“And what do you want, I want change/and what have you got/when you feel the same/even though I know-I suppose I'll show/all my cool and cold-like old job/despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage/despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage/someone will say what is lost can never be saved”
"Bullet with Butterfly Wings" – Smashing Pumpkins
As a kid I used to watch a fair amount of science fiction — Star Wars, the original Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek both that generation and this generation. I can’t remember which one it was, but on one of them the hero, as was often the case, found themselves captured and in some sort of prison. They didn’t know they were in a jail cell until they tried to walk out and an invisible force field knocked them back on their haunches. As I look around, sometimes that’s what the world seems like – a cage whose walls you can’t see but are there just waiting to knock you flat on your tail.
Like the song from Smashing Pumpkins 1995 release Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, very rarely does rage just all of a sudden announce itself – “Hi, how you doing, I’m rage and I’ll be screwing with your head for the next few hours.” No, it’s more like those old devil and angels that used to sit atop the shoulders of some cartoon character, whispering in your ear, feeding you, filling you with doubt or a sense of impotence, powerlessness and then, after you’ve had enough, it explodes like a volcano. And like a volcano it flows out and infects things you never meant for it to impact, but it does it’s damage and it’s done.
If you get a chance, take a listen to the song “Bullet with Butterfly Wings,” and you’ll get what I mean – it cruises along, somewhat menacing, somewhat insidious but overall pretty even and then, with the pounding drum providing the crescendo, it just explodes on you – rage; fully manifested in all its grotesque glory.
“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,” right?! Isn’t that were this is all supposed to go, to accept those things? But what if you can’t? What if those are the things that are making your insides seem like a festering, roiling pit of goo – “doesn't this blend of blindness and blandness want to make you do something crazy?” (borrowed from one of my favorite movies.) And if not, why not?
I wish I could write that I have at least some idea of what to do or how to control it. I hope maybe you do. For now when I feel that way I find myself with a few fallbacks to at least bring the exploding volcano back from the edge – go for a long run, listen to some VERY angry music or go and beat the crap out of a punching bag. I know that I, and probably all of us, need to find that way to channel it into something, something productive. Tell you what, if I figure it out I’ll let you know, if you figure it out, do me a favor and let me know.