Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What I Didn't Learn in Anger Management Class

I punched out my boss once. This was a while back. My brother called not long after and answered my hello with laughter and said, "Living the American Dream." I was happy about that. But slugging my boss had been a bad idea. The dude was angry and did all he could to make the assault charge stick. I had to spend more money than I had then on a lawyer my sister hooked me up w/ (this was in D.C., and my sister worked for a D.C. law firm). She was pretty good, that lawyer, and got me off w/ a no-contest plea or something like that, some deal where it ended up legally expunged from my record. The only real consequence, besides the money I was out: I had to do community service and go to anger management classes. The classes were held in a big room on the first floor of a Ramada hotel. They were painful. I remember about the instructor that she was bored and overweight, and that she always talked about 'invitations' to anger. You will receive invitations to anger, she said. And like any invitation, you will have a choice. Do I want to accept that invitation or perhaps is this one I should decline?

She looked very silly, dramatizing this. I would end up thinking, Am I here? Is this actually happening?

But lately her advice seems less ridiculous to me. I still lose my temper too easily. And I think, when it's happening, that it's good, that nothing could be better than releasing my bad weather....

nothing could be better
than releasing my bad weather....

But then, you know, inevitably, I end up wishing that I'd fixed before me the image of that bored, overweight woman with red nails and powdery make-up, and that I'd repeated along w/ her: no, thank you. I see that you're kindly offering me an invitation to anger, but no thank you, not just now, thanks... I believe my datebook is full!