A National Pasttime Gorging on Rage

by Don Hall

I have, after about five months of not getting up on a stage and talking for entertainment purposes, rejoined the parade.  This after being unceremoniously let go from The Big Storytelling Show in town.  I needed a break. I took one.  Time to get back in the water, so to speak.

I have a number of performances lined up and plan to continue to do so.  If you are interested, check the calendar here.

The first of these was Tuesday night - the fabulous Angela Vela's Seven Deadly Sins - and she assigned me Gluttony.  Below is a recording of that piece if you're interested. 

To the point.  Gluttony. The idea of over stuffing oneself with too much has been rattling around the brain pan some.  In concert with these rumination about excess and our ability to look away from ourselves as we gorge on whatever feels good at the time until we are giant lardasses is this story. 

Like an extra large pizza with all the toppings on a cold night in front of a binge-watch of House of Cards, the outrage and fear and division fomented by both the Left and the Right in this country is fucking delicious.  It's comfortable to indulge in your old racist grandma's chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes.  It's tasty and satisfying like your activist uncle's conspiracy theory laden gumbo.

And it's made us a nation of fat fucking assholes justifying the feeding of the wrong wolf. 

No hippie, Kumbaya-singing fuckwad I, the point is not to sit in this world of atrocities and only focus on the laughter of children or the cuteness of kittens. No, children are the destroyers of worlds and would cut your happy weeping eyes out for five more minutes of iPad time and kittens are creatures born to kill things smaller than themselves.  No advocacy of ignoring the horrors with the Ruby Glasses of Denial here, friends. 

Do not ignore the horrors but in your passion to quell them, beat them, solve them, do not ADD to them.

It is almost like a reverse Gluttony.  We gorge on outrage and fear and defecate anger and more fear and resentment and misinformation.  We only see each other as an Ally (which, loosely translated means an Other Who Has So Little Passion and Opinion That He/She Just Sits Quietly and Agrees with Us) or as The Enemy.  What a sad, reductive world we create.

I've spent a good chunk of my adult life adding to the feedbag of name calling, reducing whole groups to a single, easy to digest stereotype, and generally saucing up the internet (and my personal relationships) with the gravy of intolerance and inflexibility.  I woke up on November 9, 2016 and realized than all of that rage didn't matter.  In fact, it made things worse.

If not reject the outrage and the pissing in each other's Wheaties, how about at least providing each other with some balanced emotional dietary options?  For every piece of delicious, self righteous, self satisfying Outrage Chicken, maybe throw in a side or two of Kindness and Hope?