Tired of All the AngerWe're angry in this country. Angry, exasperated, outraged, filled with righteous self-indignation. We're a nation of upset people, and there's no apparent reason for it.
Whose fault is it? Who's making us so mad?
The Other Guy.
If you're into politics, it's the other side's fault. If you're in business, it's the competition's fault, or the customer's fault. If you have a neighbor, it's his fault.
Someone cut in line? They're an awful human being who laughed at the end of "Dolphin Tale." Someone cut you off in traffic? Quick, race up onto their bumper at 60 miles an hour and act like you're going to smash into them, possibly killing you both. Your neighbor hasn't mowed his lawn in 10 days? He's clearly a Nazi/Communist/Fascist/Ralph Nader supporter. We should sue, or tell the home owners association on him.
We're mad as hell, and we're not going to take it anymore.
Whatever "it" is.
So we've become a nation of shouters, trying to out-shout the Other Guy. Political pundits have turned what was once reasonable discourse between two or more mature adults having a well-reasoned discussion about serious issues into a bunch of whiny brats arguing about who wants the biggest piece of cake. Rather than have a mature discussion, they shout and get angry at each other, like a bunch of 3-year-olds having a screaming tantrum.
If children acted this way in public, even the most rabid anti-spanker would be tempted to swat a kid on the butt for acting like this. And yet, not only do we accept and expect this behavior from so-called adults, but we emulate it ourselves, flying into towering rages online, screaming at each other in real-life discussions, and generally making asses of ourselves every chance we get.
I say this as someone who has shouted at fellow motorists for going too slow in the far left lane of the highway. (Although to be fair, the left lane is for passing only. And if you're only going 1 mph faster than the car on the right, then YOU NEED TO GET THE $% OVER!)
Think we don't do that? Look at what happened in Lakeland, Fla. this past week. A McDonald's manager was beaten by a guy with a baseball bat, because the guy thought he had been skipped in line.
He shouted at the manager after being skipped, stormed out, and came back 20 minutes later with a bat. He jumped the counter, hit the manager in the ribs twice, and ran away like the panty-waisted little coward that he is. He even had the foresight to open the door with his shirt so he wouldn't leave fingerprints.
The guy may be a raging idiot, but he's no dummy.
It's understandable to be a little annoyed when you get passed over in line after you've been waiting for a while. And yeah, yell at someone who's probably having a crappier day than you, if it makes you feel better, because nothing helps you grow as a human being more than tearing someone else down.
But beating a guy up with a bat? Come on. It's McDonald's. You just assaulted someone over a $3 hamburger with a mayonnaise and Thousand Island "secret sauce." At the very best, that deserves a stern look and a sarcastic "Really?!" But to jump over the counter and bash a guy in the ribs because you had to wait an extra turn means you have some serious anger issues.
If you're getting that upset at waiting an extra 30 seconds for a cheap, bland hamburger, you need to reexamine your life choices that brought you to this place in your life — both physically and emotionally.
What's worse, is that in the amount of time it took him to retrieve the bat, he could have eaten two burgers, had a second Coke, and ambled out to the car at the Burger King across the street instead, after storming out, shouting, "I'm never coming to this restaurant again!"
There's really no need for all this anger. Our overdeveloped sense of righteous indignation is wearing thin. The polarizing screamfest that passes for politicial commentary has soured most of the country on politics in general. A lot of people are getting tired of the hate and anger, but their response is to angrily shout right back, and behave like the people we're mad at — the Other Guy.
We just need to take a deep breath, count to 10, and speak in a calm and rational manner, like mature adults.
Because if we don't, I'm going to hold my breath until I turn blue. I'll show you!
My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available on Amazon.com, as well as at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy.
My NEW book, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing is also out. You can get it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million in October, or get it for the Kindle or Nook.
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