Amping Down the Anger: How to Heal the World in Three Simple Steps

My wife told me a story yesterday that was unnerving to say the least.

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She’d been visiting a friend in the San Fernando Valley and stopped off on the way home to buy some groceries. As she was standing in the checkout line with her stuff on the belt there was a guy behind her, unloading his stuff onto the belt as well. When the young lady at the register accidentally started ringing up some of this guy’s groceries my wife took the rubber divider thing and put it down on the belt to separate her groceries from this guy’s groceries.

Well, the guy who was in my wife’s words, “a very large man in a baseball hat, talking in a too-loud voice while chomping down a bureka” took the rubber thing and flung it aggressively across the store. He then started maligning my wife’s clothing. I’m not even sure how that’s possible given that my wife’s clothing is unimpeachably cool. But after that, he started berating her in general, calling her among other things, a lesbian and someone no one would ever marry. What the f^&k!?

But then he changed the game. He started moving toward my wife to push her, which would have been a terrible mistake. My wife and I are both Shotokan karate black belts and while we may not be in perfect practice, with a guy like that there’s always a way to deliver a quick strike to the neck and drop him to the floor. Well, she didn’t do any such thing; she just took her bags and walked out of the store.

After my wife told me this story, I was like a balloon full of adrenaline and rage. I’m not typically aggressive, but here was some asshole in a store trying to aggress a loved one. Even though I was caught up in my emotions it was interesting to watch myself, to see how quickly I could become, in spite of my native proclivities, a very aggressive person. That moment I so desperately wanted to drive to that store, review their security tapes, find the bureka guy, and do him grievous harm. I didn’t do that of course, but in the process, I did reflect on a great way to heal the world. It’s nothing too academic I assure you, just three simple steps.

When you feel like — for whatever reason — flinging the rubber thing that divides two sets of groceries, when you feel like saying and doing something stupid and aggressive:

• Use impulse control.

• Relax.

• Let kindness overtake you.

Try it. It’s the way to go. I did it myself with this guy and I believe I created some true harmony in the world.

I did not drive down to the San Fernando Valley and review any tapes. Although I must reserve the right to do so at some point in the future…

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