Every time you turn around these days it seems somebody’s mad at somebody, or mad about something somebody else is doing.
It’s like the world’s gone off its rocker, some days, and it can turn a whole week into Mondays. If it isn’t politicians or racists or celebrities acting like bullies, it’s regular people losing their cool and trashing stuff that isn’t their’s.
Want an example?
Right here in Hinesville, police were called after a woman allegedly went back into a beauty supply store and knocked things off the shelves because they wouldn’t take her old wig and $23 as a trade in on a new $40-something wig (see blotters, page 3). The woman allegedly then tried to abscond with both wigs, but was caught. The new wig was returned and will be sold.
Truth is, I could fill up this column with stuff like that from just the last few weeks. I could say it’s a sign of the times we live in, and it is, but to me, life’s always seemed a bit unglued, especially in places you wouldn’t expect.
Some 20 years ago, I read an incident report involving an Effingham County woman in her 60s who called the sheriff’s department to report she got into an argument on the phone with a friend, also in her 60s, over the ingredients in a soup recipe.
The complainant said she got so mad at her friend she hung up the phone and went to bed. She said a little while later her phone rang, so she answered it and the only thing she heard was someone breathing menacingly and perverted-like into the phone. She hung up.
The woman said a while later the phone rang again, she answered it and there was more heavy, perverted panting and evil breathing. This time the woman dialed *69 and the number that came up belonged to her friend.
Around the same time, I ran across an incident report detailing a fight between a 30-something-year-old Effingham man and his former exterminator.
Before driving off to work that morning, the man fired the exterminator, who had showed up at his doublewide to do exterminator stuff.
The exterminator left, but got so mad that once the homeowner drove off, he decided to drive back and set a fire on the man’s wooden front porch to protest getting fired.
But the exterminator said at some point after he’d set the fire and got it going good he realized it was probably a bad idea, so he got the man’s water hose and put out the fire — though apparently not until it had burned a hole nearly all the way through the porch.
While this drama was going on, the doublewide owner said he had a feeling the exterminator might try something. He turned around and drove back home, where he found out he was right because there was the exterminator, spraying water on his smoking front porch.
You can’t make stuff like that up.
As for why people get so angry, I’ve got a theory.
I think part of the problem is we’re ill equipped for disappointment, and getting less so every day. This is at least partly because we’ve been marketed at for so long by people who want us to give them our money, we expect to have everything our way and always be right, just like the customers we are.
At the same time, we’re a nation of born experts in how to do somebody else’s job or live someone else’s life.
It’s what we’re so good at we forget that we can be wrong. Unless, of course, you’re in newspapers. We’re constantly reminded how wrong we are.
But because I’m writing in general terms, I think it’s safe to say we humans also tend to forget that other humans don’t always come at life from the same angle we do.
I know, diversity. It’s a recipe for disaster. That’s why I am here to offer a possible solution to all who spend half their lives finding fault and the other half looking for someone else to assign it to.
Lighten up, simplify things and go commando for a stretch to see how you feel about things like life, and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
I say this because it’s hard to be an angry know-it-all when you’re not wearing drawers. I’ve tried. You can’t do it.
It’s like trying to look somebody else in the eye and whistle at the same time. Hard to do.
What’s more, minus skivvies, you might find the world is a kinder, gentler, place and most people in it aren’t really all that bad, or all that different from you.
Or you might not. But at the least, it could put a new spin on casual Fridays at the office.
Whitten is somehow still allowed to be managing editor of the Coastal Courier.