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Be angry only when necessary. It improves life
June 7, 2013 - Paul Giannamore
I quit my job here in September of 2011 because (or so I told myself) I had nothing to add to the discussion that anyone needed to hear. I figured there were (and are) enough ranting and raving idiots from the radio to the newspages to cyberspace without me contributing my two cents. And I thought that for more than a year.
And then I realized it might be good to provide a neither left nor right viewpoint that skewers all the idiocy and, hopefully, makes you smile. It’s the byproduct of turning 50 last year and realizing life is shorter ahead than it was behind, unless I’m heading for 100. That realization led me to recognize that being angry 24/7 is the biggest problem for most people in the United States.
From the checkout aisle to the intersection, from the back yard to the airport, from the schoolhouse to the house of worship, we live in a place where it’s easy to be honked off all the time. Everyone else is, so why not join in?
The nation is full of angry, pickup-truck-driving wannabe cowboys, angry gang bangers (their bullets hurt people all the same, so the “they’re just wannabes” excuse is stupid), angry old people who think the world owes them something and angry young people who think the old people have nothing to contribute. Not to mention angry Republicans, angry Democrats, angry racial divides, angry religious divides (both inter- and intra-denominational), NFL/NHL/NBA/MLB divides, people who argue if the shootings in Steubenville are better than the meth labs in Toronto (really, you owe it to yourself to read readers’ reactions to stories). No institution is safe from having its foibles skewered on the Internet, no famous person is anything less than a complete screw-up, a faker seeking redemption or a seemingly good person who has yet to fall from grace.
In my 19 months at Anytime Fitness, both locally and during the corporate visits I was fortunate enough, by working out and by being around people who work out, from the super-fit to the fat and sick and sick of being fat, to learn that all that anger and negativity is destructive. It destroys relationships, communities and our physical health. It feeds upon itself. It is self-perpetuating. No problem gets solved. You just get more angry. Eventually, the anger makes you physically sick. Trust me. I spent from age 23 to about age 47 of my life being angry. Until it made me sick.
And so, today, I tell you, lighten up.
Yes, the government is run amok. But did you really think that any electronic device would be secure from anyone who wants to pry, let alone the government? Administrations have been abusing electronic eavesdropping power since Alexander Graham Bell talked to Watson in the other room by wire.
And, the government’s surveillance program apparently works very well. Even when the Russians are telling the American government to watch a couple of guys, even with all the illegal phone records searching and tax boggling and harassing of reporters going on, the feds managed to miss the Tsarnaevs, didn’t they?
I am absolutely angry. I absolutely feel violated.
Yes, it’s wrong for the government to spy on us without warrants. No, I don’t believe they only look at “foreign” people. Yes, we have to do something about that. But it will not mean I will be sharing every whacko website, every news story, every detail I stumble into about these kinds of stories 24/7 on every social network I have. I don’t do that in person, I won’t do that on the Web. Occasionally and constructively, but not constantly and not from the extremists.
What does being rantingly angry really do in the face of it? Recognize that for most of us, it’s an invasion that nets those idiots in government nothing. Do they really have someone sifting through texts to learn whether or not I or my wife have completed the shopping list/fed the dog/fed the cat/fed The Drummer/fed ourselves? Is it important to some federal minion that I text The Boss (at work) and tell him “Hey, Saturday’s story is done”? If they do, they've got more time and money to waste than any report we will ever see.
It would be easy to join in the Brigade of the Pissed Off 24/7, Tweet all the stories of FOX/CNN/Huffpo/NewsMax and argue with every friend I encounter in person or in cyberspace. But what does that accomplish? Am I changing anything or just adding to the charged atmosphere?
Being angry 24/7 fails to pay.
You’ve got to turn it off once in awhile to gain perspective. Pet your dog. Work out in a gym. Kiss your wife. Check up on the adult kids or tend to the little ones. Wax your car. Doesn’t mean we don’t seek change. But to achieve it, we have to be something much less than angry all the time. Because then it’s just fighting in the streets to replace the old boss with a new boss, who is same as the old boss. Happens all the time. Look around the world.
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