As most of you know, I’ve got some issues with anger.
The fuck you mean you didn’t know that?! I’ve been writing about my rage for almost six goddamn years, you miserable pieces of -
Anyway, as I was saying I am, for a variety of reasons, a pretty angry guy, and in the course of any given day it’s a challenge to keep myself from completely losing my shit* and going off on someone.
So how do I do it? Well, I have two** basic emotional states: either enraged or amused.
The key, I find, is to keep things on the “amused” end of my emotional spectrum, which I why I try to see the humor in most things, no matter how infuriating said things may be.
When that doesn’t work, I have some easy “go-to” mental tricks to keep myself amused, which I’ve decided to share with the world at large in case there’s anyone out there who could benefit from them. This is the first in a series(?) of Jon’s Tips for Living With Rage:
Sure, the name alone can probably engender a mild chuckle, but there’s more to making use of the late singer to keep the rage at manageable levels than simply thinking of her name.
No, the real trick is to think of a song, any song, as long as it’s not a song that Ethel Merman ever performed, or would have been likely to perform. Honestly, the further away from her style it is, the better.
Then, imagine her performing that song in her particular style.
Imagine Ethel Merman performing songs by Metallica. Or, better yet, Slayer. If you’re of a more pop-oriented bent, imagine Ethel belting out “I kissed a girl, and I liked it…” or something by Lady Gaga, or whoever’s popular these days. I can’t recommend using Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok,” because the amount of rage brought on by the thought of that song, no matter how hilariously it’s performed, vastly outweighs its amusement potential.
Ethel does gangsta rap. Ethel does disco. Really, any genre can work. Hell, even thinking of Ethel performing the songs she actually did perform is kind of amusing.
For my part, I typically default to Ethel performing “Love Bites***” by Judas Priest:
(Ethel-style crooning): Love bites you! Invites you! To feast in the night! Excites you! Delights you! It drains you to white! Love bites!
In the interest of full disclosure, I actually got the idea years and years ago from MTV personality Kennedy, who herself engendered feelings of rage and amusement in me, when she talked about having encountered Trent Reznor and thinking she’d amuse him with an Ethel-style version of “Head Like A Hole,” which she then proceeded to perform for the benefit of the viewing audience. Unlike me, Trent, apparently, wasn’t amused.
Alternatively, though along a somewhat similar vein, there was a bit Adam Sandler used to do in his stand-up routine in which he imagined Axl Rose transforming into Edith Bunker:
That’s generally good for a laugh.
So there you have it. One of the many ways in which Jon manages the overwhelming rage he faces every day.
Bear in mind that it doesn’t have to be Ethel Merman; that’s just what works for me. Paul Lynde would be a good choice, too, for example. (Mostly because he was awesome.)
Just try to imagine someone who works for you.
And if you don’t know who Axl Rose is because you were already too old to listen to his music when he was popular, don’t sweat it. And if you’re too young to know who he was, or who Ethel Merman, Edith Bunker, or Paul Lynde were, get the hell off my lawn you damn kids.
Some sample videos are included below.
*Which would be a problem not so much because I’d become violent – even in the most extreme cases I’m not inclined towards violent behavior – but because it would be humiliating, given my tendency to start crying when I get really angry.
**There’s also a third state that I call “enraged amusement,” in which I’m both really angry and really amused. I kind of hate that one.
***Not to be confused with the later Def Leppard song of the same name, which is totally not about vampires and is utterly lacking in awesomeness (not to mention the complete lack of a bestudded and leather-clad Rob Halford). Speaking of Def Leppard, they used to enrage me, but now they just amuse me because they’re old and sad.
The significant bit comes at about 1:50 in the clip below: