Wednesday, April 01, 2020

BEST Humorous Tips for Tamping Down Anger and Self-Pity when Trump is on TV

Jaime O'Neill is becoming my favorite columnist for the times we are in. At least, he can make me laugh through my tears every time I read him.  I guarantee you will, too!  (And you'll even forgive him for the coarse words, because you'll understand him.  We ALL feel like he does these days, and if a swear word or two escapes our lips, we know they are absolutely justified, given the apparent circumstances we are laboring under). 😌😪🙏😧❤

Tips for Tamping Down Anger and Self-Pity
by Jaime O'Neill | April 1, 2020 - 7:39am

If you've read much of what I've written over the course of this century so far, you'd be right to wonder how in the hell it would be possible for me to offer anything useful on the subject of anger management. I've written a couple million words of political opinion during the last two decades. The preponderance of that verbiage has been expressive of anger and frustration with a range of politicians from Dubya to the Donald, with forays into lesser known targets who managed to piss me off despite the fact that I am, without doubt, one of the nicest guys extant. Trust me on this. Still, some of that anger has been pretty unrestrained. I've raged and ranted, sputtered and fumed, pissed and moaned.

So where do I off presuming I can tell you anything helpful about anger management? (We'll get to self-pity in a minute. Just hold on, goddamn it.)

Despite appearances, I'm pretty good at controlling my anger. If you think about all the bullshit we had to put up with from Bush/Cheney/Newtie/Limbaugh/O'Reilly/Mitch McConnell/Ann Coulter/Paul Ryan/Rick Santorum/Alex Jones/D'nesh D'Souza/Sarah Huckabee Sanders/the ever-so-virtuous Bill Bennett/Bill Barr/Betsy de Vos/Sarah Palin/Lindsey Graham/Heckuva Job Brownie/Brett Kavanaugh/Steve Bannon/Corey Lewandowski, and the legion of punk ass pukes, incompetents, nitwits, hucksters, chiselers, sleaze bags, racists, and cretins that have tended to dominate the lunatic asylum of the American right for so long, it's a miracle I haven't run amok. And if you're not reading this in a loony bin at this moment, then it's lucky you haven't run amok, too. A sane person surely would have by now. We were all just crazy enough not to go entirely crazy through all of this madness we've endured.

So, all things considered, I think I'm pretty damn good at keeping my anger under restraint, and you can just go fuck yourself if you think you're so much more likely to be some model for self-control, asshole.

But if you still need convincing about how much I have to offer on the subject of remaining calm and unflustered, let me tell you how well we're managing in our happy home just nearly a full month since my wife and I took the hint and decided to shelter in place. We deal with cabin fever pretty well. There has been no exchange of gunfire between us yet. In fact, we almost never raise our voices except to curse at the motherfucking TV when Trump's image appears or when that Liberty Mutual jingle sounds off before the can mute it. Still, we remain models of domestic bliss despite the daily deluge of bad news about the sick, the dying, and the dead. We're stalwarts.

Do we get on one another's nerves once in awhile? Sure. But we've been married a long time, and we know how to sail our little boat when the waves get a little choppy. It's never long before we emerge once more under sunny skies, on calm seas, with fluffy heart-shaped clouds clustering over our hoary heads.

So, if you think you're better than we are at staying cool under pressure, then aren't you special?

This morning, for instance, still in my bathrobe, going about the house barefoot, I noted that my dear wife had put some laundry on the bed. The suggestion that I fold it was implicit. And though it wasn't something I was particularly keen on doing at that moment, I am even more dutiful than I am self-controlled. So I stepped up to that little mound of towels and underwear, stepping into a very fresh regurgitation of the contents of one of the stomachs of one of the three cats who share close quarters with us. Did I swear? You may be surprised to know I didn't. Did I lash out at either of the two cats sleeping on the bed beside that pile of laundry? No, I didn't.

So, what did I do you ask? I got the stuff needed from under the bathroom sink and cleaned the rug of the puke at the foot of the bed. Quietly, calmly, like a man completely in command of his emotions.

Then I washed my hands thoroughly, like a surgeon. Once I'd sung "Happy birthday to you" under my breath a half dozen times, slowly, as someone had told me was equivalent to the amount of time needed to kill the goddamned Corona virus, I proceeded to the kitchen to make breakfast. I made pancakes with a mix I hadn't tried before, then called my lovely wife to come and eat the first one off the griddle. I wanted her to enjoy it while it was still warm, of course, as one does. I'd melted the butter, and poured warm syrup over the golden brown offering.

