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Destroy all the people

I saw an ad at work for a chainsaw the other day -- and NO I have no desire to embark on a violent killing spree -- I saw the ad and I went all tingly imagining the reaction I'd get just standing there with a gas powered chainsaw screaming in my hands.

I'm a question mark on a good day -- the crazy b**ch who everyone knows they'll see on the evening news one night post flip out. What would people think? Would they run in terror? Would they laugh at the sight of little me wobbling against the wait and power of a tool that's not quite as big as I am?

That's the kind of week it was -- so bad that fantasies of scaring the hell out of people were my only solace. I sat down to write several times and found that every story was either depressing or insanely violent, which isn't so bad unless your characters are easily identifiable as people you deal with on a daily basis. If your colleagues or loved ones recognize themselves as the morons you drowned in the bathtub and fed to the cat; you're in for a nasty guilt trip and a slap in the face.

Those are the stories you write and burn. You have to get them out though -- sadness, resentment, fear ... they move in like obnoxious house guests -- think National Lampoon's Cousin Eddie -- and there's no law enforcement agency or pest control service you can call to evict them. They'll thrash around your brain eating all of your energy; soiling your spirits with muddy footprints; breeding like nymphomaniacs in your coziest memories -- they're parasites.

You have to kill them and keep in mind while you're cleaning house that they're only manifestations -- you can murder their pants off and no one will throw you in jail -- they're not real people.

A therapist will tell you to share your feelings with the persons who shat on your parade. I say bologna. Destroy them first on paper. You can always confront them later if following the make-believe slaughter you still feel pangs of unpleasant emotion.

You don't have to be violent. In fact some people are put out more by kindness than depravity. They tend to be the jerks at work who live to show you your place. Their sole motivation for taking in oxygen is pointing out how stupid people are compared to them. They refer to their colleagues as "boys and girls;" they answer questions with "let me explain" when a "yes" or "no" will suffice.

The good news about these characters is they're easy to deal with. Give them a fluffy cat and a house in the suburbs; give them doting spouses and five toe-head children; give them corporate titles at Walmart or Nike; and sleep tight -- you've created a perfect Hell.

But don't shrink from a violent impulse, because you're scared of what it says about you. Go after the bastards with chainsaws if you want to -- that's what I would do -- but I felt obliged to offer a bloodless alternative for those of you who can't quite bring yourselves to manufactured murder.

Happy figurative exterminating!


  1. In effect what we have here are paper voodoo dolls. I think an electric stapler might be a great tool.


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