? I’M SO GODDAMNED MAD RIGHT NOW!!!!”
The second angriest person I know is my best friend Brian. We met in Mrs. Fleming’s kindergarten class. I let him cheat off of my papers and we both laughed whenever Dave Sazama couldn’t spell his name right. We solidified our friendship with the traditional TRADING OF THE STAR WARS FIGURES.
As we grew up I noticed a not-so-subtle fact about my bud: EVERYTHING pissed Brian off. EVERYTHING. Fire hydrants, bolts, having to take two cars anywhere. Everything threw him into a fit of tool-throwing, wall-punching, eyes-blazing rage. When he’d get so freaking mad, he’d pronounce every syllable to every word absolutely clearly and abandon all contractions.
Me: “I can’t get off of work that early, I’ll just meet up with you and Pat at Great America.”
Brian: “AND TAKE TWO CARS? THAT IS JUST FUCK-ING DUMB!”
Me: “. . .”
Brian: “I WILL NOT DRIVE ALL THE WAY OUT TO FUCK-ING GUR-NEE WITH JUST ONE OTH-ER PER-SON IN MY CAR! THAT IS JUST STU-PID! FUCK IT! SCRATCH IT! IT IS A WASH!”
He’d also use phrases that contained “scratch,” “wash,” and “jumble.” Those were the words he used when plans changed ever so slightly.
“How’s it going?”
“IT IS A FUCK-ING JUM-BULL!”
Joking with him didn’t help.
Brian, after bumping his knee into a fire hydrant: “MY FUCK-ING KNEE!”
Tim: “Your knee fucks?”
We didn’t hang around with Tim much longer.
I don’t know why he hated taking more cars than he deemed necessary. He’s not an environmentalist. Maybe in a past life he was a clown or a coyote and he was used to cramming many many people into a single car. I have no idea. Whenever I’ve asked him why he hates taking more than one car to transport less than 5 people, his response is always: “BE-CAUSE IT IS FUCK-ING DUMB.”
Brian’s good qualities far outweigh his anger issues. He’s extremely generous with his time and money. If he gives his word, you never have to doubt him. And when you need him, he’s there. No question. He’s a great friend and I’ve never met a more stand-up guy. He also likes to laugh his ass off. So shenanigans.
And his anger has dulled over the years. I haven’t heard a “jumble” or “SCRATCH IT!” out of him in a long time. It’s a calm that’s the result of maturity and beer.
I still don’t know why I stay close to angry people. One theory I have: maybe I’m not picking angry people to share this journey around the Sun—maybe everyone is this angry and you only find that out once you get to know them. Maybe this is how everyone is when they put that “so-nice-to-meet-you” mask down for good.
Another theory: I’m around these people because I want to learn how to be angry. I’ve never known how to deal with my anger. I can’t let it out until there’s just too much of it and then I explode. And one thing I’ve noticed about people who are angry all the time is that they can let it out in bursts here and there. For them, it’s a storm that passes and then it’s gone and they don’t think twice about it. Seems more manageable that way.
I’m still learning.
Like I said, Brian is the 2nd angriest person I know. The angriest person I know is Jill. She has two states of being: asleep and mad as hell at me. And sometimes, she yells at me in her sleep.
And that’s all I dare to write.