Allow me to confess something horrible. On somewhat regular occasions—way more often than I’d like to admit—I feel the sudden and overwhelming urge to pummel complete strangers.
Just a few weeks back, I was waiting in line to board a plane when a guy in a suit—it’s always some entitled prick in a suit—nudged past, certain that because he’s an Important Businessman it must be rightfully his turn to board. His blithe disregard for my rightfully earned place in line, or anyone else’s, had me debating internally whether I should stick a foot out and trip him there, in full view of everyone, or wait and push him out of the baggage door on the Jetway. Then there was the Audi SUV driver who appeared in my rearview mirror on the highway, pulled to within inches of my bumper, and flashed his lights like an ambulance. Forget the fact that we were both already doing 80 mph and I had two kids in the back—hey, Jason Statham here had places to go! For a split second I actually fantasized about running him off the road. Then there’s Time Warner Cable customer service—well, let’s just stop there for now.
But here’s the thing: I’m not an especially angry person. I’ve never actually pummeled a complete stranger—or anyone else, for that matter. I hate fighting and avoid conflict whenever possible. Had I played football, I probably would’ve been a punter. Yet even I can’t help it when certain objectively trivial events cause my senses to heighten, my muscles to tense, my vision to tunnel, and my sweat glands to churn, and before I know what’s happening I’ve gone from mild-mannered father to white-hot rage monster.