“Pleased to meet you. Hope you guessed my name.”
– Sympathy for the Devil,” The Rolling Stones
Hi, there. I’m your companion. Well, maybe not actually a companion, but more like a need you don’t want, but can’t banish. I’m always there, sometimes hidden, sometimes not, but never really far away. I can show up in a second without apparent reason, or I can just slowly build over time, circumstance by circumstance.
I can lead a single person to perform the unbelievable and inexplicable. I can direct a small group or whole nations based on nothing more than a difference of opinion. I tempt the religious into unholy acts. I can turn an infant from a “sweet bundle of joy” to a monstrous demon, transforming a loving parent into an evil killer of innocence. I turn neighbor against neighbor, brother against brother, father against son in the blink of an eye. I can bring death and destruction to the highways on the mere perception of slight. I show my face when one is pissed that he’s been dissed. I convert intimates into bitter enemies. I keep lawyers in business. From the time of Cain and Abel, I’ve delivered fratricide, homicide, patricide, regicide, genocide, suicide. Without prejudice, to all sides I bring pain, which in turn feeds the fires of my needs.
It takes very little to bring me to anyone’s attention. Sometimes my visibility is fleeting, sometimes it is historic. I can appear as a result of inattention, rejection, expulsion, deceit or mistrust. Many times I leave behind a trail of regret. Just as often, I do not. At times, I am warranted – bringing closure or relief. At times, I am not – just an unplanned, split-second reaction.
I can appear suddenly and “circumstances be damned.” Or I can simmer, slowly stoking, biding my time until I’ve delivered the satisfaction that finally puts me at peace or at least at rest for awhile. I can be temporarily overcome. I can be hidden. Some perceive I can be managed. But no matter how hard you try to contain me, I always prevail.
My cousins, Jealousy, Intolerance, Frustration, Helplessness and Greed, help pave the way for my recurring resurrection. I ravage mankind with my demands of loyalty, conformity, revenge, narrow-mindedness. I have no room for other’s thoughts. Mine are the only thoughts that matter. Advice is taken by the weak, not by the justified.
Have you guessed who am I? Everyone knows me – the pious, the unjust, the innocent, the overbearing and the underwhelming. Everyone tries to control me, but in the end they know they cannot. I am an integral part of their lives. They cannot escape me.
My name is Anger.