Thursday, September 16, 2010

16. Anger

C.W. was aggravating the hell out of me. He had intruded upon my lunch in the park in the form of a twelve-year old boy with slingshot, one of those plastic models designed for serious business. He had just aimed a rock at a jogger. It bounced in front of the poor fellow and when he turned around, C.W. had laid the slingshot in my lap and was studying his cell phone.

“Hey, buddy. Watch what you’re doing with that thing.” The runner glared and then gave me the finger. As he jogged off, C.W. snickered.

“What the hell are you up to?” I asked him.

“Oh nothing.” He gave me this sincere look and reached for the slingshot. I held on to it

“Gimme it,” he yelled and everyone in earshot turned toward us. “Gimme back my slingshot, Mr.” He screamed it louder this time. “My Momma gave it to me. You give it back.” I’ll be damned if he didn’t start to cry.

I handed it to him just to shut him up.

“What the hell are you up to?” I asked him.

“What do you mean?”

“You are acting like a complete asshole.”

“Are you getting angry?”

“You’re damned right I am.”

“That’s great,” he said. “How does it feel?”

“It’s spoiling my lunch.”

“Oh boy,” he said. With one fluid motion he whipped a rock into a passing car. It screeched to a halt and C.W. tried to hand me the slingshot again. I stepped away as the driver of the car stepped out and yelled a detailed description of what he would do if I didn’t make my son behave. I didn’t have heart to tell him.

“What has gotten into you?” I said.

“Are you getting angrier?”

“You’re damned right I am. Why don’t you leave me alone?”

“Can I take your blood pressure?” He began to swing a backpack from his shoulders.

“You can leave me the hell alone.” I yelled.

“That’s it,” he said. “Now you are really pissed.”

I began to see a pattern. “Why are you concerned about my getting angry?”

“It’s natural,” he said. “When you have an object to be angry at and a defined reason.” He stopped for a moment and waited for me to catch my breath. “But your species seems to have unique approach to it. I keep reading about a group of people who claim to be angry but no one can explain why.” He paused. “They drink tea or something. Is that what causes it?”

“I don’t think so. Don’t people on your planet get angry?”

“On occasion. But not for the pure enjoyment of it. Never to draw attention to ourselves. We would call that ‘Wabobeling.’”

“What does that mean?”

Oh ... lets' make sure this guy is well-armed: C.W.

He blushed. “It has to do with sex, like without a partner.”

It was my turn to blush.

“You see,” he said. “We would call selfish and undirected ‘anger: emotional masturbation.’”

Well, he had me there.

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