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Wyoming born. Arizona raised. Sports Reporter. Trying to live a life of gratitude. Not a fan of pineapples.

The Rage

Sons,

Recently I’ve found out that the oldest of you has something inside you I like to refer to as “The Rage.”

All three of you might be afflicted with this thing that your mother would begrudge me for failing to mention “definitely comes from dad’s side of the family.” But at this point in time, I can only confirm that it’s you, Micah, who, carries this curse.

I call it “The Rage” because I feel like it deserves the respect given to a proper noun, and because it’s far from an issue with anger or bouts of emotional mania. It’s ever-present, close to the surface, and a constant companion that you’ll have to learn to reckon with.

I think Mark Ruffalo best described what co-habitating with “The Rage” is like in his take on Bruce Banner in Marvel’s The Avengers:

“I’m always angry” about sums it up. But here’s the thing- when “The Rage” takes over, you don’t have the awesome ability to turn into a giant green Hulk and smash life’s problems into the ground. Instead, you stay a frail, cute, squeezable six-year-old with glasses, a high-pitched voice and a head that you’re still working on growing into.

“The Rage” took you over the other day when you left the play area of a Carl’s Jr. to use the restroom, and accidentally fell in the toilet. The entire restaurant had their meals disturbed with your nightmarish screams of indignant despair. If you could have, you would have smashed that whole restaurant to bits. As we were politely asked to vacate the premises so you could continue your nuclear meltdown out of earshot of the restaurant’s patrons, I couldn’t help but laugh.

I know my laughter in the midst of your crisis may have hurt your feelings, but I promise I wasn’t laughing at you- well, it wasn’t ALL about you falling into a toilet and making noises I doubt many of those people had ever heard before- hahaha. OH MY GOD. THAT REALLY HAPPENED. Again, I’m sorry… it really wasn’t ALL about you. I was just remembering my reactionary bouts with “The Rage” from when I was your age.

Once, when I was just a tad older than you are now, I was in the neighbor’s driveway using their basketball hoop to practice my free throws. I was great at free throws (which is sort of a useless skill when you’re not good enough at anything else to warrant the playing time that would get you into a game so you could get fouled). All of the sudden, I was missing more than I usually did. Two misses in a row became three, and I could feel “The Rage” starting to surface. I tensed up, lost my composure and form, and three misses in a row quickly became six. After the seventh miss I grabbed the ball and slammed it against the pavement with all my might, only to have it bounce back up and (excuse the completely accurate and situationally appropriate language) knock-me-the-fuck-out. The neighbors found me taking a short nap in their driveway whilst bleeding from the nostrils. While I can laugh about it now, it wasn’t very funny at the time.

I have plenty of stories like that from my youth, where “The Rage” popped up and caused me to angrily embarrass myself. You’re not alone. The trick is to recognize the type of situations that bring that kind of emotion out of you and acknowledge that you’ve got a friend who will take the wheel if you allow yourself to let go. Sometimes though, an unexpected situation comes up, and you won’t be able to help the temporary monster you become. Things like falling in a Carl’s Jr. toilet.

Next time you literally, or figuratively find yourself stuck in a toilet and losing your damn mind, do what I do- look at the situation as if you were outside your own body, watching yourself act like a fool. You don’t just have my rage- you’ve also got my sense of humor. Any time I’m about to lose myself to The Rage over life’s little inconveniences, I picture myself getting knocked into next week by a ball that I wish Tom Brady had been around to deflate, and I laugh myself back into control. Let the Carl’s Jr. toilet do that for you. “The Rage” has, and will have, a lot of power in your life, but it’s got nothing on a little laughter and a lot of joy.

Love,

Dad

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16 Comments on “The Rage”

  1. michelleat26 January 25, 2015 at 6:48 pm #

    I love your writing. It is always so humurous and yet true. I am totally opposite though. Pretty relaxed and laid back and when things like that happen to me I might get annoyed but nothing more. I have met many people though that are just like you describe and they have not learned to manage their “rage”.

    • ralphamsden January 25, 2015 at 7:09 pm #

      Hahaha. Yes. People who don’t get it under control are rarely functional beyond a certain age.

  2. Tia Michelle January 25, 2015 at 7:26 pm #

    I loved this. I am currently experiencing this with my soon to be 3 year old. I hope that I will be able to show them how to control it…better yet, to look back and laugh

    • ralphamsden January 29, 2015 at 7:09 am #

      3 years old is probably the most deceptive age. It’s like the first puberty. Whoever came up with the phrase “terrible twos” probably forgot the age of their own child, because late 2 through early 4 is the craziest, by far. Good luck 😉

  3. elvagreen123 January 25, 2015 at 8:39 pm #

    Hahahah, sorry, but that really is funny, not that he fell in but that he got so pissed off! I can totally identify with you both.

    • ralphamsden January 29, 2015 at 7:10 am #

      I laughed HARD when I first rushed in and saw him. I couldn’t help it. He’s still a little sore at me.

  4. ARRivera January 25, 2015 at 9:33 pm #

    This is priceless. Ive got a plethora of stories of my kids and public toilets. (What is it with boys and public toilets?)

    • ralphamsden January 29, 2015 at 7:11 am #

      No idea, but that sense of dread that creeps up when you’re out in public and they start doing the potty dance is the woooooorrrst.

      • ARRivera January 29, 2015 at 8:13 am #

        It really is.

  5. hairytrotter January 26, 2015 at 7:33 am #

    When the basketball knocked you out, I nearly spit my morning’s cereal out from laughing.(no offense intended) I always enjoy your blogs; thank you for sharing. 🙂

  6. BohoChickKy January 26, 2015 at 2:52 pm #

    Great story, poor kid. But then we all have embarrassing stories to tell about our children, don’t we? I deal with The Rage and self-control, too. Still, at the age of 49. All three of my boys seemed to have been “endowed” with it as well. My daughter, not so much. It is a genuine struggle to keep it in check, but it gets easier as you get older, or at least it has for me. It’s tempered with a little bit of wisdom now. I’m able to take a beat and think for a second BEFORE I act, and I’ve managed not to get myself into too much trouble. *wink*

    • ralphamsden January 29, 2015 at 7:14 am #

      I never really rage at other people (though I’ve come close while driving), I usually freak out about tiny, frustrating, avoidable things like stubbing my toe. If I stub my toe in the end of the bed or something like that it takes everything in me to not burn the whole earth to the ground.

  7. Incidental Scribe January 27, 2015 at 7:52 am #

    I think anyone would be a little ragey at getting stuck in a toilette. I know I would lol. But hopefully it’s only events like that where he gets really upset. Poor you getting knocked out by your own basketball. That really has to take some strength to pull off. Great tale.

  8. ralphamsden February 2, 2015 at 7:05 pm #

    Reblogged this on I Think I'm Gonna Ralph and commented:

    A funny story about my son getting stuck in a public restaurant toilet turns into a lesson on rage management- Posted to The Dad Letters last week.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Frames | The Dad Letters - January 29, 2015

    […] see. I don’t care if you don’t like sports, or that you won’t eat meat, or that you get angry sometimes. At the end of the day, I want you to feel like nothing mattered more to me than the fact that […]

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