Stress is my “fourthmeal”. It bleeds over into the rest of my time, like a diabetic enjoying that late night Chalupa that he knows will someday earn him a spot on the receiving end of an organ donor list.
What’s a guy to do? Every video game is a teeth-grating deathmatch for virtual glory and defeat is only an admission of not wanting it enough. Reading a book might be relaxing to some, but my serotonin-lacking brain sees it as a bloody “Mortal Kombat” style showdown between my attention span and the words on the page that mock me every second I’m not looking at them.
Even exercise, according to some medical experts, is a great way to relieve stress and tension. I just skip it because squeezing into spandex in a Jazzercise class would just produce more stress than even I would need.
Nothing has ever been able to cure the stress beast inside me. It, along with the repressed frat boy, quiet inner child and overeating self-esteem monkey that also live inside me, cannot be fed. I really should charge those bastards some rent.
It’s easy to blame society…so I will. We’re supposed to act a certain way, maintain a level head and keep our hostility from getting the better of us in a world that demands perfection, punctuality and poise. It orders us to stand in line and pay our fair share and if we get mad that someone else skipped ahead or got a bigger slice of pie for less than we had to pay, we’re told to stand in a corner and think about what we’ve done and that only makes us madder because getting mad in that situation actually makes friggin’ sense! And we wonder why they advertise tequila and Zoloft in the same commercial blocks.
It’s unwise for mankind to act on their violent instincts on another human being but it’s also unhealthy to completely shun it. So what are we to do? Man’s refusal to acknowledge that part of our DNA begs us to beat something other than eggs for a nice fluffy Sunday morning omelet or ourselves in a way that makes God cry can lead to unwanted violence, massive genocide or even (gasp!) a Nickelback Super Bowl halftime show.
What’s a Y chromosome to do? The answer popped in my email on a Groupon update; a valhalla of venting, a haven of hostility, a nirvana of Nirvana-inspired rage. It’s called “The Anger Room.”
It lies in a corner of Dallas, Texas’s technology hub; an ingenious start-up that caters to fellow teeth graters like myself by letting them release their unbridled rage the way God intended. Not with words, meditation or incense-scented candles that can make a Jiffy Lube smell like the ass end of a Phish concert, but with the fists our creator gave us and some scuffed-up sporting equipment.
Donna Alexander, the owner and founder, meets my friend and I at the door and hands me a pair of gardening gloves, goggles, a hard helmet and a paper facemask. She and her cohorts take me into the destruction zone, set up to look like a tidy little office complete with a television, a computer, a headless mannequin that’s just begging to be taken down a peg or two and a desk just above IKEA grade quality (which means it was standing on its own accord). I’m allowed to destroy anything in the room for 15 full minutes as long as it’s towards the heavily fortified wooden graffitied walls, so I don’t hurt the camera crew who are documenting my unrestrained destruction by accidentally lodging a desk lamp in their faces.
Then I’m handed my weaponry: an aluminum bat covered in duct tape that looks like something out of a “Warriors” remake and a bent five iron Callaway golf club, the brand of golf club that mob legbreakers and political goons prefer to every other leading golf club (and no, they didn’t pay me to say that).
Donna cranks up Metallica’s “Kill ‘Em All” on the overhead speakers, which should have been titled “Music to Smash Things To Since 1985” and I let the beast loose. My ample and wind-resistant frame might not have much muscle but underneath lie years of seething anger and damaged emotions and all of it channels through my arms with every swing of the official post-apocalyptic softball league baseball bat.
The cheap TV gets a nice smack across its puss and sends it flying down to the floor. The printer on the floor gets the butt end of the bat, making a satisfying crack as the glass of its face caves into my mighty blunt object and calling me to go full “Michael Bolton from ‘Office Space’” on its “PC load letter” shoveling face. The cheap desk cracks the sweet sound of wimpy particleboard as time slows and splinters of its former college dorm room glory float in front of my eyes like a hummingbird stopping in the space-time continuum to say “Hello”.
Time slows to a sweet crunching crawl. It is pure bliss.
It doesn’t even faze me that my muscles, which normally aren’t used to anything more strenuous than banging fists on a keyboard to come up with jokes for “The Greatest Fart Scenes in Movie History,” are not used to reducing things to their most deformed states. They begin to tighten and sore but it’s a good feeling, like the kind of soreness most guys would get after finishing the Panama Canal or scoring in a threesome and only having to pay one of the participants.
Around the 13-minute mark, my breath is running out and I’m sucking in air so hard that the goggles are fogging up and the paper mask is buckling to my lungs’ sudden need for great globs of air. That’s when I call it. Donna congratulates me for making it that far, saying most never make it past 10 or 11 minutes a session. The room is a modern marvel of my destruction. Glass nuggets are strewn on the floor. Random piece of motherboard have splintered into green shards of electronic death. My hands and Newton’s laws of motion have crippled all forms of furniture. It doesn’t just feel good. It feels at peace.
The nirvana energy boost lasted for three more days until the pictures and video of my “therapy session” finally arrived. They revealed a part of me I didn’t notice, even while I was mentally turning every inanimate object in the room into every school bully I ever had. Specifically, it was my ass crack. It made an appearance just about the entire time the cameras were rolling on me. I realized that my friends, my family and the entire Internet would see it’s vertical smirking evil mocking whatever bit of peace I had left.
Welcome back, beast. Your bar stool was starting to get cold. Can I get you a Volcano Taco?