There are scores of songs about anger and betrayal and overcoming. I thought of dozens of them as I started my work on today's entry because it was something very much on my mind. Most of the songs I first considered were too good. Using a song like "Backstreets" by Bruce Springsteen to describe my feelings at a recent situation would have been like bringing out the good China to serve a Big Mac to your idiot cousin. Thank God for Metallica. They may take this song seriously, but we don't have to. We can have some fun with it.
So, who and what has gotten me so riled up? The names aren't important. No, really. As for the situation itself, it's not much more important. It's something that has happened to you. It's not the first time it's happened to me. Someone says some unkind things behind your back and you find out about it after the fact. Can you imagine? None of you have been there, right? I'm glad to say it's not a daily occurrence for me, but this isn't my first time at this particular rodeo. It still stings.
Hate is confusing and misunderstood. It's something we have to go through and experience to realize what a waste of time it usually is. I don't know which is worse: hating or being hated. I'm not sure I've ever been hated, but I've given into hate in my own heart and it didn't take me anywhere I wanted to be. You have to read the fine print with this. Hate looks good on the surface, especially when you're really angry or you've been really hurt. Once you give in to it, it has to be fed in order to survive and hate eats more than a high school wrestling team. For most of us, we realize that only after we've been drained and emptied.
Some people will tell you it's a necessary step on the path to healing. I'm not so sure. We all probably have to learn the hard way there is no return in our personal and emotional investment in hatred. It costs everything you're willing to give it, and what do you get in return? Once we realize that, you'd think it's a step you could learn to skip.
Now before anyone starts worrying or getting ready to mock me for being a drama queen, I didn't get within three time zones of hating this clown. This story has a happy ending. Time for the fun. Enter… Metallica!
When I was younger, "Wasting My Hate" was a cathartic, dopey, headbanging way to express that someone was beneath my contempt. At the time, I thought it was profound. See, Mom? You can get some intellectual nourishment while playing air guitar! Okay, so Mom was right. So is James, though. "Wasting My Hate" was big, loud, and stupid, but it served its purpose. The song hasn't aged all that well, but one more time it served its purpose. Rather than causing my fist to clench and my arm to bend at the elbow, it put a smile on my face and gave me a good laugh. In public speaking, they tell you to imagine your audience in their underwear in order to relax. For anger management, I'm imagining someone in floppy shoes with a water-squirting flower and a big, red nose.
Today, I got pissed. I got over it. It's already fading from my rear view mirror, and I'm still laughing. I'm laughing at the clown. I'm laughing at myself. Waste my hate? Please. I'm more upset for getting upset in the first place.