Anger, in the form of wrath (pronounced ‘roth’ pedantry fans), is one of the seven deadly sins. However, in the form of birds, it can be a multi-platform, hugely successful video game spinning off into a dreadful movie. So you know, angry swings and angry roundabouts.
Anger is probably one of the most visceral and instinctive of the seven emotions, often induced by fear as part of the ‘fight or flight’ response, where as a response to danger, humans choose to either stand their ground and angrily shout the knife out of someone’s hand, or turn and run, sacrificing the integrity of their pride and underwear for the sake of their mobile phone and internal organs. It’s often not a conscious choice either; if it was, The Incredible Hulk would be a much less interesting character, “don’t make me flee, you wouldn’t be able to resolve this conflict amicably if I flee.” Considering the Hulk is essentially a personification of our inner rage, he is also depicted as a hyper-masculine character; muscular, inarticulate, and one can only assume, made entirely of erectile tissue, since an increase in blood flow causes him to expand. This is hardly surprising considering anger is often shown as the most masculine emotion, with a classically outdated image of a ‘real man’ being one who lashes out with violence at the slightest provocation, such as having a daiquiri spilled down his new Superdry shirt, or being told there’s no more Piri Piri chicken. More often than not though, it stems from being protective over a chosen mate, or being undermined as the alpha of his group. I actually managed to invoke both of these responses at once in a gentleman I encountered while working in a bar a couple of years ago. I’d offended his ‘bird’ (he didn’t call her that, but let’s pretend he did so I come out of this looking great) by refusing to serve her, on account of her clearly being drunk. That’s something I didn’t know until I worked in a bar, that it’s illegal to sell alcohol to a drunk person. I understand the safety aspect, but it seems odd that as soon as there’s confirmation the alcohol has had the desired effect, it’s instantly withdrawn from sale. “Oh you’ve managed to get to sleep on the bed? That’s enough bed for you.”
So there she was, slurring her speech and lowering her threshold for what was worthy of a high-five, when I sheepishly informed her we can’t serve drunkards. She was understandably annoyed, and if I’d been in her position, I would have been too, but the fine for that sort of thing is massive, plus she was quite irritating. A few minutes later, a blonde-haired Northern Irish gentleman approached the bar with her, asking why she didn’t get served, in quite an aggressive manner. He’d obviously come to the conclusion that the best way to endear himself to me and get me onside was to insult me and suggest I was somehow inept. Oddly, this approach only confirmed my decision, so I stood for a while as he shouted that he was calling my ‘judgement into question’ as well as my ‘question into judgement’, until he finally decided to get the management involved, perhaps due to running out of ways to express himself. Indeed, it may in fact have been due to the fact that his girlfriend was now crying and asking to leave, a sure signpost to escalate the situation and cause more of a scene.
As he explained the situation to the manager, I stood there patiently, until apparently my face made him uneasy, and he asked what I was looking at, which was weird, because I was looking at him, while he was talking about me, in front of me, in the midst of a situation that I was directly involved in. I gave an ill-advised chuckle at the clichéd question, which must have made him feel insecure, as he threatened to punch me. Again that seemed like the sort of thing that would make us less likely to serve him or his girlfriend, but still he seemed assured it was the best option. When he finally accepted that we wouldn’t sell his girlfriend alcohol, even after he’d proffered me a tantalising face-punch, I went into the back, heart-pounding and adrenaline surging. I realised that by walking away from the bar, I’d essentially succumbed to the ‘flight’ option, meaning I’d reacted in the exact opposite way from the customer. I was glad that I wasn’t like him, (although my Northern Irish accent is impeccable) and I was comfortable knowing I wasn’t the sort of person who would respond to such a situation with anger. I turned back, and started walking to the bar. As I approached the door to emerge behind the bar, I felt another surge of adrenaline, raised my fist, and punched the wall. It really hurt.
I knew it. Violence is wrong.
Next time on the Bandwagon – A figure lies dead in the middle of a field, with no footprints leading up to the body. On its back, is a backpack. What happened?
Well I’ll tell you, it was a seagull that’s been crushed to death by a falling backpack, again. This has to stop.