Anger Management 101
July 23, 2005
Well, I have to say thanks to Waxburn for seeing the humor in what i write and being a good sport. And someone, PLEASE get Judith a REFRESH button! Ebay, anyone? (only kidding, Judith.) Now, i nearly wee’d myself from the Anger thing. Now, I totally see that point cause here i am ranting and hollering (hollaback, yall!) and just going on and on. Yep, it’s true. I AM angry. i got alot to be angry about. And so do you. So i decide not to keep it in and since i’ve sugarcoated everything up to now i feel not only is it my privelage to to write the truth, it’s my duty. Now, you can choose not to believe me of course, but keep in mind, i make a point not to make any accusations i can’t back up. but yes, sniff sniff, i AM angry. Why? well it probably goes back to an incident in my childhood. But i wanted to get to the bottom of my anger thing. So, as a start, i pulled out my Webster’s Dictionary and looked up the word. and there it was:
ANGER: A strong passion or emotion of displeasure or antagonism, excited by a real or supposed injury or insult to one’s self or others, or by the intent to do such injury.
If your co-worker screwed up your company so that everyone suffered, wouldnt you be a bit upset? And imagine at the time when you first joined the company, it’s worth was very low finacially. Over time, your efforts helped make the company (and it’s most prized employee) worth a great deal more. Now, imagine the prized employee wrecking the business on purpose simply because, at that time, they could afford to, in an effort to ruin you finacially. Imagine explaining that story to your landlord without the slightest hint of anger. if anyone of you can do that then i personally will write you a birthday song. But i think, when things happen to people themselves, their opinions change drastically. What’s that old saying? ah yes, a liberal is someone who is 20% to the left when things happen to others but 20% to the righ when it happens to them. The different people that were victoms of the bullying in OUR company, i never really publically stood for. it wasn’t till it happened to me that i found the need to speak up. but my story could be told by any of a number of people that has played music with “the company” over the last 40 years or so. But the real reason i am angry is because i don’t like bullies. That’s it. So i just saved myself shrink money i didn’t even have anyway. But i’ll give you a true story.
back when i was 8 years old, there was a playground bully. i don’t remember his name. i don’t even remember his face. i DO remember everyone laughed at his jokes and wanted to be on his good side because they were afraid of him. he WAS really good at football and basketball and baseball too so he certainly had the girls attention. But he was a solid bully and people didn’t seem to let that get in the way of them liking him. Everyone was afraid of him. i certainly was. he was big and sweaty and smelled like piss half the time. he would take other kids’ money every single day. just like those movies you see, he’d take kids’ lunch. he took my lunch one day without asking. i was lucky i wasnt there and he didn’t know it was mine, thus sparing me a confrontation with him.
One day, he was ‘punkin’ some kid who was a friend of mine. His name was Eugene and he wore glasses. This made Eugene paricularly vulnerable to this bully. His name and glasses gave him away. And he was smart so the bully, who always got bad grades, hated Eugene probably more than anybody. Eugene even missed school days, playing sick, if he thought the bully was gonna go the extra mile because the bully used to make things up, accuse Eugene of talking about him behind his back and of course when Eugene denied it the Bully would say, “You calling me a liar” and terroize Eugene some more.
One day, a girl i really liked (forget her name) stopped liking me. i dont remember why. she just liked someone else and i couldn’t understand it at all and i was really sad about it. th kid she liked was named darren. i dont know why i remember his name but i do. so i tried to avoid them on the playground for a while so i’d feel better. Eugene was sitting next to me when the bully came up. (wait, the bully’s name was Phillip!) So Phillip dropped some change on the ground and said, “Pick it up, sap.” he said it about 3 times and Eugene sat there and started crying and wet his trousers, right there on the bench. My friend, who never did anything to anyone was ruined just like that. You piss yourself at school and you may as well move to the valley cause your name is mud and news travels FAST when you’re 8 years old.
