GETTING MORE TALE #594: St. Anger
As a half-Italian, part-German, part Scottish guy, I was born with a fuse. Sometimes that fuse can go off. Nothing makes me angrier than when my wife, who has epilepsy, is told to “fuck off” because of her need to be away from flashing lights. We’ve written extensively about epilepsy and our experiences, good and bad. We are very open about it, happy to answer questions and eager to educate. So when I hear that my wife had a seizure at the mall because of flashing lights and a guy who told her to “fuck off” and “stay indoors”, I feel like I could explode!
Here’s what happened. Our wedding anniversary is August 31. We had a nice dinner booked at Borealis, our favourite local eatery. Jennifer went out to the mall that afternoon to get some things we needed for the weekend. At the Walmart checkout, there was a child with those shoes that have flashing lights in the heels. I don’t understand the need for those shoes. At night, sure, I get it. In a brightly lit Walmart, they’re a hazard to people prone to seizures. An actual hazard as real as a slippery floor.
My wife asked the closest lady if that was her child. She said “No.” But it actually was her child. Jen covered her eyes as the kid danced around the checkout aisle with the flashing heels. She asked the lady to tell her when the flashing stopped so she could uncover her eyes. The lady said it stopped. She opened her eyes and the kid was still dancing and the shoes were still flashing. She covered her eyes again. She was getting upset. Suddenly the lady’s husband showed up out of nowhere and began berating my wife. He told her to “mind your own business”, that she should “fuck off”, and “stay indoors” if she had a problem with the shoes.
And so, she had a seizure in the checkout. She doesn’t remember anything after paying for her things. She remembers telling the cashier that she was probably going to have a seizure. The next thing she knew is that the paramedics were there and she was in an ambulance. I will give Walmart and the mall credit for being proactive about this. They know my wife (unfortunately from past seizures) and they have my phone number on file. They called me immediately.
I took Jen home and she had a good rest. We didn’t have our dinner out that night. But we had a great dinner in, and a lovely anniversary at home. We went out the following night instead.
Here’s the kick in the nuts. At the exact time I got that phone call from the mall about my wife, I read the story about how our friend Kenner Fee, who has autism, will not be allowed to bring his service dog to school. It was a painful one-two punch.
The anger simmered in me. I came home and keyboard-warriored my way around Facebook, to the ignorant trolls on the Kenner Fee threads. I wrote a few zingers, and before I knew it, two hours had gone by. But by the end, I wasn’t angry anymore. It might not have been the healthiest method of anger management.
I think there are two really healthy ways to let the anger out. They are music, and being physically active.
I like to kill two birds with one stone. My favourite thing is to put on something fast and heavy. Metallica works as a go-to. Testament, even Sabbath, they all work. Hit play, turn up the volume. Then I just fucking thrash. Air drums, air guitar, headbanging, whatever. Just physically moving with the tunes. Air drums work fantastic for this. Lipsynching helps. Or, sing along if you’re not too self-conscious.
“And I want my anger to be healthy” — Metallica
I remember when I was younger, there was this one girl named Tracy that I really liked. But she just kept me hanging along for months. One night she had a friend of hers crank call me, pretending to be somebody from my history class that liked me. I fell for it and got crushed. And I was pissed off.
The music that came in handy that time was Motley Crue. “Primal Scream” might have been their heaviest tune at the time. The lyrics were in sync too. “You just got to scream! And shout! Let that mother out!” And I believed that. Sometimes you do have to let that mother out.
Whatever you do, do it healthy! I recommend a solid soundtrack of heavy metal to go with it.