But she didn't come right away. I called to her again. Still, she didn't hurry to the table. I knew she was on her computer, no doubt writing an email to someone in her book group. But I was cool, despite the fact that like every fuckin' cook who ever put food I the table, I really want people to eat it before it gets cold. After all, it was made with love, god damn it, and it's only common courtesy to come to the table when called? Boy, I remember how annoyed mom could get when us kids didn't come to the table when dinner was served. So isn't that kind of understood, sort of a rule? Well, isn't it?

So, I called a little louder, thinking that maybe she hadn't heard me (we've both lost a little hearing in the last couple of years). And then she came to the kitchen, saying "you don't have to get mad." Which came fairly close to making me a little mad because I wasn't mad. I only raised my voice because a) I didn't think she heard me the first two times, and b) I wanted her to have a nice warm waffle, not a cold square of formerly hot batter turned into a delectable breakfast by the thoughtful effort of a loving spouse.

But I wasn't mad. I was fine. There she was, settling herself at the table, making little exclamations over the provender I'd made for her. From the other room, I heard the voice of the President of the United States saying to a reporter that he "knew more about South Korea than anyone." This was the same guy who just a day or two ago had said he knew more about insurance than anyone, and had earlier said he knew more about the military than his generals, more about science than the scientists, more than most anyone about anything because of his "great brain." And there he was again, in a recording of comments he made to the nations beleaguered governors, saying he wasn't aware that lack of testing for the virus that was killing so many people was a problem, and praising himself on the "tremendous" job he was doing, and that when it came to testing, he knew a lot about testing, yadayadayada.

So, sure, some profanity issued from my lips, words children shouldn't hear, perhaps, words provoked and inflicted without any provocation from me. And yeah, I suppose my blood pressure rose a little, and my emotions clicked over a notch or two into the red zone. And my wife's voice joined with mine in a little chorus of deep, deep disapproval of the leader of our nation, consternation of a very high order, perturbation at the top of its scale, just two aging people shut up in a house with a killer global virus swirling around among all of suffering humankind, man and wife sharing deep feeling together and as one, united in extreme agitation at the ridiculous, albeit dangerous, son of a bitch on the screen in our living room who was making every imaginable fuckin' thing in the world worst.

So, were we angry? Hell yes. What's it to ya, schmuck? If you'd spent the morning wiping cat puke off the heel of your foot, and then cooked a breakfast that was getting cold, followed by yet another recitation of self-absorbed dipshittery from the damn crook in charge of what needs doing, you might have been a bit annoyed yourself. As anyone should be.

But the TV is intact. I still love my wife. No dishes were broken. No cops had to be called. We ate, two old people in love, dealing with more shit than any kind and loving god should ever visit upon creatures said to be made in His image, albeit half of them more anatomically similar to Him than the other half, if I got the story right.

I turned the TV off, we ate our breakfast. We took a walk. We heard birdies singing, saw squirrels at play. We kept social distance from people we saw, and every time I felt a little sorry for myself having to deal with a lurking virus ready to pounce on me or my wife, a brave woman recovering from cancer, with both of us living with the additional burden of this fat, repulsive, and stupid motherfucker as our leader, I thought of how much harder it would surely be if we were a young couple now, expecting our first child. Or how desperately forlorn my hope would be if I were a pregnant single mom without a supportive mate, trying to keep my fears at bay, my anger down, and my hopes growing ever more forlorn for the future, mine and that unborn child I was about to deliver into this messed-up world. I thought, too, about those poor kids in custody at the border, far from their parents, ill-cared for, in close proximity to one another. "The horror, the horror," to quote Kurtz from Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness.

And that diverts my anger, converts it to sadness, and expunges my self-pity. It doesn't make me whistle a happy tune, but it does provide me with a perspective. So I log the anger, store it for later use, and tell myself that although we may be all one, there is way worse suffering than I've ever known or will likely ever know. Perspective helps.

So, if you have anger issues in these days when many do, and if you have moments when self-pity circles around and then lights on your shoulder, do as I do: Just think a little less about yourself and a little more about people who have it way worse, and with way more to deal with than you do, you selfish prick, ya.

And now this. If you don't like it, isn't that just too bad. Suck it up. As we must.