I was so furious some one told me later that my ears turned red. without even thinking i grabbed a huge stick, which was the end of a shovel that had broken i think. I swung it at Phillip and started screaming. he started crying and took off running. i chased him out the gate and about 2 blocks down the street. A teacher came to get us and we were brought to the principal’s office. My neighbor, also named Michael, saw the whole thing so when they called my mom i actually had a good witness. Turns out the bully had pissed himself too. But the worst part was yet to come. See, what we didn’t know was Phillip’s mother was totally phycho and used to abuse him, physically, which is maybe why he was the way he was.
Well, his mom came down by days end to get him (my mom had already picked my brother and me up) and according to what and who you want to believe, she either beat him with a gun (obvious exageration), stripped him named and whipped him with a bullwhip (probably a fib) or took his belt off of him and beat him in front of all the kids on th play ground. Why? appearently because he RAN. she didn’t even care about his bullying! it was his RUNNING LIKE A COWARD that bothered her!!!!!! How crazy is that? and me? well, first off i was in trouble for chasing the kid with a stick and for leaving the schoolyard. i was suspended for 2 days. it was well worth it. my mom was really upset that i chased him with a stick but she said she was proud that i stood up for Eugene. that was on a thursday. i remember that because i didn’t return till tuesday. But to answer that orignal question, yes, i am angry now as i was then. Not everyone stands up to a bully. the teacher that had me suspended could only criticise my actions and try to shame me.
Maybe that’s why i’m the way i am. Sometimes you have to accept that people are gonna disagree with your tactics and of course, not everyone loves a hero. but i WAS a hero that day and on tuesday i was the MAN*. And Eugene actually never got teased. Phillip was a whole different story. The first thing he did was invite me and Eugene and a few other kids to his birthday party. Nobody wanted to be his friend though. he was totally ostracized. i felt bad and i actually went to his party and just like i figured, there was nobody there from school. fast forward 15 years later. i’m getting gasoline on la Brea and Slauson after visiting some relatives in La Deira heights, suburb near LAX airport. Phillip was washing windows on cars. he came up and just started doing my windows. once we recognized each other (and i swear i am in tears even writing this), it was obvious to me he was a drug attack, or “crackhead” as we called them. most of his teeth were missing and he looked like something the cat dragged in.
He asked me what i was up and i told him, this being around 1989. i told him i had just moved back to LA from Santa Barbara and that I was a musician. he gave me a 2-minute drill on his hard luck but ended it by telling me he was getting a record deal that weekend, cause he was a soul singer and could i loan him some money. i had $20 in my pocket and just gave it to him. he smelled so bad i nearly puked. this was unbelievable and it still shocks me to think about it. All this time i thought i’d ‘won’ something that day on the playground. But in the world of bullies i guess everyone loses. See, i can’t help my big fat mouth. A part of me feels like had i not let things get so far with this guy’s bullying, maybe things might have turned out differently? Sure, his family situation was to blame for his behaviour bu the school probably did nothing to help the guy either. So he just bullied and bullied and everyone played his game until he went too far. i don’t know where Phillip is now. i hope he got his life together. i doubt it.
And i dont say any of this because i dont welcome your criticism of me. I’m fine with that and it’s always about different strokes for different folks, far as i’m concerned. But, y’see, this is LA, home of the second, third and fourth chance, which signals to people they can f*ck up as many times as they please cause someone will always make excuses for them. if you don’t believe me, ask Kobe Bryant. or Jacko. Or O.J. Or Robert Blake. Or John De Lorean. Or Winona Ryder. Or Arthur Lee. Ask them what it means to be given a 3rd or 4th chance at life when most of us get nary a second chance. Ask them what that means and see if you don’t get angry.
* i never got my girl back, unfortunately, but for a year i did have very strange erotic dreams of tying her up to a pole, naked, at low tide. To this day i still don’t understand those dreams, nor have i ever really tried to tie anyone up naked to poles at low tide. (Not to poles, atleast.)
all the best,