Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Learning to cope with the fact that I missed my calling as a Highland warrior

Evolutionarily speaking, I should probably be dead by now.

One of the dilemmas of modern existence is the fact that often our bodies have not caught up to our modern uses for them. The dieting industry exists because of this fact. Our bodies happily turn just about everything into fat, preparing to sustain us during an unforeseen stretch in which there is no food.

Keeping the weight off isn't all that much of a problem for me. Instead, I have been blessed with an explosive temper that it is almost entirely useless in the modern age.

I once read that the general battle plan for Scottish Highland warriors went something like this:
1) Get yourself really, really, really angry about something.
2) Go charging full-speed at that something that you're angry about and attack it.
3) Run away.

Despite the fact that I share a surname with a bloke who was beaten by Bonnie Prince Charles, I think I am perfectly built to have led a Highland charge. My tall, thin frame would have given me the ability to sprint ahead of the rest of my fellow Highlanders, and my impractical sense of temper would have prevented me from reasoning out the possible negative outcomes of the me-versus-everyone-else equation. Since I am inherently clumsy, I am certain that in that other time, I would by now -- 30 years after my birth -- have been cut down by English cavalry. If I were lucky, they might have sung a song about me: "Wee Angry Chris."

Hitherto, I have not been involved in a single epic battle. I don't even own a broadsword. My body pays no mind to this fact, however, and continues produce the necessary chemicals to make me angry about everything. Much as other people's bodies convert Twinkies to cellulite, my body converts every negative emotion into rage:
  • "That guy just cut into my lane. FUCK FUCKING FUCKER!"
  • "I don't have enough money for an iPod. ASS SHITTY GODDAMN SHIT FUCK."

    What I am left with is a great deal of negative energy to chew on. With no cleansing bloodbaths taking place, that negative energy turns on its source. If I don't treat myself with kid gloves, I am incredibly adept at making myself sick amid stressful situations. If I am lucky, the negativity will attack my stomach, or give me headaches, or make my body ache as if I had been pushed down a flight of stairs. If I am unlucky, I will get fever blisters.*

    Finding the necessary $27,108 so you can attend university -- that's sort of stressful. As are living with one's parents, trying to find an apartment in another country without actually being in that country, trying to sort out and meet all the visa requirements for that country, trying to improve your ability to speak the language you will be studying in that country, working in a job you really don't like that was supposed to have been a temporary solution but somehow managed to last three and a half years, knowing you will soon leave that job and have no job, knowing you will be abandoning your career at age 30 for a "let's walk forward and pray the future is better" scenario, credit card debt, your wife's student debt, wishing to God that something you had written would make money, finding out you have cavities, and knowing that you've dreamed all these dreams before, man, and this is the biggest it's ever gotten and that means it has the potential to fall apart more tragically than ever before.

    Put all that in perspective, and it's still really not that bad. I am not suffering gangrene in some muddy Highland encampment. I am not performing patrols in Anbar province. I am not starving. I am not alone. But it seems to be enough stress, and now I find myself walking around with a real beauty fever blister just below my nose.

    So, not only do I feel horrible, which makes me angry, I am a hideous freak of nature, which makes me angrier. I am not really a hideous freak of nature, though, I just have a fever blister; so, I am acting like a teenage girl, which makes me angry. And regardless of whether I am any uglier than usual, the fever blister means that I can't kiss my wife for several weeks, until it is 100 percent gone, which makes me ljo67ewIJOhjgef[ij58u7@?.

    Bah. I'm so angry I can't see.

    *If you're one of those people who half paid attention in health classes, you know that herpes causes fever blisters. As much as I would like to tell you that I got the herp from a hooker in Guam, the fact is, you're thinking of the wrong thing. I have HSV 1, which is thoroughly unexciting, genetic, and mostly harmless except for the fact that having a fever blister affects one's self-esteem.

    Dave Morris said...

    I wonder why they're called "fever" blisters when they are never accompanied by a fever.

    If you're headed into war in the highlands, try not to spill blood on the peat. I don't want to taste it in my Macallan.

    Neal said...

    I sympathize with the plight of your evolutionary mishap. I have often thought that with my voracious appetite and my inability to develop even the smallest hint of body fat, I would have never made it in just about any other age but this one. My affinity for cold places would have been my undoing since I would have nothing to keep me warm.

    Andraste said...

    My friends and I used to joke that I had the same "Highland Charge" mentality and temper.

    "...come oooon. I'll fight ye like a heeland wench, bare-breasted and with a bairn under each arm!"

    And then we fell about laughing and ordered another pitcher.

    Had a t-shit made.

    OldHorsetailSnake said...

    If you have one of your Welsh buddies cut off your head, you won't even notice that fever blister.

    And you probably won't be as mad.

    Lucy said...

    Bitch, please: $27, 098.00! I don't renage on promises. Is a fever blister a cold sore? You Americans and your crazy words!