I like to be right. When I’m in a conflict with someone, I like to feel I’ve got the truth on my side and the other person is wrong. What’s more, I want the other person to realize it. I’d like to lose my temper and have my adversary get all contrite and apologize.
Anger is satisfying. It’s like drinking. Getting hammered is fun. Too bad the hangovers are hell.
I just went on a camping trip with my dog Trudy in my new RV. Arriving at the campsite, I found that the refrigerator wouldn’t cool down. After five hours the interior temperature hadn’t dropped one degree. Since my food would surely go bad, I decided to turn around and come home. I was furious because a couple of weeks earlier, I’d gone out for a test run and had a hunch something was wrong with the refrigerator. So I took the RV to the dealer for repair. When I picked it up, they said they’d found the problem, fixed it, and the refrigerator was now cooling perfectly.
So there I am, sitting at my campsite drinking warm seltzer water and poking at a limp salad. It’s ninety degrees and I am mad. I pull out my cell phone to call the dealer. I think about the sarcastic things I can say, withering him in his cushy chair. Am I thinking about the best strategy to get his help fixing the refrigerator? I am not. I am thinking about nuking him.
Fortunately, cell phone reception is bad at the campground. I can only stew in solitude. Cooling down, I realize that my search-and-destroy approach isn’t likely to encourage the dealer’s cooperation. And when my tantrum has passed, I’ll still have a broken refrigerator.
I haven’t called him yet. I’m waiting for my serenity to kick in.
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