eNewsChannels BOOK SERIAL: “Secret Sex, A Book Alive Online,” written and lived by John Scott G: Chapter 38 – “Outrageous Behavior.”
My outburst of violence was swift, sudden, and unrelenting. I lashed out with as much force as possible, delivering severe blows with my left and right hands. Without pause, I spun my body around and administered a kick that produced a thud and a ripping sound.
Striding forward, I picked up the object of my anger, raised it over my head, held it there for a second, and then brought it crashing down to the floor with as much force as I could muster. The result was a very satisfying crunch. This auditory evidence of destruction was followed by oppressive silence.
Sunlight picked up swirling particles of dust in the air. They danced and sparkled a bit as I took a deep breath and surveyed the result of my explosion of energy and rage. I nodded with a small sense of satisfaction. The piece of furniture was broken beyond repair. Yes, I had killed a chair.
I’m sorry. Mea culpa. I ask your forgiveness. Oops. My bad. Just thought I’d get all that out of the way.
What? Oh, I’m not sorry about the annihilation of that piece of furniture. Well, I am kinda-sorta a little sorry about it. Up until a few seconds ago it was a perfectly adequate chair and it probably did not deserve its fate. But I am sorry for anyone who viewed that destructive act and several others over the years. And mostly I am sorry for the verbal violence that I sometimes sprayed around in seemingly random directions.
Allow me to explain. If you knew me in the nineteen nineties and the first part of the twenty-first century, you may only have been aware of a few surface details. Here’s the situation, and it is something that many of my clients never knew as I wrote their ads, brochures, commercials, publicity releases, articles, and books. They didn’t know that I was reeling inside from a feeling of dread that festered within me for just a little while, like for, say, oh, about fifteen years.
That’s correct: there was a decade-and-a-half period during which my father battled and lost to cancer, my mother battled and lost to Alzheimer’s, and I battled and lost to a spouse who possessed a multiplicity of personalities, each without much in the way of human decency, possibly because they were not human.
Therefore, to the clients, coworkers, and colleagues who were around me when my temper flared, I hereby offer my sincere apologies. All I can say by way of excuse is that I was under a teensy-tiny extra bit of pressure from which there was no escape. Never was there a moment in that decade-and-a-half with respite from at least one of those challenges, and sometimes the obstacles overlapped each other.
The pain never entirely subsided, although there were moments that were better than others. Of course, I was able to discover a few actions that mitigated the circumstances. Humor helped; sarcasm helped; profanity helped; mood-altering substances helped; and even occasionally kicking, smashing, strangling, and mangling inanimate objects helped. But nothing could entirely relieve the anxiety and pain from one or more of those three shitstorms.
Stress builds up inside you minute by minute, hour by hour. Even if you can set aside the normal everyday burdens, there are other forces that weigh you down . . .
That newspaper ad needs a last-minute rewrite? Okay, I’ll get right on it. (I’ll set aside the request for the nineteenth insurance form needed to approve my father’s chemotherapy treatment.)
The client wants an in-person meeting to go over the goals of the direct mail campaign? Sure, let’s set that up immediately. (I’ll just re-schedule my meeting with the hospital administrator who wants to go over the latest requirements for my mom’s assisted-living.)
We have to re-revise the latest budget revision for the commercial? Absolutely, let me see what we can cut. (I’ll cut short my phone conversation with the nurse who is going over the latest lab results concerning my dad.)
You say that a new media announcement is needed ASAP for a client’s next personal appearance? No problem! Let me start writing that right away. (I can always find time later tonight to read about the various treatment options and their potential side-effects for one of my parents.)
A new article needs to be ghost-written for the illiterate head of the polystyrene institute? I am on it. (I’ll just get up extra early tomorrow to work on the response to the fourth Order to Show Cause that is attempting to prevent me from seeing my son.)
My life was a constant balancing act and I sometimes fell off the high wire. Where do I put my time and energy? Can I play favorites? Not really, because everything needed to be accomplished; it was just a matter of which one got my attention first. Advertising vs. the spread of cancer cells. Publicity releases vs. attending the state-required mental acuity test being administered to one of my parents. Budget meetings vs. watching the shutting down of the mind and body of my parents. Client meeting vs. going to court for more visitation arguments, most of which were cancelled as soon as I arrived at the court (which didn’t do much in the way of relieving stress, I’m just sayin’).
So every now and then, I punched out a wall. An elevator. A briefcase. A lamp. A picture frame. Sometimes I caused a lot of doom, destruction, and death. Well, okay, there was never any doom or death of living creatures. But I destroyed a few things. Every now and then I lashed out unwisely: I once punched a truck tire and nearly broke my hand.
Conducting some experiments in “conceptual art” made for a terrific excuse for violence. This was an event that involved taking a hundred tennis balls, golf balls, basketballs, and so on, up into the Santa Susana Mountains and using bats and tennis rackets to hit them into the canyon. The idea was to film the flight of the balls to create “a time-lapse photo-montage of the arc of spheres traveling through a gravitational field.”
See, it was “art.” Sure it was. It was probably horrible for the environment but was an excellent outlet for the anger that was percolating, boiling, and roiling inside of me.
In some of the music videos that my FookMovie production company created for songs by Golosio artists and other music publishers, I set several things on fire. Books, photographs, cameras, computer gear, audio gear, guitars. You know, the usual.
Dangerous? Probably. Satisfying? Curiously so. Fodder for amateur psychologists? Undoubtedly.
In other videos, I took a small, delicate, well-balanced little sledgehammer and smashed a few items into smithereens. My favorite targets were the awards I had received from some of the many contests in the world of advertising and publicity.
And in still other videos, I put my camera in a watertight housing so I could capture the slow-motion deliciousness of electrical equipment being tossed into a swimming pool. My favorite shots are those that show a nice, long, gently curved line of air bubbles as the gear gradually fills with the clear, clean, chlorinated, and extremely destructive water.
Consider the Alternative
I had a lot of anger. Tons of it. I was a human pressure cooker.
So I humbly beg your indulgence. And for those of you who still cannot forgive me for any of my angry outbursts, slashing words, cutting sarcasm, and cynical put-downs, consider this: I could very easily have kicked you instead of committing some minor mayhem on all those walls, desks, bookcases, wastebaskets, and etc.
A violently slammed door is much easier to tolerate than a fist to the face, and I was sorely tempted to batter a whole bunch of you during that period of time. Look, the fact is that a lot of you really pissed me off. But hey, I mean that in the nicest possible way!
And please note the following point: now that my mother, father, and family are dead and some mourning time has passed, I am calmer. Sadder, yes, but calmer. (Insert long, stultifying pause here.)
So, let’s do lunch sometime. Kiss kiss, love love!
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“Secret Sex, A Book Alive Online,” written and lived by John Scott G, is Copr. © 2011-2012 by JSG, all rights reserved under U.S. and international copyright conventions. Commercial use in any form is forbidden without express written permission of the author. Originally published on eNewsChannels.com with permission. Credits: Book cover design: Phil Hatten.