DFWChild / Articles / Family Life / Behavior / Mad Men

Mad Men

Just another normal commute from deep in the heart of Flower Mound to Fort Worth. Right on Highway 26 after enjoying the quick jaunt over the tranquil dam. Left onto Main Street, where I’ll check out the very cool downtown Grapevine/Mayberry. Then a quick right to enter the highway to Cowtown …

That’s when my fairly positive morning turned mad. When I pulled right I didn’t notice how fast a 4×4 truck was traveling to my left, and the truck nearly ran up my backside. Totally my fault. Luckily we didn’t wreck, and now we could both go about our days having dodged the bullet. Not quite. After laying on the horn for seven extremely mad seconds, the driver pulled up beside me and flipped me off while mouthing words that all started with the letter “F.” Good times.

Yeah, again, it was my fault. But did my act really deserve all that? Surely tossing me the bird and a dozen well-crafted words mentioning my mother didn’t do wonders for his blood pressure or mine. But who cares about that, right? As noted philosopher Homer Simpson said when told by the gun-store owner that he’d have to wait two weeks to purchase his gun: “But I’m mad now.”

How many times a week do you witness a similar scene? How often are you involved either as the hate receiver or the hate giver? I usually lose count by midday Monday. I’m afraid we’re a nation of pissed-off folks. If I were to accidentally butt in line while boarding my flight, someone is likely to take me out at the knees like a member of the Cobra Kais in The Karate Kid.

Is it a surprise that the show Breaking Bad is the biggest sensation since The Wire? Of course not. And what reality show worth 2 cents (very few are, by the way) doesn’t include weekly backstabbing? My blood pressure skyrockets if I simply walk through the living room as the girls are watching Dance Moms.

Ironically, every time I check my Twitter feed or glance at Facebook, I notice many of the people I follow are quoting Deepak Choprah or some other soothing guru of self-help. We seem to understand that being nice is a good thing. Then we shut off our iPad and go out into the world and create havoc.

Could it be that we’re so self-immersed that we can’t see straight? Case in point. Took the boy to see one of the most stupid/awesome events ever, the Red Bull Flugtag in Las Colinas. Basically it’s a bunch of wingnuts who build homemade “flying machines” and then launch said machines off a 30-foot runway into the lake. Most don’t make it 10 feet. For a 9-year-old boy, it’s the best day ever.

So we’re sitting down along with about 20,000 of our new friends watching the festivities, and some guy decides to stand up right in front of us and shoot video on his iPhone. We’re all shooting video while seated out of respect for sight lines except for this joker. I end up nearly getting in a fight for asking him nicely – really, I said “sir” and “please” in the same sentence – to sit down. He was ready to step into the octagon even though he was with his wife and young daughter because I had the audacity to ask him to quit blocking the view for, oh, several dozen folks behind him. This double-earring, designer sunglasses and overly tight shirt-wearing dude evidently thought he was starring in his own reality show.

Google “youth sports fights,” and more than 2.6 million subjects pop up. That’s not a symptom. That’s an epidemic. Sure, we are a country that’s overworked, exhausted, over-programmed, financially strapped and oftentimes alienated. We clock in, live in cubes for 50 hours a week and feel unappreciated. I’m getting mad just typing those last two sentences. But it’s still no excuse for getting mad at each other for every little thing.

Can we forgive and just let it go the next time someone cuts us off in traffic, bumps into us in the grocery store or roots for the evil Longhorns? It’s completely our choice.

Please. Choose. Wisely.

Rudy lives in Flower Mound, works in Fort Worth and plays everywhere in between. He has one wife, one daughter, one son, one published book, one obsession with sports and 20 million observations on marriage and children. Follow him on Twitter: Manifesto10.

Published November 2013