I am surrounded by people who have or who are aging gracefully. With each passing year, they grow measurably in compassion, charity, and boilerplate likability. Fuck, they're usually gorgeous as well. In my 31st year on this rock (always count the zero year, people), I am quickly realizing that this will not be my fate. Each waking moment appears to chip away at the collected, upstanding visage of my youth. And while I still don't consider myself "bitter" or full of Twilight-rivaling angst, 10 years ago I never would have thought that my go-to phrase would be the ever-descriptive "Fuck this fucking shit." It's Exhibit A in a series that proves I'm becoming a horrible person. What follows are a few stand-out examples that ipso facto confirm my likely retirement as a bridge troll.
1. Swear words are my friend. I seriously love to let fly a flurry of stank-mouthed, rude, crude, ribaldry. There is a level of camaraderie in social settings one can find with the well-worded, perfectly timed obscenity. Then there's the purely animalistic, knee-jerk furor that can procure words you didn't know existed. I'd like to think that I enjoy a balanced mix of the two, if one can justify such things. But the hell-baiting realization came while texting my recently pregnant sister that her little girl needed to hurry up and get here because her uncle was going to teach her cussin' lessons. Of course... I was kidding. But the fact that I thought that was funny slightly disturbed even me. Similarly, because I find the faux children's book, Go the F**k to Sleep so indisputably funny is proof that I could never be a volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters.
2. I frequently have dreams where I verbally eviscerate a person from my past for some nebulous, un-redressed wrong. Just last night I had the most vivid depiction of a 30-minute call out session over events that transpired in the college years. I believe the phrase "bitch ass" was swung with virulent force (see point no. 1 above). Physical force may have also transpired in said slumber slayfest, as evidenced by my morning swampass and the lining of my cheeks that gnawing rendered into a loose meat sandwich. Maybe it's time for a night guard. It's funny because I don't see myself carrying these grudges in my day to day. These are people I haven't thought of in years. What alarms me is that such well-formed emotions can erupt while unconscious; I'm almost afraid to see these people again for fear of this hostile monster I'm keeping in the dungeon. Heaven help the psych who finally gets me on the couch.
3. I'm starting to consider punching people in the face as a viable problem solver. This coming from someone who has never been in a physical altercation in.his.life. But consider the strength of this argument. Tired of the passive-aggressive acquaintance? Punch in the face. Unenthusiastic waiter making you suffer through dinner because he clearly hates his job? Punch in the face. Obnoxious instructor trying to soften the blow of unmerciful student reviews with humor clichés ("Remember, God-like is hyphenated...")? Punch in the face. Mumbling WalMart first-jobber scanning each item from your cart with the alacrity of a whale beaching himself on the shores of disappointment? Punch in the face. Stuck at an impasse with a racist, homophobic Tea Bagging nutjob who thinks people want to marry goats? Definite punch in the face. Maybe even a punch in the b-hole for good measure. Coming from a true pacifist and diplomat, even I acknowledge the definitive nature of a good ole' bitch slap, a move which clearly and decisively states, "STFU. I have no vested interest in anything else you have to say."
4. I downloaded Miley Cyrus' "Party In The USA." There's not much I can say to bounce back from that.
5. I'm not agoraphobic, but there are certain public places that I'm starting to avoid because of the mob dynamic. Nothing makes me want to punch babies more than a large, loud, and obnoxious crowd. This is generally why I have to wait 2-3 weeks after a release drops to go to a movie I really want to see in theaters. When your herd of screaming pachyderms, horrendous ringtone, philistine plot commentary, and grazing from a popcorn trough are drowning out the THX 10.2 Channel Surround, I want to go on a murderous rampage. $10-15/ticket doesn't entitle me to the god treatment, but I shouldn't have to state the obvious like, "Who brings a fucking baby to Scream 4?" I feel the exact same way about Black Friday, which should be renamed Homicide Amnesty Friday. Does your MIL's "helpful" hints about which dishes should only be hand-washed lead you to believe she's not long for this world? Invite her to the 4 AM rat race for Jack-Me-Off Elmo's. Statistically, she's more likely to be trampled by the mindless wildebeest hoard than you are to win the MegaMillions. And we can all dream, can't we?
6. If you happen to drive past me on the road while my windows are down, no, that is not Lewis Black or Three 6 Mafia that you heard on blast. More than anyone I've riden with, I am the angriest, most vocal driver that I know. This is admittedly an imprecise superlative, since most people find the strength to dial it back when transporting others. So I don't know that I'm the loudest or most volatile; I just know that if dash-cam'd, I'd be more than moderately embarrassed by my Jekyll/Hyde outbursts. And this is where my iPod is a savior in such humanity-challenging moments. Certain songs have the transforming capacity to ground me and bring me back to sane commuter mode. It's auditory Paxil. For your consideration...
GREEN MEANS GO, MOTHERFUCKER!!!!! GO, GO, MOVE, YOU OBLIVIOUS PIECE OF SHI... ♪♫♪"She drives me crazy... WOO, OOOoooo... Like no one else... WOO, OOOoooo... She drives me crazy, and I can't he-elp myse-eh-elf..."♫♪♫ [blood pressure lowers, birds chirping, driver whistling, casualties averted]
I hope the irony of that example isn't lost on you, dear reader. It certainly wasn't lost on me, as I maniacally laughed it off, planting yet another flag on the emotional spectrum of my driving psychosis. In that moment of clarity, I decided to give my Sybil Dorsett moment the paparazzi treatment. Here's the mobile photo booth exposé and proof positive of my break with reality.
I think we all have moments that draw us to the edge and make us peer perilously into a future likely comprised of Nancy Grace interviews. So what keeps the crazy at bay? What keeps us from twisting off each workday and pulling a "Take-this-job-and-shove-it" like Steven Slater? More and more, I realize that stress and high blood pressure ain't nothin' to mock or ignore. We joke about taking mental health days, which is a PC way of saying, "If I have to watchdog my inbox for another 8 hours and immediately answer all of his impulsive requests, I'm going to rob a pet store and punt all the puppies through the uprights at Cowboys Stadium so these sadistic, soul-sucking bastards can watch it in high-def on the Jerry-tron."
That last sentence made me cringe a bit, since I am such a fan of the canines. So there actually may be hope for this aging sack of shit after all. Until I fully search out this softer side, steer clear of me on the road, *motherfuckers.
*A term of endearment in some cultures.