How to Release Anger and Keep Friends

By Anna Mitchael

As I write this,

October is barely underway. Pumpkins are right off the vine. Halloween costumes hang fresh on the racks. And the polls for the presidency are so close they’re like small-town gossip: The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth depends on who you’re talking to.

But by the time you read this column it will be November. And it’s safe to say there will be a very large percentage — right under half, it seems — of Americans who are disgruntled at best. And at worst, ready to throw decaying pumpkins at their neighbors’ lingering political yard signs. Or just at the neighbors.

If pumpkin throwing seems extreme to you, welcome out of that hole you’ve been in. It’s good to have you with us again. Here’s what you’ve missed: People are angry. Mostly at people who don’t see the world the same way they do. If rotting pumpkins are all that get thrown, we will be lucky.

I’m not an anger management expert. In fact, there is a rather famous story, in our family at least, of when I threw a perfectly fine hamburger out the car window because I was too far from the drive-thru to go back and ask them to fix it. As I tossed the bun and double patty bathed in mustard out the window, I might have yelled something like, “Is a hamburger with mayonnaise too much to ask for from the world?” I was pregnant at the time, but hormones are no excuse. That afternoon I tossed my right to judge anyone else for a tantrum.

So instead of preaching on staying calm about the new president-elect, I am here to recommend that before you get so mad you could spit, or throw a pumpkin, you try the scorpion yell.

I discovered the scorpion yell — on accident I assure you — a few years back. I knew about coyote howls. Loud rooster crows. I even had experience with silent cries of nature as I had repeatedly witnessed my dog toss around live armadillos like rag dolls.

But it wasn’t until I was deep into a solo hike on the ranch that I discovered the scorpion yell. I had been in a rush to go on my hike, you see. So although everyone who keeps boots outside on a porch (or, if they’re really fancy, in a boot tray) knows to dump their boots in case a bug has taken residence, I skipped this step.

When I felt the sting, I immediately started to unlace the boot. Before I could even wiggle my foot out, a small scorpion scurried up and over the edge of the boot, on to a new home in the woods.

I would have fallen over in shock if I weren’t so busy letting out an unbridled scream. Since moving to the country, I feared being stung by a scorpion. All that fear along with the actual pain and then some completely unrelated frustration with everyday life mixed together to produce my very first scorpion yell.

Then my second.

And the third.

When I finally quieted down, the injury remained, but I felt a real calm within the storm. And besides the eardrums of a few squirrels, no living things were harmed in the process.

So while I hope the best for your November, should fear, shock, anger or burning sensations come your way, do remember the release of the scorpion yell. And if you insist on throwing a pumpkin, I hope you aim for the trash.