Mr. Jagger, Mr. Do, and Mr. Drew. Yeah, it’s Drew Time!

It seems as though people are getting angrier. Even the Rolling Stones most recent single was titled “Angry.” Mick Jagger’s inability to get satisfaction has finally erupted into full-blown rage and it only took 59 years!

Situations that once elicited nothing more than a “Grrrr” under one’s breath now can escalate to gun play and jail sentences in a matter of moments for reasons as ludicrous as a driver feeling disrespected because their effort to zipper merge onto I-95 South was rebuffed. 

Part of the problem in managing our anger may stem from our inability to smile. Anyone who has watched Florida Governor Ron DeSantis try to muster a smile gets flashbacks to the preschool play and the one kid that everyone is rooting for because Little Ronny never remembers his lines, and his Dad just left his mother for a 25-year old yoga instructor. Everyone in the audience is pulling for Little Ronny to simply moo like a cow and bring this stage adaptation of Farmer in The Dell to a rousing conclusion.

The actuality though is that Ronny poops, like a cow, on stage, and everyone is mortified for his mother who is hugging herself and sobbing softly sitting in the front row where she paid an extra $2.00 for a special seat for Ronny’s big moment.

Or if anyone watched United States Senator Katie Britt, R-Alabama, give the State of the Union rebuttal from her kitchen. Senator Britt has a glowing smile that orthodontists everywhere would love to plaster all over their waiting rooms, but her problem was not with lighting up a room but rather when to display those pearly whites. When delivering a line like: “Never forget, we’re steeped in the blood of patriots who overthrew the most powerful empire in the world,” there should be at least a modest pause to recognize the ultimate sacrifice made by those patriots. Not a face-spanning grin that you have been practicing in your bathroom mirror since you were 10 just in case you’re named prom queen.

Our political inability to smile crosses both sides of the aisle too. President Biden likes to smile, but one has to wonder if it sounds like a bowl of Rice Krispies when all the creases and wrinkles start moving at the same time. (Note to My Editor—Yep, in a sorry effort to appear non-partisan I’m breaking out the “How Old is Joe Biden” jokes. Editor’s Note to Drew – I appreciate the nonpartisan hat tip [“HT” for those not in-the-know], but we’re multi-partisan here at the Advance. Remember, nonpartisan is the most partisan type of news there is. Back to philosophy – and journalism – class for you, Drew!)

Some of you may be thinking to yourselves that our collective rage rests much deeper than our inability to smile or know when to smile. (Senator Britt, please refrain from smiling when you go through the receiving line and express your condolences to the widow. Pretend the football team lost the homecoming game AND you finished third runner up in the court.)

Fortunately, there was a recent article in NPR to help us all better understand and address our rage. (For those of you who are thinking that any mention of NPR means we’re about to enter into some Woke Bulls**t, I’d like to remind you that this is a humor column and you are absolutely correct.)

According to the article, psychotherapists have developed a Change Triangle for people to better understand their anger and how to address it productively. 

The article reads: “If you ever lash out when you’re angry — or numb the feelings with alcohol — you probably know that actions propelled by unchecked and unexamined anger can do harm. But the emotion itself is not our foe when it is channeled wisely. Anger is a biological program that’s not only adaptive but necessary for survival. In fact, anger’s job is to protect us.”

This may appear counterintuitive when you give the finger to the driver who just cut you off, and he brakes abruptly, jumps out of his car with a tire iron and does a number on your windshield. In that instance, your windshield and not your anger is protecting you. (Safelite repairs, Safelite replaces. Editor’s Note to business team – How did this plug get by you guys?!)

The Change Triangle is predicated on the person who is in a pique of rage having the self-awareness to reflect upon the root cause of their anger and then turn the triangle in a way that makes the anger productive that will make the angry person feel better and not run into a 7-11 and buy a 12-pack for the car ride home.

What the Change Triangle fails to recognize is that the driver you flipped off may not have been up on his NPR Health reading and might not be in a mood to discuss the cause of his core anger or triangles. And in truth, that driver’s core anger is likely due to the fact that you just gave them the bird.

What the authors of the article would like us to do when we are feeling angry is to close our eyes and visualize the thing or person that is making us angry. (By a show of hands, how many of you are visualizing the Orange Prince of Darkness right now?) They would like us to take the visualization further and live out our fantasy of slapping that person or disemboweling them with a rusty butter knife. The authors claim this is productive and will allow you to release your anger without causing any harm to another person or your liver.

The Change Triangle may have a basis in science, but it does not seem to have a basis in reality which is problematic when diffusing anger. I do not recommend stopping in rush hour traffic to discern the root cause of your anger on the Occoquan Bridge unless your car has full comprehensive coverage for “tossed over the side of a bridge by an angry horde of commuters”. 

The Presidential election in November is likely to leave many people angry regardless of the outcome. Sure, maybe a handful of insurrectionists will visualize storming the Capitol in full Norse body armor while sitting on their couches at home, but psychotherapy, like all science, has its limitations. As the great poet and philosopher Joey Ramone presciently predicted: “I’m a kid in the nuthouse, I’m a kid in the psycho zone. Psycho therapy, I’m gonna burglarize the U.S. Capitol.”

(You may not have the opportunity to read NPR, but here at the FXBG Advance we thank you for reading this humor column. One of this columnist’s best coping strategies for anger has nothing to do with geometric shapes except for the circular power ball that Mr. Do throws at the “creeps” who are trying to kill him in the arcade game from 1982 when he was 12. The columnist invokes this strategy often when he visits The Card Cellar located at 915 Caroline Street and plays a game or two of Mr. Do to decompress. No other customers ever play Mr. Do so the feeling of accomplishment when the columnist gets the high score every time he plays [the proprietor unplugs the machines at night which resets the high scores] makes him smile like Senator Britt when she talks about being steeped in the blood of patriots.)