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Aug 8, 2013

From the Archives: The Flaming and Intermittent Jack-Ass

Originally Posted: 13 Jan 2009 5:00 PM
Last night to my horrid surprise, one of my regularly watched TV-comedies was not shown. It had been advertised during the show prior only and again moments before it was scheduled to air. However, unbeknownst to me, my local station decided to intercede and run some local living better documentary.
I was livid. I mean who the hell are these guys to control my TV? And further to tell me how to improve my quality of life! Anyone that knows me can say with a straight face that I would never tell someone else how to live...sorry; <sarcasm />. Anyway, I was unbelievably angry; unjustifiably angry; uncontrollably angry! I considered calling the local station and griping at whatever poor soul answered the phone. Then I started noting what companies were advertising during this television-interruptus; I was planning to call them up and tell them I'd never shop or conduct business with them because of this outrage!
Then suddenly I realized that a huge jack-ass with flaming anger had entered the room. He was terrorizing those around him, scaring the kids and shredding sheet-metal with his tongue. The sad reality is that (obvious to the reader) the jack-ass was me. I sat quietly for about fifteen minutes. I thought of the irony, since one of my recent posts about apologies, realizing I was about to have to follow my own advice. This was followed by the thought of my pledge to be quick to listen and slow to speak. And I felt horrible. Soon, I did dole out my simple but sincere apologies and did my best to adjust my attitude.
The point here is not to expose myself as this quick-tempered maniac, but the admission goes without saying. Rather, the lesson is that we are all flawed people with weaknesses and bad habits that are repeated despite our desire to be better people. As we strive to make improvements, we must recognize improvement is not perfection and recognize we are still quite capable of failure.
After I realizing I threw a toddler's tantrum, I had a few options. One option would be to not care and ignore it; this is one I do too frequently. I could have continued to rant and rave and spread my bad mood to all those around me. Another option would have been to be ashamed. I could have sunk down, sulked and felt bad. This most likely would have created a contagious attitude as well. But this time I got it right, after getting it very wrong, of course. I apologized, accepted everyone's grace for being a flaming jack-ass, adjusted my attitude and went on with the rest of the evening.
Further, what motivated my anger? Was it because I didn't get what I want? Well, sorta; however, I'm not oh-so-accustomed to getting what I want. I tend not complain about restaurant food, service and such; I take the grin-and-bear-it approach. (I'm planning a blog of stoicism).
I think this was really about control. I had control of my evening, was going to watch what I wanted to watch, then some force being my power took that control from me. So, lesson number two here is stay focused on that Serenity Prayer. More and more, I keep finding it to be the every-situation philosophy.

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