Six Times Was All It Took

There is nothing more impressive than watching a grown man on a mission, as he walks over to a chair and kicks it. Kicks it as if it had actually done something horribly wrong and needed to be punished immediately. As if that chair had a mind of its own, manipulating cunning schemes designed to mess with your mind until the end of time. After all, it would only seem logical, rational, and fair to presume that because you just cut your thumb open with a knife while trying to carve the furry skin of a kiwi fruit, that the chair sitting over there in the corner (yes, the one intentionally hiding from you) is the real culprit for your now bloody problem. No second thoughts are needed. Just drop the knife, make a beeline to the chair, and kick the living splinters out of it. There, that’ll make things right!

I met a college student the other day at a local gym whose right hand was wrapped with an ungodly amount of that all-too-common, unstylish, flesh-colored, ACE elastic bandage wrap. So heavily wrapped, it was as if there was a football concealed inside. You could also say he resembled a fiddler crab with that one lone enormous claw (in this case, a mitten). He was walking around the gym trying to figure out if he could lift weights without enduring too much pain. After watching him finish a set of agonizing, grimace-on-the-face barbell curls, I became curious about his injury.

“So, what happened to you?”

“Oh, just a little accident.”

A “little”accident? Been juggling chainsaws blindfolded lately? “Looks like you really did a number on it. Break anything?”

He lowered the barbell to the floor, accompanied with the grimace that simply didn’t want to go away. Raising his massive mitten, he exclaimed, “Yes, I broke three bones.”

“And may I ask, what was your little accident?”

“It was a door made of steel. I punched it a few times.”

Looking at his bandaged hand, I couldn’t help but wonder: Just how many times was a few? Are we talking thirty punches? Forty?

 Hardly. He told me he hit the door six times. Six times he attempted to knock that door off its hinges and send it flying into tomorrow. Six times was all it took to realize he didn’t have a seventh punch left in him. The bones were screaming for him to stop.   He looked down at his mummified hand and spoke with profound wisdom, “Steel doors don’t budge.”

No kidding, Sherlock. And all it took was six George Foreman’s to figure that one out.

 Of course, it’s always the girl…

“My girlfriend just really made me angry. It was a stupid thing that set me off. Just stupid. Don’t want to talk about it.”

Well, good thing the steel door took the blame, because otherwise there might not be much left of her. I didn’t pry into the details of his personal affairs, but I can only imagine how the conversation probably went…

Her: Honey, I hate to break the news, but my parents are going to stay with us for a month over Christmas.

Him: BOTH of them?

Her: Yes, and their four dogs and the goat.

Him: Wait a sec. BOTH your parents and a goat?

Her: And four dogs.

Him: I got that, but a goat?

Her: They thought it was a stray puppy on the highway. Pulled over and put it in the car. By the time they got home, the goat was riding on dad’s lap with its head out the window, tongue lapping in the wind. So, he’s a keeper. They named him Buckle Up.

Him: Four hyper-yappy Pekingese dogs, your parents who are notorious for clipping their fingernails at the dinner table, and now a goat named Buckle Up? A month of this? WHERE’S THE STEEL DOOR!!!!!!?

Whatever it was that he couldn’t talk through with his girlfriend, he should’ve at least punched a bag of cotton balls, pulverizing each and every one down to their very last tiny fibers. Even a box of cereal would’ve sufficed. But he saw that 250-pound rectangular punching bag, and just had to pick a losing fight. In the heat of his anger, he tossed the Give-It-24-Hours rule to the wind. Instead, he opted for the least rational route and, in the process, racked up a not-so-pleasant medical expense of having to cover his $3,000 health insurance deductible.

Your girlfriend said something you didn’t agree with. It hit a nerve. It happens. But you shot off like lightening towards that steel door. This thing we do as humans, having to unleash our destructive energy on inanimate objects—aren’t there better options? Here are some suggestions (they’ll save you major medical expenses, as well as having to replace things you once purchased to enhance the beauty of your home):

  • Go for an all-out sprint around the neighborhood (even if you’re in your pajamas, GO! The neighbors will understand….”Oh, look Harriet! It’s the neighbor running like a crazy man. But bless his heart. Sure beats throwing the computer off the roof!”
  • Take your temper tantrum out to the backyard and try jumping rope with a 25-foot water hose.
  • Bike to the next town.
  • Hyperventilate till you faint and shut up.
  • Stick your head in the garbage can and scream like a rock star.
  • Try to hold ice cubes under your armpits for 10 minutes. When they’re all melted, the rage to deal with them will have completely neutralized all that venom coursing through your brain.

If those suggestions for calming your psychotic behavior are beyond your grasp, then I’ve got one more to offer (which, in fact, is probably the best advice):

Take your hot-headed disposition face-to-face with that steel door and, right before you strike the first blow, try unclenching your fist, turn the doorknob, and put one foot in front of the other until you find yourself outdoors in the therapeutic open air. Once there, take a deep, calming breath. I bet if you have any sense at all, you’ll soon discover a path of least resistance…

Go talk to your girlfriend.

Copyright Ros Hill 2015


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