Ever since I was little I’ve loved working with my hands — pushing buttons, touching, breaking things, drawing, writing… One of my early memories is of building things with legos. I’d haul out the blue bin full of an endless assortment of pieces: straight, thin, thick, long, clear, curved, 3×6’s, 2×2’s, sheets, wings, jet engines, wheels, half-built motorcars; the ruins of civilizations gone by. Downstairs in the living room, safe from the dogs we still only wished for, out spilled the sea of plastic; little yellow men bobbing with the waves. The empty carpet calling to be covered.
So I built, and fashioned and fit. Deconstructed retrofitted, upgraded, disassembled. Tight fit, fragile joint come on… Almost there, what’s missing? Ah, these two fit together, they need to… so close — come on… no, not now! Ugh… Nothing, fumbling, “SHIT!”. Chunks fly, meet the carpet and dissolve into pieces again. I look around bewildered. Who said that? I did? Did I even know what it meant? Who cares, it felt good! Shit. Shiiiiit. Wait, I shouldn’t be saying this, but I don’t know why… back to my legos… take a deep breath, try again.
Two things I’ve inherited from my Dad: his hands, and his temper. He callls it “having a short fuse”, which isn’t a bad metaphor. The spark sets the wick burning, and after a few short seconds of oxygen to feed the fizz, BOOM. The stick of dynamite has blown itself to bits, self-destructed, taking whoever is nearby right along for the ride. Sure it feels good, it feels great. To be filled with that rage is like controlling your own thunderstorm, except the storm is inside you. The lighting hits you first, and those you love. And the things you hold most dear. Your lego creations. Or your laptop. (Woops).
Worse is the paralyzing rage, it builds and builds, growing out of frustration. Each second of inaction feeds it, but never satiates it. Its favorite snacks include the empty page, the blank screen, or even an extra dry journal article. Poorly written, overly cliché, too obvious, not original enough. All sweet treats to this different beast. Not borne out of trauma, or sudden events, but gradually (it’s all relative, of course). Then BOOM. And the pages flit about the room.