Featured

if you don’t like it or think I should grieve otherwise, you could perhaps go read something else

‘The subtle mental shifts we experience over time and how they lead us down our paths’

Heidi Jones

There’s my writing prompt. It’s from my friend Heidi, who I saw recently at my thirtieth high school reunion.

That was a trip, by the way. Like a psychedelic one, I mean. The good kind of trip. Glad I don’t do that anymore, though. It was hell on my psyche.

Mine is about fighting. My mental shift is about anger and how I deal with it.

You likely don’t know this about me, but if you know anything about astrology, I’ve got a curious and kind of unsettling chart. What do I mean?

I’m mostly fire. A burning surging seething wildfire, even. That’s only part of it, though. My moon is in Cancer, like the old Joni Mitchell song talks about.

Heidi, remind me to tell you about Trina in that same song, ok?

Anywhoooo…moon in Cancer, which is water, of course. However, my sun and my ascendent are both fiery and passionate. A person with my chart is troublesome.

Truly.

But I don’t put any truck in astrology. Just a bunch of hooey, right?

Right.

Heidi asked a difficult question, because I’m still in the process of transitioning. From a bitter bastard of a scoundrel to a hopefully less angry individual, but that’s still unresolved.

I’m not a nice person most of the time. I’ve mentioned it here before, but I can present a polished version of Lahikmajoe online or in my public life, but in private?

Ask Miriam. Really, ask her. She’ll be direct about it. She doesn’t need to cover up my rough edges.

Sometimes she even appreciates them.

Yet how was I before? I just walked away from conflict when possible.

Let me tell you a story about me when I was new in Germany, yeah?

Here I was in a foreign land, in which I’d lived as a small child and always wanted to return to, not able to communicate so well in the German language. I had my dog and my beer, and I was ok.

Truly.

People in the park were mostly cool, but sometimes there’d be what I call an ‘angry German‘. They’re still out there, in case you think this is a twenty-year-old phenomena that no longer exists.

Even today, I run into really angry locals who’re furious about something or other. Sometimes I stepped in their way or tried to park in the parking spot they thought they’d seen first. You get the idea.

Not all of them are like that, in case you’ve gotten your proverbial knickers in a twist.

#NotAllGermans

Back to my story though, eh?

There I was in the park, new in the county as I said, and some German starts hollering at me for reasons I can’t even begin to comprehend. He says some nonsense about an ‘Anzeige‘, and I know from the context that that’s bad. A Strafanzeige is a fine you get for breaking the law. It’s not important for the story.

So? I walk away.

Simple, right?

You can’t give me your Anzeige if I’m not here for it.

The person never called the police. It was a threat that I knew he or she was in no way going to follow through on.

Ever.

That’s how I used to deal with my anger, Heidi.

I disengaged.

My first marriage? I walked away. Left a lot of money on the table, because I got the only thing I wanted from that marriage.

Ella and her brother

The dogs.

They were my treasure and now they’re gone.

I’ve got new, wonderful treasure, but it just ain’t the same.

Oh well.

You know I adore my wife and our astounding little progeny. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a grateful happy man.

But I miss their floppy ears. I miss how Louis got up in the night and rearranged himself while everyone else was trying to sleep, and how Ella watched over us in the park and made sure her brother kept up.

He wasn’t the smartest dog, if I’ve not said that in a while.

My dogsitter Gitti lost her Joanna a few years back and she moaned about it on Feckbook for ages. I’m sure some friends wished she’d just get over it.

This is my grief. This is how I’m processing it.

If you don’t like it or think I should grieve otherwise, you could perhaps go read something else.

curse all you want

Don’t hold that rage in, son. Let it out. For goodness sake, let. It. Out.

Have you ever wanted to just yell at someone, but you couldn’t? Anti-social as it might be, sometimes the only thing that will satisfy that desire is to let loose. To open your pie-hole and just unload a torrent of abuse. If there were only a place that would let you get that aggression out.

Oh, wait. There is. There’s a hotline that offers this very service. You can call it and scream to your heart’s content. You can say all the words that you’ve never had the nerve to say aloud. You can say pretty much anything you want.

There’s one catch, though. It’s in German. Not that I think it matters. If you really wanted to spend the money to make the call, I think you’re free to use whatever tongue you so please. So, what is this brilliant website? Where can you go to scream bloody murder. Here it is:

Schimpf los has been specially created for someone of your ilk. The hot-headed sort who needs to blow off some steam, but doesn’t want to lose your job. Or offend your partner.

Or maybe you’ve already yelled at everyone in your daily life, and you just need someone new. A new target for your ire. My thoughts immediately went to: ‘What sort of person would sign up to work for such a hotline? It’s enough to work at a mind-numbing, soul-crushing company, but do you really want to add being verbally assaulted to your list of daily concerns? Really? Do you?

I suppose if you knew it wasn’t personal, and that the person doesn’t know you…well, I suppose that might make the whole situation tolerable. I guess so.

However, one of the nice things about my life is that I have plenty of people I can holler at for free. Well, nearly for free. If you yell at a person in public in Germany, you can receive an Strafanzeige, which is an official police citation. You’re charged for having committed a Beleidigung, which is an insult. If you insult someone and there are witnesses, you’re going to pay a fine.

Or if you’re honest when the police come and ask you whether you said the thing you’ve been accused of, and it’s part of your civic responsibility to be as honest as you can, you’re obligated to be as truthful as you can. Do all Germans tell the truth at all times? I’m not even going to dignify that with a response.

But if you want to be safe…to scream and holler and hurl insults at a stranger on the other end of the telephone line? Well Schimpf los, my friend. There’s no time like the present.